By Rick Worrell, Lake Stockwell Day Camp

In the mid 1990’s, our YMCA and its three camps (Lake Stockwell, Ockanickon and Matollionequay) rolled out the core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility. As we and society have changed over the past years, so have the values that we identify here at camp. Today we also attend to Inclusion and Courage. These six values help us keep our programs focused on helping campers to be the best people they can be. These words are part of our language and culture here at camp. By encouraging campers to attend to these values, we help them to develop self-confidence, teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills. Whether it’s on the Challenge Course where one might choose to push their comfort zone and climb the 50+ foot climbing wall; on the archery range where a camper shoots over and over in an attempt to get closer to a bulls-eye; or at art where a child makes something with clay that actually looks like what it was intended to be.

We all have challenges that we face in our lives. Those who are in the groups with these campers are encouraged to support them as they work toward achieving their goals. We show how we are caring by supporting campers when they fall short of their goals. We treat each other with respect by including them in the activities in which we participate. We practice being responsible for ourselves and for those in our groups. We are honest about what happens at camp, and we take responsibility for our actions, good and bad. We also make sure that campers are accepted for who they are and what they are capable of doing. Sometimes it takes courage to do all of these things, and we recognize campers who exhibit this courage.