YMCA Camp Chase
A BRANCH OF THE YMCA OF GREATER HARTFORD

Unsolicited POSITIVE Feedback

Hi Michael – It’s probably not often you get unsolicited POSITIVE feedback…  so brace yourself.  Ha…  LOL.  I honestly want to tell you how thrilled my husband and I have been with the program you have established at Camp Chase.  It is wonderful how much you (and all the staff members) genuinely care about each and every child there.  As parents, it makes our difficult task of letting our kids be in someone else’s care so much easier.  From the attention you give to simple (but so important) things like making sure the kids reapply their sunscreen and drink enough water throughout the day…  to the phone calls that come out during the week from the counselors just to “check-in” with us to see how our kids are feeling about their camp experience…   it has just been wonderful. I also wanted to point out how impressed I am with the policies you have established surrounding bus pick-up and drop-off.  I absolutely love the fact that no child is allowed to board the bus until a parent’s signature is officially on that piece of paper.  And that no child would EVER be dropped off without an authorized person there to physically pick them up.  I will tell you that at the bus route (Bus D – Cigna), there is another camp bus that also picks-up/drops-off.  I cannot tell you how many times they have just let a child off the bus without a parent there yet to greet them.  Myself and one of the other Camp Chase moms always watches to make sure she makes it into the Cigna lobby to wait for Dad, and doesn’t wander somewhere she shouldn’t be.  We always talk about how thrilled we are with our bus driver and counselors…  knowing that if we were ever running late for some reason, we do not need to worry about our child being left alone like that! So, to sum all that up (sorry to be so wordy!)…   we think you, and the entire Camp Chase staff, are AWESOME!!!   She loves her time there and we can’t thank you enough.  She will actually be at the FV YMCA camp for the next couple of weeks, and then you’ll see her back at Camp Chase for one more week before school starts up again.  (Can’t believe that is fast approaching!). Thanks again Michael and have a wonderful rest of your summer!...

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Pat’s Update from Summer 2014

Hello Camp Chase!! How are you all doing!? Since I have come back to Barcelona, my life has changed completely. I will be graduated in a few weeks as a CHEMISTRY. That’s the reason why I couldn’t come back to camp this summer. However, thanks to my experience acquired at Camp, I got a new job this year: i’m an english teacher! Well, last summer I lost a lot of moments with my brother, so now I use the time to go everywhere with him. As you can see, he compete in cross country races. That’s the reason why last month I made my introduction to mountain biking. Moreover, in September I will be beginning an education master for being a chemistry teacher 😀 I would like to come back next summer! I will do my best for making it possible. The last days at Camp I realized how much I was going to lose and win at the same time. I won amazing moments and experiences that I won’t be able to forget. I lose people around me that make my experience unforgetable, but luckily they steel here next to me even we are hundred of miles away. At Camp Chase I had learnt that you should always be who you really are, no matter what, no matter where. I met hundred of kids and also, I have met amazing people like all the staff at Camp and my host family. I’m so happy to say that I’m in contact with my family, my friends and a lot of kids from Camp!! The best part of everything is that I met with Andy Shepard in Barcelona one month ago!! And I will travel to Turkey for two weeks to visit Gizem!! Rachel Mariann will come to visit me next summer, and hopefully Kyle Saraceno too 🙂 It is awesome to be in contact with most of you. Well, that’s a little bit of me. Thank you for everything and for giving me the opportunity to be part of Camp Chase. All of you will be always in my heart and I hope I will see you all soon. DON’T FORGET ME, I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU...

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Gizem is missing Camp.

Last summer we had three AMAZING staff come to spend the summer with us. We wanted to have them update you on what has happened in the past year. Our First update is from Gizem… I graduated from university and now I am officially an English teacher who cannot wait to be with amazing children! I am with a group of 7 children for a nature camp. My international sister Pat whom I met at camp Chase last summer is coming to Turkey on August, 10th! I have been talking with my A…merican family and I cannot wait to see them again on September!! My life has changed since last summer and I am so glad for that change! I thank you all to be a part of this change with your help; consciously or unconsciously! You all made me realize that; my hometown is the Earth and my garden is the sky! We miss you ssssooooo much and remember, we only expect great things from you –...

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Jennifer’s Experience

Our Experience We approached Camp Chase with quite low expectations and high anxiety.  However after reaching out to camp director ahead of time and working with him to ensure he understood Jennifer’s personality and provided him with her IEP we were willing to give it a shot, and we were so glad we did: Jennifer came home from camp everyday full of excitement.  Her demeanor, mannerisms and conversation skills were notably more organized, calm and on task.  For the first time in ages she was able to calmly sit in her chair at dinner and not only join us for a meal without wiggling or flitting away, yet she sat and talked excitedly about her day, her friends, and her experiences at camp.  She proudly brought home her note from the day (which outlined her daily schedule and  personalized updates from the counselors) and told us all about her elective, the camp theme for the week, and the antics, enthusiasm and songs the counselors presented to the children at each of their morning meetings and afternoon dismissal.   Her little body that has not stopped moving wiggling or bouncing since the day she was born was calm. Her muscle tone was notably stronger and she bragged about her tan she was developing (despite the loads of sunscreen).  Jennifer had always shied away from physical activity as it (in my opinion) was difficult at times for her to coordinate, yet because of the layout of the camp she was constantly forced to walk from activity to activity and had ample opportunities to run, swim and play which I believe contributed to her improved tone and also provided her with a lot of input which she has always reached out for.  Jennifer would eagerly go to bed as she was exhausted not only mentally but physically after her day at camp,  she would literally fall asleep while chanting camp spirit songs as her new goal in life (at least for the week at hand) would to be rewarded with the spirit cup.  We were so excited to see this week after week while Jennifer was at camp.  We also had the opportunity to go to bi-weekly family nights and meet Jennifer’s counselors and her friends who excitedly approached and played with Jennifer.  Her counselor would also put in weekly calls to us updating us on Jennifer’s experience and ensuring she was continuing to have a good time.   We have never before seen Jennifer so happy and content. Jennifer’s Experience The first few weeks of Camp Jennifer’s father worked mornings at the camp site and would drive Jennifer, shortly thereafter he left the camp as he was offered a full time position at the Hartford.  From there Jennifer would be dropped off by her father on his commute to work and take the bus from the YMCA in Granby to the Camp Chase...

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Why The Y

Well let me tell you…I was a 19 year old camp staffer at my local Y. I was in charge of the camp group called the Mohawk, they were 11 to 12 year old boys. One day Joey came up to me and said that it was his last day at camp. I know Joey was signed up for the entire summer so I asked why he was not coming back next week. Joey proceeded to tell me that his father lost his battle with cancer and his mom could not afford to send him anymore. As you can guess I was a bit surprised and when I talked with his mom that afternoon she confirmed the story. She said to me that the camp helped Joey to keep his mind off of what was happening at home. But now that her husband was gone she would not be able to afford the camp. Being the brash 19 year old I let his mother know that Joey meant a lot to camp and that we would cover his cost to come to camp. Not really understanding budget and what that was about I seemed to have written a check that I now need to cash. The summer of 1995 I worked camp for Joey. My weekly salary covered his camp fees and I was happy to do it. The impact the camp made on Joey was tremendous…but the impact joey made on me is infinite. A few years ago I received a wedding invitation in the mail from Joey. I was honored to go so I put on a suit and attended the wedding (but skipped the reception). After the service in the receiving line I congratulated all of the people in the wedding party. As I got to Joey’s wife I said hello and explained that I knew Joey a long time ago. Next was Joey…the boy who was 12 now was a man. He hugged me even picking me up off the ground. Once he let go I patted him on the face like I used to and went to go to my car. As I turned I felt a pull in my pocket. Joey and I spent a lot of time together as a child and when he needed to be focused we would say “hold my pocket Joey” and this would allow him to focus on where we were going and he did not get lost. Once his wife noticed Joey grab my pocket she realized who I was. “Your Mr. Mike?” was shouted out. I turned to another embrace by the new couple and demanded to stand between them. Through the rest of the procession (standing between the bride and groom) I was introduced to family and friends as Mr. Mike the one who helped Joey. I was blessed to be a part of...

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