South Charlotte

Keep your kids busy this summer

Know three reasons why you don't want to live in Charlotte? June, July and August.

It's a joke a newcomer doesn't fully understand until they've sweated their way through August and then still have September to go.

Mercifully, we have nearby beaches and mountains, pools, summer camps, air conditioning and TV, computer and video games screen time to entertain the mignons of children in the Ballantyne area.

The Morrison YMCA prides itself on keeping that screen time to a minimum. The Y is a popular hangout for Ballantyne area residents over the summer months. It can be hard to find a parking space on a typical summer morning.

Laura Smith, associate executive director for the Morrison YMCA, said about 700 children attend summer camps each week. Fifty-four camp options are available. A typical Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools summer lasts 10 weeks, so that's about 7,000 campers over the summer.

"It is a tremendous responsibility to have that many children in our care," said Smith. "As busy as it is for us, it is awesome to watch the place come to life and really pop over the summer."

In addition to the camps, approximately 1,000 people visit the Morrison YMCA water park each day. The Child Enrichment Program Center watches about 400 children a day while parents exercise. Adults also come in to attend exercise classes and workout in the fitness center.

Hawk Ridge Elementary School allows the Morrison Y to use five mobile units every summer for the campers, and Community House Middle School allows the use of their facilities for some of the sports camps. The two schools are within walking distance.

"We love having a partnership with the schools, and because we can walk there, they are like an extension to our campus," said Smith.

Many working parents put their children in summer camps for all 10 weeks, but it is increasingly common for children who stay home all summer to attend a one-week camp, such as cooking, outdoor adventure, art or even triathlon training, said Smith.