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Family Y Hires New Director for Camp Mahackeno; Launches 2012 Camp Registration

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Meg George, new Camp and Youth Director for the Westport Weston Family Y.

The Westport Weston Family Y has announced the hiring of Meaghan George as Camp and Youth Director. George will oversee the Family Y’s summer day camp at its 32-acre Mahackeno Outdoor Center as well as Youth programming at the Y’s facility in downtown Westport.

Prior to joining the Family Y in January 2012, George was director of YMCA Camp Tepee in Monroe, CT, for the past seven years. A graduate of Springfield College, where she studied YMCA management, George has a life-long connection to the Y; her stepfather was a YMCA Camp Director for 30 years and she attended camps he ran in upstate New York as well as a sleepaway camp in Massachusetts.

“I decided on a career that would allow me to teach children things they don’t necessarily learn in school but that they need in order to live happy lives and to build positive relationships with the people and the world around them,” says George. “I’m just thrilled to be a part of the Family Y and to be able to continue to build upon the great legacy of Camp Mahackeno.”

Located amid 32 acres of scenic woodlands and open space along the banks of the Saugatuck River, Camp Mahackeno is part of Westport history. Founded in 1938 as a “stay at home camp” for boys, the property remains rugged and rustic, as befits its original role three centuries ago as a summer lodge and hunting grounds for a Native American chief and his tribe. (See below for a photo gallery of summer campers during the camp’s early days.)

Today the summer day camp features an array of amenities and programs for boys and girls, including a large outdoor swimming pool, 12-acre pond for canoeing and fishing, playing fields and ball courts, rock wall for climbing, a new, 100-ft. zipline and plenty of space and time for such traditional camp activities as archery, arts and crafts and nature classes. Camp programs are balanced to meet the needs of each camper, including our Special Cares camp for children with special needs. There’s also a strong outdoors program for older campers, complete with team-building exercises, leadership and mentoring opportunities and local field trips.

A view of the Merritt Parkway bridge spanning the Saugatuck River at Mahackeno.

“Over the years, Camp Mahackeno has been blessed with strong leadership and the support of generations of many local families,” says David Cohen, Family Y Vice President of Operations. “Meg brings a solid background of managing successful camp operations and staff and will be an energetic, enthusiastic “Counselor in Chief” for the hundreds of local children who will be attending Camp Mahackeno once again this summer.”

Camp Mahackeno offers four two-week sessions for campers entering grades 1 through 10, as well as a Special Events Week held after the regular camp season (August 20-24). The campers are divided into units designed to give age-appropriate levels of supervision and camp activity. These six groups have 20 to 24 campers each, with 200 to 250 children per week per session. Camp is held rain or shine, 9 a.m. to 4 or 4:30 p.m. every weekday. Bus service is offered to local campers, and campers with working parents can also enjoy extended opportunities before and after regular camp hours to participate special activities.

To register or to view the Camp Mahackeno 2012 brochure online, visit www.westporty.org, or contact Meg George directly at 203-226-8981, ext. 179, or mgeorge@westporty.org. If you are not familiar with the Mahackeno Outdoor Center, we invite your family to our Camp Mahackeno Open House on Saturday, May 19, 12 to 2 p.m., 14 Sunny Lane. It’s a great time to tour the facility, see sample schedules for campers and meet Meg and her staff, many of whom are returning and are former campers themselves.

The Family Y also conducts the Hafaday Summer Swim Lesson Program. Entering its 34th season, Hafaday is designed for children between the ages of 4 and 8 and takes place each weekday at the Y from 8:45 am to 12:30 pm. Children take part in an instructional swim lesson and a recreational swim each day. Other daily activities include gym time, arts and crafts and snack time. Hafaday registration is under way and parents are encouraged to sign up soon, as space in this popular learn-to-swim program for young children is limited. To register or for more information, visit www.westporty.org, or call 203-226-8981.

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