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The City of Sequim has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula (BGCOP) and the YMCA of Sequim to apply for and receive a Summer Experiences and Enrichment for Kids (SEEK) grant from the Washington Parks & Recreation Association (WRPA) and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC).
The City received a grant for $209,550 and will contract with the BGCOP 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 9-week Outdoor Leadership program. The City will receive an administrative fee of $19,500.
“Access to childcare and the residual impacts to the youth in our community caused the City to look at potential partnerships. We found out we were eligible for the SEEK grant at the last minute but the City does not provide recreation programming. Immediately Staff reached out to the experts at the BGCOP and the YMCA. Within days the team was formed. We rolled up our sleeves and had the application sent off within a week,” said Assistant City Manager Charisse Deschenes.
“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. 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 BGCOP Summer Camp program addresses the high need for childcare in our community and provides social connectivity, indoor and outdoor physical activity and supports mental health and academic learning. The BGCOP will also introduce a new ClubBike for kids making locally purchased bikes available for teens to take advantage of the Olympic Discovery Trail through the grant.
“Thanks to this partnership with the City, Sequim will be especially sunny for local youth this summer. 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,” said Mary Budke, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.
The YMCA Outdoor Leadership program 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. The Outdoor Leadership program will kick-off on Tuesday, June 28. The program can accommodate 25 teens ages 12 – 15. 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. Our kids need adventure, socializing, and fun this summer,” said YMCA of Sequim Branch Executive Director Gail Sumpter. “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.”