A Formative Experience Leads to Leadership Support
I grew up on the Lower East Side and was 11 when I started going to Camp Talcott, one of the YMCA’s sleepaway summer camps in upstate New York. I went to camp that summer because a good friend of mine was going. Both my father and uncle had gone to Camp Talcott back in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until we arrived there that my father remembered attending as a kid.
The independence and the outdoor adventures that I experienced were two of the reasons why I enjoyed camp. I was one of those kids who didn’t leave when I aged out—I eventually became a Counselor in Training (CIT), then a Junior Counselor, then a Counselor.
I focus on being active at the Y, both as a volunteer and as a donor, because I came to the conclusion that the Y offers a rare opportunity to affect kids at a critical time in their lives. Sleepaway camp brings kids from diverse backgrounds together for shared experiences that transform lives.
Kids return from Y camp to have more rewarding school experiences and more confidence. The Y camp experience is formative: it makes kids more environmentally aware, more socially aware.
Why I Give
About 75 percent of the kids who attend Y camps receive some form of financial assistance. There's something powerful about taking a person out of their usual environment and putting them into a new one for 24 hours a day over seven or more days. Having that intensive, immersive experience gave me the motivation to do a lot of good as a donor.
The Y's slogan is "We're Here for Good." There are many demands on people's giving and their estate bequests, but if you want to support a program with a long-term record of success, Y camp is a great investment in "good." Your investment has a high return and a high level of safety. You can be confident that your gift or bequest assets will be well-used for very good purposes.
Josh Heitler is a member of both of the Y's fundamental support systems: the Heritage Society and the 1852 Fellowship. The Heritage Society is for those who have included the YMCA of Greater New York in their estate planning. The 1852 Fellowship includes those who have made a substantial gift to the YMCA endowment fund.
Learn how you can support New York City's youth by contacting Patti Davis at (212) 630-9625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.