YMCA Camp Kitaki

Don't Yuck on My Yum

Don't Yuck on My Yum

I am unapologetically a language nerd. I love thinking about and talking about word choices, and I am on a constant quest to find the best ways to concisely convey ideas. This comes in handy, as a major part of my job is staff training. 

Recently, I learned a new phrase from Hattie, my seven year old daughter, and I thought it was so good that I had to share. 

We were sitting at the dinner table and she made an offhand comment about hating Fortnight (side note: her only real experience with Fortnight is hearing about it from Ryan’s Toy Reviews so I have no idea why she felt so strongly about it). Always eager to seize on a teachable moment, I asked her how she would feel if someone told her they hated Lumberjanes (her current literary obsession). She looked sheepish and said “Oh, right…” And then I asked if she had heard the phrase "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." She replied “No” (which for the record is probably not accurate), but then she said “You mean ‘Don’t yuck on my yum’?” 

I was immediately way too enthusiastic (which is new for me, right?) and asked where she had heard such an awesome phrase. She said that a lady had said it when she came to Hattie’s school and talked to the class about healthy food choices last fall.  

Clearly, it had stuck with Hattie, and I can see why. 

There is so much to unpack in such a simple and fun phrase.

Don’t yuck on my yum. Don’t assume that others will feel the same about something just because you do, and don’t make people feel bad for liking what they like. 

As a camp that strives to be a place for all, a place where everyone can be their unapologetically authentic selves, this message is so important. 

Whether it is Magic the Gathering, a "unique" sparkly dress from prop shop, covering yourself in mud for a challenge, trying out a new nickname, or enjoying a favorite food from your family or culture, at camp you get to like what you like, and you get to feel safe knowing that nobody is going to judge you for it. 

And perhaps more importantly, at camp you are encouraged to think about the impact a “yuck” could have on someone else. Not in a way that makes you feel guilty, or like you are a terrible person. But in a way that, we hope, builds genuine empathy and a greater appreciation for all the weird and wonderful things that make each of us unique. 

Don’t yuck on my yum. I am excited to share this phrase with our staff, and who knows; maybe your camper will come home and share it with you. 

Natalie Roberts-Day

Associate Executive Director

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