In response to the loss of summer programming at the Island YMCA and the growing need for valuable summer learning experiences and full-day programs that foster healthy choices, friendship and cognitive exploration for children, the Farm Institute is considering options to extend their summer programs to meet the scheduling needs of Island working parents for children ages five to fourteen.
The institute is undertaking a survey over the next two weeks and would like your input in helping to design an extended day summer program. If you are interested in sending your children to the Farm this summer for an extended day program, please contact Sidney Morris at 508-627-7007, extension 104, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by April 23.
Matthew Goldfarb, executive director, explains: “If the Farm Institute has enough demand, we will then let you know the new programming times and costs. We cannot build this program according to your needs unless we hear from you, so please contact us or, better yet, come by the farm.”
Currently, the institute offers full-day programs running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for children ages 5 to 14. Additionally, there are half-day programs for 4 and 5-year-olds. Mr. Goldfarb says, “We would like to be more available to working families so more children can benefit from our summer programs. We have been exploring extended day programming and, recently spoke with John Clese, executive director of the YMCA, on how to meet those needs. Mr. Clese stressed, ‘While children come to the YMCA programs for quality care, I also know it’s crucial in the summer for working parents to complete a full day of work and have longer camp hours to meet their needs.’
“After discussions with Mr. Clese, we know there is a definite need and we would like to respond to our community. What we don’t know is who is out there and what type of summer scheduling will best work for them.”
Although there are other valuable summer programs offered by the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, Community Services and other Island organizations, the institute cannot compete with them on price because it provides a special focus and the resources to support it.
For the first time, the institute is offering Island students savings across the board. To qualify for this reduced fee, children applying must attend school on the Vineyard year-round. In addition to Island discounts, there are also additional savings for multiple children and weeks. For a full day program, the cost may be as low as $250 a week per child.
For additional savings, families may now be able to list the expense of the Farm Institute summer camp as a dependent care income tax credit. It is suggested that you speak with your tax advisor to determine if these costs qualify for dependent care expenses.
The institute also offers over $10,000 annually in scholarships to year-round families who qualify,
Founded to educate and engage children and adults in sustainable agriculture through a diverse working farm, the Farm Institute is located at Katama Farm in Edgartown, and provides year-round learning experiences in livestock management, gardening, nutrition and the tradition of Island farming. All are welcome to drop by or visit farminstitute.org or call 508-627-7007.