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Sarah Wassel - YMCA Summer Program

Our program featured Sarah Wassel who serves as Senior Program Director for the Easton branch of the Greater Valley YMCA. The outreach programs of the Y have greatly expanded in recent years. The Y enlists many partners to produce a summer-long community program throughout the West Ward and other parts of the City. Our Rotary contribution was designed to facilitate the programming on Wednesdays at the West Ward Market yet also helped make things easier every day of the week.

Paxinosa Park was the most visited with most participants in the 8-15 age range. The age of the kids led to an emphasis on gross motor skills as well as card games involving math. Social and emotional skills were also addressed as these skills took a massive hit during the COVID days.

Dutchtown Park saw younger children from Spanish speaking families and centered on STEM and crafts. This proved to be a great opportunity for community resources to overcome language barriers. The presence of the Y program is credited with increased cleanliness and reduced vandalism in the area.

The Easton Neighborhood Center attracted children from 3-13 years and focused on gross motor skills, STEM activities, and social and emotional skills. There were Earth Day activities and a park cleanup.

Nevin Park on College Hill was a new addition and featured STEM and crafts for children 3-8 years old.

Our Rotary donation helped pay for the 100 books that were given out at the newly created West Ward Market. The books were also used at other locations. STEM activities at the Market included Legos, build your own fruits and vegetables, the Zucchini 500, fruit hats, drawing fruits and veggies on the sidewalk, and planting yellow squash in their own pots. The kids also were able to enjoy the rebuilt Cottingham Stadium, produce tie-dye shirts, and enjoy fresh-made s'mores.

Overall 517 individual youth participated in the Y’s summer programming. Over 2,300 youth meals were served in the Easton Parks. There were 798 parent and child Parks Pool Pass participants. The grand total for the entire Greater Lehigh Valley YMCA programs are incredible. The YMCA has quietly become a major force in our community.


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