Providing Safe Outdoor Opportunities For Families in Inclusion Program

Y Kids Inc Family at Camp Iroquois 1

The core of the Y’s mission statement is that we are here for all, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity. Y Kids Inc. is one of the inclusion programs offered through the YMCA of Central New York where children of all ages and abilities can participate in any Y program based on their interests. Trained, compassionate and enthusiastic staff help our Y Kids blossom into the confident, unique, and outstanding individuals they are meant to be.

“Recognizing how difficult the current shutdown could be for the children of our Y Kids Inc. families and their caregivers,” said Kelly Butters, Associate Executive Director of the Hal Welsh East Area Family YMCA. “We worked to provide a safe and secure space where these families could get outdoors, hike, play basketball and simply run around.”

YMCA Day Camp Iroquois, located on 56 acres of land on the outskirts of Manlius, provides plenty of space to explore without worry for these families. Although the service is free, registration is required and limited to two families at a time to remain in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

Inclusion Coordinator Laura Mangano-Smith works with the families that sign up to choose a day during the week based on weather conditions. She shares that the families are appreciative of having the opportunity to take their kids out for an “adventure.” “One mom said she was afraid to let the children outside the house for fear that they would not be able to remain at a safe distance from neighbor’s children,” shared Mangano-Smith, “They see this as a great chance to break the routine and get the kids active in a safe place.”

The programming of Y Kids Inc. is made possible through financial support from AccessCNY, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the generous donors to the mission of the YMCA of Central New York.

Photos: Photos taken at a safe distance of Y Kids Inc. families enjoying Camp Iroquois.