(Register early! You’ll save money, and ensure a positive, life-enhancing experience for your child)

By Susan Miller

When I was first hired as Director of Marketing/Communications of YMCA Camp Ockanickon back in 2015, I wondered what the full-time staff did here after summer camp ended in August. After all, the campers are gone, the counselors have returned to their non-summer lives …. what was there to do? Boy, was I in for a surprise!

Not long after we wave goodbye to the last of the summer campers and staff, we dig right into planning for a whole host of upcoming events. As I’m writing this, it’s still September and we’re already gearing up for Mother/Child Weekend (Sept. 28-30), Women’s Wellness Weekend (Oct. 5-7) and our Wine, Beer & Whiskey Tasting fundraiser (Oct. 19). We also have class trips and retreats scheduled almost daily from now through the holidays. Later in the year, we’ll have holiday events and winter camp, and in the spring, more groups and open house events. Turns out camp is a busy place – all year long!

And even though it’s still technically summer, we’re already in full planning mode for next summer. The first thing we do at the end of summer is survey our camper families and do a “debrief” with the staff to discuss what went well and what could be improved upon for next year. At Lake Stockwell Day Camp, we’re already working on adding routes to the 2019 bus schedule. At Ockanickon, our boys sleepaway camp, and Matollionequay, our girls sleepaway camp, we’ve already begun planning new programs and events for summer 2019.

When planning so far in advance, it really helps to know how many campers we might expect next year. In an effort to get an idea of our 2019 enrollment, we’re offering early registration incentives for all of our summer camp programs:

Lake Stockwell Day Camp 2019 (including Preschool Camp)

Sign up by Dec. 14, 2018 – save 7%

Sign up by Feb. 15, 2019 – save 5%

Sign up April 1, 2019 – save 3%

Camps Ockanickon & Matollionequay 2019

Sign up by Oct. 31, 2018 – save 5%


Getting a jump on enrollment will help us hire staff, design programs and purchase supplies. We’re hoping it will also help parents shore up their next summer schedules well in advance. Not to worry …. We give families ample opportunity to adjust their camp schedule in case their own plans change. We also reduce the deposit required for those who sign up early. Our goal is to make early registration as easy and as convenient as possible for our camp families.

Now that I’ve been at camp for three years, I understand the hard work and dedication that goes into planning for year-round activities, including summer camp. It’s awesome in every way. And I get to witness firsthand how the camp experience really transforms lives for the better. The more families that we can positively impact, the better. So if you’re invested in investing (or reinvesting) in your child’s camp experience, please consider registering early (online at ycamp.org) for Summer Camp 2019. You’ll be glad you did!