Affordable Afterschool Program

Youth First of Washington County, a program of the Washington County Family YMCA, will be offering an affordable afterschool program at all three county schools starting in September.  SPARKS will begin the week of September 16th at East Washington Middle School, Salem Middle School, and West Washington Jr. High School.  The program meets once per week at each location throughout the school year, meeting 40 weeks at each location.  Through SPARKS, youth will have a safe, positive and fun environment to gather in from 3pm to 5:30pm each day the program is scheduled.  

Rosie Morehous, Director of Youth First of Washington County will be serving as the program supervisor, with Ashley Hubbard serving as the SPARKS facilitator.  Parents and students alike often ask what a typical day at the SPARKS program is like.  Morehous described it as follows, “Students will begin each day with an hour of free time for homework, refreshments and recreation.  After students have had some time to unwind, we will spend the next hour taking part in SPARK exploration, which focuses on finding each student’s “spark” and allowing them constructive activities to ignite that interest.  The last 30 minutes of each day will be something different.  We may have guest speakers, demonstrations, community service projects or take part in group activities.” 

Here are a few of the activities students will take part in at SPARKS: bridge building, blindfolded obstacle course, career exploration and trivia competitions.  In addition to fun activities and daily snacks, students with good attendance, participation, and citizenship will have the opportunity to earn “SPARKS bucks”, which will be used at an end of year auction to bid on a variety of fun graduation gifts, such as gift cards and other Youth geared items. 

Transportation will be offered at the West Washington Jr. High School location through a partnership with the School Corporation.  It will provide students living in the Livonia, Hardinsburg, and Fredericksburg areas a free ride home if needed.   When asked about partnering with the school on the current evening route they provide, Morehous stated, “We are so happy to remove a potential barrier for students who want to participate, but have difficulty when it comes to transportation in their rural community.” 

For many families in Washington County, both parents work until 5pm and then have a commute from work back to home which means they may not make it back to town until 6pm or later.  Youth First’s goal is to provide a safe and fun environment afterschool program where kids can get homework help, enjoy a snack, and build friendships while building life skills.  The deadline for students to enroll is October 1st, 2013.  Applications can be picked up at the school, at the Washington County Family YMCA, or downloaded at  Completed forms can be mailed to 1709 N. Shelby St. Salem, IN 47167 or dropped off at the school office.  For more information check the website,, email, or call 812-883-YMCA.

Youth First of Washington County is a program of the Washington County Family YMCA focused on providing opportunities for the youth of our community to build the 40 Developmental Assets.