Rye Y Teens Step Up for Summer Campers

Every year, Rye Y staff members, from the part-time swim instructors to the CEO, donate to the Y’s Annual Campaign. Their charitable contributions, combined with gifts from community donors, fund the Y Cares Financial Assistance Program, which provides camp, child care, program and membership subsidies for those in need.

Some of the most meaningful donations come from the Y’s teenage camp counselors. Although they are usually employed for only the summer, they have fully embraced the Y’s mission of inclusivity and diversity. As 17-year-old Evelyn Summa said “I gave because it is a good cause and I want to give back. I’ve been a part of this camp since I was little. The counselors here are so kind and open. I’d like every child to have the opportunity I had.”

By the time camp wrapped up on August 19, over 130 counselors had engaged an average of 495 children and teens weekly in sports, games, STEAM activities, swim lessons and off-site adventures—creating memories that will last a lifetime. Campers came from across southern Westchester and western Fairfield counties. And this summer, 72 families received financial assistance through Y Cares to cover the camp fees.

Zen Taborda, 18, commented “I gave purely for the kids. I love working with them and the message of the camp. I appreciate the emphasis on safety. I always do my best to be a positive role model – I want to make a change in these kids’ lives.”

Sixteen-year-old Julian Del Pezo said “the Rye Y gave me a good childhood! I’ve been part of it since I was three and wanted to give back. It’s a great place for kids.”

During the 2022 season, the camp staff collectively donated over $4,400 to the Annual Campaign. Sabrina Murphy, the Y’s new CEO, has been impressed with their level of commitment. “The YMCA believes in empowering youth to grow and thrive a leaders,” she noted. “To see these young teen camp counselors grow into philanthropic leaders is so exciting.”

Kathy Lynam, Senior Program Director for Camp, Families and Child Care remarked “Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and explore. But too many children don’t have access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow and thrive during out-of-school time. Attending summer camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to keep their minds and bodies active. Knowing that young teen counselors connected with their campers enough to support the scholarship program speaks volumes about their level of leadership.”

To donate to the Rye Y’s annual campaign and support youth throughout the year, contact Development Director Susan Olson at susanolson@ryeymca.org