WARREN Program puts family time first

The club aims to build stronger families and a stronger community.
WARREN -- If mom and dad both work and the kids bounce between school, clubs and sports, where does family time fit in?
Camp Fire USA and the Warren YMCA have teamed together to answer that question and create that opportunity at the Community Family Club.
The program is relatively new to Camp Fire USA, and the Warren club is the first in the area.
As the name implies, the club's focus is bringing together kids and their parents with other families to create a stronger community.
Bryan Peters, the Camp Fire USA project coordinator for the Community Family Club, said he wanted to start a program in Warren because there was nothing else in the area like it for families.
The club meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month; meetings can involve a variety of activities. The program follows the basic Camp Fire USA curriculum but also includes the parents. Both kids and adults can earn emblems and awards from Camp Fire USA.
Some activities separate parents and children, while others have the whole family together. Field trips are also an important part of the club, such as Thursday's Mahoning Valley Scrappers game at Cafaro Field in Niles.
Quality time
Robin Williamson of Newton Falls joined the club to have more time with her three children, Brandon, Bradley, and Brittany Spencer. She's also related to David Williamson, the youth program director at the YMCA who helps to coordinate the program.
Bradley, 14, said the program was nice because they had a "family night to do things together."
Kim Mendenhall of Warren was excited about the club and to have the opportunity to do activities with her sons, Kyle, Kameron, and Kody, ages 10, 6, and 4, respectively.
The boys first came to the club with their "adopted" grandmother, Joanne Montagliani of Warren. She wanted to give them something to do besides arguing with one another.
The club "teaches them good things," said Mendenhall, citing examples of what her sons had learned, such as how to properly fold a flag.
The club also will undertake service projects such as making lap robes for a nursing home and visiting the residents there.
Kyle is excited about that project in particular. He has been Joanne's "right-hand man" and wants to be able to help others.
Hoping to grow
David Williamson said the program will be an ongoing one which will hopefully grow. Right now, the club averages five families, most with a few children, but new families join with each session.
Michelle Givhan joined the program with her 4-year-old son Michael when it started in June. She said it "looked like something the whole family could enjoy."
The Warren woman said she also enjoys meeting new people and would recommend the club to others.
The program is a part of Camp Fire USA's focus on families and brings it together with the YMCA's family-oriented objectives.
XThe Community Family Club meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at the YMCA in Warren. For more information, contact Peters at Camp Fire USA at (888) 533-4426 or David Williamson at the YMCA at (330) 394-1565.

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