Greetings from the Kitchens at the YMCA of the Pines!!

It’s been a while since I put the proverbial pen to paper and sent a blog post out into the world for all of our campers, friends and families to read and I thought a message was about due!

I wanted to take this opportunity to catch everyone up on a few things… most of all, some of the positive and well received changes and new offerings and options coming out of our kitchens this season!

Starting this summer, we have made cereal available at every meal! In addition to all of the other choices and side dishes and salads, now there is always the tried and true, go-to cereal and milk. When we can’t quite find something to tempt your pallet… or the summer heat has you just wanting something simple and light… cereal might be the thing that does the trick. Now mind you… we aren’t serving the crazy sugary junk… only lightly sweetened or non-sweetened cereals here. As an added bonus, not only do we serve cow’s milk but we also serve rice milk and soy milk for those needing a dairy-free diet! On top of that, 5 out of the 6 cereal choices are naturally gluten-free! Something for everyone!

Not a recent addition but one that has steamrolled in popularity this year… and I have been bombarded by parents’ emails requesting the recipe once the children get home from camp and rave about it… Rice Milk (Arroz de Leche). A hot breakfast item akin to oatmeal but made with rice and milk. It is a traditional Mexican dish brought here by some of my staff to much adulation by everyone. It is an absolute favorite breakfast, served hot and fresh every morning. The great thing about the Rice Milk is that it is a great alternative to oatmeal if you are adhering to a gluten-free diet!

This summer we have also made a push to keep fresh salads available like egg salad, potato salad, pasta salad, cucumber and yogurt salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, my Chef’s Special couscous salad and any other salads our creative kitchen teams can come up with, available at every lunch and dinner. All of these are in addition to our famous Salad Bar and “Build Your Own” sandwich station. We can hardly keep up because everyone is thoroughly enjoying the salads! Have you ever made 40 pounds of pasta salad? It’s quite a sight… and to have it consumed in a day… even more of a thing to behold.

Did I mention fruit? Apples and oranges are the standard and we purchase any other “hand fruits” like bananas, peaches, plums, nectarines and pears that we can find in season… and they are available all day or as long as we can keep them; the children and staff love fresh fruit and everything goes FAST!!

At Lake Stockwell Day Camp, we have added an after-lunch snack in addition to the afternoon snack (around 3 pm) to keep everyone’s energy high for the fun-filled days at camp. New additions to the snack offerings include Jell-o cups, corn bread chips, Gogurt, 100% fruit juice fruit snacks, 100% fruit juice popsicles, string cheese with pretzels, oatmeal bars, pudding cups, shortbread cookies… and I’m sure I’m missing a few. These are all in addition to the snacks that everyone has been enjoying for years. The fresh fruit I mentioned is always available at snack times, too, so if someone wants to forgo the Jell-O for example, there’s always a choice there. We also accommodate for all special diets and allergies by providing suitable alternatives as needed or requested.

I have also expanded our overall menu entree offerings. A lot of these new additions impact the Overnight Camps mostly as there are a few new breakfast items and dinner items. Some of the lunch additions and changes were made last summer! I won’t tempt you with mouth-watering descriptions here… you’ll just have to hear all about their favorite meals from your camper! Also, not every new menu item is served every single session so I wouldn’t want to tease you with something that might not be served on a particular week. You’ll just have to send your camper for more weeks to sample all of the delicious entrees!!

So, there you have it… a snapshot of some of the great new changes and additions to the Food Services here at camps Ockanickon, Matollionequay and Lake Stockwell that keep the children full and happy and cheering for their cooks!

If you ever have any questions about anything Food Service-related here at camp, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

Thanks for reading!!


Bon appetite!


Chef Jason

Food Service Director