by Carolyn Fox
“Building character” isn’t as scary as it sounds when you’re at YMCA Camp Abnaki. Situated on the southern tip of North Hero, the boys’ sleepaway and day-camp programs hope to foster caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in their young participants. While much has changed since Abnaki’s 1901 founding, those traits help ensure that its motto — “Help the Other Fellow” — still stands.
From rustic wood cabins to family-style meals, the picturesque grounds boast all the trappings of a true camping experience — though, yes, there are hot showers and electricity. The days are packed with archery, sailing, arts and crafts, swimming and capture the flag — among many other activities that take full advantage of the lakeside setting.
But why let your kid have all the fun? Abnaki’s unique Family Camp Weekends, scheduled around Memorial Day and Labor Day, get parents and siblings involved, too. “The whole family can come up to camp and stay in a cabin,” notes director Jon Kuypers.
Boys ages 7 to 16 qualify for the one- or two-week residential programs, and can sign up for multiple sessions spanning as many as eight weeks of the summer; 6- to 10-year-olds can instead opt for the day camp. Sessions begin as early as June 23. Call 862-8993, ext. 129, or visit campabnaki.org for more information.