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So far YMCA of the Pines has created 820 blog entries.

Summer Intern & School’s Out Counselor

By |2023-03-30T12:52:35-04:00March 30th, 2023|

  By Betsy Lockett, Summer 2022 Communication Intern. From playing in an elementary school and watching little smiles grow, to bleaching toys and monitoring temperatures, to now, taking phone calls, filing papers, and writing this blog from the Welcome Center, my time spent at the YMCA of the Pines has been extraordinarily fruitful in reward, knowledge, and experience. Beginning in 2019, I worked for the Y’s School’s Out program at Cranberry Pines here in Medford. Still a kid myself, I had the chance to grow alongside my students, as they taught me patience, responsibility, adventure, creativity, and how to make [...]

Summer Camp 2022 Blog

By |2022-09-20T15:57:17-04:00September 20th, 2022|

This summer at Camp Matollionequay, we took the time to think about ways in our life that we needed to Explore and Grow, and how to Thrive in those areas. We use what we call our 6 Green Feather Qualities: Ascender, Elder, Spirit, Stargazer, Storm, and Monk. Each of these qualities represent a character value and a way to grow in life. At the beginning of each session, we introduced to the campers the qualities and their importance to camp and life outside of camp. The camper could choose either a quality that they most identify with, or one that [...]

Happy Retirement to Cindy Culotta…The Legend has Retired

By |2022-09-16T15:47:40-04:00September 16th, 2022|

How does an organization say goodbye to a part of its soul? This question may seem saccharine or hyperbolic when used in the context of an individual’s retirement, but I think it is entirely appropriate in this case. Cindy Culotta has worked here for over 23 years. And though our name and her title have both changed in the intervening years, her role did not. During those years she was always our most senior finance employee. But she has also been our cheerleader, our friend, our head of HR (much to her consternation), our most persnickety proofreader (sometimes to our [...]

My Y Story

By |2022-06-08T14:17:19-04:00June 8th, 2022|

By Kaitlyn Kennedy, Housekeeping Supervisor The YMCA of the Pines to me is a 2nd home. A place I always wanted to be and always wanted to work. The YMCA has an environment of acceptance, inclusion and the freedom to be who you are or who you want to be.  You're creative like I was? Express yourself at arts and ceramics! You're athletic and love to compete? Gaga is for you! You enjoy the calm beauty of the Pine Barrens? Fishing and nature is where you can see the environment up close and slow down. I always came back to [...]

Recent Camp News…

By |2021-11-18T18:10:32-05:00November 18th, 2021|

YMCA of the Pines Families, Because you are important to us, we want to share some recent camp news! Our Camp Ockanickon Director, Matt Foran, will be leaving our organization to take on the next step in his career. Today is Matt’s last day, as he will be moving on to work with youth from lower-income households. Matt has been a key member of our leadership team for 5 years, and was instrumental in developing the Ockanickon Character Universe (the “OCU”), our remarkable character-development program.  We recognize that many of you have formed wonderful relationships with Matt through the years. [...]

Why a Wilderness Trip this Summer?

By |2021-02-24T09:37:46-05:00February 24th, 2021|

By Carol Yard, Wilderness Programs Director at YMCA of the Pines You may already be thinking about warmer days ahead- we certainly are!  I wanted to share some thoughts about our wilderness trips and why we believe they are a great option in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Wilderness trips are a relatively safe way for kids to get outside this summer! The expeditions take place outside in the fresh air with few to no other people around We are in a small group of 8-12 people total, including instructors We don’t interact with people outside of this [...]

Why I Choose to be a BOLD & GOLD Director

By |2021-02-02T13:06:13-05:00January 20th, 2021|

Why I Choose to be a BOLD & GOLD Director By Carol Yard, Wilderness Programs Director at YMCA of the Pines My Top 3: • I believe in the transformative power of the wilderness to heal, empower, and connect. • I believe in the people in charge of BOLD & GOLD, making decisions at a national level. I know each one personally and know them all to be people of integrity and passion. • I believe in young people—to stand up for what's right, and for the ability to adapt as they encounter new information and have new experiences. Other [...]

Camp Matocky: Re-Imagining the Summer Camp Experience in 2020

By |2020-11-09T14:03:38-05:00November 9th, 2020|

The global pandemic that rocked the world in 2020 turned the camp experience upside down. In June, when we learned with less than a month to prepare that we would be unable to operate summer sleepaway camps in New Jersey, our overnight camp directors, Charlotte Brown (Camp Matollionequay) and Matt Foran (Camp Ockanickon) pivoted and created Camp Matocky -- an extended day camp aimed at recreating the overnight camp experience. Camp Matocky ultimately earned the Harold Breene Youth Education Award from the American Camp Association New York and New Jersey in recognition of actively promoting youth development in a unique [...]

YMCA of the Pines 2020 Summer Recap and Moving Forward

By |2020-09-24T11:28:51-04:00September 24th, 2020|

September 24, 2020 Greetings from YMCA of the Pines! Now that our summer camp season has ended, I wanted to provide an update recapping the 2020 summer, and looking ahead to the 2020 – 2021 school year. 2020 SUMMER CAMP RECAP This was a unique summer, but our staff did a fantastic job collaborating and delivering impactful summer camp experiences at a time when our campers and their families needed us most. Our staff went above and beyond by developing creative ways to approach camp differently while still giving campers a sense of normalcy. We’re proud to announce that we [...]

Some Thoughts on Climbing, COVID, and Camp

By |2020-07-09T16:17:57-04:00July 9th, 2020|

By: Greg Keresztury, Chief Operating Officer At the time that I am writing this piece, we are three days into 2020 summer camp. We at YMCA of the Pines are grateful to Governor Murphy for the opportunity to provide a summer camp experience for youth this summer. Given how uncertain things looked in the spring amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we are all taking every opportunity to seize joy and enjoy each moment this summer, no matter how small. We are also thankful for the New Jersey Department of Health for the guidance provided to allow us to operate this summer [...]

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