After months of intense work developing a unique, enriching curriculum and an environment to host children in open-ended, play-based learning, Lodgic Kids Camp officially opened its doors Friday, October 12, offering flexible, drop-in child care for children 12-months to 12-years-old. Lodgic Everyday Community is the first-ever blend of productivity-boosting workspace; licensed, flexible drop-in childcare; and fun, good-for-you dining — all in one energizing everyday place. The Moose International initiative is a non-profit and hosted its official ribbon cutting and grand opening on October 4.
The entire Lodgic concept is designed to provide financial support to the children at Mooseheart Child City & School. Mooseheart is a residential childcare facility, located on a 1,000-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago. The Child City is a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school. Dedicated in July 1913 by the Moose fraternal organization, Mooseheart cares for youth whose families are unable, for a wide variety of reasons, to care for them.
“The Lodgic Kids Camp team has poured hours upon hours of work into creating a curriculum that is multi-faceted, child-centered, and carefully blends proven methodologies with the expertise amassed over the last century through Mooseheart Child City & School,” said Jori Orsini, Lodgic Everyday Community, Executive Director, Hospitality Operations (EDHO). “Parents may bring their child for the flexibility, but they’ll keep coming back for the growth and development their child will experience after they’ve spent just a few hours with us at Kids Camp.”
Lodgic Kids Camp is carefully nurtured by Cherie Mondrella, a highly-credentialed and seasoned early childhood education expert. Mondrella also spent two years as a parent- teacher in a Mooseheart home with seven young boys, and two years at the Moose International office, where she served as the Assistant Director of Membership and oversaw a multitude of Moose programs throughout the world for approximately 1,500 Moose Lodges.
“A few years ago, we gathered around a board room table at Moose International to discuss how we might expand the way we serve communities and families, while simultaneously creating a revenue stream to support Mooseheart Child City & School,” said Mondrella. “Ideas flowed, experts were consulted and, eventually, Lodgic Directors were hired to build teams that would ultimately deliver on our vision to provide flexible drop-in childcare, energizing co-working space, and fantastic restaurants all under one roof. And now, here we are. It’s surreal and intensely inspiring.”
Mondrella’s areas of specialty include program and curriculum development, quality improvement of national daycare brand schools, and resolving operational issues at distressed schools. As a conference presenter for The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Mondrella has also trained thousands of child care directors and teachers to develop and manage quality programs, activities and events.
While the Kids Camp model is based on drop-in child care, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services still requires enrollment paperwork for each child in attendance. Parents who plan to use Kids Camp for their intermittent child care needs should complete the necessary forms and submit their annual $60 membership dues to Kids Camp Director, Cherie Mondrella, at Lodgic, located at 1807 S. Neil Street. Enrollment packets are available at Lodgic Kids Camp and online at www.lodgic.org/kids-camp.
The unique model allows for ongoing, open registration throughout the year, and provides on-demand, play-and-learn, licensed child care from 6:30 AM – 9 PM, Monday through Thursday, and until 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Parents may utilize Lodgic Workplace, enjoy a date night at Everyday Kitchen, entertain clients at the bar, attend an on-site workshop or networking event, or leave the facility entirely to work or play. Lodgic Kids Camp membership offers two affordable payment options: Pay-as-you-go and Flex-time. Pay-as-you-go rates start at $12/hour. Flex-time offers rates as low as $8/hour.