Youths enjoy a canoe ride at a summer camp provided by the Boys Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. (Submitted photo)

Youths enjoy a canoe ride at a summer camp provided by the Boys Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. (Submitted photo)

State grant helps youths SEEK adventure

Sequim city, Boys Girls clubs, YMCA work together

SEQUIM — A state grant worth more than $200,000 is contributing to funding for summer camp and outdoor activities for local youths this year.

The City of Sequim, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula and YMCA of Sequim worked together to apply for and receive $209,550 through the Summer Experiences and Enrichment for Kids (SEEK) grant from the Washington Parks & Recreation Association and the Association of Washington Cities, city officials have announced.

The city will contract with the Boys & Girls clubs for $124,750 to offer low- or no-cost attendance to their 10-week Summer Camp program, and with the YMCA of Sequim for $65,750 for their new nine-week Outdoor Leadership program.

The city will receive $19,500 in administrative fees.

“Access to childcare and the residual impacts to the youth in our community caused the city to look at potential partnerships,” Assistant City Manager Charisse Deschenes said.

City staff found the entity was eligible for the SEEK grant, but the municipality doesn’t specifically provide recreation programming.

So staff reached out to Boys & Girls Club and local YMCA representatives.

Within days, the team was formed and the application was sent off in a week, Deschenes said.

“The SEEK grant is a wonderful opportunity for our agencies to work together to provide access to outdoor summer programs while focusing on education, mental health, social and emotional connections and outdoor recreation,” Deschenes added.

“Stacking this opportunity with others and realizing how the quality of life for all of our citizens starts with the foundation of care of our most vulnerable opens the door to success. Building strong programs for the youth contours the economy and health of the entire community,” she added.

The YMCA Outdoor Leadership program kicks off June 28 and can accommodate 25 youths between the ages of 12-15.

It focuses on leadership skills, social connections and outdoor fitness and education. Participants will learn about our local wilderness environment through a program that will meet three times each week for education, social engagement and day hikes.

Registration is open now until June 11 or until the program is full.

“We are so excited that this grant will allow us to provide a hiking and outdoor leadership program for our community’s teens,” said Gail Sumpter, executive director of the YMCA of Sequim branch.

“Our kids need adventure, socializing, and fun this summer. A program like this is necessary for our youth’s mental and physical health and will allow them to explore new areas of interest and meet new friends.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula’s Summer Camp program starts June 20 and addresses the need for childcare in the community and provides social connectivity, indoor and outdoor physical activity and supports mental health and academic learning, officials said.

“Thanks to this partnership with the city, Sequim will be especially sunny for local youth this summer,” said Mary Budke, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.

“This grant comes at the perfect time to raise spirits and support kids’ health and well-being after COVID. We are especially happy that we will be able to provide a range of engaging new activities for our teens.”

For more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, visit bgc-op.org.

For more about the YMCA of Sequim, visit olympicpeninsulaymca.org.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

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