Knox County YMCA helps kids stay active during Galesburg strike

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It's a real kick for kids at the Knox County YMCA these days.

That's because the Y is extending its summer camp while Galesburg teachers remain on strike.

The ball is in motion on Thursday morning.

This soccer field substitutes for a school playground. While Galesburg kids remain out of school, the Knox County YMCA is extending its summer day camp.

"When the issue came up, we wanted to make sure that we were here to serve and provide the care that's needed by the community," said Adam Sampson, CEO of the Knox County YMCA.

Some 50 kids return each day for sports, activities and field trips.

The camp is open daily for kids between the ages of 5-12.  Fees are based on a sliding scale.  Contact the Y at (309) 344-1324 for information.

Former GHS basketball standout Joey Range is keeping things upbeat during challenging times.

"The kids get to be around a lot of positive influences," he said. "They get to hang out around a lot of other kids, too, they might not see during the school year."

While the Y program can't replace the school experience, it does give families an effective option as the strike continues.

That's some comfort on the ninth day of the strike.  Teachers returned to the picket line on Thursday in a contract stalemate. There's gratitude for community groups that are stepping up to serve families.

"We're encouraging the community to keep up with these programs to keep the kids going,  active and fed," said Luan Statham, Galesburg Education Association negotiator.

Since nobody knows when classes will return in Galesburg, kids must wait to resume that regular routine. That's a goal for everybody.

"Our goal is to adopt what the community needs," Sampson said.  "And this time, this is what they need."

For now, they're getting a kick-start at the Knox County YMCA.