I don’t know about you, but when I think of summer camp, I think of cicadas, swimming, cute boys, chiggers, campfires, goofy songs and new friends. Chances are, many of you have your own vivid memories from weeks spent at summer camp. If you want to help a child develop their own lifelong memories, help send a child to YMCA Camp Cosby near Birmingham. Donate now or register your own child.
1. Make memories that’ll last a lifetime at YMCA Camp Cosby.
After watching that video, I want to go to YMCA Camp Cosby—or at least send my kids. So. Much. Fun. And, with a regular camp fee of $820 per child per session, camp can be out of reach for some families.
Luckily, there are places like the YMCA. According to Camp Director Steve Merifield, the nonprofit is committed to saying yes to all families who want to send their kids to summer camp. In fact, 20% of campers receive some kind of financial assistance in order to attend.
“The mission of the Y is incredible—to not turn anyone away because they can’t pay. Going to summer camp is fun and exciting. There are lessons and life experiences you just don’t get any other way. Kids’ lives are changed by the experience and they don’t even realize it.”Steve Merifield, Director, YMCA Camp Cosby
To fulfill this mission, this year’s annual campaign for YMCA Camp Cosby has a goal of raising $84k.
Another fantastic thing I learned during my chat with Steve is that all children who attend regular sleepaway camp get a taste of the high-energy activity activities offered in Camp Cosby’s specialty camps.
This means every camper (who is the right age and height) will have the chance to try things like mini bike riding, horseback riding and water skiing. They can also try their hand at pottery (for a bit of calm amidst all the excitement of camp).
2. Here’s how YMCA Camp Cosby made a difference in the life of 13-year old “BB.”
But first, the backstory, from BB’s mom Christie:
“In 2014, my son, “BB” was 8 years old and experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury and Hemorrhagic Stroke. He had to learn to walk and dress himself again although he had never struggled with those things before the injury.”
Competition’s hard for a child with a disability
“School became difficult—especially on the playground. He’d be chosen last to play at recess or football, or not chosen at all sometimes. Although BB was walking, he struggled with what is called “Left Neglect”—it takes conscious effort to use the left side of his body. Even with physical therapy, BB still struggles with Left Neglect.
He has a limp and tires quickly, and he jokes that his left arm is now his ‘chicken wing,’ since it sticks out in a way it didn’t before the injury.”
Looking for a safe and fun environment that would help BB recover
“During the first year of his recovery, we were looking for activities where BB would be in a “safe” environment. He could no longer participate in motocross, his dream sport of choice. He couldn’t do basketball, baseball or soccer camps since he struggled with fine motor skills and tripping over his left foot.
We also had mounting medical bills due to BB’s rehabilitation and physical therapy, and had concerns about keeping BB active and finding affordable ways to do so. That’s when we learned about Camp Cosby and learned about their Annual Campaign Scholarship program.”
Camp Cosby made all the difference
“We sent BB to YMCA Camp Cosby for the first time that summer. By Wednesday of his first session, the camp staff had called to let me know that BB wanted to stay another week.
Camp Cosby gave BB a safe place where his disability didn’t matter and he could just be himself. That summer, BB came home with joy in his heart from his time at camp which also brought him closer to God.”
Camp’s about having fun and making friends
“The counselors were magnificent and the opportunities offered there weren’t about competition—instead it was about having fun and making friends.
BB has attended Camp Cosby every summer since then and if it wasn’t for the scholarship program he wouldn’t have had that opportunity.
BB’s love for Camp Cosby is contagious! So much so that now our youngest is a camper and is already talking about how she’s ‘ready for camp’ each and every summer just like her big brother!”
A place to feel free and thrive
“Camp Cosby has given a boy who had a life changing event occur at a young age a place to feel free and thrive because of counselors who model kind and caring behaviors.
As BB has matured, we have watched his confidence return and now he is a leader, with strong faith and a dynamic personality and a growing passion to help others with invisible disabilities like himself.
He has never complained and says his TBI is something that is making him “who he is” and that it has strengthened his faith and determination to make a difference in the lives of others. Now BB is talking about the LIT (Leader in Training) program when he comes of age!”
I don’t know about you, but as a Mom I found that story incredibly moving at so many levels.
BB’s Story: in his own words
Now, here’s what BB had to say about his experience:
“Camp Cosby—it’s more than just a simple word or phrase. It’s a place to get away from the reality of the world. It’s a place to make lifelong friends that you can always rely on, no matter what. However, most of all it’s a place to have fun and enjoy yourself.
I can’t fathom my life without Camp Cosby. Without Cosby, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. It has developed my character so much.”
“However, it has mainly affected my mental health. Cosby helps me mentally because I am allowed to express myself without any restraints. It’s also one of the only opportunities I have to make friends without any preconceived opinions.
Camp Cosby also affects my faith a lot. Whether it’s at Grace the first and last night or at chapel right before every meal—I always learn something new.”
“All of these things that I am learning, I can apply to my day-to-day life, whether it’s situations with other people or simple decisions in day-to-day life. All in all, Camp Cosby has played a large part in molding me into the Christian that I am today.BB, Male Camper, Age 13
So, as you can see, Camp Cosby means everything to me. I don’t know what I would do without it. I have made so many memories and friends throughout the years, and I would love to make some more at camp this summer.”
3. Change a life. Give the gift of YMCA Camp Cosby.
Whether you want to sponsor to a child so they can attend camp or to register your own child(ren) for camp, you are signing on to change a life. A whole week unplugged, in a beautiful location, making friends, developing character and learning life lessons you can’t get anywhere else. What’s not to love about that?
If you want to send your child(ren) to YMCA Camp Cosby, you can. Here are the details:
Attend an open house:
- March 17 | Register
- New Parent Orientation: April 14 | Register
- Spring Family Fun Day: June 1, 11AM-3:30PM | children ages 7-up | $5 per person | children 6 + under attend FREE | Register
Need a camp scholarship?
All applications are considered based on income, household need, and individual circumstances. Apply here.
Financial aid application deadline: now-June 1, 2020. The first session of camp starts May 31.
Help send a child to YMCA Camp Cosby this summer, then tell us about your favorite summer camp memories? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know!