by Eileen Rivera
If you are a working parent, as I was, you can certainly confirm feeling like summer is a child’s joy and a parent’s sorrow. From March or April, you are searching options for your child during the summer months. Even when you are lucky, like I was, and had a couple of grandmothers willing to help out, you don’t really want your kid sitting in front of a television all day.
Because my parents raised their kids in the 60’s, they were able to find day camps everywhere we lived. My city day camp took me on trips to the Bronx Zoo, Central Park and Orchard Beach. My suburban day camp took me to Bear Mountain and Rockland Lake. On rainy days, or when there was no trip planned, we did arts and crafts. By the time it was my turn to raise children, quality day camps were out of my financial reach. It led to very creative vacation scheduling and saw us lugging an extra kid or two, on our day trips, to the shore or theme park.
So what does a parent do when they are informed that their child’s day camp has been canceled? This is precisely what happened in NYC recently. During the last week of June, parents in East Harlem were informed that the Salvation Army would not be conducting their annual day camp. Budget cuts to a voucher program resulted in a last minute scramble for funding, however the director came up empty-handed resulting in a last minute cancellation of the program. A couple of hundred kids are now without a place to go this summer, and their frantic parents are trying to figure out what to do with them.
In previous years, the program provided meals, cultural enrichment and recreation on a very modest budget. Employing college students and using high school student volunteers, the program cost 40,000 dollars; chump change for a city with such a large operating budget. They couldn’t find other areas to cut? This amounts to another black eye for the city.
Copy Editor, Eileen Rivera.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of
the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.