Hi. My name is Darleen Blesi and I have the pleasure of serving as the Director of Development at YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. I found camp when I responded to a help wanted ad in The Central Record in 2008. I was eventually hired in 2009. I have truly fallen in love with camp. My favorite moment at camp occurred at the 2014 Wine, Beer and Whiskey Tasting. A camper parent spoke to the guests about the impact that camp had on his son. The parent also shared with the audience how vital the scholarship money had been in bringing his son to camp. This speech not only impacted me but it clearly had an impact on the attendees as well because we were able to raise an additional $3500 from the guests to bring children to camp! Anytime a camper or a parent of a camper speaks about how camp has made a difference in their life, I am reminded that what I do does make a difference and creates a positive change. Camp has also changed me due to the effect it has had on my three sons, Connor, Garrett and Tiernan. In short, I love camp and seeing how what I do makes a difference is why I keep coming back.
Since I joined Ockanickon, the majority of my time is spent raising money for scholarships. In addition, I coordinate special events and work with alumni while establishing relationships with donors, board members and the community. I also write grants to fund our special needs camps. Two of the projects that I am working on throughout the year is the Annual Appeal and Project 396. The Annual Appeal is the fundraising efforts that brings scholarship funds to camp via alumni, donors, community members and special events. Our special events include Coach Bingo, the Golf Event, Wine, Beer and Whiskey Tasting and the Gobbler Run. Project 396 is a new campaign that we have embarked on. It is the number of campers that we want to send to camp in 2016, meaning we are raising scholarship funds to send 396 kids to camp. You may see banners around camp with the numbers 396 and we hope that you ask us about it. We hope you will consider donating this year and I hope to see you at one of our events!