Why Camp Counselors Make Great Leaders

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With the summer holidays behind us, many of us can reflect on the childhood adventures of summer camp, with days spent swimming in a lake and nights beside a campfire making s’mores. But summer camp as a powerful training ground for future business leaders? Probably not the first memory that comes to mind. And yet, looking back (fondly) on my summers as a camp counselor in South Africa, there is no doubt that many of the tenets of leadership that remain with me today as the CEO of a Fortune 300 company were first engrained during those sun-filled days.

Like most counselors, I was a camper first, and learned from direct experience what motivated me to be a part of something larger – and what didn’t. When it was my turn to be the counselor, I tried to apply those lessons with the group assigned to me. Even now, as the head of a company with more than 17,000 team members, I try to apply the very same the lessons from my days in the South African countryside. Here are the five lessons I took with me in the business world.

Be flexible, nimble and innovative: Like a counselor facing a bunk full of restless campers when the rain won’t let up, leaders must be flexible, nimble and innovative. Since change is the only constant, leaders must fully embrace the challenge of changing conditions, they must always look for new avenues for success, and they must be nimble enough to do what is necessary to engage the restless camper.

Get everyone on the field: Great leaders are inclusive. They recognize the strengths and talents of each individual, and they encourage passionate participation to drive collective success. Being a good leader is not just about telling people what to do. It is about rallying the team to understand and believe your company’s goals and culture, and to feel a personal stake in the team’s overall success. Likewise, a deep appreciation for a diversity of perspectives provides any leader with a rich tapestry of experience to draw upon.

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Be a coach, facilitator and mentor: Team members look to great leaders for guidance and encouragement. Always take advantage of opportunities to share your knowledge with others.

Tolerate reasonable risk and teach how to fail successfully: As the great basketball player, Michael Jordan, once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Great leaders have a tolerance for reasonable risk-taking, and accept occasional failure as a learning opportunity. You can’t learn to swim without diving in.

Celebrate achievement: At Henry Schein, we firmly believe that, much like a great camp counselor, leaders know that celebrating success is important. We recognize exceptional work, which inspires each of us to think creatively about new ways we can help achieve our company’s goals. It also reminds us that we are all part of an extraordinary team of talented individuals, and that each of us adds a unique and valuable color to our collective picture of success.

The leadership lessons that I learned as a camp counselor can be summed up by the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When you think back on your summers at camp, the arc of the experience is not so different from what one experiences when joining a company. You begin as one of many unique individuals, each with different perspectives, strengths and opportunities for growth. Over the course of time, these individuals become a cohesive team, with team members playing different roles and contributing in valuable and complementary ways. And from the summer camp to the C-suite, the pivotal person in this transformation is the leader who makes it all possible.

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Stanley M. Bergman is Chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, with more than 17,000 employees and operations or affiliates in 27 countries. www.henryschein.com.

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Raynaldo Crespo and Jennifer Savarese elected to the South Mountain YMCA Camps Board of Directors.

South Mountain YMCA Camps announces newly appointed members to Board of Directors.    

Wernersville, September 23, 2014 – The South Mountain YMCA’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that two new members have been elected. The staff and volunteers of the South Mountain YMCA Camps congratulate and welcome Raynaldo Crespo and Jennifer Savarese to camp.

Raynaldo (Ray) Crespo is vice president of Commercial Lending for Tompkins VIST Bank. The bank, headquartered in Wyomissing, Berks County, serves clients and communities throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.

In his position, Ray is responsible for developing loan and deposit relationships with clients and managing a commercial loan portfolio. A veteran of 27 years in banking, Ray joined Tompkins VIST Bank in 2010. Previously he was vice president of Commercial Lending at Susquehanna Bank. He received a B.S. in Accounting from Kutztown University and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Banking at Bucknell University.

A resident of Womelsdorf, Berks County, Ray is active in his community. He is actively involved in the Catholic Youth Organization and the Planning Commission of Heidelberg Township. In addition, he has served as a YES mentor and as a board member of the Community Partnership of Berks County and the Salvation Army of Reading. Ray and his wife, Ruth, have three daughters and two grandchildren.

Ray Crespo

Jennifer Savarese currently serves as Caron Treatment Centers’ Corporate Secretary and Administrative Director in the President’s Office. In this role, Ms. Savarese assists the President and CEO in managing all aspects of this nonprofit addiction treatment center’s corporate governance, as well as various strategic projects, and serves on the organization’s Leadership Team. Prior to this, Ms. Savarese was the Staffing Manager at Chris Talarico & Associates, an employment agency in Berks County, PA.

Ms. Savarese is a member of the Society for Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, and serves on its Corporate Practices Committee. Ms. Savarese received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Relations from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, New York.

Jennifer Savarese Photo

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South Mountain YMCA Camps hosts over 75 volunteers from local companies for the United Way Day of Caring.

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The United Way of Berks County’s Annual Day of Caring promotes volunteerism, community spirit, and unity.

South Mountain YMCA Camps was pleased to once again host an enthusiastic and passionate group of individuals from the Berks County community for the United Way Day of Caring on the mountain. The purpose of the United Way of Berks County’s Annual Day of Caring is to engage community employees and community members in a meaningful and fun-filled day of volunteer activities that bring people together to build a better community for all.

The Day of Caring on the mountain kicked off at 9:00 am with coffee, doughnuts and a camp welcome by our CEO, Nathan Brant. The list of projects for the Day of Caring included installing a split-rail fence at Bynden Wood Lodge, weeding, log splitting, organizing, cleaning and painting at the Duberstein Equestrian Center, and staining of the cabins and lodge in Pioneer’s Village. A cook out lunch was provided in the Dining Hall where staff was able to mingle with volunteers and share the South Mountain YMCA story and answer questions about programs offered at camp.

We are very thankful to EnerSys, Quadrant, National Penn Bank, Godiva, Santander Bank and Fulton Bank as well as the entire United Way team for allowing their employees to come to camp and spend the day with us helping to complete a variety of projects helping to make South Mountain YMCA Camps the perfect getaway for children, families, schools and the rest of our community. “The United Way Day of Caring is a wonderful way to wrap up the end of summer. We are fortunate and blessed to have so many individuals willing to volunteer their time here at camp.” ~Sue Kiscadden, Registrar and Service Coordinator

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Calling all camp families, alum, staff, and volunteers…

Looking for a quick and easy way to help camp? Together you can ensure that South Mountain YMCA Camps is nominated for Tom’s of Maine 2014 50 states for good program and be eligible to receive $10,000 in funding. Just a few minutes of your time will ensure that children in need are able to enjoy a camp experience, create memories and ignite friendships that will last a lifetime.

Nominate SMYMCA Camps for @TomsofMaine’s‪#‎50statesforgoodhttp://bit.ly/50SFG

 

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Check Out These New Programs!!!!!

Adventure Daze
Join South Mountain YMCA’s Adventure Director, Cory Evans, and other staff favorites for one or all four afternoon adventures. Space is limited for each program, please call Cory to register at 610-670-2267, or visit our website at smymca.org.

Boating August 24, 1:00—4:00pm. Meet at Blue Marsh Lake (State Hill Boat Launch). Children ages 8-11 are $10 each and adults are $15
Climbing & Zipline September 21, 1:00-4:00pm. Meet at Bynden Wood Lodge. Children ages 8-11 are $10 each and adults are $15
Target Sports October 19, 1:00—4:00pm. Adults and children ages 12 and up are $20 each.
Target Sports November 16, 1:00—4:00pm. Adults and children ages 12 and up are $20 each.

Home School Big Day Out!
This fall we’re offering 4 opportunities for home-schooled students to tackle environmental and outdoor education on the mountain. Each day has a different focus with lessons designed for Pre-K, 5-8 year-old, 9-11 year-old and 12-16 year-old students. Call Cory Evans at 610-670-2267 for fees and registration. Additional information can be found on our website at smymca.org.

Everything Water August 26, 8:30am—4:00pm
Everything Environmental September 30, 8:30am—4:00pm
Everything Adventure October 28, 8:30am—4:00pm
Everything Creative November 25, 8:30am—4:00pm

Family Cooking
Looking for a great family program? Look no further. Join us for our Family Cooking Series. Come to one evening or all four, the choice is yours. Prepare and cook your food together, under the guidance of Mark Glossick, our Dining Services Director, and Amanda Griffith, our Youth and Family Director—and then EAT! The cost of this program is $50 per family for each class, or $160 per family for the entire series of 4 nights. Contact Amanda for information and registration at 610-670-2267 or smymca.org. Spaces are limited.

Italian Night September 21, 4:00—6:00pm
Outdoor Cooking September 28, 4:00—6:00pm
Outdoor Baking October 5, 4:00—6:00pm
Vegetarian Night October 12, 4:00—6:00pm

School’s Out Day Camp & Adventure Day October 10 & 13
Kids (ages 6—12) can join us for the day on the mountain for School’s Out Day Camp ($30 per day): games, crafts, nature, sports, archery and much more. Teens (13—16) can join us for Adventure Day ($45 per day)! On October 10th, Adventure Day Campers will be doing Target Sports (Archery, Riflery, and Trap), and on October 13 they will be tackling Aerial Adventures (Climbing Tower, Zipline and High Ropes Course). You can sign your child up for one or both days. Contact Amanda or Cory at 610-670-2267 or smymca.org for information and registration.

School’s Out Day Camp & Adventure Day November 7
Kids (ages 6—12) can join us for the day on the mountain for School’s Out Day Camp ($30 per day): games, crafts, nature, sports, archery and much more. Teens (13—16) can join us for Adventure Day ($45 per day) for a day of Laser Tag (campers arrive on site and will be transported to the Laser Tag venue). Contact Amanda or Cory at 610-670-2267 or smymca.org for information and registration.

LAST CALL FOR 2014 SUMMER FUN RAFFLE TICKETS…

Tickets are still available for this year’s Summer Fun Raffle. First place prize is a choice of a Two-Week Session of YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser or a Mountain Bike courtesy of The Crank; second place prize is the choice of a Family Camp Weekend for four or a kayak from Perception Kayaks; third place prize is the choice of a One-Week Session of Bynden Wood Day Camp or a two-person tent from Cabela’s.

The proceeds of this year’s raffle will help send deserving children to Camp Conrad Weiser. Tickets are $10 and the drawing will be held August 22, 2014 at 5:30 PM. Contact the camp office to purchase your tickets 610-670-2267.

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Reserve Your Cabin, Register for the 3rd Annual Cushion Peak Trail Challenge

Labor Day Family Camp August 29 – September 1, Reserve Your Cabin Today!!!

Bring the whole family for a fun, relaxing weekend on the mountain! Develop strong family bonds during this special time away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday world as you enjoy a camp experience everyone will remember all year long.

We offer a wide variety of activities for all ages run by trained adult staff. Programs may include: fishing, sports, climbing, boating, nature walks, crafts, horses, swimming, dances, carnivals, archery, campfires, and more!

The cost for Labor Day Family Camp is $135 per adult (12+), $120 for each child (4-11 years), with children under 3 free. In addition there is a $60 cabin fee which will reserve an entire cabin and can be split with another family. These fees cover 3 nights lodging, meals and staff led activities.

Participants stay in our beautiful log cabins that sleep up to 14 people. We have 4 villages with 6 cabins per village, as well as clean, modern bathhouses! Families will be housed in private cabins unless a request has been made to share a cabin with another family (minimum of 4 per cabin). Please note although we love pets, animals are not allowed.

Check in is between 6-8 pm on Friday August 29th. Check out is after lunch on Monday September 1st. For additional information please contact Amanda Griffith, Youth and Family Director, at 610-670-2267 or via email at agriffith@smymca.org. Registration forms are available for download at smymca.org.

Register Today for the 3rd Annual Cushion Peak Trail Challenge – Sunday September 21st…

Join us for the 3rd Annual Cushion Peak Trail Challenge one of the toughest 5k & 10k trail runs in the region with rocky terrain and over 400 feet of climbs.

Sunday September 21, 2014
8am Registration
9am 5k or 10k
10am 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk for Kids
Dogs on Leash Welcome

5k and 10k $23 per person if postmarked by September 10, afterwards and including race day $28. Kids run and fun walk $5 per person if postmarked by September 10, afterwards and including race day $10. T-shirts for all pre-registrants, “goodie” bag for all kids run finishers and awards for male and female winners and runner ups in six age categories. Refreshments for finishers, indoor toilet facilities & showers, loads of parking, time clock at finish and instant results. The climbing Tower and Zip Line will be opened for all participants.

For additional information visit the events page online at smymca.org or register online at pretzelcitysports.com.

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South Mountain YMCA Camps to host Berks T1D 2014 Connection Family Camp

Berks T1D Connection is offering a family camp weekend providing an opportunity to meet and bond with families that know and understand the challenges and successes of living with Type 1 Diabetes.

WHEN: September 13-14, 2014
WHERE: South Mountain YMCA Camps 201 Cushion Peak Road Wernersville, PA 19565
GPS address: 201 Cushion Peak Road Reinholds, PA 17569
FEES: Adults – $50 per person
Kids (ages 5-12) – $40 per child; under 5 – $25 per child
WHO CAN ATTEND: The whole family, including grandparents, caregivers and other family members are welcome

Programs begin Saturday morning after breakfast and end right after lunch on Sunday. Topics include research updates, new technology, the emotional
impact of diabetes on families, and more. There will be ample opportunities to share your tips and strategies as well as ask about the challenges your family is facing.

There is an exciting children’s program for the weekend. Your children will be supervised by South Mountain YMCA staff and accompanied by volunteer staff that has experience with Type 1 Diabetes. All staff have undergone a Pennsylvania State background check.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Gary Scheiner
Mr. Scheiner has devoted countless hours of his life toward improving diabetes management. Having lived with Type 1 Diabetes for over 25 years, Scheiner has always made it his goal to stay up to date with the latest diabetes technology and gain hands-on experience with diabetes management methods by testing every product himself. Committed to the diabetes community, Scheiner holds a BA in Psychology, an MS in Exercise Physiology, and received his certification as a Diabetes Educator from The Joslin Diabetes Center.

In 1995, Scheiner founded Integrated Diabetes Services, an organization that offers consulting on blood sugar management and insulin training to children and adults with Type 1 Diabetes. In the past two decades, Scheiner has written several books about diabetes, including You Can Control Diabetes, Think Like a Pancreas, The Ultimate Guide to Accurate Carb Counting, Get Control of Your Blood Sugar, and Until There’s a Cure. Scheiner also serves as the Dean of Type 1 University (also known as “t1U), an online university that offers courses in diabetes care.

Scheiner has received awards from numerous organizations and companies, such as the American Diabetes Association and Novo Nordisk, for his commitment to educate people with diabetes around the world. A lover of sports, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association and has acted as a faculty member for Children with Diabetes. Scheiner actively contributes to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Setebaid Diabetes Camps. In his off time, Scheiner enjoys relaxing with his wife and five children and rooting for Philadelphia sports teams.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: berkst1dconnection.org/camp.html * email: info@berkst1dconnection.org * call: 610-636-1432

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South Mountain YMCA Camps partners with Aaron’s Acres to provide two weeks of summer camp for kids with special needs.

The summer of 2014 blossomed on the mountain with an exciting new partnership welcoming 32 campers from Aaron’s Acres.

Wernersville, July 8, 2014 – This summer South Mountain YMCA Camps partnered with Aaron’s Acres for two weeks of camp (June 16-June 20) and (June 23-June 27). We were thrilled to share the mountain with this amazing group of campers along with their dedicated counselors and leadership staff. The Aaron’s Acres program is for children with special needs and is designed to offer a camp experience for children who need the additional support and guidance of a professional guide and mentor. Campers participated in swimming, therapeutic riding, crafts, and a variety of games with the consistent support of a counselor. This program is amazing and working alongside these incredible children with the dedicated staff was rewarding on many levels. Aaron’s Acres facilitated their program alongside Bynden Wood Day Camp for the entire two weeks. “This was our pilot year and we have already begun to plan for next summer.” ~ Sue Williams, Associate Executive Director

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The mission of Aaron’s Acres is to provide individuals with special needs ages 5–21 year-round therapeutically based age-appropriate recreational programs directed by specially trained and certified staff in a supportive environment that enhances socialization and communication skills. Emotional, educational, and recreational support is offered for the entire family. This new partnership is very exciting, as it will open doors for new relationships among people of all ages with varying abilities and challenges. “It’s been our goal to make sure that every child can enjoy a summer camp experience on the mountain. Aaron’s Acres has helped make that goal a reality. It’s a great program for a great group of kids,” said Nathan Brant, CEO. The two week session concluded with a family night carnival affording parents and siblings the opportunity to share the camp experience with their camper(s). A big thank you to all the volunteers from the Conrad Weiser and West Reading Wyomissing Rotary Clubs that helped to make the family carnival a huge success filled with laughter and smiles.

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A Call to Serve! Be a Host Family for an International Camper.

Sue Williams, Associate Executive Director, is working to identify families willing to serve as hosts for our Spanish exchange campers. This home-stay experience for our international guests is a wonderful opportunity to share your home and our culture with a young leader from another country.

Details of daily life in America and daily life in Spain share many similarities as well as differences and their home stay week gives them a chance to experience “life in America” in a more realistic and personal way than just being a tourist. They are your guest, but they are also something akin to an extra member of your family for the week. You should not feel compelled to organize anything extravagant but we want them to have a nice, enjoyable week and possibly do some fun and memorable things as well.
The main points to consider:
•The home stay is the last part of the program this year for our Spanish campers.
•Our Spanish campers spend four weeks at Camp Conrad Weiser which includes day trips to New York City, local shopping malls and a baseball game.
•They will want to do some shopping and you may want to take them to a mall or other stores as they will have money to spend on souvenirs and clothes etc.
•Ask your camper of their interests. They may well have some things in mind that they really want to see or do while they are here.

Some last details:
Your guest understands the need for courtesy, good behavior, cooperation. The drinking age is much younger in Europe, but here in the States they have a rule of NO alcohol. They also understand the rule that smoking is forbidden throughout the trip as well. One of the requirements that the Hannover YMCA and the YMCA of Spain sets for campers is a functional level of competence in English. Of course, reading a language is often easier than speaking, so be patient with communication. The group leader will be available for you to contact throughout the home stay if you have any questions or concerns.
If you are interested in hosting a young person from Spain an application is required. Please contact Sue Williams directly at 610-670-2267 or via email at swilliams@smymca.org.

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Women’s Adventure Weekend 2014!!!

A few spots are still available for next weekend’s Women’s Adventure. Are you looking for something fun and exciting? Wishing for some downtime and chance to recharge? Check in on Friday evening May 30th, get settled with friends in our beautiful log cabins, and join us for hors’ d oeuvres and cocktails in Bynden Wood Lodge. We’ll wrap up the first night with a campfire and some entertainment and launch into an entire weekend of new adventures. You choose the activities that you want to try your hand at, and our staff will help you along the way. We take care of everything so that you can enjoy a weekend playing, learning new skills and spending time with both old and new friends.

Friday May 30 – Sunday June 1
Arrival is between 4 & 6 pm on Friday & departure is on Sunday at 1:00 pm
$150/per person for full weekend or $75 for Saturday only

Activities may include: Challenge Course, Climbing Tower, Zip Line, Aerial Adventure, Riflery, Trap Shooting, Mountain Biking, Mountain Boarding, Hiking, Arts & Crafts, Guitar, Drumming, Swimming, Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing and more. Please note that Horseback riding does include an additional fee.  For additional information or to register please call the camp office at 610-670-2267.

Family Fun Day 

Experience the magic of our mountain! Bring your family and we’ll provide the fun. Climb the tower, shoot an arrow, roast a marshmallow, ride in the wagon and more! This event is FREE and open to the public. Come see what camp is all about. Camp is open rain or shine.  Join us on Sunday June 1st from 2:00 – 4:00 pm

You are cordially invited to
An Evening on the Mountain

Please join us on Saturday June 7th for the Annual Celebration and Dinner presented by the International Committees of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County and the South Mountain YMCA Camps. The event will be held at the facilities of the South Mountain YMCA Camps at The Bynden Wood Lodge. A Silent and Live Auction will be featured. You are sure to find a special craft, day trip, plants or garden art to grace your home. Come and enjoy an evening of food, fellowship and fun.  

Each year the International Committee supports valuable work here at home and abroad providing scholarship and program support for youth exchanges, support for staff exchanges, partnerships with the YMCA’s of Hannover, Germany and Ivanovo, Russia and support for the YMCA of Russia conference center and camp.

Saturday June 7th. Tickets are $45 per person. Doors open at 5:00 pm.
5:00 pm      Cocktails and Music

6:00 pm      Served Dinner
7:00 pm      Live Auction
For additional information please contact Michele Reinert at 610-670-2267. 

Masters Swim Team 

Calling Adult Swimmers, Tri-Athletes, and Fitness Fans!!! It’s time to get back in the pool. Take your fitness to the next level and enjoy the company of other “pool people”. Fees include a coached and guarded swim practice program on Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays for 13 weeks in the summer.

Practices will be held outdoors from 6:30 am until 7:30 am. Swimmers should arrive at Bynden Wood Lodge at 6:15 am. There are locker rooms on site and showers are available after practice. This is a “rain or shine” program. We will only cancel for thunderstorms.

Practices are coached and will include approximately 3,000 yards depending on the skill of each individual swimmer. Fees are $175 for the 13 week season. This program requires a minimum of 10 swimmers or it will be cancelled. For additional information call or email Nathan Brant, nbrant@smymca.org or 610-670-2267.

Upcoming Events

  • 5/30/14     Women’s Adventure Weekend begins
  • 6/1/14       Family Fun Day
  • 6/1/14       Women’s Adventure Weekend ends
  • 6/2/14       Masters Swim Team begins
  • 6/7/14       International Dinner and Auction
  • 6/15/14     Camp Conrad Weiser sessions begin
  • 6/16/14     Bynden Wood Day Camp sessions begin
  • 7/12/14     Alumni Day Homecoming Celebration
  • 8/29/14     Masters Swim Team ends
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