Frost Valley YMCA was thrilled to host the The International Camp Directors Conference on October 10-13, 2016, which brought together over 100 attendees including CEOs and Executive Directors from 27 countries as far as China, Armenia, Peru, India and France, to develop, strengthen and expand global camp exchanges and Y-to-Y partnerships, strengthen international YMCA camp leadership, programs and sustainability strategies, and increase philanthropic support for YMCA camps in the U.S. and around the world.
Participants engaged in panel presentations, workshops and networking opportunities. In addition, the participants were able to partake in traditional camp activities, such as teambuilding and hiking, in order to experience camp and enjoy nature. As a result of the conference, participating camps created new partnerships and exchange programs, and gathered new ideas to strengthen camps, advance global education, and foster inclusion through camps.
Charles Fahlsing, Director of Camping Services of YMCA Camp Al-Gon-Quian at YMCA Camp Birkett in Ann Arbor, MI explained, “It was an incredible experience to meet and exchange with many YMCA colleagues from the USA and abroad. This experience leaves me motivated to engage in these efforts and be a more active agent of change in our world.”
The conference featured a live and silent auction of items donated by participants to benefit the construction of the first resident camp in the country of Kosovo. This is very special, as over 60% of the population in Kosovo is under 35 years old. Therefore, they have a great need for youth development. Due to the great deal of enthusiasm and generosity of the group, nearly $17,000 dollars was raised toward this cause.
“I feel so inspired and motivated as I leave the conference. The highlight was the fundraiser for Camp Moronica, the first camp in Kosovo. This conference pushed that project forward, and because of it, hundreds of thousands of children in Kosovo will benefit”, said Dorina Lluka, CEO of YMCA Kosovo.
After the conference, international participants organized in small groups visited 17 YMCA camps with the purpose of learning more about camp management and programs, and to foster relationships. Delta Air Lines, IENA (3 Adventures) and CCUSA joined Frost Valley YMCA by generously providing sponsorship support to the conference.