Camp Jewell YMCA
October 29, 2013
There are so many things to Ooo and Ahhh about at Camp Jewel. They have impressive year round facilities and a well thought out layout. Their staff was super friendly and welcoming. We got a tour from Craig, the Senior Program Director, he showed us Chapel Island, all of the secret forts and hang outs in the woods, and of course the Whiffle Ball Stadium. The stadium is used for a yearly tournament, the world series of whiffle ball, but the real purpose was to make flag raising and announcements fun and exciting. There is an impressive DJ booth where they blast Thunderstruck to signal for assembly. Each director has their own theme song to signal their arrival or time to speak. Yet above all of this cool and unique stuff that camp Jewell has, the thing we loved most was the large gathering space, located adjacent to the Whiffle Ball Stadium. This area filled with games and activities designed to covertly encourage relationship building. Camp gathers here in the afternoon and after dinner to play on their newly surfaced basketball, pickle ball and four square courts, or to play gaga on one of their three gaga ball rings. There is carpet ball of course and last year the teens build benches around the long carpeted trough so that campers could sit and cheer on their friends while they wait to play. There in an indoor bouldering cave with a garage door that opens towards the rest of the free play action taking place in this gathering space. To top it off they have a mini farm across the driveway. This was my personal favorite. Campers are encouraged to climb over the fence and play with one of their 4 friendly goats. Pet the lamas, lambs, 700 pound pig Stanley, or wander among the very vocal geese. This presents a new experience for many campers, leveling the playing field and helping campers step out of their comfort zone. Thus finding ways to interact and play with new animals as well as secretly forming new friendships.