Some Tri-City parents are turning to a Kennewick gym to keep their kids busy on Thursday during a teacher walkout.
More than 100 children are expected to attend Elite Ambitions Training’s Kids Walk-In Day.
But despite opening its doors to new families, YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities hasn’t had any new takers for childcare Thursday.
Summer Johnson, Elite Ambitions Training’s operations manager, said they’ve gotten an overwhelming response to their planned event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday at the gym, 1701. S. Washington St.
“Our phone has been ringing off the hook,” she said. Right now, there is room for more kids, but that could change.
The Kennewick, Pasco and Richland teacher unions recently voted to hold a walkout Thursday to let state legislators know just how fed up they are with their actions and inaction.
The school districts have added a make-up day onto the end of the school year. Richland and Pasco students will end school on June 10, Kennewick on June 12.
The idea for the Walk-In Day came up when one of the gym’s trainers mentioned needing to bring children to work that day because of the walkout. Since a number of the gym’s employees have children, they decided to hold a kids day.
“We’ll just make a fun day,” Johnson said.
The Walk-In Day is for kids ages 8 and older and will include dodge ball, laser tag, an obstacle course, mobile game trailer, air hockey and other activities. Johnson described it as a carnival-style event.
The event does cost $20 per child. The money goes to the gym’s Extra Yard, a charitable effort to provide athletic training and tutoring for children who can’t afford the cost.
Johnson said other businesses have jumped on board to offer support. Red Dot Paintball of West Richland is helping play host to the event. Papa John’s Pizza is providing lunch and Complete Nutrition of Richland is providing water and snacks.
It’s a way to provide kids with supervised activities that keep them off the couch and active, Johnson said. Parents do have to sign a waiver when dropping off their children.
YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities decided to move to all-day childcare on Thursday for the families it already serves for before and after-school care in Kennewick. The nonprofit is accepting more children to help families who are struggling to find care for the walkout day.
Steve Howland, the nonprofit’s executive director, said they already have 150 of their children pre-registered for Thursday. That care is included in the fee families pay.
But they hadn’t had any new families sign up for the single day of care as of Monday. Howland said that’s not surprising, because the Tri-Cities doesn’t have a reputation for registering in advance.
“We want to make sure the kids are taken care of and have a safe place to go,” he said.
The main Pasco branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties will offer a day camp from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, said Brian Ace, the nonprofit’s executive director. They expect mostly to see the kids they serve in before and after-school care at Pasco schools and the main branch.
The Bobbie Littrell branch will be open 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the downtown Kennewick Music & Arts Center will be open 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
To register for the Kids Walk-In Day, go to http://www.eliteambitions.com/.
Those interested in having their children in the YMCA daycare on Thursday should call 509-374-1908. The main Pasco branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs can be reached at 509-543-9980.