York Youth Connection Summer Day Camp marks its 35th season

Above: Children from the York Youth Connection Summer Day Camp perform at the season-ending finale held in the Founders Assembly Hall

The University welcomed young people from the Black Creek community to summer camp for the 35th season this summer – an anniversary marked at festivities Friday, Aug. 27, ending this year’s York Youth Connection (YYC) Summer Day Camp session.

Yvette Munro, manager of community relations in York’s Office of University Events & Community Relations and the camp’s overall manager, said the camp is as important now as it was 35 years ago. “It is a unique approach to community outreach and an excellent summer enrichment camp for the Black Creek community,” said Munro.

Left: Camper Maya-Joy Thompson receives an excellence award from Yvette Munro

“The purpose of the camp is for everyone to see the University as we see it, a place that challenges you. After coming onto the campus, swimming in the Tait McKenzie pool and touring the University, we hope you see that this is a place for you and that you will come back one day,” Munro said.

Every year in the final week of the summer, the campers, who are eight to 14 years old, stage a variety show for parents and sponsors of the camp, which this year included the York University Retirees Association, the North York Lions Club, SNC-Lavalin, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund. This year’s presentation included a dance number and a game where camp counsellors did imitations of campers to much laughter and applause.

Four people received special excellence awards during the festivities, which included recognition for almost everyone, including camp staff and volunteers. Maya-Joy Thompson, Shaquille Hosein, Melissa Oswusu and leader-in-training Catherine Gorbachevskaya were honoured.

Above: Camp staff and volunteers gather on stage to receive recognition for their work

During the rounds of awards, individual campers were asked to speak about their favourite counsellor and why they were special. Most of the children remarked on how each staff member and volunteer made it a point to be a friend to them. “It’s the hardest job on campus,” said Munro in her remarks, thanking the staff of paid coordinators and volunteers. “Our staff are our front line. They lead by example and show what the University is about, being good friends and a support for the children.”

Right: Camp parent Gloria Millington sings for the staff and volunteers

Munro also thanked the many York staff and faculty members who have made donations to the camp as well as staff members who assisted her by arranging facilities and helping organize the camp outings.

Near the end of the proceedings, Gloria Millington, mother of campers Lexson and Abigail, sang the Bette Midler hit song Wind Beneath My Wings, which includes the line “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?” as a special gift to the staff.

The York Youth Connection Summer Day Camp features a mix of visual arts, theatre, physical activity and eco-science programming and includes numerous activities and trips planned in line with each camp session’s unique theme. The YYC also offers a leadership development program for youth ages 13 and 14 focused on developing strong leadership skills and teamwork.

For more information on the York Youth Connection, visit their Web site.