YMCA Greater Bergen County: Day Camp Expansion Program

I have been working for several years with the YMCA in their summer camp program for the inner city children. During the summer, I donate 1/2 day per week by going to the camp with snorkeling, swimming, and scuba equipment for the children to learn and experience. In the past the Foundation has donated some limited funds to support a few city children per year for the program. I speak from direct experience, it is a great program. The Y is trying to upgrade and expand this very worthwhile program (see below for details on the program and project). They are attempting to raise $153,000 for this program and I would like the Foundation to consider a $50,000 commitment to be given over 2 years ($25,000 per year). Although I have not spoken with the YMCA directors, I am very confident that the funds can be directed strictly for the program- none to be used for administrative or overhead purposes. In addition, I am also very confident that these funds can be leveraged by the YMCA to increase their efforts to raise the additional needed by offering them as "matching" in nature. Specifically, the Foundation will be committing up to the $50,000 as matching funds from other sources. This approach is generally very desirable as the YMCA can promote the Foundations generosity to help generate additional funds needed.
Below are some photos I took during today's program for the kids (July 7, 2004). Also included is a description of the program excerpted from the YMCA literature. Please email me with any questions or comments.    

excerpts from the proposal;
The present day camp program at Harriman State Park was initiated in 1928 and is geared toward children from Bergen County and lower New York. It takes them out of the cities and towns and into the woods where they have learned new skills, make new friends, and had many new experiences. Since children are our future, we believe that as many young people as possible should have the opportunity  to attend the program and to grow in a caring, well-supervised environment. The program is open to everyone between the ages of 5-15. Although many of the youngsters are from typical middle class families, many others are from low income families where positive growth experiences are very limited. Funding for the weekly program comes from State and Federal grants, private non-profit groups, and churches. The Y-fund raises continuously for our scholarship fund, as it is our intent that no one be denied participation because of an inability to pay. At camp, all kids are blended together, no one knows each others backgrounds. Regardless of their backgrounds and cultures, they all play together, develop skills, make new friends, learn about nature, and most importantly enjoy the outdoor environment over a one-two week period.

The primary purpose of this project is to bring the 3 existing camping sites into close proximity in order for there to be a more efficient and economical use of personnel, a greater opportunity for various activities, and increased time for the campers to spend in camp activities rather than being transported. Through the renovations and additions to living areas, arts & crafts area, waterfront swimming area, and recreation field, the camp can accommodate a higher level of kids with the existing level of staff and services. There a will be space to further expand the program to include an additional 160 children.

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