YMCA Oshkosh gives kids a sense of normalcy during canceled school day

Local News

Schools throughout the Oshkosh school district were closed Wednesday, following the officer-involved shooting at Oshkosh West High School.
And with so many kids out of class, one local recreation center came up with a plan to give the kids something to do during their day off.

“Our mission is to be here for our community,” said Abbey Burlingham, Mission and Brand Enhancement Director at the Oshkosh YMCA. “And this is just one way that we were able to step up.”

A chaotic day that touched every student in the district.

“Knowing that the Oshkosh Area School District was closing today, there was a need for where the kids were going to go,” she said.

Kids up to 18 years old were invited to spend their canceled school day at the Oshkosh YMCA.

“It’s good that the local Y does things like this to get the kids out and be able to do something,” said Nelson Johnson, a parent with a son at Franklin. “Spend some time and get their minds off the tragic thing that happened.”

The YMCA put out the word and support quickly followed.
Several businesses, including Jimmy John’s, Little Caesar’s and Zaroni’s, donated food for the kids to eat during the day and they had access to all of the Y’s facilities.

“The Y is one of the big places where kids can come together,” he said. “Where they can get in congregation with each other. Just like it is in school, but in a different environment. They’re providing a lot of programs here for the kids and it’s wonderful. It’s great for the community.”

Kids could mingle with students from any of the schools in the area and keep themselves busy.

“It’s nice that they have somewhere to go, so they’re not just sitting at home dwelling about what took place yesterday,” said Jodi Rucinski, who has a daughter attending Perry Tipler Middle School.

It’s acts of good will like this that will put Tuesday’s situation at Oshkosh West High School in the rear-view mirror and allow every family to move forward.

“I talked to my girls and neither one of them are nervous at all,” she said. “They said they were kept very informed. Their art teacher did an amazing job of keeping them calm. I think as a parent, I’m more nervous. But I know both my daughters are not nervous at all.”

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