While the Shiawasse Family YMCA closed its doors on March 16, the organization continued to support the community. Throughout the spring, the facility distributed more than 10,000 meals through Owosso Public Schools, held blood drives, collected masks and supplies for PPE, hosted a mobile food pantry and distributed seeds to families to create Victory Gardens. Program Director Jennifer Lintner started making plans for summer camp without knowing whether it would be held. “It was actually a great distraction to focus on camp. I just prepared as if it was going to happen,” explained Lintner. “But there was no question that it was going to be a different experience at Camp Shiawassee in the summer of 2020 – masks, social distancing, contract tracing, and no weekly field trips.”
A camp director and seven counselors were hired (four returning and three new) and camp began on June 8. Each week had a different theme including Wacky Week, Holiday Week, Around the World, and MiSTEM Network Mid-Michigan Region sponsored STEAM week. With no field trip or beach trips, the Camp Shiawassee counselors had to get creative to come up with more activities to keep the kids engaged at camp. The campers enjoyed many rounds of gaga ball, capture the flag, arts and crafts, archery and sliding down the black hole. They also canoed and tried a lot of new things like making butter, tie-dying everything, wacky relays, and making leprechaun traps.
Laura, parent of a 7-year-old camper had this to say, “We want to sincerely thank every staff member for the wonderful experience our son had. The COVID isolation and lack of routine caused some regression of behaviors for our autistic son. We know he had some rough days at camp but we were so impressed with how kind the staff were with him – encouraging, giving him the right suggestions and strategies for handling his big emotions. The difference in a few short weeks was incredible. He is back to himself – happy, joyful and singing.”
Camp Shiawassee wrapped up the season on Friday, Aug. 21 and everyone was sad to say goodbye to the staff. “We had a great team of outstanding youth serve as counselors this summer. Five have headed back to finish their degrees at Eastern, Northern, Northwood, Adrian College, and Cornerstone University, one to their first year of law school at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and one is off to the Army. We hope some of them will be able to return next year.”
“Summer camp is an experience that people remember their whole lives and we wanted to make sure the summer of 2020 was no different. Over the course of 10 weeks, we had 198 campers and are grateful that due to our enhanced safety protocols, we didn’t have a single positive COVID case,” said Lintner. “We also had a great summer soccer season with almost 100 kids and a brand-new golf program, thanks in part to our sponsor Paul Parsons, with 18 golfers and coaches with collegiate and PGA Tour Canada experience.”
Fall at the Shiawassee Family YMCA means soccer and this fall will be no different. Although the sign-up period has closed, 14 additional coaches are needed. If you are interested in volunteering to be a coach, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the adults, the Y will have outdoor group exercise classes that include HIIT, Tai Chi, Sarah’s Sunset Cycling, Level 1 Resistance Bands, and Level 2 Resistance Bands. Classes start the week of September 8 and more information can be found at shiawasseeymca.org.