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YMCA summer camps are a beacon for summer fun

The Woodinville Weekly of Woodinville, Washington

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Andy Sharpe has fond memories of YMCA camps in his youth. Now 32 years old, the associate executive director of the North shore YMCA loves seeing that same excitement in the faces of today's kids.

"The magical thing about camp is to see that kid who gets that bull's eye for the first time in archery, or who gets a chance to sit in a canoe for the first time and paddle out," Sharpe said. "It's also a chance to make a lifelong friend. I still have friends that I met at YMCA camp as a kid."

The North shore YMCA summer camps are underway, but there's still room for more children. The Y operates an outdoor day camp at Cottage Lake Park, for kids in grades 1-6. The youngsters get to swim, go on field trips, practice archery and make arts and crafts. This summer's field trips include a trip to Woodland Park Zoo and a tour of Safeco Field.

Sports camps are also being held at Canyon Park Junior High. They contract with the organization Run to Win to provide sports like soccer, flag football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and a cheer camp.

In addition, the North shore YMCA operates the outdoor pool at Cottage Lake Park. They provide swim lessons, water fitness classes, lap swimming and family swimming during the week and on Saturdays. On Sundays, the pool is available to rent for birthday parties.

"Most of all, a camp is an opportunity to gain self-confidence, make new friends, experience things they might not experience anywhere else than at a YMCA camp," Sharpe said.

Sharpe was asked what excited him most on a daily basis.

"I'm proud of the fact that in our camps we incorporate literacy and help prevent summer learning loss," he said. "As we know, kids who are out of school for two or three months can drop back a grade level. So we are intentional about making sure we incorporate literacy. We also have our staff of positive role models for kids that teach the character values of the YMCA, which are caring, honesty, respect and responsibility."

Sharpe said that plenty of space remains for more kids.

"Especially in sports camp, for kids that are looking to improve their skills over the summer, or learn a new skill," he said. "Our camps are a great way to do that. We've had a long-standing partnership with Run to Win over the years and are excited about the quality programs they offer. As well as the chance for kids to experience YMCA summer camp."

For more information, contact Andy Sharpe at or call the front desk at 425-485-9797.

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Original Publication Date: June 29, 2015

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