According to the YMCA website, approximately 9 million youth and 12 million adults participate in camps across the U.S. in 10,000 communities each year. The reasons to send a child to camp may differ from household to household - from developing social skills or learning about teamwork to exploring new interests or just plain having fun. Some children attend camp because they need an activity for the summer to keep them busy while parents work. No matter the reason, YMCA camps strive to serve everyone, regardless of ability to pay, and often rely on donors to provide financial scholarships to those in need.
Thanks to Pratt & Whitney's generosity, many of the 115 children who attend East Hartford's YMCA Camp Nowashe each week are able to do so at a dramatically reduced rate. What would normally cost a camper $190 per week, costs many families $30 to $50, said East Hartford YMCA Executive Director Brian Liss. "Camp is $10 for some kids because of the scholarship program [Pratt & Whitney] offers."
The generosity doesn't end there, however. As an added treat, Pratt & Whitney intern Matthew Kabrick and three Pratt & Whitney employees attended Camp Nowashe on Aug. 8, surprising the 8- to 10-year old group with a variety of fun experiments in which to take part.
Satish Natarajan of Pratt & Whitney's IT department led a group of kids in a paper helicopter experiment, testing flight concepts such as air pressure. At another station, Kabrick and with Sonny Patel of the Purchasing department demonstrated what thrust was all about, as kids made balloon "rockets." Using straws and string, the group propelled their balloons through a classroom at East Hartford Middle School, where the day's activities were held. Melissa Broadnax, a project engineer, had the task of creating parachutes with her group. Plastic grocery bags, string and bolts were used for the experiment.
At the end of the day, many of the young campers shook hands and personally thanked the Pratt & Whitney volunteers for the exciting, hands-on learning experience.
For more information about YMCA camps and their partnerships in the community, visit www.ghymca.org.