The Greater Joliet Area YMCA offers children, in grades K-8, a summer filled with new experiences and friendships. From weekly field trips to discovering new life skills and everything in between, your child is sure to have the best summer ever at Y camp with fellow campers and summer camp staff.
Leading the Smith Family Y’s summer camp team, you’ll find Youth and Family Director Taryn Fears. Fears began her Y journey several years ago when she was offered the opportunity to teach a creative writing course at the Smith Family YMCA in Joliet. With a passion for writing and community service, it was the perfect fit. After teaching the creative writing course, Fears continued to work at the Joliet YMCA in a variety of ways, which included coaching t-ball, reffing youth basketball games, and working with kids in the Y’s Before and After School Kid Zone program.
During her six years at the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, Fears has spent most of her time working with area youth and local families. She and her camp team have an exciting summer planned and can’t wait to begin welcoming campers in early June.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Fears: My father is a pastor in Joliet, so the Joliet community has always been a big part of my life. For college, I attended Illinois State University where I earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. After I graduated from college, I worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Joliet.
Q: What are you passionate about in life?
Fears: Community service is very important to me, so it’s a passion of mine to help people in any kind of way. I enjoy serving the Joliet community and providing a safe environment for children at the Y.
Q: What’s your favorite part of working with youth and families at the Y?
Fears: The families I get to meet and the connections I get to develop. It’s exciting to see my previous summer camp participants evolve and become a part of our YMCA team.
Q: What exciting activities do you have planned for summer day camp?
Fears: Our field trips this summer will be very exciting and they will focus on learning through active play. Campers will get to visit Brookfield Zoo and participate in different educational activities, while also having fun interacting with the animals. And, as part of our summer day camp curriculum, we will be offering a variety of clubs to our camp participants, including choir, a flag team, a drumline and numerous sports. Camp participants will be able to join a club that interests them during their day at camp.
Also, we will be offering a preschool summer camp for children, ages 3-5. Each week, camp participants will go on a new adventure and get to explore their imagination and creativity.
Q: What can first-time camp participants expect out of Y Camp?
Fears: Campers will be welcomed into an inclusive and diverse environment with individuals who care about them. They will get to learn more about who they are and what interests them.
Q: Do you have anything fun planned for the summer?
Fears: I plan on attending some concerts and taking my first trip to New York City—it’s on my bucket list.
There’s still time to register your child for a summer filled with fun and adventure! Registration for summer day camp is available online or in-person at the Smith Family YMCA. If you have questions about youth and family programs, summer family activities or Y camp, be sure to stop by Fears’ office the next time you visit the Smith Family Y. Or, you can email Fears directly at [email protected].