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Sustaining the Special Energy of Summer Camp

From camper to counselor to advocate, Monica knows YMCA camping from the inside out.

Monica Bermiss

Monica Bermiss, member of the Board of Managers for YMCA Camp, is currently Assistant Principal at John Jay Middle School in Cross River, New York.

"After fifth grade I went away to Y summer camp for two weeks and my parents almost didn't hear from me at all," says Monica Bermiss, Assistant Principal at John Jay Middle School in Cross River, New York. "Finally my mother called because she was worried, and I asked her if I could extend for two more weeks.

"I attended camp for three years in a row, then became a CIT (Counselor in Training), and over the course of 15 summers became a village director, waterfront director, program director, and eventually the camp director.

"Now I'm a board member of my own childhood summer camp—the Y sleepaway camp in Huguenot, New York, which is a separate branch of the YMCA of Greater New York. 2018 is the camp's 100th year.

"In a school setting like where I normally work, there isn't much time available for the kinds of conversations that allow kids to work out their conflicts and differences among themselves with adult support.

"Camp kids have a noticeable increase in their stamina and determination. Things they wouldn't have dreamed of doing before become fun pursuits after they experience camp. Y campers are extremely active and eat meals in conversation together—with counselor encouragement every step of the way. There's no technology at the table—they speak directly with each other, creating deep relationships.

"When people think 'camp,' they think 'hiking' or 'sports' or 'swimming.' But when I think 'Y camp,' I think 'values.' Y summer camps offer an environment where people get to know themselves and each other, and learn while having good times together. New York City is a diverse place, and so is Y camp. It's not about what you have or where you live—it's about who you are and how you treat people.

"There's a special energy at the Y that's hard to put into words. There's something about the Y, and the human beings of the Y, that together make that energy. It's a certain feeling, a spirit that you experience and then give to others.

"I feel that I'm a different person, a better person, because of the Y. After sharing the Y camp experience together, campers and staff, we all share a comfort level that we enjoy nowhere else. I have lifelong friends from my camp experience, my best friends. I have traveled the world visiting them. I'm welcomed into their homes like family. I feel so lucky!

"When I finally wrote a will, I could not leave out the Y. Nobody asked me to do it—it was a natural decision for me because the Y was there for me for so much of my life. Many of my positive experiences and life-learning came from my Y community. The goal of my financial support is to help create continuity for my camp and to share my special relationship with the Y with others. I hope my support, when I'm gone, will help continue that special energy I feel."

You can sustain the special energy of Y summer camp for thousands of New York City children.

Please consider putting YMCA camps into your will and estate plan. Even a modest endowment can benefit generations to come.

Make the future of New York City part of your legacy — forever.

It's easy — to make your branch or any YMCA program part of your estate plan, please contact Patti Davis at (212) 630-9625 or

Thank you!

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the YMCA of Greater New York a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to the YMCA of Greater New York, a nonprofit corporation currently located at New York, NY, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

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A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

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A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to New York City’s YMCA or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

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Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to New York City’s YMCA as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to New York City’s YMCA as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and New York City’s YMCA where you agree to make a gift to New York City’s YMCA and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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