HomeMedford NewsYMCA Camp Ockanickon kicked off “The Gift of Opportunity”

YMCA Camp Ockanickon kicked off “The Gift of Opportunity”

The goal of the campaign is to raise $165,000 to provide scholarships and financial assistance to deserving children and teens.

Cydnee Perman, a Medford resident and currently an art teacher in Moorestown, was instrumental in bringing children from Atlantic City to YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford. Perman was one of the speakers at the camp’s annual campaign kick-off dinner.

YMCA Camp Ockanickon officially kicked off its annual campaign — The Gift of Opportunity — with a dinner at the dining hall of the Medford camp.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $165,000 to provide scholarships and financial assistance to deserving children and teens who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get the life-changing experience of summer camp due to financial hardship. “So far we have raised $150,000, and so are making the push with our online campaigns, calling nights, and other efforts to raise that last $15,000,” said Lynne Stanwood-Leadbeater, chair of the annual campaign and a member of camp’s board of directors. She added that because of the scholarship fund, every child or family who wants to come to camp is welcome. “We say no to no one.”

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The philanthropic goal for the year is $351,000, which includes donations not only from the annual campaign but also support from board, staff, alumni, foundations, corporations, individuals, businesses and fundraising events such as the Golf Outing held in May, Wine, Beer and Whiskey Tasting and Auction (Oct. 19) and Coach Bingo (Nov. 16).

“The theme for this campaign came from my daughter Isabella, 10, who has benefited from both day camp and overnight camp,” explained Suzette Belz, the vice president of development and major gifts. “I asked her what do we give children and teens when they come to camp and her response was ‘the gift of opportunity.’ She is right, here at camp we give children an opportunity to explore, to try new things and more importantly we give children an opportunity to belong.”

During the kick-off event, several people from various organizations, including Catholic Partnership Schools and the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia, spoke about the impact that camp has had on children. Cydnee Perman, an art teacher who until recently worked with children in Atlantic City, talked about how some of her students spend their lives amid buildings, not in nature. “When they come to camp, they can just breathe the air. For many, the experience has changed the rest of their lives.”

Each year, thanks to the support of caring individuals, organizations and foundations, YMCA Camp Ockanickon provides over $600,000 in scholarships and financial assistance to more than 700 children and teens, to attend its wide array of programs including Camp Ockanickon, a sleepaway camp for boys; Camp Matollionequay, a sleepaway camp for girls; Lake Stockwell, a co-ed day camp; and specialty camp partnerships. Many of these children come from the poorest areas in Camden, Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

CEO Mark Dibble said his favorite example to share is that children who attend camp are statistically more likely to be successful in college and their careers. “Sometimes a child needs a safe place, a warm meal, or a trusted adult to make the difference in his or her life.”

To learn more or to make a donation, contact Suzette Belz at (609) 654–8225 or suzette@ycamp.com.


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