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Summer camp enrollment up for Utah children

Summer camp enrollment up for Utah children



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High gas prices don't seem to affect the plans children have for summer in Utah. As a matter of fact, some groups say more children are heading to the mountains this year than in a long time.

Remember camp? Good times. Unless you went to one of those camps like in the movie Meatballs, where they had "All the gruel you can eat."

YMCAs in other states say camp enrollment is down partly because of high gas prices and other economic problems. However, The YMCA of Greater Salt Lake is not feeling this pinch at all. It has had more than 600 campers enroll this year.

CEO Rich West said, "It's approximately a 30 percent growth over last year, and over two years ago it has more than doubled the amount."

West says it's one of the best seasons they've had in nine years.

I had to ask him, "Do YMCA counselors still encourage kids to go ‘snipe hunting?'" He said, "Not at our camp. I think that's Wyoming."

West says the YMCA normally has scholarships for children who can't afford to go to camp, but those scholarships are all gone this year, and camp schedules are filling up.

"We keep selling out a week or two weeks out (before the camp starts). All of the sudden, it fills up and we say, ‘Sorry. How about you come next week?'" West said.

But some people may not want to spend any money at all; they just don't want their children to be bored. Many of those children go to the library.

Brother and sister Chale and Ayla tell me it's more fun than getting stuck at home. Ayla told me she loves words and reading, so I told her to log on to KSL.com.

At the downtown children's library, they have a lot of bugs lying around.

Library Assistant Patrick Hoecherl said, "Our theme for summer reading this year is ‘Catch the Reading Bug.'"

Hoecherl says the library has a bug drawing class in August. "That one, completely free, but you have to sign up so we don't have 100 kids in the room," he said.

Hoecherl says he sees a lot of the children from the neighborhoods who visit frequently, but he warns parents not to think of the library as a day care.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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