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  • Writer's pictureSonBridge Com & Dev

CP OKs nearly $220K for summer youth rec programs

Emry Dinman Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Mar 13, 2022

Fifth grader Kaiser Posey works on an art project at Davis Elementary School in College Place.

The city of College Place will contract with three local organizations to provide recreation opportunities for local youth this summer, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday.

College Place Public Schools, the Camp Fire program at Kiwanis Park and the SonBridge Center for Better Living will each receive a portion of nearly $220,000 in funding to either provide additional programming or scholarships for low-income youth.

College Place Public Schools will receive the largest portion, $134,000, to fund an intramural summer sports program for students who will be in grades 1-5 the following year, according to the draft request.

The grant funds would fund four full-time staff members for the duration of the summer and partially fund supplies such as portable pickleball and volleyball nets as well as soccer and disc golf goals.

This type of youth programing is particularly needed, according to the funding proposal, to help students build interpersonal and social skills after years of pandemic restrictions and isolation.

A sliding scale will be used to adjust attendance costs based on a student’s free or reduced meal status, with $41,000 of grant funds going toward scholarships and subsidies.

The Camp Fire Walla Walla summer program will receive $50,000 to lower camp fees from $235 to $150 per child per week and to provide additional scholarships to low income and under-served families for its 2022 programming at Kiwanis Park. Details can be found at

And the SonBridge Center for Better Living, a nonprofit affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, will receive over $32,000 for new Hispanic Youth Leadership and Valley Adventure Camps programs.

Little information on either program is currently available as the organization works out the details about what will be offered, said Norman Thiel, executive director for the SonBridge Center. The funding request indicates the camps would run for five days a week for 10 weeks and would provide activities including music, drama, science and more. Funding from the city of College Place will help pay for staffing and supplies as well as subsidizing enrollment fees, Thiel said.

The funding for these programs passed through several levels of government before reaching College Place and originates from the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 stimulus package. The state of Washington used a portion of its Rescue Plan funding to create the Summer Experiences and Enrichment for Kids Fund, which the state has doled out to cities in cooperation with the Association of Washington Cities and the Washington Park Recreation Association.

From there, individual cities that received SEEK funds were authorized to subcontract with community organizations to provide the recreation programs.

Emry Dinman can be reached at or 425-941-5829.

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