Hello from the CEO’s office!

You may notice some changes at camp this summer so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on those changes. In an effort to role model a healthier lifestyle for our campers, YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. has signed up to be a part of the Y of the USA’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) initiative. The HEPA initiative provides a series of guidelines for how to help improve our participants’ overall health.


Healthy Eating

Some of the changes that you may notice in our dining halls and trading posts include:

·         Foods lower in sugar and fat content ·         No sugary drinks
·         No saturated fats ·         No candy
·         No deep fried foods ·         Whole grains when grains are served

In addition, our School’s Out program is also evaluating the snacks we provide to offer healthier alternatives to the traditional fare.

Many of our favorites will still be available. The store will still have Chipwiches. Chefs Jason and Kimmie will still serve Pretzel Melts and Taco Tuesdays, and, of course, you can’t have summer camp without s’mores!

We understand that change is hard but never has change been more necessary. Did you know:

  • The average American eats 100 pounds of added sweeteners/year. Almost ¼ pounds per day!
  • There is 420 calories in ¼ pound of sugar! An average adult would have to run almost 1 hour to burn off all those calories!
  • The saturated and trans fats often used to prepare fried food significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The preschool years are crucial for obesity prevention since the development of fat tissue typically occurs from ages 3 to 7.
  • Adults who engage in outdoor activities most likely began doing so between the ages of 5 and 18. Outdoor activities can be enjoyed in a variety of locations, are often less expensive than indoor activities, and can foster lifelong activity.


Physical Activity

There is no doubt that we do a great job engaging our campers in physical activity. We send our campers home tired, dirty, and hopefully (a little bit) sad to be leaving! Unfortunately as schools face continued budget cuts and increased constraints on their educational time, the amount of physical activity provided during the school day has diminished over the years. We see this as an opportunity for YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. to make a difference. This summer we are evaluating how we provide physical fitness opportunities to the participants in our School’s Out program. Despite the limited options we have for activity space at some of our sites, we are committed to finding ways to get our participants moving!



We will also be engaging our School’s Out’s families. We understand that parents, caregivers, and child care providers share the responsibility for children during important developmental years. We look forward to partnering with parents and caregivers on finding ways to support health goals for their children.

Lastly, our facilities are now 100% smoking free.


Thank you all for reading and see you at camp!

Mark Dibble