The community response to the sale of New York Y summer camps emphasize the importance of the program for youth.
The impact of the pandemic on summer camps was recently brought to light with the announcement the YMCA of Greater New York is selling three summer camps — a retreat for many under-privileged generations of children.
The organization faced a $100 million loss and laid off roughly 2,000 employees due to the pandemic. Selling the camps would allow the Y to cut costs while bringing in needed revenue after a year of closed and limited resources – an issue many organizations can relate to.
However, the response to this news has emphasized the dire importance of summer camps that organizations, such as the New York Y, provide for youth across the nation.
One such response is the petition, “Time to Save the New York YMCA Camp from Potential Sale,” organized by Champions of Camp on change.org. The petition currently has 7,061 signatures stating, “the goal is to delay the sale of the camp to allow the opportunity for the Campions of Camp to raise the funds to ensure the mission of the New York YMCA camp will continue.”
Comments on the petition’s page include testimonials about how the camps have impacted and improved the lives of many.
“I went to these YMCA camps for 10 years of my life for the whole summer and it was one of the best things that could’ve happen to me growing up,” commented Alex Blake. “It gave me life experiences that every inner-city kid should have the opportunity to receive.”
Additionally, the Twitter account, @savenyycamp is raising awareness by promoting the hashtag #savenyycamp.
The account provides links to the Champions of Camp petition, as well as a GoFundMe, “Save NY YMCA Camp.” On the site, the goal is to “ensure NYC’s young and future generations are able to continue to gain life skills, develop confidence and so much more through the camp experience.”
On March 9, the New York Y released a statement regarding the camps on their social media channels and announced the deadline to receive offers for the camp property will be extended through March 19 as a result of strong interest and multiple offers for the property since it was placed on the market.
“After a thorough review and careful consideration, we have decided to close and sell our sleepaway camp and outdoor education operations in Huguenot, New York. The decision was not made lightly. But sadly, like many others, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the Y. We’ve had to make several difficult decisions over the past year, including laying off half our dedicated staff, nearly 2,000 people, and reducing our citywide services due to massive revenue losses. Our budget today is half of what it was one year ago. As a result, we no longer have the necessary funds to own, operate and maintain our sleepaway camp. We know how much our sleepaway camp has meant to generations of campers and staff.”
Ongoing discussion among former campers on how to keep the camps open is continuing. Additionally, the Y still expects to offer day camp operations during spring break and throughout the summer.
Updated March 11, 2021