March 21, 2020

Partnership with YMCA Summer Camps Allows Youth to Find Their Spark

We uniquely address the holistic needs of our young people through powerful partnerships.

Thirty-three Friends–Seattle youth attended YMCA overnight camps during the summer of 2019. Thanks to our partnership with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, financial assistance was offered in full to all 33 of our youth who registered. The Seattle Y also provided camp gear such as sleeping bags for any of our youth who needed it. We are grateful to Camp Orkila and Camp Colman for making summer camp accessible to our youth, many of whom would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the activities offered at YMCA camps.

The YMCA of Greater Seattle has found that after attending summer camp, youth experience positive development in the areas of Social Integration and Citizenship, Environmental Awareness, Self Confidence and Personal Development, Emotional Intelligence and Attitudes towards Physical Activity. In fact, “overnight camping programs consistently generate higher scores on this assessment than any other youth development program offered by the Y,” according to the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s report, “The Impact of Overnight Camping” (2017).

These areas of development are similar to many aspects of the Friends model, from intermediate outcome goals like Social and Emotional Development and Improved Health to core assets such as positive relationship-building, belonging and self-determination. With values so consistent with our program, Friends–Seattle youth are able to thrive at summer camp.

Professional mentor Sophia sent five of her youth to YMCA camps this summer, more than any other mentor. “This a beyond amazing opportunity for these girls to have this experience of leaving the comforts of home and technology behind to explore the outdoors in an environment where they feel safe and supported,” said Sophia. Her youth have glowing reviews as well, highlighting the positive relationships that allow youth to feel nurtured and empowered to step out of their comfort zone, try new things and find their spark. The Friends community is excited for this partnership to continue in 2020.

“When I got to the shuttle for camp, I was feeling scared and happy. I was happy when I got to camp because I got to meet my counselors Becca, Daylin, Norah, Flora, and Allie. I made new friends. Swimming and S'mores and going underwater was the best part.” – Program Youth
“When I was going to camp, I was excited and nervous. I had never slept in a cabin before. I was happy, but I was kind of scared. To distract myself from being scared, I went swimming and played with new friends. Ice cream and going on the climbing rock was the best part of camp. And I got to make s'mores!” – Program Youth
"When I first got there, I was shy and nervous. I was feeling shy because I wouldn't see my mom for a week and only came with one friend. Once I started doing more activities, I started making new friends and having more fun. I got to do a lot of new activities, and I had to get up really early to clean a kitchen! I want to go back because once I go back, I will know what to expect. I want to go back so I can try some of the things I was afraid to do my first time." – Program Youth
"It was fun! You can learn new stuff and make new friends. I want to back again so I can play in the pool!" –Program Youth