Nearly 60 Camden children got their first taste of summer camp last week. We funded camperships at Camp Speers YMCA in the Poconos for 5 children whose families would not otherwise have been able to afford summer camp.
Summer camp offers many experiences that are new to city kids—not only experiencing wildlife firsthand (and handling crawly things) but also canoeing in a lake, walking through the woods, learning archery, and, of course, toasting s’mores over a campfire.
“Camden children live surrounded by brick and concrete,” said Elena Piperno, Domenica Foundation director. “Some kids have to stay indoors all summer long because their neighborhoods don’t offer safe spaces for play. We wanted them to feel the sun on their face, breathe the forest air, and enjoy fun outdoor activities.”
Summer camp also builds important life skills, such as:
- Independence. For most campers, this was the first time they slept away from home.
- Resilience. Campers learn that they can be afraid of sleeping away from home (or crawly things, lake water, new cabinmates, whatever) and still be okay.
- Grit. No one is good at archery or wall climbing the first time. But counselors and fellow campers encourage each camper to try again—and so campers learn to persist through obstacles.
“Camden Y, a branch of YMCA of Greater Philadelphia, is our newest grantee, and this is the first time we’ve sponsored summer camperships,” said Elena. “It meant a lot to us to be able to offer Camden children the unique growth opportunity that is summer camp.”
“It was also important to us that Camp Speers integrated the new Camden campers into a regular week of summer camp along with children from other backgrounds. They all lived and learned together in a supportive environment.”
See more photos of Camden (and other) summer campers on the Camp Speers Facebook page.