As summer comes to a close, YMCA staff can be proud of a safe, successful summer camp program. This summer, the Y provided a safe place for nearly 20,000 kids. They were able to explore the outdoors, build friendships, create memories, and most importantly, learn a little more about themselves. The summer was filled with lots of fun that included games, arts and crafts, swim lessons and pool time, water safety, and amazing field trips. A couple of big highlights from this summer were:

YMCA Day at the Marlins Baseball Game

The YMCA Summer Camp program took more than 3,000 Campers to a Marlins game at Marlins Park on July 18. YMCA Chief Financial Officer Mark Russell got the honor of throwing out the first pitch! Other highlights included the singing of the National Anthem by Erica Sumner, daughter of Karla Creque, Senior Youth & Family Services Director at Pembroke Pines YMCA; and the YMCA logo and messaging on stadium monitors and announcements. It was a fun time for the Campers, creating a memorable experience for them. For some, it was their first time getting to go to a baseball game at Marlins Park.

STEP Graduation

The annual STEP (Supported Training and Employment Program) Graduation recognized 64 young adults who participated in our program this summer. We had about 300 guests total, including family members, employers and Y staff. Thanks to Children’s Services Council and our amazing Special Needs Youth Development Team lead by Alison Bregman-Rodriguez and Susan Feldman, the Y is able to provide an employment internship to special needs youth at 16 locations across Broward County. The youth always have a fun, amazing time dancing and celebrating their accomplishments.

Preparing kids and families for back-to-school with supplies and resource fair

At the end of July, the YMCA Youth Development Team, along with Children’s Services Council of Broward County, and our other partners, served thousands of kids and families at our Back-to-School Extravaganza at Dillard High School. The Y gave away 1,700 backpacks filled with supplies, shoes, books, resource fair, free immunizations, eye exams, Y-Fit, and other fun activities.

Thank you to all of our partners – Children’s Services Council, Broward County Public Schools – Social Worker Department, Principal Cassandra D. Robinson and Dillard High School, Dr. Major Gregory A. Salters  and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Sheriff Gregory Tony and Broward Sheriff’s Office, Kathy Wint and HandsOn Broward, Comcast, Holy Cross Hospital, and so many more.  We truly made a difference!

Homestead YMCA partners with military to get kids ready for back-to-school

On August 3, the Homestead YMCA held its 2nd Annual Military Back-to-School Bash. Kids and families received free backpacks with school supplies. They also participated in Y-Fit games and activities for the entire family, and received information from various community resource organizations.

Thank you to all the Military Families that came out and to our vendors and supporters for sharing their services and providing school supplies: American Red Cross, Baptist Health, Crime Stoppers, The Keyes Company, Kiwanis of Homestead, City of Homestead Government, University of Miami, Florida National Guard, Military OneSource, Panther Xtreme Cheerleading, FDOH, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, OneBlood, Del Family Eye Care, Crown Credit and Debt Solutions, VoteNow, and Homestead Hospital.

And a huge thank you to Healthy Military Communities volunteers! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Sports Extravaganza at Hard Rock Stadium

In early July, all YMCA campers participated in the Y’s annual Sports Extravaganza held at Hard Rock Stadium this year, home of the Miami Dolphins. The day was filled with Y-Fit games, a visit from the Dolphins Mascot – T.D. (for The Dolphin), and other fun activities. Thank you to the Miami Dolphins for their support of the day!