Camp Winnebago helps kids stay active with nature

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Summer camp is all about exploring the outdoors. It’s a big change for some kids who are more connected to their devices than they are with mother nature.

Now, thanks to community support, more children will be able to take part in YMCA camp programs.

Spending time outdoors on a warm, sunny day is a great way for kids at Camp Winnebago to enjoy summer break.

According to research, only 5% of children meet the recommended healthy living guidelines of 60 minutes of activity each day, at least 9 hours of sleep and 2 hours or less of screen time.

“Camp Winnebago means 480 hours of campers, of kids, not on their screen,” said Brent Pentenburg, CEO of the YMCA Rock River Valley.

The YMCA’s popular summer camp has grown this year thanks to a new addition.

“Last year we were at capacity,” Pentenburg said. “We were serving 300 kids and by building a new pavilion we have now two home camps that will allow us to serve 80 additional kids per week.”

The pavilion serves as a home base for campers. It’s where they come back to eat and play games. It also serves as a storm shelter during bad weather. It was built through community support and a donation from a charitable foundation .

“It’s about kids, it’s about environment, it’s about nature, and that was the purpose that Scott and Virginia Webster Charitable Foundation Trust sought in this opportunity,” said Dan Loescher, Webster Foundation Administrator.

Kids who come to Camp Winnebago stay active by exploring nature and building friendships. Organizers say the program plays a role in the development of a child.

“They’re learning about our core values of caring: honesty, respect, responsibility and faith, and what it means to live out those values and why they’re so important in their maturity as a young person,” Pentenburg said.

“You can meet a lot of strangers and soon those strangers become your friends and almost like your family and you almost like never want to leave here,” said Chloe Doner, camper.

For more information on Camp Winnebago, go to the YMCA website.

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