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YMCA of Greater Charlotte
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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STORIES

When you send a kid to camp, you change lives. 

“No child should go without the ‘game changing’ experience. YMCA Camp Thunderbird’s Game Changers program ensures that each summer children in need get the chance to have that experience and be a part of camp. These campers come with a desire to learn and a hope for fun. 

Many of their families have never even heard about resident camp and what we do. That’s why Game Changers works closely with the soon-to-be campers and their families to expose them to the uniqueness of being away from home, packing for a big trip and several other pivotal points of a resident camp experience. 

The program commits to these children and families for three years, from their third to fifth grade summers. The potential for impact is astounding; but not just for them. What I’ve come to understand in my short 10 months working in the program is that it is a ‘game changing’ time for staff, too…

Seeing the tears well up in the eyes of the student who says, ‘But I don’t have a swimsuit,’ and calming her concern. 

Hugging the child who has a permanent grin from the excitement of learning that he is coming to camp for the first time.

Getting a high-five after just one visit with a Game Changers student who says, ‘You’re the best, Ms. Z.’

It’s my life that is truly being changed. What an honor and life-changing experience it is to represent the magic of YMCA Camp Thunderbird and to be a part of the team that is impacting the lives of our Game Changers kids.”

- Laurel Zitney, YMCA Camp Thunderbird Day Camp & Outreach Director