The Y has a long, proud history in camping activities and YMCA Camp Eberhart has been committed to nurturing youth development for more than 100 years. Not only do we provide a lifetime's worth of skills and experiences, but YMCA Camp Eberhart also strengthens the foundations of our communities through summer camp, specialty camps year-round, retreats, and other camping programs and activities for people of all ages, incomes and abilities.
At YMCA Camp Eberhart, we are a haven for learning and achievement for all children with the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility at the heart of everything we do.
RAISING RESILIENT KIDS
Last year’s blockbuster book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, and this year’s Pamela Druckerman book, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, seem to indicate that parents today are looking for some sort of instruction book for raising happy, healthy children.
We have a solution. We call it summer camp!American kids have come to YMCA summer camps for well over 125 years. It was 103 years ago that a group of boys from South Bend traveled to Corey Lake near Three Rivers, Michigan, for a week of sleeping under the stars, swimming in the cool waters, hiking in nature and fishing from the shore. Their campsite became YMCA Camp Eberhart, where boys and girls have been coming for much the same activities ever since.
“At the Y, camping is our DNA,” says Brice Emanuel, executive director of YMCA CAMP EBERHART. “Parents trust that their kids will make lifelong friends, safely share exciting new experiences, and develop leadership skills when they have time to play together.”
In an article published February 5, 2012, in the magazine “Psychology Today,” Dr. Michael Ungar, PhD., writes that summer camps are the “perfect place” for children to build resiliency, connect in a positive way with peers and adult mentors, learn to ask for help when needed, and take the appropriate risks required to develop new skills.
Kids at YMCA Camp Eberhart are resilient and resourceful. They put away the cellphones and video games, and get dirty or stub their toes. They fall asleep in their swimsuits in cabins without air conditioning, shower, brush their teeth and wear the same t-shirt for 3 or 4 days.
And they can’t wait to come back next summer to do it again.
The seven coping skills Dr. Ungar believes every child needs for healthy psychological development are:
- NEW RELATIONSHIPS: At camp, kids make friends outside their school or neighborhood and are mentored by camp counselors, from around the world, who are often only a few years older. They develop strong positive relationships outside their families and learn to trust each other.
- A POWERFUL IDENTITY: Trying new skills, like horseback riding or trail biking (coming this summer!), build confidence. When a camper is encouraged by his bunkmates to climb to the high ropes, he drowns out the negative messages of those telling him what he can’t do and begins to believe in what he can do, developing a more keen understanding of who he is and what he can become.
- COMPETENCE AND INDEPENDENCE: Campers are expected to get to the dining hall, their program areas, the special activities and their cabins on their own. They keep their bunk area and shared space picked up, and never leave their dishes behind for someone else to clean up for them. They make up their own games (such as wall-ball) and manage to compete fairly, without referees, timekeepers or a schedule. In other words, they become problem-solvers.
- SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY: Science geeks can learn more about rocketry and astronomy at camp. A shy girl can find a friend in the horse barn. A quiet boy will soon be parroting the camp songs along with his friends. Whoever they are in their “real life,” at camp all kids are encouraged to achieve their goals and cheered on by their peers and counselors. Bullying is not tolerated.
- DEVELOP PHYSICALLY: Fresh air, exercise, a balance between routine and free play are all a kid needs to grow up healthy and happy.
- SENSE OF BELONGING: The camp songs and traditions are a shared experience that many years later our alumni will still repeat when they meet. The attachment they have for their home-away-from-home helps them to establish roots while they continue to grow.
- CULTURAL LITERACY : Performing a skit helps them to step outside of themselves for a little while, and learn more about themselves and others. Living in community with people from all over gives campers a chance to understand the world around them.
At YMCA CAMP EBERHART, we welcome kids ages 7-16 to traditional week-long summer camp. 3-week counselor-in-training opportunities are offered for teens 15-17. Youngers kids, not ready for the full-week or overnight, can try three-day camp or day camp, but most yearn (and beg) to stay longer. In July, campers focus their eyes to the sky at Astro Camp, where they study the “last frontier” alongside trained astronomers. This year, we are introducing Art Discovery Camp.
Summer is short. Don’t miss a single minute!