ROCKPORT, Maine — The Camden Lions Club recently presented a check for $500 to the Penobscot Bay YMCA to support its summer camp programs. The donation was made possible through the Lions Club’s Bottles & Cans Fund.
According to Lions Club Treasurer Peter Martin, about 14 months ago the Lions began sorting and recycling the large volume of returnables that are taken to the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Center. “There were so many their staff couldn’t keep up with it — it’s very labor intensive. Our club members, usually about six at a time, gather twice a week on Thursday and Saturday mornings to recycle these returnables.”
Club members take the cans and bottles to Coastal Opportunities and keep two-thirds of the proceeds to fund worthwhile community projects. The remaining third stays with at the center. “We’re taking these cans and bottles out of the trash stream,” says Martin, “and the funds raised allow us to make donations to support worthy local charities and non-profits, like the Y,” he says. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Penobscot Bay YMCA Executive Director Troy Curtis says more than 500 individual children participated in one or more weeks of summer camp last summer. The Y operates the largest summer day camp program in Knox County and has programs for all ages: KinderKamp, an all-day camp program for children who have completed or are eligible for kindergarten; Camp-A-Homa, for children ages 6 to 12; and Leadership in Training, a program for older campers, ages 11-14.
Children come from all over Knox County, and campers are picked up at several remote locations and transported to the Lincolnville Central School. On fair weather days, they enjoy outdoor activities and games. On foul weather days, they are bused to the YMCA where they can swim and use the Y’s facilities. On Fridays, they enjoy field trips to special attractions.
“Our goal is to provide all camp participants the opportunity to grow physically, mentally and socially using natural sites and challenging activities in large and small group settings under the guidance of well-trained staff members. But a major barrier is transportation — the estimated bus costs for this summer are $15,000,” Curtis says. “The Lions Club’s contribution will be used to help fund bus transportation, thereby allowing a greater number of children from outlying areas to attend our summer camp programs.”
All children are invited to participate in Y summer camp programs, regardless of their financial means, and no one is ever excluded since the YMCA provides camp scholarships to those in need. In 2010, 241 children benefited from YMCA scholarships that totaled $14,372.
For more information about the YMCA’s summer camp programs, call the Y at 236-3375.