Outdoor Education at a Local YMCA

by Samuel Goldberg

This Summer I worked at the Hockomock area YMCA in North Attleboro MA. Along side my supervisor, David Lovely-Taillon, we were in charge of the eldest (11-13 years old) group of kids on campus, Voyagers, as we liked to called them. Being in charge of the Voyagers meant getting them ready to move on from camp or become counselors in training (CIT). Prior to this job, I have been a camp counselor for three different sessions at a different camp in Texas. This previous experience, with the addition of being a camper for over 5 years, allowed me to quickly get comfortable at the YMCA. Although it was a new environment, a summer camp has one purpose, to have the campers have fun. With this in mind, I was able to focus on the campers and what they got out of their day at camp.

This year was a very different year for summer camps. With COVID regulations in place, we had to figure out how to keep the kids safe while still providing them with the entertainment they were looking for. Everyone on the camp site wore masks, all games/activities involving touching were banned or we figured a way to work around touching, and hand sanitizer was at every corner. Because of how rough the situation was around us outside of camp, we wanted to make sure that the kids were able to get a good distraction and a break from everything going on around them. This was the only time they were allowed to leave home and most of them had not seen their friends in many weeks. Although it was hard, this experience was very rewarding as I believe I achieved my goal of helping these kids have a good time in a climate that is not really inviting of fun and laughter.