We’ve seen with our own eyes the difference Y Summer Camps make.
My kids have grown up at the YMCA, from preschool to after-school to day camps. One summer, my son’s friends went to the overnight camp and when they returned my son got so excited. We decided that night that we would do what we could to make sure he had the same experience.
Thanks to a scholarship from the Y, he was able to attend the summer he turned 10. The overnight camp experience was so meaningful. I saw a change in him immediately when he returned. He’s been there every summer since. Now, at 18, he will be a counselor.
Q: How long have you been attending YMCA Camp?
Dad: My son, Mauricio, went to Y Camp for the first time when he was 10. He’s 18 now and excited to be a counselor this summer. My middle daughter, Cynthia, has attended camp for the past few years and this will be Paola’s first summer. She’s 8 and so excited.
Mauricio: My sisters and I went to the Y for preschool, after-school, and day camp for years. I remember the summer I was 9 years old. A bunch of my friends went to the overnight camp and came back singing camp songs, talking about how awesome it was, and how much fun they had. I went home and told my dad that night, “Next year, that’s where I want to go.”
Dad: I knew I could not afford it, but thankfully he received a scholarship. And the kids have been able to go every year, thanks to scholarships from the YMCA.
Q: What do you remember about your first summer at overnight camp?
Mauricio: Lots! I made lifelong memories, and I have friends I met there when I was ten who I’m still friends with today.
Dad: It’s true, the friendships they make there — they are like brothers and sisters. Camp is a loving community where kids are accepted for who they are no matter what their background is.
Q: What is something that is different about camp and home?
Dad: There’s no technology! You know camp must be some place special because they don’t even have an issue or a hesitation with leaving their phones at home.
Mauricio: I like being in nature, feeling at peace in nature. I’ve spent nights just looking at the stars — you don’t see stars like that in the city.
Cynthia: At the end of the day we do D.I.V.E — it’s like a time where the counselors ask big questions and everyone answers. We talk about life lessons and things like that. Together we are discovering lots of possibilities. It is my favorite time of the day.
Q: How does the Y overnight camp support the good in your children?
Dad: Every summer the kids come back more confident and more independent. The community the Y builds at their overnight camps is so important. Campers are from different cultures and from all over the world. Each of my kids has a different personality. Camp has been wonderful at meeting the individual needs of each of them. I can’t wait to see how Paola thrives there this summer!