Summer learning loss, the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of a summer vacation, can be prevented through summer school attendance and learning activities. YWCA Pekin has operated a Summer Adventure Camp for over 20 years and has begun to focus on education as an important part of a child’s summer break.

“Our summer camp is NAEYC (National Association of Education for Young Children) accredited, and it’s an accelerated Gold Standard, which in the child care field means that we have a higher standard for the teachers to have (experience in) education and we have a higher standard for the activities (children) have to do,” said Heather Schichner, YWCA Pekin Early Learning Center director. “They have to be educationally based. Their whole summer is not just forgetting what they learned at school. That is kind of new from what we’ve done in the past.”

This year’s YWCA Pekin Summer Adventure Camp will begin June 3 and will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 23. The non-refundable registration fee is $45. The program is open to children ages 5-12.

“We offer the full time, where you can come all week, for $150 (per week),” said Charissa Covington, assistant director of Child Care for YWCA Pekin. “Or you can come two to three days a week, and that’s $32 a day. We also take Child Care Connections, which is a tuition subsidy program that the State of Illinois helps to pay for tuition. It’s income-based.”

Although this year’s Summer Adventure Camp curriculum will focus more on learning than in years past, Schichner said the educational aspect will take place in a play-based setting rather than a traditional classroom. Through games and activities, children will hone their skills in science, technology, literacy, mathematics, geography and history. 

“The thought is when they start school back up in the fall, they haven’t lost anything,” she added. “They’re learning through play.”

Other educational features offered at this year’s Adventure Camp will be weekly cooking activities. In a geographic activity called Around the Map, campers will learn about the 50 states of the United States.

“They have different topics every week, and usually, the field trip ties into what they’ll be doing,” said Covington. “Toward the end of June, they’re talking about Illinois, so they’re going to the Riverfront Museum in Peoria. There’s an exhibit there of the history of Illinois.”

YWCA Pekin has kept in mind that children on summer vacation traditionally expect to have three months of fun. 

“This summer, we have a lot of field trips planned to (Peoria) Chiefs (baseball) games and Hooked on Fishing (Park in East Peoria),” said Covington. “They’re going to go to the library once a week and get books. They’re going to a lot of local (businesses) like Peek-In Pottery, and they’re going to SoulShine (Art) Studio down on Fifth Street. We do a lot of swimming, because we have the pool here at the Y, they’ll be swimming twice a week.” 

For more information, visit or YWCA Pekin’s Facebook page.