Posted by on Apr 30, 2013

It was a big day in the Birchler Household this weekend! Katelyn caught her first fish….all by herself! We had friends over and they have three boys – Katelyn fits right in with them – splashing in mud, playing with the worms and tossing rocks in the lake. But their favorite thing to do is going fishing….for...

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A weekend to remember…

Posted by on Apr 28, 2013

Hello all… We here at YMCA Camp Ockanickon would like to congratulate Scott Partenheimer and Stevie Neale in their marital union that took place here at Camp this weekend… and what a beautiful weekend it was. We couldn’t have ordered better weather… and Spring was popping everywhere around Camp… including a family of Canadian Geese with newly hatched goslings living right near the foot of the Chapel Island Bridge where the ceremony took place. Scott is an alumni of Camp and we couldn’t be more honored to have hosted the happy couple and their event here for the weekend. From a full scale BBQ rehearsal dinner on Friday night to brunch both Saturday and Sunday morning… and of course the reception dinner… myself and our crew worked hard to ensure that this weekend went smooth for Scott and Stevie… and of course, that the food was outstanding. We wish Scott and Stevie nothing but the best for their future life together and all their endeavors. We also hosted a fundraiser for the Medford Warriors Lacrosse teams up at Matolly on Saturday, concurrently with the wedding reception! A good time was had by all at the event and they even doubled their attendance from last year, giving the Warriors teams a much appreciated boost. I’d like to personally thank Dave, Gary, Rich, James and Matt for being “my crew” for the weekend. As a professional Chef, I will say this was one of the more challenging weekends I’ve had to manage in my 17 year career but with their energy and devotion it wouldn’t have been as smooth as it was. They listened, learned and, I believe, grew all weekend under my direction… handling tasks that they may have never done before… and our boys sure looked sharp in our new banquet uniforms! Be good… Chef...

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Letter to the Editor

Posted by on Apr 27, 2013

This amazing letter was submitted to the Medford Sun this past week by Kaya McKenna age 9 who is a member at YMCA Camp Ockanickon…I thought it was an amazing piece and wanted to share it with you. I love summer because I love to swim at the lake at Camp Ockanickon, or as the locals call it, “Ocky.” I get excited on hot sunny summer days when the air is filled with laughter, shrieking and happiness coming from the camp. I can hear them all the way here at my house. I’m thrilled with anticipation of going. I put on my bathing suit, get my towel and I’m ready to go! When I arrive I see my lifeguard buddies, friends and family. I drop everything and bolt to the water. It feels relaxing. My mom calls it, “The lake of shinning waters, ” as she makes her hands like a ripple. As I lay back into the lake water the noises are muffled, but it feels calm and peaceful. I hear voices, laughing, “Marco”…”Polo”….”Marco”….”Polo”….”Marco”….”Polo!”….”I got you!” All of the sudden, my cousin Naomi yells “want to go to the deep end?” My relaxing time has vanished. I race to the ladder and climb up onto the deck. I hold my nose and jump forward, feet first. The family game of tag has begun. Before anyone says that I’m it. I tag them and say “You’re it!”. Time flies by, as the sun sizzles overhead, but there is always a breeze at the lake. I see smiles and happy faces, mine included. This is what I have longed for all winter. Right away my mom yells, “Hey Kaya want to go on a kayak?” and I say “Sure, a day is not complete without kayaking.” I get our of the water, don my life jacket and I’m ready to paddle. I say “Ready Mom!” mom says “OK!” I get into the kayak and mom pushes the kayak out into the water. We synchronize our paddles to the cadence :Right, left, right, left, right, left” until we reach the middle of the lake. Then, we lift our paddles out of the water and we gently glide. I put my hand in the water and it feels slightly cool. Then I take my hand out and hold my mom’s hand and say “Best friends forever” You cannot beat this moment. Summer means “Ocky” and the memories we make. Yes, I love summer. It calls me...

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Coming up …

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013

Later this week, one of our long time camp counselors and friends, Scott, and his wife Stevie, will celebrate their marriage right here at camp. Scott spent a number of years here with many of us as a counselor, Nature Director, village chief, and year-round outdoor education and group retreats instructor. Best of luck to Scott and Stevie as they begin their new life together strating right here on the Ockanickon Nation.

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Fish

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013

Floating around camp there is a video called “The Fish! Philosophy”. This video has been shown to our staff and sometimes incorporated into our CIT and LIT programs. About this time last year, I watched the video for the first time. I was amazed about culture of Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, where the video takes place. Although just getting up and going to work or school can be challenging some days, your day will depend on how you make it. Below is The Fish! Philosophy. I challenge you to apply their philosophy in your everyday life whether it’s at work, at school, or in your own personal life. It will really make a difference! The Fish! Philosophy Play! You can be serious about your work without taking yourself so seriously. Play is a mindset more than a specific activity. It allows you to throw yourself with enthusiasm and creativity into whatever you are doing, in a way that is natural, not forced. “Playing” with ideas helps you find solutions to everyday challenges. Choose your Attitude! To actually choose how you respond to life, not just react, you must be intentional. When you get up, decide who you want to “be” today. Moment-to-moment awareness is key. Ask yourself throughout the day, “What is my attitude right now? Is it helping the people who depend on me? Is it helping me to be most effective?”. Be There! When people need you, they need all of you. Setting aside distractions and judgments to be mentally and emotionally present is a sign of respect. It improves communication and strengthens relationships. Make Their Day! Simple gestures of thoughtfulness, thanks and recognition make people feel appreciated and valued. When you make someone else feel good, you feel good...

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Once a Camp Director, Always a Camp Director

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013

It was truly a pleasure to watch former Ocky Director and current Pitman Principal, Chris Morris, lead his students during their stay at Camp Ockanickon last week.  Having worked with many school groups over the years, I can tell you that I have not seen too many principals get as involved with their students’ activities as Chris did!  You can tell he still has a passion for Camp and for working with young people.  I guess you can take the man out of Camp, but you can never take Camp out of the man! Having had Chris as my Ranger Head and boss from 1990-1996, I was not surprised to see him jump right in and help out at boating.  It was great to work with him again (especially since I learned many of my canoeing skills from him when I was a kid!).  Even though Chris doesn’t work here anymore, his influence (and the influence of many other Camp leaders from years past) is still present in the work we do today.  The lessons I learned from him are still passed down to today’s staff.  I think that is part of Camp’s magic.  Each of us can have a lasting impression upon Ocky, Matolly, and Stockwell if we are willing to give it our all.  Thank you to Chris and all of the other wonderful mentors that I have had at Camp Ockanickon over the years. Brent Birchler Boys Camp...

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