My daughter is leaving for sleep-away camp.

ADINA CIMENT

The bags are packed. The duffels have shipped. The stationary and envelopes have been carefully organized and pre-stamped.

It’s her first time going, but not my first time sending a kid away for a summer. I know what to do. I’ve marked her clothing using both iron-on labels and indelible ink in hopes that the clothing will actually return in her bags at the end of the month. I’ve taught her the nuances of the “laundry bag” — pin your socks, don’t throw in anything wet — even though I know she will still return with moldy clothes and virtually no matching pairs of socks. She has shampoo and soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. (“Take an extra, just in case!”) I label a handy-dandy shower caddy for her to keep her things in. She has her summer reading books for school. Her duffel bag is organized and compartmentalized to help her unpack when she gets to her bunk.

Didn’t kids once go off with a bundle tied to a stick?

It’s kind of a game. Having done this before, I know what is going to happen when she gets to her bunk. I know how my carefully-planned and executed packing and preparing for camp will be for naught. I’ll see her in pictures posted on the camp website wearing clothes I don’t recognize and find that jacket that she begged me to send to camp on the back of a bunkmate. I’ll pour over the pictures and enlarge her teeth to make sure that yes, they have been brushed. At least once. I’ll wonder if that spot on her neck is dirt or just the camera lens. And why is her face so red? Didn’t she remember sunscreen?

No matter how much I prepare and send with her, the bottom line is, she is off on her own. I know she won’t shower as much as she should. I know the counselors will probably empty half her toothpaste in the sink the night before visiting day so that I will believe she brushed often and effectively. I know she won’t break the binding on her book and that summer reading will be crammed in the week before school starts. And I know that half her clothes will be lost, destroyed or moldy.

Even though I try and pack every comfort of home, summer camp is more than just relocating. I can prepare her all I want, but once she’s out there, well, there’s no telling what she’ll do. And that’s OK. Because even though I’m creating this guise of concern for her hygiene and education, I’m actually much more interested in seeing a smile on her face.

Summer camp is time away. It’s time away from technology and TV, cell phones and iPads. It’s time away from the nagging of mom and dad and the fights with siblings. And for some, it’s time away from showers and teeth-brushing and clean clothes. I’ve made peace with that. Because camp is really about listening to ghost stories and turning on flashlights with your bunkmates. It’s screaming at the bugs and the heat and creating memories. It is so much more than the organized camp list and duffel.

My kids take turns going to camp. With five kids, sending all of them at once would require a second mortgage and we decided a long time ago that having a house was more important than the few weeks in a bunk. Their experiences have been mixed. My son loved it. One of my daughters, not so much. Though, granted, that was the summer of Swine Flu and she spent most of her time in the infirmary or home. This summer, it is my youngest daughter’s turn.

I hope she has a great time this summer. I hope she writes letters and wishes it will last longer. And I hope she appreciates the efforts I took to send her away prepared to survive the wilds without me there to help her.

But that last bit is a fantasy. Maybe even the letters part. Years of sending kids off for the summer has taught me to not to expect much in the way of appreciation for my painstakingly neurotic packing and preparing. In fact, they probably would’ve been happier with less.

But at least I know that she has what she needs. That I have done my job. That she is armed with toothpaste, and sunscreen, and bug spray as she goes to live in the wilds of her newly renovated bunk.

Even though in reality, what she will actually use in camp could probably fit in a bundle tied to a stick.

And that’s all good.

Article written by Adina Ciment and published by The Huffington Post.

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Opportunities Available for Summer Camp Nurses and Host Families

Hello Nurses! Kam Kobeissi, Camp Conrad Weiser Director here…

South Mountain YMCA is looking for nurses for this upcoming summer!

This is an ideal full-time opportunity for school nurses. We have positions available for two week, month long or full summer.

You will be living onsite in our Wellness Center for the duration of your stay. We also offer free resident camp to nurses (for the duration of employment) who have camp aged campers along with generous compensation.

If you are interested please feel free to contact me directly at 610-670-2267 or via email at kkobeissi@smymca.org.

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German Home Stay

Hello from South Mountain YMCA,

We are currently looking for families interested in hosting a camper from Germany this upcoming summer (August 1st to August 8th).

Our German campers will be taking part in a 4 week cultural exchange program we have with the YMCA of Germany. They will be spending 2 weeks at camp, 1 week traveling, with our most important week being our family home stay.

We are reaching out to families who we feel would benefit from having a cultural exchange/connection with a family in Germany by being a partner with us in this worthwhile program. Our German campers are English speaking and look forward to staying with families in our area.

For more information please contact Kam Kobeissi, Camp Conrad Weiser Director, at kkobeissi@smymca.org or give him a call at 610-670-2267.

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Keep the Fires Burning,

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Join us on the Mountain for a Morning of Spring Family Fun!!!

South Mountain YMCA Camps to host 5th Annual Egg-Stravaganza Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast Saturday April 4th 

Egg-Stravaganza Egg Hunt Saturday April 4th 10:00am
Egg Hunts by age group, spring crafts, face painting and a visit from the Easter Bunny!!! This community event is free and open to all. Kids of all ages can wear their silliest “Easter Bonnet” for a chance to win a prize. This event, in collaboration with the Greater Reading and Berks County Kiwanis Club, and the support of the Key Clubs at Conrad Weiser, Wilson, Reading and the Executive Education Center School of Allentown, will be held rain or shine. To RSVP please call the camp office at 610-670-2267.

Pancake Breakfast Saturday April 4th 8:00am – 1:00pm
All proceeds from this event benefit the 10th Operation Purple Camp at YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser in June of 2015. This special week of summer camp is for the children of deployed military men and women, as well as those who have recently returned. The cost for the breakfast is $6 for adults and $4 for kids 12 and under. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, and beverages. The breakfast will be held at the Bynden Wood Lodge as part of the Egg-Stravaganza festivities. For more information call camp at
610-670-2267.

This program recognizes that “Kids Serve Too”. In partnership with the National Military Family Association, the Operation Purple Camp is a week for having fun, making friends, and reminding military children that they are our nation’s youngest heroes. Operation Purple Camp:
Helps provide 125 campers from active duty military families with 1 week of fun at summer camp in 2015.
Provides an opportunity for the “kids who serve” to experience horseback riding, archery, zip lines, and much more.
Connects the children of military families with their peers.
Provides a Military Life/Family Counselor (MFLAC) as support.
Helps provide a connection with military personnel from all branches of the armed forces.
Allows a week of respite for the military spouse who is at home during a long deployment.

 

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Jacob Bausher elected to the Presidency of the South Mountain YMCA Camps Board of Directors.

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

Wernersville, March 18, 2015 – The South Mountain YMCA’s Board of Directors elected Jacob Bausher as president of the Board of Directors for 2015 and 2016. Jake began his affiliation with the South Mountain YMCA Camps as a camper from 1970-79. He participated in the Voyager and International Camper Exchange Programs in 1976, 77 and 78. He was a Voyager Leader in 1993 and filled various volunteer roles. Additionally, Jake has served as Alumni Association board member and President. He is currently President and co-owner of Canal Street Pub & Restaurant, co-owner of The Butler’s Pantry, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Services and an Instructor for Bear Creek Ski School. We look forward to continuing our mission of providing a camping experience, educational and other programs that build personal leadership, character and life skills while developing caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in young people, families and communities under the leadership of Mr. Bausher. The staff and volunteers of the South Mountain YMCA Camps congratulate Jake on his new role.

bausher jacob  photo

On the same evening, three local leaders were elected to serve as board members. These new volunteers include Frank A. Brown Jr, MBA, Executive Director, Shared Growth Inc. and Business Development Manager with Eduplanet21, LLC; Kenneth D. Gill, Jr. Retired Executive, IBM Corporation; and Mike Scarborough, retired Teacher.
Frank A. Brown Jr., is currently the Executive Director of Shared Growth, Inc. a non-profit
corporation. It was created to support the Shared Growth Mentoring Program – a youth
mentoring initiative specifically for at-risk high school students between the ages of 14 and 18. The program currently services 27 students. K-12 corporate sponsors use this program as a Corporate Citizenship Strategy to engage their customers, partners and employees to help build stronger relationships and communities. He also serves as the Business Development Manager for Eduplanet21, LLC and is responsible for Business Development sales strategy for the entire Eduplanet21 Solution (software, content and services). He sells directly to K12 school districts and organizations that serve the K12 market (i.e. Service Centers). He focuses on New Business Development nationally and is responsible for all aspects of building a new business territory plan, consultation and qualification of prospects.

Frank Brown

Kenneth D. Gill, Jr. is a retired executive of IBM Corporation, working primarily in the Berks County area. After retiring from IBM he continued his sales and marketing career working for Edwards Business Systems and then UtiliTech, Inc. Ken has been very active in local not-for-profits such as United Way, Boy Scouts, Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs, Easy Does It and many more. Ken has been on the board at The Caron Foundation for 36 years and was named one of only two, Chairman Emeritus. Ken lives in West Lawn with his wife Peg. They have been married for more than 35 years.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Mike Scarborough is a returning member of the Board of Directors of the South Mountain YMCA. Mr. Scarborough earned a Certificate in Education at Kenton Lodge College of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and initially taught at the City School in Lincoln, England. After many years involved in outdoor education including volunteer work at the YMCA National Centre in the English Lake District, he moved to Pennsylvania and held the position of Assistant Director at the South Mountain YMCA where he went on to earn his YMCA Director Certification. Mr. Scarborough earned a Bachelor of Science in Education; and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Kutztown University and taught Social Studies at Conrad Weiser School District for 19 years. Mr. Scarborough retired from teaching in 2014.

Mike Scarborough

The South Mountain YMCA Camps congratulate these new board members on their nomination and election.

 

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South Mountain YMCA Camps welcomes two new Directors to the Camp Family.

Please join us in welcoming Kam Kobeissi, Camp Conrad Weiser Director and
Euan Walker, Outdoor Center Director.

South Mountain YMCA Camps is pleased to announce that two new members have joined the camp family for the 2015 season. Kam Kobeissi has been named Camp Conrad Weiser Director. Kam is a Berks County native and served as the Director of Camp Henry Hird at the Frost Valley YMCA in New York for the past six years. Kam has been involved as both a volunteer as well as an employee with the YMCA since he was 13 years old. He is a former YMCA Teen Leader and he brings over 20 years of YMCA experience to South Mountain. His very first summer camp experience was at South Mountain YMCA when he was 10 years old and participated in the West Pottsgrove Elementary School’s 5th grade camping trip. Kam enjoys reading, collecting camp kitch, and playing with his dog. We are pleased to welcome Kam and his wife Heather to the mountain.

Kam Photo

We are also very excited to welcome our new Outdoor Center Director, Euan Walker, and his wife, Naomi, to our camp family. Euan hails from Aberdeen, Scotland, and graduated with a BA in Communications and Media Studies from Robert Gordon University. Euan was most recently employed by YMCA Camp Letts, part of the YMCA of Metro D.C. since 2009. In his time at Camp Letts he held various positions including Summer Camp Counselor, Paintball Director, and most recently Program Development Coordinator.

Euan Photo

Please join us in welcoming Kam and Euan to the South Mountain YMCA family. Be sure to stop by and meet them at one of our upcoming Family Fun Days being held rain or shine on March 29th, April 19th, May 3rd, May 17th and May 31st from 2-4 pm.

 

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Summer Camp: The Ultimate 21st Century Skills Learning Environment

It used to be so easy…

Mom was home, and kids wanted to play outside, as we only had seven channels on the television (and no central air). Boy, how times have changed. Technological advances have profoundly affected life, as we know it, including how we raise our children.IMG_9612

Continue reading

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Holiday & Winter Camps

Our Holiday Camp will run from December 28th through the 31st. Join us for some winter fun! Come back and see old friends and counselors and make some new friends along the way.  Enjoy heated cabins, hot meals, and a busy schedule of camp activities like campfires,
winter sports, climbing, crafts, hiking, target sports and much more. Campers arrive
between 4 & 6pm on Sunday 12/28 and stay through Wednesday 12/31 between 4 & 6pm.

Our Winter Camp Weekend will run from February 13th through the 16th. Keep your
fingers crossed for snow, we have some of the best sledding around. Like our Holiday Camp, this is a unique opportunity for a young person to see Camp in the winter. Programs begin on Friday 2/13 at 4pm and run through Monday 2/16 at 4pm.

Ask about Day programs for Holiday and Winter Camp. For additional information contact Amanda Griffith at agriffith@smymca.org or Cory Evans at cevans@smymca.org. 

 

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2014 On-Line Holiday Auction

With the holiday season quickly approaching we have the perfect opportunity for you to do some shopping and support a great cause all at the same time. From November 14th through December 14th SMYMCA Camps will be hosting our 3rd Annual On-Line Holiday Auction.

All proceeds from the On-Line Holiday Auction will support our annual Reach Out for Youth Campaign and Military Family Fund providing camper scholarships for Bynden Wood Day Camp, Camp Conrad Weiser, Operation Purple Camp and the Outdoor Center.

There are a variety of items and packages to choose from ensuring that you can find something for everyone on your holiday list. A majority of the items donated were provided by local businesses and vendors, what better way to support the community that we live, work and play in!!!

Start bidding today, check out all the items at: http://www.biddingforgood.com/militarykidstocamp

 

 

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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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