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Union Gap summer camp promotes community-building and drug prevention messages

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UNION GAP, WA - For the next three weeks, about 60 kids from Union Gap and the surrounding area are taking part in a summer camp. Kids from the 2nd to 8th grade gather at Loudon Park for the free camp, Monday through Friday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

High school students serve as mentors. The camp was organized by the City and Educational Service District 105.

"We started this last year with just a few kiddos and then the word got around that there were activities at the park, there were programs prevention programs and a lot of fun happening," said Gerry Galindo, a prevention worker for students and a co-facilitator.

The camp focuses on more than just fun. For half of this week, students will learn about business from Heritage University's Enactus Team.

"We teach them about saving, spending, sharing, and how to build their own business, in case they want to have a business, but overall we really want to teach them about the needs and the wants," said Yesenia Lopez, Enactus President. 

7-year-old Kevin Hernandez-Romo says he's learned a lot.

"Yesterday we learned about getting money and about earned money and unearned money," said Hernandez-Romo. 

The goal is for students to create a product at the end of camp, which will be sold on August 1st, National Night Out.

"Yesterday we built a flying lamp, but it actually didn't work, because it just fell," Hernandez-Romo said.

They also learn the importance of living a drug-free life.

"Getting the message that it's cool to stay away from drugs and eighth graders are role-modeling to the younger peers about how that is, and that breaks that cycle," said Galindo.

Summer camp ends on the 10th of August.


UNION GAP, WA - The city of Union Gap is teaming up with Educational Service District 105 for five weeks of afternoon activities at Loudon Park that are promoting some positive and supportive fun for children … while weaving in some messages designed to help the youths establish a drug-free life.

The afternoon camp sessions are offering the participating children several art and recreational activities (such as soccer and kickball) But program being funded through the city of Union Gap is also weaving in messages to help the young people learn to make positive life choices and avoid the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

About 60 children from 2nd-8th grade have enrolled in this summer’s afternoon program at the park. The sessions at the park are running from 2 to 5 p.m. each Monday through Friday from July 5-Aug. 10. Most of the attending children are students from the Union Gap School District, with other participants coming from schools in Yakima and Wapato.

Julia Krolikowski, Community Prevention specialist with ESD 105 and coordinator of this summer’s program, said: “The general purpose is to give kids constructive summer activities that help them build friendships, help them build community, and help them have fun as they receive messages about preventing substance use and violence. It gives them the chance to have role models by being able to interact with the high school counselors and Union Gap police officers who help them out with doing fun activities.”

As part of the programming, “Family Night” sessions are being held on Thursday evenings at Union Gap School during which parents of the camp’s children are able to learn about what to do to prevent and detect the onset and use of drugs within their home. These sessions involve an evidence-based curriculum called Strengthening Families, sponsored by Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital.

Among some of the planned afternoon children’s activities coming up at Loudon Park during the coming weeks:

  • A three-day business camp during Monday-Wednesday, July 17-19, in which members of the Heritage University Enactus Club will be at the park (on Monday and Tuesday) to guide the children in learning about saving money, and designing a business and product, creating a marketing plan; the children will then spend Wednesday afternoon creating their product. The children will then be selling their items – likely to include craft projects such as candleholders, lanterns, and dog toys – during the annual National Night Out activities on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at Loudon Park. 

  • A tour of the Pacific Northwest University medical school during July 25

  • Nutrition classes from the WSU extension’s 4H program during July 26, Aug. 2, and Aug. 9.

  • An engineering class involving model roller coaster construction on July 24 or July 27.