Race Away!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012

Although there was some rain, over 200 people came out to Camp Ockanickon for the 2nd Annual Above and Beyond 10K Mud Run. This was Chad Mason’s (Founder) 2nd 10K that was held at Camp and from the initial feedback, it was wet, dirty, muddy, and really hard. These of course are all the things we wanted to hear as we wrapped up an amazing race day. This of course is not our only race we host here at Camp. Up next is the South New Jersey Law Enforcement Challenge which will kick off at 9am on Saturday, April 14th. The 10K run, 10 mile, and 2 mile paddle will test over 120 racers from all over the tri-state area. What makes this race so special is the partnership between Camp Ockanickon and the Medford Police Department. Proceeds from this event will go towards both the Strong Kids Campaign and the Police Unity Tour. If neither of these two races perk your interest, then hopefully the Ockanickon 5K, our newest race, which will be held on Friday, June 15th at 6:30pm…yes, a night race! Interested in registering? You can go to www.ycamp.org to download the registration form or head to either of the following two links and register on-line, http://www.facebook.com/events/198984940211755/ or...

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Volunteerism: Building fun!!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012

Hello all!! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank, on behalf of the staff and Campers, Tom Ostroski (my dad)(right) and his good friend Bob Szeliga (left) for constructing two brand new Carpet Ball tables for use here at the Camps!! As you might already know, Carpet Ball has become a bit of a craze out here and adding two new tables will add to the volume of fun we are already having with this cool new game. Tom and Bob are both retired Health & Physical Education teachers and football & softball coaches servicing Burlington County in the Willingboro school district for a combined 60+ years!! In their retirement both of these gentelmen are busier than ever utilizing the carpentry and construction skills they have acquired over their many years with all sorts of projects. We are thankful that they could share their skills and a little of their time here at Camp to complete this project. Dziękuję!! Be good… Chef...

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Trainings, Trainings, and More Trainings!

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012

I’d love to tell you that I invented Carpetball.  Dave Kaubin would love to claim GaGa as his own creation.  Gab, MaryAnn, and Lynn wish that they had co-authored the lyrics to “Little Red Wagon.”  Chef Jason dreams that he was the first chef to slice open a soft pretzel and slap a piece of ham and a slice of cheese in between the 2 halves.  The truth is that we have learned a lot of our Camp games, activities, songs, counseling skills, and recipes from some of the smartest minds in the Camping industry, past and present.  Over the past few months, many of our Camp staff have been traveling all over the Northeast to various trainings and workshops.  We’ve attended the Northeast Y Camp Conference at the Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills of New York State, the American Camp Association Tri-State Camping Conference in Atlantic City, and various YMCA trainings including Fiscal Management (that was a fun one!) and Volunteerism.  Joe and I are looking forward to Advanced Fiscal Management next month.  Not as much fun as Atlantic City, but it will help us to become more well-rounded camping professionals!  Jamie attended the YMCA Camp Maintenance Conference at YMCA Camp Chingachgook in the Adirondacks of New York and Ruben is going all the way to San Francisco, CA for an IT Conference.  Finally, Dave, James, Marlana, and I just became Red Cross Lifeguard Instructors so we can train and certify our own Waterfront Lifeguards from now on.  As difficult as it is to be away from Camp at such a busy planning and setting up time of year, attending these trainings and networking with our colleagues from other Camps  prepares us to step up  our game and improve our own programs from last year.  In a few short months, we’ll have 175 or so of our seasonal staff that we’ll need to train and prepare for the busiest part of our Group Services season and our Summer Camp season.  We are very passionate about doing everything in our power to run the best Camp programs that we possibly can.  Our Campers are worth it!  So if you run into one of us in the near future and we look a little tired or start quoting Bob Ditter or the Red Cross Lifeguarding Manual, you’ll know why! Brent Birchler Boys Camp...

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Live Your Life On Purpose!

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012

The best day of your life is the day on which you decide your life is your own.  No one to lean on, rely on or blame.  The gift is yours, it is an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  Life is about the choices you make – choose wisely.  Start by choosing the two most important “guiding stars” – your values and your mission.  Choose your values:  Values are personal choices you make about what’s important to you.  Being guided by your highest values brings immense satisfaction and meaning to life.  ~ Anonymous As Dr. Suess says ~    “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes,                                      You can steer yourself any direction you choose.                                      You’re on your own and you know what you know                                      And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”                                           HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY...

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Alphabet Acronym

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012

“Children are… Amazing, acknowledge them. Believable, trust them. Childlike, allow them. Divine, honor them. Energetic, nourish them. Gifts, treasure them. Innocent, delight with them. Joyful, appreciate them. Kindhearted, learn from them. Loveable, cherish them. Magical, fly with them Noble, esteem them. Open minded, respect them. Precious, value them. Questioners, encourage them. Resourceful, support them. Spontaneous, enjoy them. Talented, believe in them. Unique, affirm them. Vulnerable, protect them. Whole, recognize them. Xtraspecial, celebrate them. Yearning, notice them. Zany, laugh with them.” ~ Meriji Stewart Here at Camp, through all of our programs, we recognize the qualities our campers have and embrace...

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Camp is just for the summer, right?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012

Wrong. Camps all over the country serve as the outdoor classroom, an extension of the science, math, and physical education curriculums throughout the year. Outdoor education programs are a valuable way to create closer relationships within the learning community, experience character development, and reinforce lessons being taught in the classroom. Students are kinesthetic learners and need hands-on, active learning opportunities. We have begun collecting data from all of our students in outdoor education programs and are beginning to find very interesting trends. Students that participate in our programs overwhelmingly have stated that; they learn more about their strengths while at camp, have an opportunity to help others, want to try harder at school, and believe that their experience will help them to make better decisions in the future. Camp is a part of every child’s twelve-month educational process. During the summer, our camps provide the opportunity for student’s to continue their character and academic development and leave them better prepared for the next school year. It doesn’t stop there. During the year we serve over 5,000 students and provide programs and opportunities that build relationships, inspire learning, strengthen character, and leave a lifelong...

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