What’s Your Favorite Camp Story?

03 July 2018
camp stories

Summer camp is a big time for the Y. We hire more than 1,000 new employees to serve more than 13,000 campers every year. The best part is many of our staff were once campers themselves, or have children in our camps. We asked staff to share their best experiences.

“Being my first and only daughter, I am very protective over Stephanie. Camp gives me that peace of mind that, not only do I know my daughter is having fun, but she is also learning and interacting with other children and awesome counselors. YMCA summer camp is definitely a home away from home for my daughter. If it was up to her, she’d choose summer camp over school any day! As a parent, the fact that she loves a summer program so much and can’t wait for it to begin again means a lot.”

– Cindy Aguilar 
Head Group Pre-K Teacher at the Ridgewood YMCA

 “I have been involved in camp since I was 12 years old. I attended as a camper and progressed through the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program. As a result of my experiences and love for camp, I became a staff member during the summers of 1996-2003, which gave me an opportunity to lead and develop as a young adult. And I truly believe many of the skills I learned at camp have allowed me to continue to be successful throughout my Y career.”

– Michael Garcia
Senior Director of Youth and Family at the North Brooklyn YMCA

“I am an immigrant from Guyana. I first heard about summer camp when I started working at the YMCA. Before that, I had no idea what summer camp was and that something like that had even existed. But I knew from my time working as a teacher in Guyana, that I would be able bring some insight and experience to the kids that were searching for adventure and new opportunities — and that's just what I did.”

– Byresha Waithe
Assistant Program Director at the Cross Island YMCA

“Before Audrey (pictured) got involved in the Y’s summer camp, she was enrolled in the afterschool program. She was extremely shy and hardly spoke. As much as her afterschool counselors, myself, and her parents tried to encourage her to participate in events and activities, Audrey refused. That changed when she started Kindergarten Camp. Audrey completely broke out of her shell. She was involved in every activity and even took a lead part in our Literacy Day and Spirit Day event. Audrey came to camp each day laughing, smiling, and singing camp songs with her counselors. It’s amazing to see the personal growth in young campers, and how camp can allow someone to explore themselves — even at such a young age.”

– Shana Bredwood
COMPASS Program Director at the Greenpoint YMCA