For many families, the holidays are a chance to be together. But without school to keep the kids occupied and many day care facilities closed for the break, working parents can be left with quite a handful. Keli Rabon takes us to a special place in Ocean Springs that helps parents make it through the holidays, and makes sure learning never stops for the kids.
You won't find a rockwall in a typical classroom, but several young thrill-seekers are ready to learn.
"When you get ready to climb, say, 'Climb on.' When you get ready to fall, say, 'Fall on.' Got it?" an instructor asked one of the climbers.
Learning the ways of the wall is just one lesson instructors are teaching at the Ocean Springs YMCA Holiday Camp.
"They don't do math or stuff. They'll go in the game room and teach you stuff not at your desk or not just sitting down. They'll teach you stuff while you're playing or stuff like that," holiday camper Madison Dubaz said.
After tightening the straps, it was time to put the lesson to the test.
"The first time I rock climbed, I didn't make it to the top as usual," Dubaz said.
This assignment didn't come easy for 9-year-old Madison, or her fellow day campers. They experienced some stumbles along the way, but remembered to never give up.
"The kids get to come out and see different aspects of life, they get to socialize. Because it's a Christian based organization they get different aspects from different people," YMCA site director Karen Bradley said.
Meanwhile, other kids decided to use their artistic abilities to make holiday decorations for their families. Whether climbing, or drawing, the day camp is giving children a place to continue learning while on Christmas break -- something parents are happy to have.
"They don't have to worry about their kids home alone, they can have confidence that they're in a safe environment, they're having fun, and they're learning something as well," Bradley said.
Since kids will be returning to school in just a few days, the holiday day camp session is almost wrapped up. However, Local YMCA's offer year round childcare programs. Prices vary for members, non-members, and those with special needs. Check with your local facility to find out their exact hours, price ranges, and programs to fit your budget.