Last Tuesday, the 23rd of June, a large storm hit New Jersey and Pennsylvania wherein thousands lost power. YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. was no exception and like most of Medford, also lost power. As the storm hit, all of the overnight campers were moved into their respective dining halls. Once the backup generators started kicking in, plans were made for the evening’s activities. In both dining halls, a dance party was held, after which the campers watched a movie for the night! As these activities went on, counselors gradually made their way to cabins in order to carry back mattresses for the campers so that each camp could have a large sleepover where everyone slept in the dining halls. Once the mattresses arrived at Ockanickon, the campers went on to build mattress forts! In the morning after the sleepover party, they even had breakfast in bed.
When the campers emerged the next day to see their camp, the storm had taken its toll. Trees had been knocked down, branches and leaves were everywhere and some of the tents had been damaged. Even Lake Stockwell Day Camp and the Preschool Camp had been closed for the day. With this much damage, nearly one hundred staff members and volunteers came to camp to help with the massive cleanup. We had old staff, returning staff, first year staff, and volunteers arrive all to ask, “How can I help?” We even had a few volunteers come over from Fort Dix! As people arrived to help, some brought supplies and tools. While some raked away the leaves and branches, others used their chainsaws to help cut the fallen trees into smaller pieces so that they may be moved out of the way. Any trees that the staff could not handle, Adler Contracting Services worked to remove them. By the end of the day Lake Stockwell and the Preschool Camp were ready to reopen for Thursday. Even the overnight camps were all ready to still host their big Aloha themed dance for the session!
We greatly appreciate everyone that came out to clean up camp and as an additional bonus we were able to see how camp inspires others to help! It was a day were one could see the impact camp has wherein old staff, returning staff, first year staff, and volunteers all come back to help in a time of need. Thank you to everyone who came out to help with the clean up!