VP of Camping Message, Spring 2012 - YMCA of Three Rivers Waterloo Region

VP of Camping Message, Spring 2012

A message from

VP of Camping, Callum McKee

Here we are at the beginning of another camp season eagerly preparing for this year's campers and staff. We know they're all counting sleeps until summer camp begins...only 32 more!

We are happy to share with you that 2,939 campers are currently registered for YMCA Camps Belwood, Ki-Wa-Y and Wabanaki. We consider this a sign that parents of today continue to see summer camp as a valuable experience of childhood, just as parents did yesterday.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Stefanie Feth, our new Camp Belwood Director. Stef began with our Y in 2000, and joined our camps in 2003. She spent a number of summers at Ki-Wa-Y in a variety of senior positions, including Program Director, C.I.T. Trainer and two years as the Assistant Director. Stef continued to expand her program and staff development skills as Head Guard, and then Supervisor of Aquatics at the A.R. Kaufman Family Y and the new Stork Family Y. She is busy planning for the summer, and can't wait to welcome new and returning campers to the "compact camp with the big camp fun!"


May weekends at camp can be quite productive and this year was no exception. As the sun beamed down on "Sunny" Camp Belwood, our alumni work group, Bacchanal, worked to replace old shingled cabin roofs with new tin roofing. Thanks guys, for helping keep our camp well-maintained and looking great, as well as ensuring our campers and staff are well protected from the elements! Check out this video by Bacchanal member Sean Lehan, with a very cool version of the weekend's work project.


With finishing touches complete on the straw bale cabins, Camp Ki-Wa-Y/the Outdoor Centre is now housing spring residential school groups in these structures, and will soon greet summer campers. The arrangement of these cabins with new program pod (still undergoing final detailing) not only provides a unique and green community-like space at the top of the gully, but also educates and promotes environmental building alternatives.


The Wabanaki Renewal project is continuing to move ahead at a steady pace. Here's an update on the latest projects:

Kaufman Bridge: The bridge has been reconstructed as an essential, sturdy and permanent link to the updated 22-acre island. We thank Tom and Beth (Pletch) Kaufman for their support and generous donation.

Waterfront, including the Amatol Pagoda and new swimming docks: The finishing touches are now on the Waterfront Pagoda. Amatol members contributed their time, skill and financial support to ensure that Wabanaki campers have a shaded and comfortable area out of the elements during the hot and sunny summer months. We thank our Amatol alumni work group for their continuing support. Entering the second summer of use, we have a new floating dock system for swimming. A hub of the camp, the swimming docks and pagoda provide space for Wabanaki campers to gather and enjoy the best of Lake Vernon. We would like to extend a special thank you to all those who contributed their time, skill and financial support to the Wabanaki waterfront swimming docks.


One thing I really enjoy about spring is the opportunity to reconnect with past camp staff on alumni days. Getting together with camp friends and reminiscing about our youth, camp time and memories always leaves me feeling nostalgic and energized. I hope to see many of you again at this year's events and if you haven't had the chance to make it out to an alumni event yet, I do hope you will reconnect when the time suits you.


Only two years away, and yes, we are counting down days already! Please help us find other camp folk from your time at camp. It is important to us at Outdoor Services that we make every effort to reconnect with as many alumni as possible to ensure they are in the loop about the upcoming reunion.

Hope to see you sometime back at camp!