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School will be out before you know it, but the need for learning continues into summer. Whether kids and teens attend Day Camp or Overnight Camp, they’ll learn about nature, take on new responsibilities, develop essential social skills and gain independence. In essence, summer camps provide life lessons and memories that will last a lifetime.
These memories are the ones that come back to us later in life. We often remember the strangest things at the strangest times, and we wonder why. Stories of our days at camp spark many emotions in us and serve as a reminder of the people we’ve met, places we’ve seen and moments we’ve shared with others. And, as big or small as they may seem, they impact us in some way — even if we don’t realize it.
From meeting new friends and engaging in diverse activities to developing self-reliance and being away from home for the first time, the summer camp experience instills many life skills that double as cherished memories.
In many families, summer camp is an experience that’s shared for generations. How wonderful it is to share and listen to the many stories and interpretations of a summer camp experience. Mothers and daughters laugh about their first time using a bow and arrow, and grandparents capture the attention of their grandchildren with the adventures they experienced in their youth. Through passion, pride and excitement, these shared connections bring families together.
Robert Fischer, a branch office administrator for Edward Jones Investments in Uniontown, first attended YMCA Camp Y-Noah more than 50 years ago, and he left with what would become a lasting connection between the camp and future generations of his family.
Fischer and his father were in Adventure Guides together, a program which forged a bond that would transition to Fischer’s four children: Rick, Rachel, Rob Jr. and Rebecca — all of whom attended YMCA Camp Y-Noah in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“When I became a dad in 1970, I could hardly wait to join Adventure Guides with my first son so we could go to weekend campouts at Camp Y-Noah,” Fischer says. “We went to every fall and spring campout. One year, Rick, Rachel and Rob Jr. were all in the programs together, and we attended a winter campout. It was very cold, but great fun.”
Years later, Fischer’s daughter, Rebecca, was born, bringing the family together for even more Adventure Guides outings. At times, all four children attended summer camp.
“When we would go to pick them up, Rick’s first question was always, ‘Can I stay for another week?’” Fischer says. “They all have great memories of camp, and I think their experiences shaped much of their current family activities because they all love the outdoors. Camp Y-Noah instilled good values in all our children.”
Several of Fischer’s grandchildren continue this tradition today, attending YMCA’s Camp Y-Noah and participating in Day Camp, Equestrian Camp and Overnight Camp. His grandson, David, has participated in camp for more than seven years and is now part of the camp’s leadership team.
The Fischer family’s story is a perfect example of how a camp experience can bring families and friends together for generations. Children, teens, adults and families learn, grow and thrive through enriching activities that develop leadership, social skills and healthy lifestyles.