YMCA Camp Onyahsa

Onyahsa Times Winter 2016

Jan 26, 2016 | Posted in News

Our 118th Year!
YMCA Camp Onyahsa was established in 1898 as one of the nation’s Progressive-era resident camps, designed to get boys out of the growing city for healthy summer experiences.
Boys by camp fire
The Camp has grown, especially under the leadership of Roy Wagner (director 1924-1946) and Spiro Bello (1962 – 1984). Facilities have improved, become permanent, and now offer year-round accommodations. The program served families, separate “girls’ programs,” and individuals with handicapping conditions by the 1960s, and today is fully co-educational. Moreover, it offers a diverse community of campers from different cultures, nations, socio-economic levels, and other backgrounds. Onyahsa has also grown, to preserve over 170 acres of wooded land on Lake Chautauqua. It now looks to major upgrades and renovations to serve future generations of youth, families, the community, and the environment.

This year our theme will be Spaced-Out! As we look to science, science fiction, and care for our own planet. Each week
during our summer season will look to a body within our Solar System; the Sun, the planets, our own moon, and even Pluto.
While our program will focus on our great traditional offerings, we will also infuse fun science education, rocketry, fiction,
and other stellar-and interstellar-inspiration.

Camp for Youth with Diabetes
Thanks to Univera Healthcare, Onyahsa will offer a new program for youth who have Diabetes. This half-week session early
in the summer will provide enhanced healthcare, Diabetes Education, and assistance with dietary guidelines; in addition to
all our favorite camp activities. The program will run concurrently with our traditional offerings, so siblings and friends who
do not have diabetes can attend at the same time. “Graduates” of this session may return later in the summer for a full
week of Camp and/or our School-year Monthly Camps.

Teen Camp
Our popular Teen Camp, for youth age 14 (by the start of the selected session), is a more autonomous (yet supervised) program for older campers who help to create their own activities. Teens engage in team building activities as well taking an offsite trip.

Rachel O’Brian returns to direct theLIT program for participants ages 15-16. These sessions run for two weeks each, and
guide participants in the acquisition of leadership skills useful for future Camp employment and other careers. Fun activities will include Mega-Games, off-site trips, lifesaving tips, and planning all-camp programs.

Specialty Camps
Onyahsa will offer two Specialty Camps for youth ages 7-13; Horseback Riding and Sailing Instruction. Both activities are
offered off-site for approximately 1 ½ hours; Horseback Riding at Starr Point Farms, and Sailing at Lakewood Beach. Each
is led by a professional instructor, while Onyahsa staff assist. Please see tuition rates for more information on these
Flag pole

Family Camp is Back!
Thanks to our newly-renovated lodges, two holiday weekends of Family Camp return to Onyahsa. Join us for an overnight of family fun from May 28-29 and/or September 3-4. Just pack a sleeping bag, pillow, swimsuit, and toothbrush-we’ll do
all the cooking and supply all the program equipment. Our lodging includes heated cabins with private restrooms or more “rustic” cabins. Make this your new family tradition.

Dinner Dance
The 2016 Dinner Dance is scheduled for November 5, 2016. This adult event raises approximately $18,000 per year for Onyahsa’s scholarship programs. A delicious, professionally-prepared meal, dancing, and fellowship make it a special way to begin the holiday season.

Fantastic Future
We are far into planning a major capital campaign for Onyahsa to implement its facility development plan, create a camp scholarship endowment, and build a property fund; but we still need volunteers who would be willing to seek major
donations and we need names of potential supporters. Please email the Camp office if you would like to volunteer, potentially contribute, or if you would like more information: director@onyahsa.org.

“Keep Growing Up”
Camp is all about growth- spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially; but Onyahsa also needs to grow. The last
twelve months have certainly seen much site development. The Johnson Lodge is now heated for year-round use and has
six individual private bathrooms. The “twin” Hultquist Lodge is nearing completion, and like Johnson, will offer accommodations for 36 participants. Our Dawson Cabin has been moved and placed on a permanent foundation, and a twin
to this historic cabin is under design. These two cabins will soon be heated and will comprise a larger village of sixteen
campers. The Bello Teen Center has been placed on a permanent foundation, has new decking, and will soon offer a heated area with a bathroom and kitchenette. Our Youth Recreation Center is now heated too, and plans exist to include seven private bathrooms within it. A very important facility in Camp, the Health Lodge, has undergone a complete interior renovation to create a professional health care facility. Finally, the Crafts Shop, now renamed the Stuga (Swedish for “cabin”) was relocated and placed on a foundation in 2015, and has since been re-sided. Plans exist for the construction of a front porch roof and for interior renovations. Invisible to most participants, Onyahsa now has a new and major sanitary septic system. This environmentally-friendly system has removed our old lakefront one to enhance the health of the Lake and the effectiveness of our program. Our major project in early 2016 will be to add infrastructural systems to our western facilities noted above, to make them fully-functional for year-round use. Future development will depend on your support
for the upcoming Fantastic Future campaign, and is intended to include more restrooms, new waterfront programs, property expansion, year-round facilities, and much more!

Craft Shop