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A camper sits at the front of a canoe and holds his paddle over his head in triumph

Prior to the pandemic, I took every opportunity I could to visit other camps and get to know more about their program and facility.  One cool facility saw was North Star Reach in Michigan.  They are a camp that is dedicated to offering the camp experience to children with serious health challenges, and they have some awesome programs and facilities to make that work possible.  North Star Reach is part of the SeriousFun Children’s Network of camps, which was founded by Paul Newman. 

I came away from that visit in awe of all the many ways that camp can impact kids.  I also came home with a camp t-shirt.  Whenever I put on that shirt I see the name “SeriousFun”.  As I think about what we do here at Camp Kitaki, I am struck by what a powerfully simple idea that is.  What if more places took fun seriously?  There are so many places that ARE fun.  But do they really take fun seriously?  Are they intentional about what fun can build, create or develop?

At YMCA Camp Kitaki, we are very serious about fun.  At camp I’ve seen fun be the glue that breaks down barriers, instills camaraderie, and creates friendships.  I’ve seen fun be the mirror in which kids can see not just who they are, but who they want to become.  I’ve seen fun be the textbook from which learning is recalled, rehearsed and reframed so that it isn’t lost, but applied in the real world.  I’ve seen fun be the clay from which new skills are built, hobbies learned, and passions shaped. 

Most importantly I have seen fun be the soil in which kids grow into the leaders of tomorrow. 

In a year that has had our kids take so many serious things so incredibly seriously, let’s make this summer be about fun.    

Let’s take that seriously too.



Virtual Open House:  Join us live on Facebook at 3PM on Sunday April 18th for a virtual open house for your camper!

Outdoor Explore Days - April 24th from 9am-5pm for ages 7-12

Summer Camp - Give your camper a week of fun this summer!  Ages 7-15

Ranger Camp - Does your camper want a rustic adventure?  Ages 11-13

Category: Youth Development
Author Information

Jason Smith