As each year comes to an end, I always enjoy taking some time for reflection. This year has given us much to contemplate, but while we have had our fair share of challenges, we have so much to be thankful for.
We started our year off as part of a new association, the YMCA of Greater Michiana, providing YMCA Camp Eberhart healthy and consistent leadership, greater overall support for programs, marketing, and maintenance, and increasing the number of campers and families to share the magic and joy of camp. We have weathered this year together and are stronger for it. I am thankful for not just our camp team but our whole YMCA family!
We were also blessed to safely offer our Day Camp program and five Family Camp weekends, all COVID-free. We learned to adapt to the quickly changing guidelines to keep our campers safe and healthy while still having an incredible camp experience. There were s'mores around the campfire, songs sung at chapel, gold rushes, trail rides, friendship bracelets, bullseyes at archery, ice cream sold in the camp store, new friendships formed and many, many memories created that will never be forgotten. Regardless of the challenges, camp forged on and continued to have a positive impact on everyone who joined us.
We completed a long list of projects this year and are so thankful for all the alumni, staff and volunteers that gave their time and abilities to accomplish so much in just 12 months. You are also probably just as excited as I am to see the capital improvement projects that are happening at camp. I can hardly wait for our campers to create memories sitting around the new John Tanke Fire Circle, play games under the new pavilion and be able to use the brand-new Powder Room (which includes 2 private, non-gender specific bathrooms). We are also excited to share that there will be new shutters, screens and doors on all the Stone Cabins.
We joked this year that our motto was 'find a way, and if that doesn't work, find a new way. But that is exactly what we did. We found a way to ensure the magic of camp was felt this year and that it will continue to happen in the years ahead! This staff team is committed to YMCA Camp Eberhart's success. They are committed to giving every child the joy of camp and working through any and all challenges that come up to ensure this happens. I feel blessed every day to be a part of this team and continue to be optimistic about the summers ahead.
Looking ahead to 2021, I understand the concerns many families have about summer camp. We have decreased the number of bunks in each cabin, reviewed all our program areas increasing cleaning and sanitizing, added a second open swim period, provided for camper self-choice activities and so much more. We promise to continue 'finding the way' to offer camp and that it is safe, healthy and full of magic and memories for everyone! We promise there will be s'mores, camp friends and jumping off Coop's Tower. There will be late night giggles in the cabins, early morning paddles to Turtle Bay and plenty of fish caught in Corey Lake. Most importantly, there will be Camp Eberhart - maybe not exactly as we remember it, but with all the love and joy that has always been there!
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this challenging year. I am thankful for you, for all our campers and staff and the memories you have shared with us. With a hopeful heart, I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2021.
Wishing you joy, peace and camp in the new year!