SAINT JOHN– Summer camp is often looked at as a fun place for kids to escape for the summer and create lifelong memories. Though this is absolutely true, for Bridget Berry, it’s done much more than that for her son Carlos.
Berry says Carlos has been attending YMCA’s Camp Glenburn every year since he was seven. Though he lives in Ontario, he flies back to his mother’s home province of New Brunswick to attend camp, as well as visit his grandmother.
She believes her son’s experiences at Glenburn helped him become the grounded, kind, and driven young man he is today.
“Carlos is very determined. He’s very goal oriented,” says Berry. “He volunteers here in Ontario at our local MP’s office. He’s also on the Durham Youth Advisory Board. He’s in his school band. He’s part of his student council and he’s an honour student.”
Now about to turn 16, Carlos is getting ready to return for another summer at Camp Glenburn, but this time as a Counsellor-in-Training.
“He wants to give the same experience he got back. That’s what he wants. He wants to be that cool, funny, goofy counselor. As a parent, I couldn’t be more proud,” says Berry, who also attended Camp Glenburn while growing up in New Brunswick.
Carlo’s Camp Glenburn experience isn’t unique. The Camp’s current director, Adam Godlewski, is also a former camper. He credits his years at Glenburn for helping him learn how to work with others and for expanding his view of his community.
“As a camper, you’re forced to recognize that the other kids in your cabin are relying on you and you have to rely on them. For me, I picked up hard skills as well. I learned how to make fires and canoe and stuff like that” says Godlewski.
“But I think probably the greatest development for me and most of our campers is learning to rely on each other and learning to be confident in their role in a group. Just learning to get along and talking to people their age and getting out the bubble of their parents.”
Camp Glenburn has been serving the Greater Saint John community and beyond for decades now. The camp welcomes around 150 campers for stays varying from two days to two weeks, which means 630 campers get the opportunity to experience Camp Glenburn each summer.
But with hosting and helping so many kids over the years, it’s time for some the camp’s facilities to get an upgrade. The YMCA is currently fundraising to build a new dining hall, a place Godlewski says is the “heart” (as well as the stomach) of the camp.
“It’s a lovely facility. It smells like camp. It looks like camp. It feels like camp inside there,” he says.
But he says it’s too small. They can’t fit all of the campers in there for the same meal. Having a new, bigger dining hall will not only improve camper’s dining experience, but will also provide more room from camp activities.
“Previously, if it rained or the weather was too bad, or we wanted to do something when it was dark out, we would have to spend time preparing and moving all the tables out and getting ready for activities,” says Godlewski. “This way, we’ll have a permanent, multi-purpose space as well as a permanent dining space. We can use that for drama, dance, arts and crafts, all that kinds of fun stuff.”
Godlewski says the New Brunswick community donating to support the new dining hall shows kids that other people also care about the camp they dearly love.
“It’s special to the kids to realize that people care about Glenburn as much as they do,” he says. “I don’t know what it is about Glenburn, it’s something in the water, but people end up really liking it after they come here. So to see that there are efforts being made to upgrade the site to keep in relevant … knowing that someone is looking out for you, I think that will be great.”
The revitalization project for YMCA Camp Glenburn is well underway.
Camp Glenburn’s reputation as a safe, fun, skill-based camp has taken 89 years to build and we want to ensure we can continue to provide amazing outdoor experiences for future generations.
Please donate today: www.CampGlenburn.com