For residents who have lived in West Haven for a long time, attending the Community House’s “Camp To-Come-To” summer camp, which opened in 1944, was the source of countless memories that many hold dear into their later years. Although it is no longer called “Camp To-Come-To”, memories are still being created for West Haven children each summer at the Community House’s summer program.
For children, summer is a time for relaxing and playing with friends, but it is also a time of growth and discovery. The Community House’s seven-week summer program is the source of countless enriching and memorable experiences for children, and offers peace of mind to working parents in need of child care. The program, which is offered from 7 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, is known for offering unparalleled opportunities for kids to explore the world around them that promote education and exploration.
Adult-supervised field trips are offered four out of the five days a week to a variety of destinations, among them are Lighthouse Park in New Haven, Ansonia Nature Center, Rocky Neck State Park, Stamford Nature Center, Discovery Museum, Hartford Science Center, Norwalk Aquarium, Earthplace in Westport, Dinosaur State Park, Pequot Museum, the Bronx Zoo and local beaches and lakes.
Whether it’s fishing, hiking, swimming or exploring nature at local parks, nature centers, beaches and lakes, or discovering science and history at the zoo, aquarium and museums; the hands-on experiences offered through fun and engaging activities enhance the social, intellectual, physical and emotional needs of the children keeping their minds sharp and their bodies moving.
In addition to the outings, the children participate in Zumba dance instruction lead by Zumba-Certified instructor and Community House Children & Youth Services director, Carol James as well as weekly music lessons provided by John McCarthy of Rock House School of Music using his ‘Clap, Tap, Sing and Swing’ program that develops a sense of how music works and helps children grow intellectually and creatively.
“We are so excited to add music to our curriculum this summer. and our partnership with Rock House School is a perfect fit for us,” said Carol James. “Studies show that studying music encourages self-discipline and perseverance, along with time-management and organizational skills and helps them learn better at school,” she continued.
The Summer Program is staffed by qualified teachers and include a certified life guard and a sports management graduate. In addition, a student from the University of New Haven (UNH) works at the Summer Program as part of a partnership with the University’s President’s Public Service Fellowship program.
“For more than 18 years we’ve had the pleasure of partnering with UNH and working with students who are enrolled in the fellowship program”, said Carol James. “In fact many students have continued working with us during and after their college years and a couple of students actually changed their field of study and have gone on to graduate work in education due to their experience working in our program.”
This summer UNH Fellow Megan Steele, whose major is in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology, has been placed with the Community House and is working in the Summer Program. Megan is a member of UNH’s Community Service Committee, Philanthropy Committee and Constitution Committee. The core aspect of the President’s Public Service Fellowship program involves the participant’s development and improvement in leadership, communication, resilience, teamwork, global and cultural awareness and critical thinking.
For more information about the services and programs provided by the West Haven Community House, visit www.whcommuntiyhouse.org.