Today we're pleased to introduce you to a new staff member who is a great storyteller, Sydney Hammuck.
Sydney, aka: Syd, is from Palatine Illinois and currently attends Loyola University Chicago. She's also a world traveler with a recent stay in Cambodia during a semester abroad experience.
Syd was able to attend camp as a child, and fondly remembers, "I look back at my own experience going to camp when I was younger, and absolutely loved it! The friendships that I made, and the growing I did spiritually are experiences that I wouldn't change for the world. Looking back at camp, I remember my counselors being some of the people who helped make the experience as great as it was, so I would love the opportunity to do the same."
Syd will get that opportunity this summer, as a counselor at CYO Girls Camp. She is really looking forward to all the friendships she will be able to make, and the chance to make that happen for her campers too!
Syd's hobbies include Writing poetry, biking, and watching movies. She tells us, "I love to dance anywhere at anytime (even though I am terrible at it)!" When she grows up she wants to be "a Child Welfare Social Worker, or a famous actress...whatever comes first."
Welcome to CYO Camps Sydney!
Parents - There is till time to register for summer camp but... DON'T WAIT - REGISTER TODAY, especially if you are interested in attending one of our specialty camps this summer as they are filling up fast.
Bring a friend and receive a gift certificate for $25 off the 2015 camp registration! Our counselors and staff are looking forward to spending a week with your child this summer!
The countdown has begun and we are getting ready for your arrival at CYO Camps! As you begin to prepare for camp, here are some tips to help you get ready! We can’t wait for the FUN to begin!
We have you covered as you begin to prepare for camp! Be sure to check out our packing list to see what you should bring along with you. Take a look at all camp has to offer. This is sure to get you excited!
Parents: As you get closer to your child’s week at camp, begin preparing them for the overnight experience. We have some tips to get you started and to ensure your camper is a happy one!
And lastly, get to know our staff. We are proud to have well-trained counselors and leadership on staff to ensure that your child is well cared for. We encourage you to read our Staff Spotlight posts and talk to your camper’s counselor at drop off. We look forward to getting to know your camper!
A PREPARED CHILD MAKES A HAPPY CAMPER
Coming to camp for a whole week is an awesome opportunity for kids and parents. And sometimes that awesomeness can seem a bit overwhelming. We want kids to have an amazing time, and we want parents to help foster the feeling of what a blast it’s going to be. Most children adjust quickly to the camp environment. However, homesickness is a natural feeling, especially for children who have never been away from home. Our staff is trained to handle this sensitive situation with compassion and understanding.
We feel it’s very important to talk with your child before camp. You can help your child, prior to camp, by being positive and encouraging about the experience.
So here are some things to think about to help your child acclimate to camp life:
Explain what they can expect. Talk about goals. Ask them what they want to get out of camp. What you want them to learn. Encourage them to make new friends.
If your child seems a bit anxious, we suggest they take a look at all camp has to offer. This is sure to get them excited!
The most common mistake parents make is the Pick-Up Deal. It's normal for children to ask, "What if I feel homesick or I don’t like camp?" Tell your child that some feelings of anxiety and homesickness are normal and help them practice coping before camp starts. But never ever say, "If you feel homesick, I'll come and get you." This conveys a message of doubt and pity that undermines children's confidence and independence. Pick-Up Deals become mental crutches and self-fulfilling prophecies for children as soon as they arrive at camp.
Talk to your child’s counselor at drop-off. Get to know him or her. Discuss your child’s goals. Be at ease, don’t let your child know you may have some anxiety. It’s hard for first-time parents, we totally understand, just keep in mind it’s so important to help your camper be super positive.
Usually after the first full day/night of camp has come and gone the camper
begins to feel more secure at camp. And, normally a child will send home a letter of
distress the first day before they give camp a try. By the time you receive the letter
they will have adjusted and feel more comfortable. However, please call us if you have concerns.
Remember, we’re here as a partner to help your child gain independence. We don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Overnight camp is a unique opportunity for your child to learn new things and grow in ways he or she wouldn’t outside of camp. Get excited, it’s going to be a fantastic week!
Still a little nervous? Contact the Camps Office and speak with our Director of Camps, Caroline Krucker. She will answer any questions you may have a put your mind at ease. Caroline can be reached at (810) 622-8744.
There is a lot of research that says cell phone use is not helpful to the growth of a child and we at camp believe that to be true. But more important, CYO Camps are about having fun in the great outdoors - not constantly being distracted by a cell phone. A camper can use their cell phone when they are at home. We want them to play when they are at CYO Camps!
We really want to spend time playing and having fun with your child at camp. We do not want to worry about a phone ringing while we are at activity times. We all know that when the camper doesn't answer, the camp office phone rings because the parent is now worried their child is in danger. Or… we stop playing for the new text that arrived so everyone can read it or a friend sent a photo that is all the rage. Then there is that cell phone that was left somewhere in the sand at the beach when the cabin went swimming and the entire cabin is late to the next activity because the cabin stopped to look for it. There is also the reality that 90% of cell phones do not get reception at camp and if you are in the lucky 10% it’s roaming and
usually picks up a Canadian tower.
The other item that tends to be forgotten is the cabins only have one plug which the staff use for the fan and alarm clock. Extension cords are not allowed in cabins per Fire Code. So our question, which camper in the cabin gets to plug in their phone because when a phone roams all day it doesn’t hold a charge. There are parents who read the above and said, “We agree! My child is not bringing a cell phone to camp!”.Thank you!!! For those parents who disagreed and need the expert advise please continue reading. We believe the following excerpt taken from the ACA Camping Magazine written by Bob Ditter, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in child, adolescent, & family therapy says it best!
“The fundamental issue with parents giving campers cell phones to take to camp is trust. When children come to camp they – and you as their parents – are making a leap of faith, temporarily transferring their primary care from you to us and their counselors. This is one of many growth-producing, yet challenging aspects of camp. As children learn to trust other caring adults, they grow and learn, little by little, to solve some of their own challenges. We believe this emerging independence is one of the greatest benefits of camp. It is one important way your child develops greater resilience and self-reliance. Contacting you by phone essentially means they have not made this transition. It prevents us from getting to the problems that may arise and addressing them quickly. Sending a cell phone to camp is like saying to your child that you as the parent haven’t truly come to peace with the notion of their being away from you and in our care. It may even cause some children to worry that they can never solve their own problems without always involving their parents.”
In keeping with our goal to help your child develop and have fun, we do not allow cell phones at camp. Cell phones will be collected by staff and may not be returned as we will not be responsible if it gets lost, misplaced, or stolen. Please leave them at home!
For information about what to bring to camp, how to manage homesickness, keeping in touch with your kids while they are at camp, and more, please download our
CYO Camps 2014 Confirmation Packet.
Meet Taylor Horton, a new Camp Ozanam staff member from Ludington, Michigan!
Taylor attends Alma College and works at Big Brothers Big Sisters. He hopes to have fun this summer, "helping younger people grow with a positive experience!"
Taylor is really looking forward to "meeting great people and creating memories."
HERE WE GO! There are only 22 days until our Administrative Leadership Staff gather on the shores of Lake Huron for our final days of camp planning!
We'd like you to meet Jordan Mitchell, a common fixture at CYO Boys Camp who can be found bringing smiles to campers all across camp.
We asked Jordan...
Why do you want to work at camp again this summer?
"Camp is a part of my life. I love watching how much kids can grow up in a just a week."
What are you REALLY looking forward to this summer?
"...Meeting all of the campers and their families as well as sharing my faith with all who come to camp. I can not wait to be part of the best week of each campers' year. I have also been craving SMORE'S recently."
Tell us about yourself... hobbies, talents, quirky facts, what you want to be when you grow up, etc.
"My wife and I just had another son born to us in February. His name is Kolbe after St. Maximilian Kolbe He and his brother, Isaac, are super awesome kids. This is going to be my 6th summer at camp. I made the new cabin cup with my own bare hands. I can not close my right eye without closing my left eye first. I love inventing new sports/ games."
Jordan has been working at camp since 2009. This year he'll be returning at CYO Boys Camp as Camp Director. Jordan is from Grand Blanc, Michigan. When he's not hanging around camp in the summer he is a 4th Grade Teacher for Boys at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan.
Welcome Jordan! We are so glad to have you back this summer!
Visit CYOCamps.org for more information on CYO Boys Camp on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron and the joy of sharing summer days, God’s love and our Catholic faith with thousands of children since 1946. While at one of our camps, children will gain self reliance, social skills, confidence, and most importantly, the opportunity to incorporate Catholic values and live the life Christ has planned for us.
We are so excited to be getting this ready for camp this summer! Prep work includes finding new games and songs, trying out delicious campfire recipes, and hiring new and returning staff who are sure to be a highlight of our campers' summer.
We're excited for you to meet Keeley O'Neill, a new staff member from Lincoln Park, Michigan. She currently works at a children's arcade as a manager (located in Melvindale Michigan) called Play Atlantis. She attends Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn.
Keeley will be a counselor at CYO Girls Camp. She may be new to staff this summer but she's definitely no stranger to CYO Camps. Keeley has been a volunteer for the past three years, and a camper four years before that. Her joy and energy shine through as she tells us, "I enjoy just being at camp!"
What is Keeley REALLY looking forward to this summer?
"Swimming in Lake Huron, and making new friends!"
Keeley's fun facts and FOUR loves...
"I love running, I try to run every morning at camp, I love the beach. I love going to the youth mass at church every week even though I'm an adult. I have a cat named Tweety. I love working with kids, considering I have worked at my job at a kids arcade for over three years. I'm super excited to be a camp counselor this year!"
Welcome on board as staff this summer Keeley; Your experience and enthusiasm is a blessing to CYO Camps!
HI! My name is Hidden Dragon (AKA "HD"). I'm from Sterling Heights, Michigan and I'll be working at camp Ozanam this summer! I'm not new to Camp; I volunteered 2 weeks in 2011, and worked 2012 and 2103 summers.
I'm currently going to school to become a biomedical engineer, so I'm a bit of a nerd. You are just as likely to find me shooting archery or playing sports as you are to find me studying. I'm also always up for an adventure. I love rock climbing, camping, hiking, swimming, and basically anything outside. Above all, I love my best friend Jesus!
WORKING AT CAMP IS BEST THING I COULD DO WITH MY SUMMER.
I get to help the campers have the time of their life and get to know God, all while getting to grow personally as well. The past couple summers I have spent at Ozanam have been unforgettable for me, and I hope to also make it that way for the campers.
THIS SUMMER I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO...
...getting to spend almost all day, every day outside. The sun, fresh air, exercise, and beach make for a perfect summer, and an excellent setting for getting closer to God.
WELCOME BACK HD! We're glad you could join us for another summer of Camp Ozanam adventure!
The relationships that you form with your camp family don't end with summer. They give you lifelong love and support. Eric Macks was a CYO Camper from 1972-1977. He served on staff for a summer in 1981.
During Eric's time at camp there were many memorable activities, but his favorites were the evening programs which included the whole camp in activities that needed large groups of people and couldn't be accomplished anywhere but at camp. Eric also enjoyed the entertaining staff shows held on the last night of every camp session.
How Being at Camp Helps with Being an Adult...
"Camp taught me how people can care for each other and work together to accomplish great things. At CYO camps the campers and staff together bond with each other and learn to work as a team to do work; Chores, meals, and lifting each other's spirits and working together. It becomes clear after attending camp at CYO that it isn't stuff, like smart phones and video games but caring for yourself and others that makes life successful and great."
As a direct result of spending time doing group activities and recreating at CYO Boys camp, Eric developed a love for serving others and learned it is important to take time to make a difference in people's lives.
Tell Me About Your Camp Family...
"Above is a picture from 3/31/12. I'm on the left end of the group, and the rest of these people are some of my favorite people from times spent as a camper and staff at the boys camp. These relationships created great support systems to get through any home sickness at camp, and many friendships have turned into life long friendship and support. For example the annual Boys Weekend (father/son trip) at CYO has many participants that were campers and/or staff together at camp."
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments?
"Through actions in my personal life, my family, as a parent, and in my work I have kept foremost in my mind to make a difference, continuously improve, and have fun and leave time for recreation.
I'm proud to have been part of automotive engineering projects that improved the quality of products sold by General Motors and Ford, and created products which were received better the car buying public.
As a husband and father I strive to maintain balance in my life, keeping myself healthy and happy, but accomplishing this while caring for and loving my wife and two boys. We take pride in leaving time for meals together, praying and serving others as a family, and striving to be involved in activities while maintaining our sanity and sleep."
How did your time at camp help build your faith?
"It gave me a deep appreciation for the values instilled by the Catholic Faith that center on caring for one another. [If you are a] family who is considering CYO Camp, CYO camps will build independence and confidence, and a love and appreciation for working with others."
Summer camp registration is open and programs are filling! Share the gift of camp with a family today by sharing what you know and love about CYO Camps!
Returning staff highlights: Leadership Staff
Stephanie Fraley, Program Team Leader
Stephanie is 22 years old and graduated from SVSU with a bachelors in Elementary Education. She currently works as a substitute teacher in Sanilac County. She is a history buff, loves mathematics, reads constantly, and loves listening to any kind of music.
Stephanie loves living in a rural area on a farm in Sandusky, MI. She has worked at camp for three years and it is the highlight of her summers.
When asked why she works at camp Stephanie tells us, "I work at camp because I love being able to see the transformation in the campers. Some of those campers are so shy and reserved why they first arrive, and by the end of the week they and their cabin mates have become a family. I also enjoy seeing how the experiences at camp push them and sometimes help them grow. Some of my best memories of camp are seeing campers work at something they were scared to do, or didn't think they could and then succeed."
Welcome back, Stephanie!
Molly Hochstein, Assistant Camp Director
Molly is 21 and from Redford, MI. She attends Eastern Michigan University with a Special Education major and physical education minor. Molly works as a lifeguard when she is not at camp . This summer will be her 7th summer working on staff with 11th summers all together (4 as a camper) at CYO Camps! Camp is her favorite place on earth! She can also be found hanging out with family and friends when not at camp, school, or work.
Molly says about her summer camp life, "I work at camp because I want to be able to provide kids with the same wonderful camp experience I had when I attended CYO. I love getting the chance to help kids grow every summer and having the opportunity to teach them new things. I love having the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life every summer to hang out on the shores of lake Huron. This summer I am looking forward to getting to hang out in the sunshine with all the new and returning campers!"
We thank Molly for her years of service, and dedication to CYO Camps!
Trevor Harnden, Counselor Team Leader
Trevor is from Marlette, MI and currently goes to Rochester College. He works as a butcher at a grocery store called Ben's in Marlette.
Trevor is really just excited about everything in general, and really just can't wait for camp to start!
"I'd have to say I'm probably most excited about starting the new position this year at camp, because it's going to provide new challenges, new responsibilities, and even a new role of leadership that I [can build] a lot of experience in. I've learned a lot of cool things that I'm really excited to share with kids, and other staff members also!"
Welcome Trevor, we're glad to have you share your knowledge this summer at camp!
The Journey -About Us
THE JOURNEY journals our Camps Connect story. Camps Connect is a summer camp for boys, girls, and co-ed programs, a family
Invest in Camps Connect
Together we can change a child's life.
On life's journey it's nice to connect: Camps Connect!