Camp Woodstock YMCA
"The Friendship Camp"

Camp Woodstock hosts Veterans & Boston Red Sox Foundation Home Base

Posted on Sep 18, 2019 in Camp Updates

Veterans Weekend at Camp Woodstock!   This past weekend Camp Woodstock partnered with Boston Red Sox Foundation (Home Base Veteran and Family Care), Home Depot and New England Adventures to support military families. The families got to enjoy climbing, kayaking, fishing, BB Gunnery, archery. Arts & crafts and other traditional camp activities here at Camp Woodstock.   They also enjoyed eating together this weekend in our Lakeside Dining Lodge. It was an honor for Camp to host such a wonderful event and supporting those who serve our country and protect our freedoms. A huge Thanks to our Veterans, the Red Sox Foundation (Home Base), New England Adventures and Home Depot for their support, enthusiasm and commitment to our military families.   The Red Sox Foundation also provided all the kids with back to school supplies and new backpacks. It was a great weekend for all family members to be together and enjoy some of the freedom they work so hard to protect.  ...

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The Woodstock Spirit

Posted on Dec 6, 2018 in Camp Stories

A Teacher’s Reflection Anyone who has walked in the Pines of YMCA Camp Woodstock has sensed the magic that transcends Black Pond, the shaded paths, and the cozy cabins. Campers of all ages have felt the Woodstock Spirit linger in their hearts for over 95 years. The joy of camp permeates the darkest of places in some of the saddest of times. December is a hard time of year for students, the light of summer memories is fading and the stress of first quarter report cards is looming. As a Woodstock public school teacher, I am lucky enough to connect with students through our shared love of camp. Several local kids have benefited from the Community Campaign and were able to attend camp when they otherwise couldn’t afford it. When I asked one student why she loves camp so much she said; “because I can be myself and everyone is cool with that.” Another student,  who has experienced much adversity in life, was able to attend the day camp program this summer for the first time. During one particularly difficult week at school, I found a gift bag on my desk from the student with a handwritten note. Inside the bag I found her first year dog tag, an honor to receive from a camper. I hung the gift on my classroom wall and thanked her for reigniting the Woodstock Spirit in me. This December, find a way to spread the Woodstock Spirit to those around you....

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Alumni Spotlight – Diane Belcher & Shelby Harris

Posted on Feb 25, 2018 in Alumni

Diane and Shelby at the 95th Celebration! Diane Belcher and Shelby Harris are proud Woodstocker Alums who met at Camp Woodstock in 1989 and are happy to remain great friends in Boston to this day!  Diane started at Woodstock in 1980 as a Nipmunk.  After 2 weeks, she called her parents to see if she could stay for 2 more weeks and she went on to be a regular 3rd and 4th session camper. Diane became an LIT and then came back as a 2nd year LIT (What we currently call the CIT program) she then extended another four weeks to join the kitchen staff.  The following years included being a cabin counselor, unit one leader, arts and craft director and LIT director. Shelby first joined the Woodstock family as a Pequot in 1987 and went on to be an LIT. Those years were followed by roles as a legendary Pequot counselor and canoeing instructor.  In 1993, Shelby and Diane were LIT directors and shared a “shack” in the Pines. Her favorite memories include:  waiting for the Sysco truck during the kitchen staff days, pranks on the cabin field, hours on the waterfront and many verses of “Shut de Door” in chapel. Currently, Diane has made her home in the Boston area.  She works for Harvard Business Publishing and lives in Newton with her dog, Zoey.  Diane enjoys golf and has enjoyed traveling a lot the last few years:  Hong Kong, Singapore, Dominican Republic, Cancun, Malaysia, London, Chicago, California and Australia to name a few. She still visits Camp and to visit family, because her niece and nephew are both current Woodstockers! Shelby lives in Boston and has made a career of working in colleges and universities.  She currently serves as the Associate Dean of Students at UMass Boston and was able to introduce her students to the magic of Camp Woodstock at their fall retreat.  She received her PhD in higher education administration and loves to sail, scuba dive, and travel.  Most recently, she helped crew a 38′ sailboat from Bermuda to Antigua and looks forward to many more stamps in her passport and adventures ahead! Diane and Shelby are lucky enough to get together a few times each year often with other Woodstockers (Heather Thompson, Alison Fine and Kathy Snyder).  Diane adds, “Laughs abound each and every time we get together and we quickly forget that all the years have gone by.” The attached picture was taken during a recent visit to camp and is a great representation of their love for Woodstock and the fun they have when...

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Give the Gift of Camp

Posted on Jan 18, 2018 in Strong Kids Campaign

This past summer was a milestone at Camp Woodstock, we celebrated our 95th Anniversary! We continue to provide long-lasting and life-changing experiences to our campers. Over 180 kids in need had the opportunity to attend camp in 2017 and this was possible due to your valuable generosity, continued support, and time, THANK YOU!!! As many of you know, YMCA Camp Woodstock is an incredible place that has a lasting impact on each person who visits. Some of you may be alumni, who know first-hand the invaluable influence that just one session at camp can have in a child’s life, while others may be parents or family members who have allowed a child to experience camp. Regardless of our involvement, we can all admit that Camp Woodstock has affected each of our lives in one way or another. The goal of Camp Woodstock’s Annual Campaign is to help send kids that would otherwise not be able to attend. We believe that our CHoRR values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility help us make everyone’s experience at camp a great one. Our staff members are dedicated to ensuring that each child feels important and valued as they become a part of the Camp Woodstock family, a family that believes in encouraging one another and making each person feel appreciated. Thanks to friends and families like you, next summer kids in need will be attending the pines of Woodstock to get a taste of the camp experience. We are only able to accommodate these kids with help from people like you through our Annual Campaign. As this year, you can donate in one of three ways: 1. Donate here on the Camp Woodstock Website. Click Donate NOW and be sure to select Camp Woodstock as the designation for your gift. Consider a monthly gift. Just $5.00 a month will give a camper swim lessons for a week this summer. $10 a month will give a kid a week of evening programs. $25 a month will provide a kid with a week of daytime activities and $50 a month will send a kid to camp for a week. 2. Mail a check directly to camp at: YMCA Camp Woodstock, 42 Camp Road, Woodstock Valley, CT 06282 Please make all checks out to: YMCA Camp Woodstock Annual Campaign 3. Answer when we call! We will begin our phone-a-thon campaigns in January and you will have an opportunity to make a pledge to our Annual Campaign when one of our volunteers contacts you. Once again I would like to thank you for your consideration of a gift. Together we can truly make a difference, one child at a time. Best wishes, Ivo Jáquez II Annual Campaign...

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Alumni Spotlight – John Healy & Bill Parkman

Posted on Jan 17, 2018 in Alumni

Camp Woodstock alumni John Healy (70’s – 80’s) and Bill Parkman (60’s – 90’s) both started at Woodstock as campers and worked their way up to support staff. Bill also became the full-time caretaker of camp in the early 80’s. We were happy to welcome both John and Bill back to camp at the 95th Celebration in June. John is currently enjoying his role as the Director of Exercises and Assessments for U.S. European Command. As a Brigadier General in the Air Force, John and his wife Catherine are living in Stuttgart, Germany. After his tour is complete in 2020, John will be rejoining JetBlue as a pilot and his position on the Camp Woodstock Board of Advisors. As a volunteer, John was instrumental in establishing the partnership between UCONN and Camp Woodstock in developing and collecting data for our summer camp through Parent Surveys. This relationship with UCONN continues today as we had over three hundred parents fill out the survey in 2017. This data helps Camp make improvements and changes based on data collected from our surveys. John is still an active volunteer at Woodstock participating in monthly meetings via Skype. Bill is currently living in Swanzey, NH. He is teaching our next generation of community leaders at Monadnock Regional High School. As the 2017 Senior Class Advisor, Bill with his booming voice and gift for storytelling gave a rousing speech at the graduation ceremony. He remains connected to Camp Woodstock on renovation projects and attends the Memorial Day Family Camp. Bill was an active Committee Member in planning the Woodstock 95th Celebration and took all of us who attended the celebration on a wondrous Lion Hunt at campfire! Bill continues to volunteer for the YMCA and is the current Board Chair at YMCA Camp Takodah in New Hampshire. Parkman recently retired as a Chief Petty Officer after 26 years of service in the Navy. Uncle Sam had him travel all over the world, but now that he is retired he plans on traveling on his own dime visiting Europe this summer. Camp Woodstock welcomes alumni participation in our many events through the year. Attend our wine tasting event in May, volunteer to help send a kid to camp at anyone one of our phone-athons or note-athons in January and February, help welcome new campers to the Woodstock family in the summer or just visit camp when you have those nostalgic feelings. Contact the camp office for more details or schedule a personal tour with Executive Director, Anthony Gronski...

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Exciting Changes for Summer 2018

Posted on Oct 25, 2017 in Camp Updates

Yurt Village Expands! Grants totaling $90,000 have been awarded to Camp Woodstock to expand the very popular Yurt Village. Executive Director Anthony Gronski and longtime Woodstock volunteer Carey Greene teamed up to write several grant applications that have been instrumental in creating a series of strategic changes for 2018 and beyond. A $45,000 grant from YUSA was matched by a grant from the Rorabach Fund which together has provided the funds necessary to construct an additional Yurt as well as expand the Yurt Bath House to accommodate the increase in Yurt campers. The Yurts are designed for our oldest session campers who enjoy a unique experience separate from other age groups where they develop a close-knit friendship with peers and counselors. “This is one of our most popular programs” Anthony Gronski continued, “To see such a diverse group of teenagers singing, cheering, communicating, and learning new skills while having pure fun in a positive atmosphere is truly magical. They talk, laugh, share stories all looking each other in the eye. I can’t think of any other place that brings such a young diverse group of coed teenage campers together quicker and stronger than the Yurt program.” The Yurt expansion doubles the number of spaces for eligible campers. Foundations have been installed and construction will continue throughout the winter and spring months.    Youngest Girls move to Cabin 17 With the movement of additional older girls from main camp to the Yurt Village enables a shift of the youngest female campers from a somewhat isolated Cabin # 1 to Cabin # 17. Cabin # 1 located between Pop’s Lodge and the Boathouse has been in the middle of many camp activities to include the main path to the waterfront. This move gives our youngest girls added privacy and will lead to greater companionship and friendship with all other girls located in girls camp. This also clearly establishes three distinct areas in camp. All girls will be housed together on the south side of Pop’s Lodge while all boys will be housed to the north of Pop’s Lodge. The common program area from the basketball courts to include the cabin field, Pop’s, the council ring and the waterfront area will separate the two residence areas of main camp which has long been a strategic goal of the Camp Woodstock Master Plan. Cabin # 1 Re-purposed as Camp Trading Post The camp store (Trading Post) currently located inside a corner of Pop’s Lodge will move to a larger and more practical location as a standalone Trading Post in re -purposed Cabin # 1. The store will have a much larger area and will be organized in a way that invites campers, camper families and staff inside for the purchase of items such as tee shirts and camp essentials, while food items will be offered via window service. Additionally, the new location adjacent to the patio and cookout area...

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