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Dover Post
  • YMCA expands Kent County Outdoor Complex

  • Campers enrolled in the Dover YMCA’s Camp Journey splashed and played in the baby pool at the Kent County Outdoor Complex on Kenton Road on Wednesday in the hopes of finding relief from the morning’s sweltering heat.
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  • Campers enrolled in the Dover YMCA’s Camp Journey splashed and played in the baby pool at the Kent County Outdoor Complex on Kenton Road on Wednesday in the hopes of finding relief from the morning’s sweltering heat.
    Several of them crawled on their hands and knees, practicing a skit meant to reenact George Washington crossing the Delaware River, in honor of The Fourth of July.
    This time last year the Y’s outdoor pool would have been vacant on a weekday morning, just waiting for children and families to arrive at noon to take a dip.
    But thanks to roughly $100,000 worth of expansions made on the property, the outdoor complex is now home to Dover YMCA’s day camp, which offers children the chance to participate in activities such as arts and crafts, hiking, team building activities, an Israeli sport known as gaga and, of course, swimming.
    “Our summer camps previously had been moved from site to site in various public parks,” said Amanda Blose, the child development director for the Dover YMCA. “We really wanted to have a home that we can use as a basis for our camps to run and grow and be able to create traditions.”
    The YMCA purchased the property for its outdoor complex last spring. At that time, the 18-acre wooded property only housed a pool, a volleyball court and a small playground. Over the last several months, the site has been developed to include hiking trails, a pavilion and a gaga pit, which is an octagonal wooden box filled with sand where campers can play a dodgeball-like game.
    The pool, which was constructed in 1955 and originally operated as the Kent Swimming Club, has undergone renovations as well. Work is currently being done to upgrade the pool’s filter system, Blose said.
    “We’re trying to just keep it in the best condition we can at the moment and make improvements as we’re able,” she said.
    Despite any difficulties with the pool, the YMCA’s campers are not disappointed.
    Seven-year-old Ameenah Harmon-Malloy was one of many campers who professed to being a fan of the pool.
    “I like camp because it has swimming,” she said. “I don’t want to be sweating all day.”
    Day camps began at the site on June 9 and will continue through Aug. 22. Camp sessions run on a weekly basis, and parents interested in signing their children up for camp can do so through the Friday before a camp session starts.
    Campers typically use the pool before noon and leave it open for YMCA members to use from noon until 8 p.m. After leaving the pool, the campers typically spend their afternoons creating arts and crafts, playing sports and learning the YMCAS four core values: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
    Page 2 of 2 - The YMCA isn’t finished with its work at the site, Blose said.
    Upgrades are set to be made to the playground alongside the pool area later this year. Blose said she also is hoping that what is left of the tennis courts will be torn up and replaced with some type of athletic field.
    She said she also would like to see a building on or near the site where rainy day activities could be held
    “We’re trying to work with the space we have without disrupting the environment too much,” she said. “We don’t have anything currently in the works for expansion, but we’re definitely looking at what our options are and how we best want to develop the site for the community’s needs.”

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