Springfield, Mass.—In celebration of the Gándara Center’s 40th anniversary this year, together with State Representatives Jose Tosado (D-Springfield) and Carlos Gonzalez (D-Springfield) the local non-profit has partnered with the Springfield Department of Parks and Recreation to offer 100 Springfield youth the opportunity to participate in one summer camp session for free.
The Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship Program will provide youth (ages 5-18) with the chance to participate in safe, healthy, fun, and educational camp activities. Summer vacation is often the most difficult time for parents to find affordable opportunities for their children when school is out of session. Providing children with the summer camp experience gets them outside, socializing with peers, giving them a chance to make friendships that last a lifetime. It also provides them an opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that help them gain valuable skills and breed self-confidence.
To be considered for the scholarship program, parents or guardians must complete a short application form and submit to the Gándara Center no later than Monday, May 1. Applications can be picked up at the Springfield Libraries, Springfield Technical Community College Library, Springfield Family Resource Center, Parent and Community Engagement Center (PACE), Bethania Market, and Medina’s Supermarket or can download a copy of the application HERE. Scholarship winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 3. Scholarship applicants will be asked to select their session preference, but due to space limitations, may not be awarded their first choice.
“As we celebrate our 40th year of service, it was incredibly important for us to give back to the community we call home,” said Henry Julio East-Trou, Gándara Center executive director. “Summer can be a very difficult time for parents to find affordable childcare and opportunities to get kids outside and active. Being able to provide this opportunity was the inspiration behind the Aventura! summer camp this program. We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our 40th year.”
The Gándara Center set a goal to send as many Springfield youth as possible to one session of summer camp. In order to make this dream a reality, camp sponsors and donors stepped up to the plate to help offset the cost. The Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship Program would not be possible without the generous support from the Springfield community. The Gándara Center, together with Hispanic Resources, Inc., provided the initial scholarship investment of $10,000.
This is the first time the Gándara Center and the Springfield Department of Parks and Recreation have partnered and the first time a summer camp scholarship opportunity of this magnitude has been made available to Springfield youth.
“We are very proud of the Summer Programs planned for this summer season,” said Patrick Sullivan, director of the Springfield Department of Parks and Recreation. “We are very grateful to the Gándara Center for thinking of us on their 40th anniversary and look forward to collaborating on future projects.”
A kick-off celebration of the Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship Program will be held for community partners and donors on Friday, April 28 at 12 p.m. at the Forest Park Carriage House. Program sponsors will be officially recognized at this event.
“The city of Springfield is proud to be partnering with the Gándara Center,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “The city looks forward to working together to ensure anyone interested in attending Camp Star Angelina, Summer Enrichment Programs, and On the Wilder Side will be provided this opportunity with the camp scholarships offered by Gándara.”