Historic Anniversary and 6 Degrees of Separation…

Posted by on Aug 28, 2013

  Hello all… Today marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” speech. It is noted as one of the largest political rallies in United States history for human rights. Just over a year later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest recipient of the award at the time. The man standing in the photo above, Thich Nhat Hanh, was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for that very same honor in 1967… but there was no recipient of the award that year. Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. said during his nomination of Thich Nhat Hanh, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity”. Thich Nhat Hanh is a world renowned Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, author, teacher, poet and peace activist. He has published over 100 books… and… Well… you can look him up on Wikipedia or Google him for yourself… I won’t bother recounting facts and figures from the internet. What I will tell you that you might not know and probably won’t find with any internet searches… is that this picture of a 36 year old Thich Nhat Hanh was taken here… right here at YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford, New Jersey, in 1962 His published journal, Fragrant Palm Leaves (1962 – 1966) recounts time spent here in the United States and studying and teaching at Princeton & Columbia… and the first line of the first entry in the journal from July 18th 1962 reads… “I am in a cabin called ‘Pomona’…” We know that place, right? Thich Nhat Hahn held company with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…. and 51 years ago he walked the shores of our cedar lakes, played with our Campers… found peace amongst our pines… lived in the very lodge named Pomona where our Preschool Day Camp operated from for the first time this summer… and was attended by our 3 year old daughter, Charlotte. I can’t help but to feel a very special and interesting “Six Degrees of Separation” today… and I can only hope that one day, thanks to a loving family, wonderful friends and role models in her life… and growing up in this environment we call “Camp”, guided by the Four Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility… that Charlotte will one day have her own dream, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did… and reach for greatness. Be good… Chef...

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The Y….MCA

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013

So, in 2010 the YMCA officially became known as just The Y. In 1844, industrialized London was a place of great turmoil and despair. For the young men who migrated to the city from rural areas to find jobs, London offered a bleak landscape of tenement housing and dangerous influences. Twenty-two-year-old George Williams, a farmer-turned-department store worker, was troubled by what he saw. He joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets. Although an association of young men meeting around a common purpose was nothing new, the Y offered something unique for its time. The organization’s drive to meet social need in the community was compelling, and its openness to members crossed the rigid lines separating English social classes. Years later, retired Boston sea captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan, working as a marine missionary, noticed a similar need to create a safe “home away from home” for sailors and merchants. Inspired by the stories of the Y in England, he led the formation of the first U.S. YMCA at the Old South Church in Boston on December 29, 1851. (taken from www.ymca.net) For more information about the history of The Y…please head to the following link;...

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Camp is Changing

Posted by on May 14, 2013

Watching the seasons change our environment is one of the great benefits to living here at camp. I love the sudden change when the leaves grow back and everything is green again. The changing seasons always bring about new families staying here at camp. For instance the geese are raising five babies that follow them around near the lake everyday. Behind Ockenhouse there are two wood ducks named Wilma and Fred waiting on their eggs to hatch. Watching deer in the Matolly field eating with their young is a sight to see. If you haven’t gotten a chance recently to come out and see the place transforming then I encourage you to come to our open house on May 19 or come spend the weekend with your family at our Memorial Day Camp May 24-27. Just as everything at camp grows so do the people who come here. I find it amazing how fast our campers grow up. Even watching my fellow staff member’s children grow is really exciting. This past weekend we had our mother child event and it brought some very familiar faces to camp. I really enjoyed catching up with everyone that I have not seen in many months and also building relationships with so many new people. I look forward to the next opportunity when I get to see all of my friends from this weekend back at camp. Whether that be summer camp, family camps, or the next mother child weekend this past weekend really reminded me of how fortunate I am to be apart of something truly special. Every day is a great day when you are in a place as wonderful as Camp Ockanickon....

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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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Roll Up Your Sleeves

Posted by on Apr 13, 2013

When you volunteer at Camp Ockanickon, you take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change right in your own neighborhood. For RUYS, our Camp staff develops a task list ranging from jobs that require no specific skills to jobs that require someone with carpentry, plumbing or electrical skills. RUYS is an amazing opportunity for students looking to fulfill community service hours and companies, individuals and families who just want to make a difference and help give back. We look forward to seeing you!...

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