Autism Speaks, a national autism advocacy organization, selected Frost Valley YMCA to be a recipient of the Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp Scholarship Program Award.

The Autism Speaks organization was founded in February 2005 and has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Frost Valley obtained this grant for the benefit of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder whose families would otherwise not be able to attend Day Camp. The funds have been given to families living in Sullivan, Delaware, and Ulster Counties for Summer 2015.

Guided by its mission, Frost Valley believes that all children deserve a camp experience and have historically welcomed children with varying types of physical and developmental disabilities in their summer programs, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Frost Valley offers traditional camp activities such as swimming, boating, hiking, arts & crafts, teambuilding, rock climbing, science-based outdoor experiences, ropes courses and more.

Under the leadership of the Day Camp Inclusion Director, experienced counselors work closely with children with physical and/or developmental disabilities to see that their needs are met. They provide campers with ample opportunities to experience the outdoors, create long-lasting friendships and participate in all activities in a beautiful, natural setting.

This article originally appeared in the Tri-Valley Townsman, June 2015

The summer can present a unique challenge for parents: how can we keep children occupied when they’re out of school? Frost Valley YMCA offers several options for parents in our community, such as Day Camp, and thanks to local businesses this option is now more affordable.

By providing scholarship dollars for children to come to camp, Frost Valley can offer children a safe environment that ensures a summer filled with productive activities to boost summer learning, encourage growth, and foster healthy friendships. Campers at Frost Valley enjoy swimming in Lake Cole, going on field trips, riding horses, and exposure to a variety of different cultures from around the world. Achievement, Relationships, and Belonging are essential dimensions of well-being that Frost Valley cultivates through Day Camp programs.

Several local businesses have made donations that support financial assistance, including Premiere Sponsor Blue Hill Lodge & Café, which generously gave $5,000 to support local families. This support helps to ensure that all families have access to quality summer care for their children. Local business sponsorships support more than 90 campers with roughly $22,000 in financial assistance.

This article originally appeared in the Tri-Valley Townsman, May 2015. 

Although the last gasps of winter persisted longer than many expected, a little snow on the ground certainly didn’t disrupt Frost Valley YMCA’s Spring Break Day Camp, which took place March 30-April 3.

Dozens of campers spent their school break enjoying nature hikes, climbing, sports, arts and crafts, and a trip to the Frost Valley Farm, where they were able to watch and learn about the farm and its livestock, including baby goats, lambs, and bunnies.

Campers were in for a special treat on Friday, the final day, when they experienced a taste of culinary education at Frost Valley’s Healthy Home Teaching Kitchen, where they learned how to bake cookies. Later that afternoon, the annual Spring Break Egg Hunt took place in Geyer Hall, a conference and recreation center, where about 500 plastic eggs filled with stickers and treats were scattered among two stories. Campers were divided into age groups and collected eggs in festive paper bags they crafted the previous day.

To campers, these activities are a fun way to spend a refreshing break from sitting at a school desk all day. But Frost Valley staff ensures that each activity is also a learning experience — a means to explore, discover, build confidence, and make friends. These lessons showed through during the culminating Egg Hunt. While campers scattered about, each group tended to display the values Frost Valley aims to teach. The youngest set was the least competitive, preferring to share their finds with friends. When one camper began to cry because he wasn’t tall enough to reach an egg; the other tiny campers gathered around to cheer him up, some offering their own eggs. Soon, he was up, running, and laughing with the rest of them. The slightly older campers were also playful and courteous, while developing strategies and displaying teamwork. It was a great opportunity to see these lessons put into action.

Families who are interested in exploring Summer Day Camp options can attend a free Open House on April 26, which includes a tour of camp, presentation, Q&A, lunch, and a camp craft. Please visit to reserve your spot.

This article originally appeared in the Tri-Valley Townsman, 2015.