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May 30, 2017 10:02 PM

YMCA Camps See Record Numbers

Summer camp season is upon us.

This year, more area kids will be taking part in camps through the YMCA.  A few years ago, The Y decided to focus more on youth development.

While a lot has changed over the past 97 years, much has remained the same at the Sioux Falls Family YMCA camps.

"We often get asked, 'What about cell phones and video games?' As soon as our campers get there, they're so busy that they don't even think about it," Camp Director Mike Murphy said.

This year around 3,000 kids have already pre-registered.

"We're running about 400 campers ahead of this time last year. We've grown over 1,000 kids in the last three years," Sioux Falls Family YMCA CEO Eric Tucker said.

Tucker says the organization is focusing more on youth programs, such as camps.

"A few years ago we did a large-needs assessment throughout the community. One of the things we found in Sioux Falls was there was a true need for meaningful engagement with kids," Tucker said.

This summer, The Y has also added a new program. It's called Little Gnomes and is a camp for two and three years olds.

"We also made a real effort to focus on convenience for parents. For instance, we transport all of these kids every session from all over the region. We provide a lunch at no extra charge," Tucker said.

Programs that look to hit the mark this summer.

"In today's society everyone is busy. We're always running from thing to thing. With camp they get to come out and spend two weeks to be themselves and have fun. They get to do all of the wonderful traditional activities that we enjoyed growing up," Murphy said.

That's one thing YMCA officials hope never changes.

Camps start on June 12. If you haven't signed your kids up already, you'll want to act quickly.  They're around 90 percent full.

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