Town provides grant to Mount A for summer youth camps

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Bergen Fraser enjoys a slippery slide during the last day celebration as part of a previous Mount A summer camp experience.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – The town will once again provide financial support to Mount Allison as the university gets set to host another round of summer camps this year.

Sackville town council recently approved a $4,000 grant to help Mount A cover the operating costs for the 2014 summer day camp programming.

The town has been awarding an annual grant to the university since axing its own summer youth programs in 2010 and handing the responsibility over to Mount Allison. Town officials say the municipality has been saving between $16,000 to $19,000 annually by cutting the camps, even with the $4,000 grant factored in.

But some councillors still continue to question whether the move was the right decision.

“I think we have the capability of holding it ourselves with our own staff,” said Coun. Bruce Phinney, who voted against the funding.

Phinney said when the town ran the summer camps, the majority of the students hired to help run the programs were from the Sackville area. That’s not the case with the university-run camps, he said, which doesn’t focus on hiring students within the region.

Coun. Ron Corbett said there could be some merit to reviewing the decision that was made four years ago to cut the summer camps, particularly since the parks and facilities system is currently undergoing some improvements and changes. But he was quick to point out that Mount Allison is able to provide certain facilities and resources that wouldn’t be able to be offered outside a university setting.

“They have programs that are science based, as well as music and art based, that might be more difficult for the town to provide,” said Corbett.

And Coun. Shawn Mesheau said the municipality provides plenty of job options for its youth, even without the summer camps in its programming line-up. He said 23 students were employed by the town last year in various departments.

“We are doing are young folks well in the employment opportunities we are providing,” he said.

Organizations: Sackville town council

Geographic location: SACKVILLE

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