CANTON—The Canton Family YMCA and Canton Park District are working together to host a free Summer Park and Recreation Program for school age children this summer.

CANTON—The Canton Family YMCA and Canton Park District are working together to host a free Summer Park and Recreation Program for school age children this summer. It will offer arts, crafts, experiments, and physical activities, as well as a free lunch, to give all kids the opportunity to learn and grow over the summer months.


The program will begin Monday, June 4, at Wallace Park, and will be held from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays throughout the summer. It will start by offering a snack, then a craft or experiment, followed by a physical activity like a tag game, kickball or relays. Lunch is served at noon to anyone 0-18 years old. Children and teens are welcome to come just for the lunch as well. No pre-registration is necessary.
The Y and Canton Park District are able to offer this program thanks to a grant from Y-USA to support offering healthy, substantial food to children year round. One in five children in America struggles with hunger. Over 21 million low-income children receive free or reduced meals during the school year to help them meet their daily nutrition needs, but only 3 million of these children are getting these meals during the summer.


American Grille will be preparing the lunches, which include both hot and cold meals such as ham and cheese subs, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and even French toast. Lunches meet the healthy eating standards upheld by the Y-USA, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and milk.


“We are thankful to be able to work with the Park District to continue offering this program, helping kids in our community make the most of their summer. They can enjoy different fun activities to keep their minds and bodies busy, and stay for a healthy lunch,” said YMCA Executive Director Paula Grigsby.


Beth Johnson, a certified physical education teacher from Pekin High School, will lead the program, offering a wide range of activities geared towards school age children. They will include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, arts, crafts and physical fitness games.


During summer months, these children may not have access to quality and healthy food to help them grow—making the Canton Family YMCA and Canton Park District’s work during out-of-school times that much more critical.


The Park District and YMCA is inviting all children and families in the community to have active, healthy summers through this free program. The Canton Family YMCA is for Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. For more information, please contact the YMCA at 647-1616, or visit the Y’s website at www.cantonfamilyymca.org. No pre-registration is necessary.