WILLIAMSTOWN -- Hiking, art activities and even video games are some the activities children in Northern Berkshire can enjoy in the Williamstown Youth Center's Summer Program.
Youth Center Executive Director David Rempell said a "glorious" change in this year's program is the location -- it's the first summer in the new facility at 66 School St., which opened in November 2012.
"There's new space for children to do things they have an interest in, and a chance to develop new activities," he said recently.
The weekly program, which runs until Friday Aug. 16, provides children with many benefits during the summertime, Rempell said.
"We want children to have fun, try and learn new skills, continue to develop their social skills, feel safe and secure in what they're doing, and want that environment to be well supervised," Rempell said.
Children can sign up for a variety of clubs to participate in each day, he said, with topics related to hiking, art, sports, bicycling and music. One room even features a Nintendo Wii and Xbox video game system.
"It's about anything that an adult staff member is interested in, and what children can suggest," he said.
During Friday's art club, Brandy Dugal, 12, of Florida, was painting a watercolor of an ocean scene. Dugal said she liked the program because it felt like a community.
"We have friends and hang out, and make new friends," she said.
Each Monday, children take a trip to Windsor Lake in North Adams, Rempell said. Tuesdays and Thursdays feature a trip to a different venue, including the Grafton Lakes State Park in Grafton, N.Y., or Guptills Skating rink in Latham, N.Y.
Wednesdays are in-house days, Rempell said, featuring the usual clubs and other activities, along with a cookout.
A new part of the program will be the first ever "Olympic Day," Rempell said. The event on Aug. 7, is being planned with the help of Williamstown resident and former Olympic swimmer Samantha Arsenault-Livingstone, he said.
"The whole day will be dedicated to the Olympics," Rempell said. The day will feature a ceremony at the beginning, children participating in Olympic-related activities, and learning about the history of the Olympics, he said.
Families can register online and download the necessary health form at williamstownyouthcenter.org, Rempell said.
To assist with the program fee, scholarship assistance is available for families, he said.
"Our mission as a youth center is to be as inclusive as possible for every child and family that wants to participate in the program," Rempell said. "We never let money get in the way of a child being able to participate."
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