summer camp

Camper scales the climbing wall on YMCA of the Pines Challenge Course.

Summer camp in 2020 looks extraordinarily different than years past, but one thing is for sure- kids need camp now more than ever. YMCA of the Pines in Medford kicked off their summer season last week with the goal of offering a safe, healthy and memorable outdoor day camp experience for kids of all ages and abilities.

In addition to Lake Stockwell Day Camp, YMCA of the Pines is offering Camp Matocky, a 2020 limited edition co-ed extended day camp program. Camp Matocky allows campers to have a similar experience to Camps Ockanickon and Matollionequay with the same great activities, traditions, songs and ceremonies, without actually sleeping at camp. The camp will provide safe programming during 4, one-week sessions and include activities such as swimming, boating, archery, mountain biking, ceramics and more.

Greg Keresztury, Chief Operating Officer, explains, “We are determined to adapt and keep the same magic and spirit that make Ockanickon and Matollionequay so special, even if it means our campers have to go home at night! Our camp team created Camp Matocky to allow campers to re-ignite summer relationships and connections, continue their journey of growth and achievement, and feel some sense of normalcy.”

Maintaining a healthy environment for campers and staff is a top priority for camp leadership. YMCA of the Pines follows CDC, New Jersey Department of Health, and American Camp Association guidance, while taking steps every day to keep everyone safe. This includes utilizing a Safety Officer whose sole role is to observe and coach staff to ensure that they are living and modeling good hygiene and sanitizing practices.

Additional new procedures include daily temperature screening and a series of health questions at check-in, limited group sizes, mask-wearing in appropriate situations, floor markings and signage to mark safe distances, hand sanitizer stations, and modified program activities for limited physical contact.

Mark Dibble, CEO, shares, “Across our entire organization from the front office, to our kitchen, to housekeeping and everything in between, we have put rigorous safety guidelines in place to care for the health of our campers and staff.” He adds, “We also understand that the isolation and stress that children and adolescents have experienced throughout the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental and emotional health. We’re confident that camp can provide that sense of normalcy and social connectivity that is more important now than ever.”

YMCA of the Pines is an interfaith, charitable association dedicated to helping children, teens and families explore, grow, thrive and ultimately become the best version of themselves. It is located on 800 acres off Stokes Road in Medford, NJ. For more information, visit www.ycamp.org, call 609-654-8225 or email info@ycamp.org.

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