Hello! My name is Melissa DiMona and I am the assistant director for Lake Stockwell Day Camp and the School’s Out program! I first came to YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. via the School’s Out program, which my two children attended. Soon afterwards, I sent my children to Camp Firefly, a program at Ockanickon which is a bereavement camp for children who have lost a parent, sibling, or other special someone through death. Later on, I ended up sending my children to the overnight camps.
I first joined as staff for Ockanickon in November of 2012. I had heard about an open position at the camp working in their main office. I applied and luckily, I was offered the position! I started working as their front desk receptionist until 2014, when a new position opened up working as one of the assistant directors for Lake Stockwell Day Camp and the School’s Out program. Soon after applying, I was chosen for the position and began to work alongside the other assistant director, Lynn Passarella, and the camp director, MaryAnn Birchler. With little time between starting the job and the summer for 2014, I spent the first summer learning as much as I could about the program. Then this past year, I helped support the staff and was able to be more comfortable and confident with my position and was ready for the summer of 2015!
My favorite thing about YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Inc. is the connection that my children have with this place. They both go to the overnight camps, Ockanickon and Matollionequay, and every time they come back from camp, I can just see how much they have grown. It means so much to me as a parent and as an employee to see how much camp can impact children. It is one of the reasons I wanted to work here! I joined Ockanickon because of the change I have seen it bring within my own kids, but I stay at camp because of the impact it has on our campers. It makes me so happy to be involved in a program that can foster so much positive change, and there is almost no greater feeling than when I see that change happen over time.
My favorite memory at camp so far has been giving out the Tri Feather award for Lake Stockwell this past summer. I felt honored to be Princess Stockwell and although I was really nervous, I was very proud of our staff and was so happy to give out the award. For this upcoming year, I’m excited to continue my education with the Y Exchange, and all the changes going on within our program, like how we are introducing the Healthy Eating and Physical Action (HEPA) standards into our School’s Out program. I can’t wait for our School’s Out program to start this year, and I hope you all have a great school year!