Masters Week camp lets kids play at Y



If she were not spending this week at the Downtown Family Y, Khiasia Anderson said she would probably be at a relative’s house or somewhere else in Augusta, but the Y is better.

“Because we play games here and do other stuff,” said the 7-year-old second-grader at Hornsby Elementary School. “You can’t go swimming at the mall.”

The weeklong camp at five branches of the Family Y of Greater Augusta is an extension of an after-school program that picks up needy youngsters at Augusta schools and offers a structured program for those who might otherwise have a hard time affording it.

“When school is out, like this week, those same children need care and still would have a hard time paying for it so we do a fun traditional day camp for those kids,” said Millie Huff, community relations director.

The after-school program is aided by a state grant and parents pay $15 for one child for the weeklong program, which is still a bargain, said Ryan Jacobs, camp director at the Downtown Family Y. With both the weeklong camp and the after-school program, parents get a better alternative, Huff said.

“The families are so very appreciative of the care because it really does mean the difference between the children being at home by themselves versus having a safe place to go in the afternoon, having a snack and homework help and fun activities,” she said.

“We’ve had a number of the kids who had never been in a swimming pool before that have taken swimming lessons and are now enjoying swimming,” she said.

Khiasia began swimming after she joined the after-school program.

“We swam a lot last year,” said her friend, Mikielia McGibbon, 7, a second-grader at Monte Sano Elementary School. If she were not at the Downtown Y this week, she would probably be with her mom at work at a nursing home. That has its appeal, apparently.

“I would make money from the old people,” Mikielia said. “I sell bracelets.”

Still, “this is more fun than being at my mom’s,” she said.