Summer campers experience new animals during camp

Children from Hillsborough YMCA’s Summer Camp program got a chance to meet a domestic skunk and dog during a visit from staff of Belle Mead Animal Hospital earlier this month.
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Children from Hillsborough YMCA’s Summer Camp program got a chance to meet a domestic skunk and dog during a visit from staff of Belle Mead Animal Hospital earlier this month.

Young children in Hillsborough are learning how to be veterinarians through a local summer camp at the YMCA.

The Future Vets Summer Camp program teaches children about veterinary care.

“We have been offering this camp for six years. This is one of our most popular programs,” said David Carcieri, president and CEO of Somerset County YMCA. “That is why we keep offering it.”

Carcieri explained that they are always looking for programs that will be of interest to children and parents.

“The idea of this program was to give the children an introduction to veterinary medicine. One piece of our mission is fostering youth development and encouraging children’s interests,” Carcieri said. “This was something that possibly could inspire children and see if they would have an interest in this being a potential career.”

The camp is open for children in grades 1-3.

According to officials from the Somerset County and Plainfield YMCA, the children learn about and observe animals close up and meet a new animal species each day of camp.

“The curriculum with the vet’s camp is designed for children to learn about and observe animals close up. They are introduced to new animals they may not have encountered,” he said. “We really want to inspire children to think differently, explore and have fun. This can help the children be less afraid of animals and certainly grow up and respect the animals.”

Carcieri explained that it is invaluable to expose children to as many learning opportunities as possible.

“If we can expose them to multiple educational opportunities, it can help them figure out where their interests lie in,” he said.

The final installment of the camp this summer took place from through Aug. 2, according to officials.

“Children have the opportunity to explore new interests and explore their passions in a safe and nurturing environment,” he said. “The parents and children love the program because the children are making lasting friendships and many go on to become camp counselors because of the experiences at our camps.”

For more information about summer camps at Somerset County and Plainfield YMCA branches, visit www.somersetcountyymc.org.