Tag Archives: summer camp

A conversation between Beth Maczka & Joshua McClure

29 Jun


On a mission to serve school age children: Beth Maczka, YWCA CEO, recently sat down with Joshua McClure, the Director of our Primary Enrichment Program.

BM: Tell me a little about your background and why you were interested in working at the YWCA?

JM: I’ve been working with kids for 11 years now. As an African-American man, I want to be a positive role model for youth in the community.  I grew up at the YWCA – taking swim lessons, participating in after school and hanging out with my grandmother. The YWCA is welcoming and accepting. I think the mission speaks volumes, and it is important to me, but also coming here feels like home.

BM: How does your program relate to the YWCA’s mission of empowering women and eliminating racism?

JM: We’ve always been the voice and resource for single parents. They trust our staff and many have been a part of the YWCA since their kids were 6 weeks old. The thing that I hear from parents the most is that the counselors really care about the kids, as if they were their own, like family.  As it pertains to the child care and voucher crisis in our community – these parents want to continue all the way through the Primary Enrichment Program. They don’t want to leave.

BM: What do you think makes our After School and Summer Camp unique?

JM: First of all, we are diverse. Secondly, we have programming that will help meet all the different needs of our kids. We are striving to be more than just a “babysitter,” by having  a greater focus on bridging education gaps during the school year and combating summer learning loss during camp. The homework help we offer is a huge benefit to our kids and also their parents. The [Big Brothers/Big Sisters] mentoring partnership program will also help give kids a voice and help develop social skills – especially our shy and less engaged youth. The kids are also really enjoying other partnerships we are bringing into our program, including Girl Scouts, tennis and ABYSA soccer. 

BM: What is your approach and vision for the Primary Enrichment Program?

JM: I want to be involved. Set a new dynamic. Improve the whole ‘feel’ of the program. Make people feel welcome and engaged – the staff, the youth and the parents.

It is important that they [the kids] see me as more than just an authority figure. I try once a week to spend time in each room helping with homework or playing games. I want to show the kids that I care. I really want to be involved. And they love the time we spend together – they remember the games we have played.

I look forward to the program blossoming with more people knowing about us…parents wanting to do more within the program. Cross promotion between After School, Spring Break, and Summer Camp. We are striving to help with education, enrichment, and health & wellness. I want it to be viewed as a great program in our community.

BM: What would people be surprised if they knew about you?

JM: One of my legs is longer than the other.

BM: You’re such a great dancer & teach our popular Hip Hop Cardio classes! That sure hasn’t slowed you down, has it!?

JM: Nope!

YWCA of Asheville Summer Camp Children Respond to Charleston

13 Jul

Our YWCA Summer Camp kids sang a song in response to the tragedy in Charleston.

Video by Katie Christie, School Age Director. Song written & produced by Rickey Payton & Voices United.

“Black is beautiful when you understand
It’s not the color of your skin, a woman child or man
White is beautiful together we are free
We are one we are family”

Summer Camp Success

19 Aug

047We’ve wrapped up another awesome Summer Camp here at the YWCA! We averaged 125 campers, and their days were packed with field trips to local parks, Splashville, Waynesville Water Park, Erwin Pool, and the Carl Sandburg house. They also took a Gray Line Trolley tour of Asheville, and provided advice to the Asheville DesignBuild Studio on our new outdoor classroom and covered walkway.Trolley Summer Camp 7.31.14 022

Thanks to the Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association, Girl Scouts, Asheville Design Center, Art Studio Miami, and the Asheville Tourists for providing in-kind enrichment activities to our campers.

A huge thank you to the United Way for donating 40 backpacks to help some of our students prepare for the new school year.

At the end of Summer Camp party in the YW parking lot we asked some campers (and some parents!) to tell us their favorite part of the summer:

“We loved going to the pool and to the water park. We also loved playing outside in parks.”
Kalen, Kasiyah, Tamiyah – 9


“It was my first year. I made a lot of friends and the counselors were nice.”
Aiyana, 7
“The party! Getting my face painted.”
Rodolfo, 10
“The Carl Sandburg house was my favorite. We got to show people our play.”
Trayson, 8
“Hands-down this is their favorite camp. They were outside a lot, there were a lot of field trips. The counselors were friendly and a lot more hands-on than we’ve experienced at other camps.”
Javier, Parent
“My daughters both learned to swim this summer. They just moved here, but were helped to fit right in. They made lots of friends.”
Chasidy, Parent

STEM and the End of Summer Camp

13 Aug


This is the last week of Summer Camp at the YWCA. As the school year approaches, campers have been participating in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities. Last week the focus was on water. Yesterday each of the Summer Camp groups made presentations to the whole camp about the experiments they did with water and what they learned. In addition, one group sang an original song and another group lead a “W-A-T-E-R – WATER!” cheer. A mixture of learning and fun for all!
stem 2 summer camp

stem 3 summer campYWCA After School will start on Monday, August 26. After School offers homework assistance, tutoring, gardening, cooking, swim lessons, character education, field trips, recreation, and sports. The YWCA picks up students from area schools. The program meets Monday through Friday from 2:30 pm until 6:00 pm. For more information or to register, contact Director of School Age Programs CiCi Weston at 254-7206 x 111 or cweston@ywcaofavl.org.

water cheer

Summer Camp Memories Being Made

2 Jul

YWCA Summer Camp is going great, as our campers stay busy with hikes, art projects, gardening, swimming, field trips, and more.

Two highlights last week were visits from Terpsicorps dancers and Asheville Tourists baseball players. Our older campers enjoyed activities with the dancers at the YWCA, and then got to attend a Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance performance. Asheville Tourists Dillon Thomas and Matt Carasiti talked to our younger campers about health and nutrition, and then got everyone running. Then the Tourists mascot Mr. Moon showed up and ended up stealing the show, of course. We look forward to taking a group of campers to see the Tourists play soon.

We appreciate the dancers and ball players for helping to make inspiring summer camp memories for our children.


Ready for Summer Fun?

28 Mar
YWCA Summer Camp is right around the corner!  Camp will run June 10 – August 16, and sign ups are being accepted now. To register, contact the School Age office at 828-254-7206 ext. 111 or cici.weston@ywcaofasheville.org.
During Summer Camp children (grades K-6) will remain active by participating in swim lessons, free swim, hiking, gardening, field trips, art, dance, sports, nutrition, fitness, science activities, and Summer Camp weekly themes. Register today! We fill up fast!Image

School Age Staff Spotlight

2 Jan

We have been honoring employees for their 5, 10, and 15 years of service to the YWCA. We’re featuring those employees on this blog by department. Today we’ll celebrate some of our dynamic School Age staff.

Jakia Baird 5 Years of Servicejakia
Jakia is dependable!  Her attendance is exceptional for a young person. She is committed to bettering herself as a person and is  now excited about taking college level courses.  Her rapport with parents is exceptional. Empowering is what I see her do everyday in her interaction with parents. We are excited at the growth we’ve seen in Jakia as a co-worker and a person.

after school caroling 011Nancy Robinson – 5 Years of Service
Ms. Nancy brings the grandmotherly love to the staff, parents, and children. Everyone loves Ms. Nancy’s creativity and caring for us all.  She is the one who will bake apple and lemon bread, squash casseroles…eggplant parmesan. She recognizes everyone’s birthdays and all special occasions.  She adds that extra touch of love to a sometimes hard day.  Empowering is what she does for EVERYONE she meets. She is no stranger.

Josephine English – 10 Years of Serviceafter school caroling 024
Ms. E is small in stature but carries a lot of spunk.  She may speak what is on her mind, and when you really learn who she is you will find that she has a heart of gold.  Children who may have the most difficulty connecting with others socially always find a connection with Ms. E.  She is loved by the staff and is often teased as being the “fiery red-head.”  Ms. E has taken over the care of the School Age garden, the children love it and it looks better than ever.

_SCS6316CiCi Weston – 10 Years of Service
CiCi was born to teach. It’s in her blood and in her heart. As the YWCA opened its newly expanded After School and Summer Camp 10 years ago, CiCi was here to make it a program that did much, much more than simply babysit children. Her focus was on education and enrichment for up to 150 children each year, and the by providing motivation and time for homework every day, the After School program helps children succeed in school. From dance to drama to drumming; from poetry to pottery to paper-making, from digging in the garden to digging into science and books, under CiCi’s leadership and vision, the YWCA School Age counselors bring the world to their children and take their children out into the world.