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Port Arthur YMCA offers Winter Camp during holiday break

The YMCA of Southeast Texas Port Arthur branch is hosting a Winter Break Camp just in time for the holiday season.

Shelby Valentine, a childcare coordinator for the YMCA said the camp is a perfect alternative for parents who can’t afford a fulltime babysitter while their children are off from school.

Kash Kruse, 5, smiles as he completes his holiday project making a reindeer with colored construction paper, markers, glue and googly eyes. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

Mackenzie Burkett, 5, attempts to stick the googly eyes on her reindeer during winter camp at the YMCA of Southeast Texas. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

“A lot of people don’t have the luxury of being off the whole holiday break like their kids are,” she said. “So we take the kids swimming in our heated pool, we do structured activities, play outside as well as STEM activities and art projects. Basically, we try to do activities that let them be creative while they are still learning outside of school.

“For this camp, we do a lot of science projects, too. We have different modules and stations based on age. We do civil engineering, where the younger kids build a bridge and the older kids do something more complex like building a city. It’s a way to get them engaged without feeling like it’s a hassle.”

Olivia Mallory, left, and Dawson Engle, right, focus on building their construction paper reindeers during an arts and crafts session at the YMCA of Southeast Texas. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

The camp is open to everyone from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. three days a week. Monday, Thursday and Friday from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3. Children must be in the 5-12 year range to qualify for the Winter Break Camp.

Participants are instructed to bring a lunch and two snacks.

“It really just gives the kids an opportunity to make new friends because it’s open to anybody, not just the specific kids from their school,” Valentine said. “It’s also a great alternative for the parents.”

Children from Port Arthur and Mid-County show off their finished reindeer during the first day of winter camp Monday at the YMCA of Southeast Texas. Those pictured are, back row, from left, counselors Ajah Chaney and Marlon Sanders, middle row, Olivia Mallory, Maddox Miguez, Kash Kruse, Brantley Taylor, front row, Trevor Martin, Tyler Miguez and Dawson Engle. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

Winter Break Camp prices range from $63 per a week for non-members of the YMCA to $48 for members. A daily rate is also available at $30.

Sign ups are per a week. For more information, or to register your child, visit the YMCA of Southeast Texas on Facebook.