Support from Medford Oddfellows!

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017

Support from Medford Oddfellows!

Ken Boyle, Noble Grand of the Medford Oddfellows, recently visited YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. and presented a check in the amount of $500 to Dave Kaubin, Outdoor Center Director, of our 111-year-old camp property. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a nearly 200-year-old organization whose mission is to work in support of local communities as a way of making the world-at-large a better place. In the Medford chapter, there are fewer than 20 members, but they’re committed to making a difference in their own backyards. “We decided we wanted to support something here in our community that would benefit a lot of people” Boyle said. “The gift we’re making to the camp is really a gift to the community.” Kaubin, who is also a member of the Medford Oddfellows, said he was proud to accept the donation on behalf of camp. “The Oddfellows are really passionate about finding a need and when they do, they’re willing to step up, even if it’s something not on their radar.” While Ocky is best known for our  summer camps (Ockanickon for boys, Matollionequay for girls and co-ed Lake Stockwell Day Camp), we are also a cause-driven nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and financial assistance to hundreds of children and teens each year. In addition, Ockanickon participates in a host of specialty camps: Camp Bright Feathers for children infected by HIV/AIDS; Camp Kesem for children whose parents have or have had cancer; Camp Little Rock for children who are blind or visually impaired; and Camp Firefly, a bereavement camp for children who have lost a loved one. Our CEO Mark Dibble said the donation from the Oddfellows will be put to good use. “We’re so appreciative of the support that we get from the community, and from organizations like the Oddfellows,” Mark said. “YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. is committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and for every child who attends one of our camp programs – including our specialty camps – we provide a safe, nurturing, fun-filled...

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Meet Matt Foran – our new Boys Camp Director!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017

Meet Matt Foran – our new Boys Camp Director!

YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. recently hired Matt Foran to be the new boys Overnight Camp director at our 111-year-old Medford organization. Before arriving at Ockanickon in early February, Matt had been the program director at Camp Ohiyesa, part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. He brings with him six years of experience as a camp director in both overnight and day camp programs, and he’s a licensed lifeguard instructor. Matt holds a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Michigan State, and he also taught Language Arts and Creative Writing at Deer Trail Academy in Oxford, Michigan. Matt’s Ockanickon office walls are adorned with sepia-toned photographs of former campers, camp directors and trustees, and he says he has an earnest desire to continue the proud traditions of Camp Ockanickon. “I’m coming here with a real sense that I want to uphold the standards of Ockanickon, to honor what the camp has come to mean to this community.” With his background in education, Matt believes that the summer camp experience can do wonders for children. “A lot of what we know about youth development, education, and bringing out good qualities in kids, can best happen at camp,” he said. “Take curiosity, for example. We have 800 acres of places to explore. They can try something they haven’t tried before, with mentors and role models to help along the way. And camp is great for skill-building. Whatever their skill level at something, they can get better. They just have to try, listen and then work at it.” Too often, Matt says, kids develop a fixed mindset. “A camp experience helps kids develop a growth mindset. It’s pleasurable for the brain to accomplish something that seems just out of reach; kids feel the payoff for their hard work. That’s why summer camp has been around for a long time and is valued.” Our CEO, Mark Dibble, had this to say about the organization’s newest staff member. “We’re so excited to have Matt. He brings a breadth and depth of experience; drawing on many successful years in the YMCA camping movement. Matt’s experience in the camping field is a huge asset, second only to his seemingly boundless energy and ideas. We’re very excited for him to be a part of our camp family.” “Matt and his family are a welcomed addition to our camp family. We’re so happy they’re here and he’s part of the team,” Mark added. Matt has a wife, Katya, and a son, Valor, who is 15-months-old. “My hope is to instill grit and determination in our campers,” Matt continued. “I feel so glad to be here, and I hope people in this area know how lucky they are to have a place like this in their community. I’m going to do my best to uphold the time-honored Ockanickon standards,” he...

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Wilderness Discovery Series for Teens – classes

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016

Do you feel the call of the wild? Want to learn the basics before heading out on one of Camp’s Teen Adventure Trips this summer? Come join us for our outdoor adventure sessions at camp! Bring your friends (and make some here!) to explore our incredible 800 acres of nature for the day. Our instructors will teach you everything you need to know – no experience or equipment is necessary. In order to ensure that all participants receive personal attention, class sizes will be very limited – only 15 spots per course. Sign up online in early January 2017 by clicking “Register,” log-in or create an account, and then select “2017 All Other Programs” to secure your place! $5 per class or $15 for all four sessions Get Psyched to Hike March 11th         10 am to 2 pm Ages 12 to 17 A great opportunity to break in your boots! Shake off the winter blues and welcome spring by exploring our hiking trails. Learn how to properly pack your backpack, filter your own water, and even test your culinary skills by cooking your own lunch on our camping stoves! By the end of the day, you’ll be ready to hit the trails on your own. Beat the Wall! April 8th               1 pm to 4 pm Ages 12 to 17 You’ll get a brand new perspective of camp at the top of our 52-foot rock wall! Reach new heights as you conquer our famous ropes course. Our instructors will teach you basic climbing techniques and help you learn to feel comfortable in the air. You will learn how to safely spot, perform belay jobs, and use climbing equipment. Get your adrenaline pumping and challenge yourself! What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger: Outdoor Survival Skills 101 April 22nd             1 pm to 4 pm Ages 12 to 17 What a better way to celebrate Earth Day than by learning to live off the land? Try your hand at building survival shelters and fire building. Learn to navigate using a compass, filter water without equipment, and techniques for finding and trapping food in an emergency situation.  This is a great course for outdoor enthusiasts of any level! Canoe U May 6th                 1 pm to 4 pm Ages 12 to 17 Get your feet wet in the world of paddling! You’ll be a master canoe controller by the end of this course as you practice proper paddling techniques. Learn to avoid obstacles as you explore camp’s exciting “Amazon” and boat our beautiful lake. Our certified lifeguards will make sure you stay safe. Bon...

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A new director for Lake Stockwell Day Camp!

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016

CEO Mark Dibble announced recently that Lynn Passarella will be the new director of Lake Stockwell Day Camp. Passarella, who has been the program’s assistant director since 2011, will now oversee the operation of the co-ed summer camp program that typically accommodates about 500 kids between the ages of 3 and 15 on a daily basis during the summer months. Passarella has worked at the camp since 2010, serving in various roles including Village Chief (head counselor), Assistant School-Age Childcare Director and Camp Store Director. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Management from Lock Haven University as well as a YMCA Team Leader Certification. “Lynn Passarella is uniquely qualified to take the helm of Lake Stockwell Day Camp,” Dibble said. “She has the program experience, the leadership experience, and her commitment to and enthusiasm for Stockwell is second to none. We’re very lucky to have her and I’m excited to see all that she accomplishes over her tenure as director.” Lake Stockwell Day Camp has been a part of Camp Ockanickon since 1990, offering swimming, boating, sports, creative arts, nature education and challenge course activities on the 800-acre wooded property. Young teen campers (ages 12-15) at Stockwell participate in the Explorers Program, where in addition to the typical camp activities, they learn teamwork, communication skills and leadership and participate in weekly field trips. Older campers (ages 14 and 15) can participate in the Leader-in-Training (LIT) and Counselor-in-Training (CIT) programs, which offer the opportunity to develop leadership abilities and life skills. Stockwell also runs a Preschool Camp; both a morning session and a full-day program for ages 3 and 4. Passarella, a Medford resident, said she is excited about the new opportunity at the camp. “Honestly, I feel like this is a dream come true,” she said. “I am excited to continue to grow the day camp program.” Passarella takes over the position from Mary Ann Birchler, who until recently held a dual role as Stockwell Director and School-Age Childcare Director for YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. Birchler will now focus full-time on the camp-run School’s Out Program, which provides before- and after-school childcare in several area schools. Dibble said that the new structure will allow Birchler to concentrate her talents on School-Age Childcare. “With MaryAnn Birchler’s shift to focus full-time on School’s Out, the program is poised to significantly increase its impact on the children and families of our community,” he said. “I’m excited to watch her grow on the successes she’s already had with the program over the past six years.” “I love working with the School’s Out kids and families and I look forward to being able to do even more,” said Birchler. “We’re already in the process of planning some fun evening family events in 2017, so stay tuned.” For information on any of the camp programs, call 609-654-8225 or email info@ycamp.org.   LYNN PASSARELLA,...

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Meet Kelsey Henry – She recently joined our camp family!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016

Meet Kelsey Henry – She recently joined our camp family!

Meet our new Teen Program Coordinator! Kelsey Henry isn’t new to camp; she spent years as a Matolly camper and, starting in 2010, joined our summer staff to work as a challenge course facilitator, assistant village chief, village chief and head of the Rangers. She also gained a lot of experience working with at-risk youth and teens. Kelsey has a B.A. in Business Administration and Psychology (with Concentrations in Marketing and Child/Adolescent Development) from Muhlenberg College. She joined our full-time staff last month in the newly created position that was a direct result of a study where it was determined that high quality programs for teens are a vital need in local communities. Kelsey is already planning a host of new and exciting additions to our Ranger Programs, including a fishing and canoeing odyssey (Cast-aways); a 27-mile hike through the Old Loggers Path in Pennsylvania (Trailblazers) and a wonderful service trip where campers can make a difference in the lives of those in need (Groundbreakers). You’ll be hearing lots more about Kelsey and our enhanced program for teens, so stay tuned! (Email her at kelsey@ycamp.org. Or call her at...

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