On The Ball Year-Round

YMCA Storer Camps offers a programming smorgasbord that goes far beyond what is traditionally an encompassing camp experience.

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Summer campers have a bevy of activities to choose from -- including waterfront (non-motorized -- sailing, kayaking and canoeing, among others), horseback riding (the camp has three equestrian facilities), outdoor adventure, environmental programs and outdoor adventure programs.

The camp also organizes 12 off-site trips with its Adventure Out-Tripping Program, and is looking at adding a parent-child trip, among other new and different trips.

The trips include a Rocky Mountain Backpacker Trip (to the Wind River Range), a rock climbing trip in Canada, Appalachian Odyssey (backpacking and white water rafting), two canoe trips and two bike trips.

The trips, which are limited to eight to ten campers, start at the camp and travel by van to their destinations, utilizing specialized, specifically-trained staff.

Though summer camp is still the main focus, it represents about 2,500 of the 30,000 participants who go to Storer Camps. About 18,000 of those are represented by more than 200 schools who bring their children for the camp's outdoor environmental education from September through May.

The camp delivers about 50 curricula in outdoor environmental education through three-, four- and five-day programs with the specific goal of improving the kids' test scores.

"They're looking to us and our trained staff to provide the curriculum and help the kids improve their test scores, and they have a heckuva good time," says executive director Kathy Treiber.

The camp also hosts a number of organizations and associations for kids with special needs. These include the Alexander Graham Bell Association (for kids with hearing impairments), Michi-MAC (for kids with asthma), the Sickle Cell Association and the Epilepsy Foundation.

"Next summer we'll have 100 people from all over the world in our World Oncology Camp where we host kids who have cancer for a week. It's a tremendous experience," says vice president of camping services for the YMCA of Greater Toledo, Glen King. "At the beginning of the week the kids are walking around nervous and scared. Three days later they're taking off their prostheses and wigs and square dancing, swimming in the lake or sailing in a boat. It helps them recognize that their mind and spirit is still whole."

Additionally, the camp provides $250,000 in scholarships to kids who would not be able to afford it otherwise. Treiber says her first camp experience was on scholarship.

Bryan BuchkoComment