Camp keeps kids busy for summer

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 28, 2004

By Julie Dunn, Family Y in Albert Lea

This year the Albert Lea Family YMCA Moraine Day Camp will be celebrating 75 years of quality camp programming for area youth. When it began in 1929 Camp Moraine was a residence camp for boys only. The older boys stayed at Beaver Lake and the younger boys were at Pickerel Lake. In 1940 the YMCA acquired Moraine Point (now Myre-Big Island State Park) and built six cabins, a lodge and dining hall. Today Moraine Day Camp runs daily from 7 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. from June until August each year.

At the Family Y, we begin each day with active games in the gym and then at 9

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a.m. we load the bus and go to either Myre-Big Island State Park, Edgewater Park or a fun field trip.

Throughout the day the campers take part in canoeing, crafts, singing camp songs, fishing, swimming and many other exciting activities. Twice a summer we go on field trips to locations in the cities.

This summer we will be going to the Minnesota Zoo and to Cascade Bay water park in Eagan. Both have many fun and different areas for the campers to participate in for a whole day of fun away from our usual locations. At the end of each day the campers return to the Family Y to swim, have a snack and wind down from a busy day spent outside in the sun.

Moraine Day Camp is staffed by area teens and college students. All staff is hired based on their enthusiasm for working with children in an outdoor experience and for their desire to be positive role models for a group of children.

Each staff member must be able to display the Family Y’s four core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility and must go through 24 hours of training before the first day of camp.

The staff is supervised by a professionally trained Y Camp director and also a site coordinator who is on site every day. This summer our staff will be Erin Bartusek, site coordinator; Rachel Dressen, lead counselor; Andrew Irvine, Bobbie Kluver, Kristine Davis Benton Frayne, Jesse Amundson, Maria Olson, Ashley O’Byrne, Trent Miller, Megan Pence and Abbey DeVries, counselors. Many are returning staff from previous years and most have worked at the Family Y with children in our other programs.

We are very proud to be accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA). Going through the accreditation process is voluntary; this means that we have a strong commitment to be a safe and fun environment for children.

Once every three years a team of trained professionals examines every aspect of our camp to verify that we are in compliance with over 300 standards. These standards are site, transportation, health, management, staffing and program.

On July 20 Camp Moraine will be celebrating our great accomplishment of 75 years with a reunion picnic at Myre-Big Island State Park. This picnic will be for anyone who has ever been involved in camp. Stay tuned for more information on this fun day. Also, look for us in the July 3rd parade where we will be promoting the Past, Present and Future of Camp.

If you would like to sign up your child for a week or twelve of great camp experiences Please come in to the Family Y to pick up an information packet.

If you have any questions please call Julie Dunn at the Family Y, 373-8228

(Julie Dunn is a staff member at the Family Y in Albert Lea.)