Ockanickon’s annual campaign exceeds goal

Success of the 2017 campaign means more children are able to experience summer camp, CEO says

YMCA Camp Ockanickon reached new heights during its 2017 annual campaign, exceeding its goal of $325,000 by more than $15,000.

“We are so humbled by the generosity and support of our community,” CEO Mark Dibble said. “Our organization — through our summer camps, our School’s Out program and our Outdoor Center — impacts so many people throughout the year — about 12,000, at last count — and is such a huge benefit to the surrounding communities. It’s very touching that people recognize this and are willing to donate to our cause.”

Dibble, who took over leadership of Ockanickon in 2015, has been committed to making the non-profit camp as accessible to as many children as possible.

“Our goal is not to turn anybody away who wants to come to camp, and the reality is, in order to do this, we need a lot of financial support,” the CEO explained. “The success of our 2017 campaign means that more kids — including many from underserved areas — will be able to experience summer camp.”

Recently, more than 600 kids from areas such as Camden and Atlantic City were able to attend camp for free through Ockanickon’s ambitious scholarship fund.

“Some of these kids had never experienced anything besides city streets,” Dibble said. “By attending camp, they got to swim in a lake, often for the first time, and to challenge themselves and explore nature in a safe setting, staffed by what we like to call our professional role models.

“Camp changes kids in a most remarkable way,” Dibble added. “It’s heartwarming to see a child become more confident, more resilient and more independent over the course of a camp session or two. For many kids, it’s a life-altering experience.”

Lynne Stanwood-Leadbeater is a former camper and a staunch supporter of the organization. She is also a member of Ockanickon’s board of directors and chairs the financial development committee.

“I am so thrilled that we were able to exceed our fundraising goal this year,” she said. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the dedication of the staff and volunteers, more children and families in our community and beyond can benefit from all the wonderful programs that Ockanickon has to offer.”

Suzette Belz, Vice President of Development and Major Gifts for Ockanickon, expressed her gratitude to camp’s partners and supporters. “We couldn’t do the work we do without the commitment and support of so many. By working together, we’re able to have a tremendous impact on the lives of so many children, teens and families.”

To become a partner or to learn more about the scholarship fund, email suzette@ycamp.org or call (609) 654–8225, ext. 1509.