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Five Reasons Why Kids Should Experience Summer Camp

Canoeing on Lees Pond at Camp Mahackeno.

Exploring nature, gaining new experiences and making new friends are just some of the benefits of participating in Camp Mahackeno, the Westport Weston Family Y’s beloved summer day camp along the banks of the Saugatuck River. As summer fast approaches, the Family Y reminds parents that camping is a unique and invaluable experience for children and teens.

“Getting a summer break from learning in school doesn’t mean that kids should not spend the summer leaning outside the classroom,” says Meaghan George, the Family Y’s Youth and Camp Director. “At Mahackeno, campers learn how to be responsible and resourceful, work in groups, solve problems and make decisions that will help them grow as individuals – all while having fun.”

As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Family Y works to help children and teens discover their full potential by providing opportunities to learn and grow. According to camp and child development experts, there are five top reasons why kids should experience summer camp:

  1. FOR ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about fun adventures in the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen. This especially true at Mahackeno, which this season is offering special “theme weeks,” from Olympics Week to Art Week to Space Week (visit for details).
  2. FOR NEW EXPERIENCES: Day camps are about learning outside of school, exploring and appreciating the outdoors, developing new skills, making friends and showing leadership.
  3. FOR PERSONAL GROWTH: While being away from the routine at home, youth have a chance to develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges.
  4. FOR NEW FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, canoeing and talent shows, campers meet new friends.
  5. FOR MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and campfire stories) that will last a lifetime.

Pat Costanzo, the Family Y’s Senior Director of Properties and Facilities, grooms the softball diamond at the annual spring cleanup at Camp Mahackeno on May 12, 2012, in preparation for another season of summer day camp.

Camp Mahackeno provides exciting and educational camp programming for children and teens, and their parents, including: canoeing, archery, performing arts, outdoor living skills, arts and crafts and more. Every two-week session also features “Family Nights,” with campers’ families invited to join in an evening of fun, including a show that involves every child. And on August 10, the Family Y hosts all camper families for our annual Camp-out at Mahackeno, which includes field games, an outdoor feature movie and a marshmallow roast by the campfire.

If you are not familiar with the Family Y’s 32-acre Mahackeno Outdoor Center, please bring your family to our Open House on Saturday, May 19, 12 to 2 p.m., 14 Sunny Lane. It’s a great time to tour the camp and ask important questions. You’ll see sample schedules for your campers, explore the facility, and meet our staff, many of whom are returning and are former campers themselves.

To ensure that every child and teen has the chance to go to camp, the Family Y offers financial assistance to those in need. We are also proud to offer our Special Cares Camp for children with special needs.

To learn more about camp opportunities, contact Meaghan George at 203-226-8981, ext. 179, or For more information and registration forms, please visit