Helping kids experience the majesty of the Minnesota Northwoods

Greg GackY News

When Greg Gack, the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA asked me what connected me to the YMCA, I told him, “Simple! Camp!” I was blessed to have parents with enough foresight and resources to send my sister and I to camp every summer for many of my most impressionable years as a youth.

Growing up in Green Bay, the local Y had wonderful relationship with a YMCA camp in Northern Wisconsin. When I moved to the St. Cloud area, I was surprised at the lack of connection with our many beautiful camps throughout Minnesota. I told Greg if there was something, I could bring a lot of passion around, it would be getting our Central Minnesota kids better access to the experiences that shaped me so profoundly through camp as a youth.

Today, I am excited to announce a continued partnership and exciting development with YMCA Camp Olson near Longville, MN. This unbelievable site hosts many activities and opportunities including horseback riding, canoeing, archery and swimming. Camp Olson has it all. My two boys have attended camp for a week and didn’t want to leave when I came to pick them up!

Camp Olson has agreed to form a special partnership with our local St. Cloud Area Family YMCA. This partnership will enable youth from our area who may not normally have the financial resource to have character-building camp experiences. In 2019, we sent 10 kids to Camp Olson on scholarships provided by the camp. In the summer of 2020, we plan to send 20 kids and our ultimate goal is to find and send 30 children to Camp Olson by the summer of 2021, but we need your help.

We are working with the area schools to help us identify kids who show the YMCA values in their daily work. Kids who put all they have into schoolwork and being a good classmate and friend, despite having limited financial resources at home. All kids will qualify with nominations from teachers, principals and counselors as well as being part of the free or reduced lunch program at their school.

We’ve got the kids – now we need YOU! Please GIVE so kids from our area can experience the character-building days and weeks that Y camps provide.

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