Australian born Steve Merifield shares how Camp Cosby, a program of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, changes lives

Read Time 4 Minutes


YMCA Camp Cosby smily happy campers
Happy campers. Photo from YMCA Camp Cosby

Have you ever met anyone who’s been to Camp Cosby? I have. A bunch of them. And when they talk about the place, you know it means something to them. First, there’s all the friends. Second, there’s all the fun. Third, there’s all that they learned. And then there’s all the years they went back. Again and again.

At this moment, loads of parents are getting ready to register their kids for Summer camp. And, there are others who’d love to be able to send their kids to camp, but don’t have the means to do so. This is where Camp Cosby’s generous scholarship fund makes a huge difference.

Here’s what the mom of one scholarship recipient had to say:

“My son had just been through the worst year of his life. At Camp Cosby, he had an amazing week. He made friends and was smiling a huge smile when I got there to pick him up. That smile and the joy you all were able to help restore to my son means more to this mother than I could ever express in words.”

What is Camp Cosby?

YMCA Camp Cosby is nestled on the shores of Logan Martin.
YMCA Camp Cosby is nestled on the shore of Logan Martin. Photo from Camp Cosby

For almost a century, YMCA Camp Cosby has been offering exciting adventures to youth from six to 16. In 1972, 50 years after its founding, the camp moved to its current 135-acre lakeshore home on Logan Martin.

You’ll often hear people say “Cosby is more than a community—it’s a family.” Not only do campers come from Alabama, but they actually come from around the world. Because campers are so diverse, they get to be part of a unique community. This community helps develop independence, creativity, and meaningful friendships. At the same time, kids develop understanding and acceptance by being together.

If you love Camp Cosby and want to help make it possible for kids to attend, contribute now.

Meet Camp Cosby’s executive director Steve Merifield

YMCA Camp Cosby Director Steve Merifield.

Australian-born Steve Merifield came to work as an exchange counselor in 1997. Over two decades later, he’s the guy in charge. As he puts it “this place got a hold of me.”

He loves to be able to say to parents who want to send their kids to camp but can’t afford “just relax, we’ve got you. We’ll get your kids to camp, don’t worry.”

Contribute to Camp Cosby’s scholarship fund to help send a kid to camp.

Here’s what two grateful families had to say about their experiences

The first family

YMCA Camp Cosby staff having fun.
YMCA Camp Cosby staff having fun. Photo from Camp Cosby

Good morning,

I wanted to extend a very heartfelt thank you to you and all the staff at Camp Cosby.

My son was the recipient of a full scholarship to Camp Cosby this summer which he did attend. I never would have been able to send him on my own.

You have had a huge impact on our family. We have been through the worst year of our lives. In October we fled Florida and his abusive father and left with only our clothes in garbage bags. We have spent this year rebuilding.

The opportunity for my son to attend camp came at the perfect time. God has a way of seeing to that at times.

My son is a wonderful young man, but has been through a lot and had not had fun in a long time.

Camp Cosby changed that. Your staff changed that. He had an amazing week, made friendships, and was smiling a huge smile when I got there at the end of the week to pick him up.

That smile and the joy you all were able to help restore to my son means more to this mother than I could ever express in words. Things have been awesome since he came home even though we still face life’s stress at times.

He was able to be a kid this summer because of you all. Thank you again from the very bottom of my heart.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your work does change and impact lives.

A happy and grateful mother

The story of Judith Story and her family, from Hueytown

YMCA Camp Cosby campers and staff.
YMCA campers and staff all together. Photo from Camp Cosby

As a foster parent for over forty plus years, I would like to take the time to express my sincere appreciation for the staff at Camp Cosby for all the things that they have allowed my foster children to experience at the camp. Their summer is centered around going to the camp each year.

I have fostered over four hundred children since 1978. I have two biological children and I have adopted four children.

God has really blessed me with the staff at Camp Cosby and the things that they have help me with. The scholarship has been a blessing from God.

My children have being going to Camp Cosby for at least five years.

This camp has been a great help to me and the children, because of all the extra care that they receive at camp. The scholarship program has helped me give my children a very good education on social skills, ethics skills, and basic Bible skills. These children look forward to going to camp each year.

Thank you for the scholarship, love, time and effort that your staff put in for these children.

Judith Story

Change a life by giving to Camp Cosby’s scholarship fund today

Fun at camp. Photo from YMCA Camp Cosby

“Everyone should be able to go to camp. One of the ways we can help the community is by having funds available to make that possible.”

—YMCA Camp Cosby Executive Director Steve Merifield

By giving to YMCA Camp Cosby’s annual campaign, you help send kids to camp who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go.

Board member David Watts put it this way:

“There are things you learn at camp that you just can’t learn in a regular school setting. Outside, they learn some independence, responsibility and leadership skills.

We raise money to bring kids to camp who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come. Once we had a kid who hadn’t heard crickets before.

We’re able to provide full scholarships on down to single parents who need a couple hundred extra bucks because the budget just won’t stretch that far.”

YMCA Camp Cosby board member David Watts

Make your donation today. You’ll be making a difference in the life of a child, their family, and the greater community. What’s not to love about that?

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Sharron Swain
Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference
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