By Mark Dibble, CEO – YMCA of the Pines
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
~Juliet to Romeo
It is just as true today as when Shakespeare penned it 400 years ago. Our name is not what defines us. The character of our organization defines us. Our name has changed but our people have not, our ideals have not, our history has not. On December 12, 2018, we start operating as YMCA of the Pines. On December 13, 2018 we are not one day old, we are 112 years old.
So why are we changing our name? In recent years, it became apparent that having the organization’s name the same as the boys camp name created confusion and limited the public’s perception of what we do here.
We are not only a camp.
Many people don’t realize that our reach and impact extend far beyond our popular summer camps – Ockanickon for boys, Matollionequay for girls and co-ed Lake Stockwell Day Camp. We are impacting the lives of children, teens and families 52 weeks per year. We offer school-age childcare, teen leadership programs, family programs, outdoor education and recreation programs, corporate teambuilding and retreats, school trips, conferences during the non-summer months. We also provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial aid for these non-camp programs.
And while the YMCA Camp Ockanickon name is well known in our community, we wanted a name and a vision that is inclusive of all of our camps, our departments and our impact.
We also want to reassure our camp family and the community that this name change has nothing to do with a merger or leadership change. This was an internal decision, stemming from discussions that began well over a year ago. We haven’t been taken over; we haven’t been bought out. We still have the same key team members on our staff and board of directors. We will continue to be good neighbors and to be there to meet community needs.
We also believe this name change will help better define the identity of our boys camp. We’re very proud of the historic name Ockanickon and what it stands for. We are certain that it conjures endless happy memories for generations of campers. Because Ockanickon is still the name of our boys camp, it’s still part of who we are. But we’re confident that the name YMCA of the Pines will better represent who we are. We’re excited for this change, and we hope the community will embrace our new name, too.
We have also added to our core values. Those who know us, know that we live our Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. As a staff and board we asked ourselves “are these the right core values?” “Are they enough?” “Do they signify who we are and who we want to be?” We decided that two sentiments were missing. These are best summed up as “Courage” and “Inclusion.”
Courage: While we’re here for fun, we also exist to challenge people. More than anything, children these days need a sense of resiliency (or grit). We provide this. We provide a safe environment that allows people to fail, to be okay with failing, and to push themselves harder the next time. We hear all the time from parents and experts alike that young adults today lack resiliency. Our young adults don’t.
Inclusion: The world can look like a scary place, especially to a young person. We strive to be the place where everyone feels like they belong. I can’t state it any better than our DIG (Diversity, Inclusion & Global) committee has:
“YMCA of the Pines is committed to welcoming all, to celebrating differences and to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion in all that we do. By creating a safe, accepting, respectful atmosphere locally, we strive to inspire campers, staff members and visitors to not only thrive and grow, but to spread this perspective globally, as they leave and go off into the world beyond camp.” – Statement on Diversity and Inclusion, adopted by our Board in 2018.
We look forward to continuing to grow with our community. We look forward to continuing to be a bridge between what our community has and what our community needs. And we look forward to continuing to be a place where people of all ages can Explore, Grow and Thrive. Whether we’re YMCA Camp Ockanickon or YMCA of the Pines, we still smell as sweet as we ever did.