Stolen YMCA canoes were purchased for kids’ summer camp

YMCA’s chief operating officer said they will purchase new canoes, even though the funding isn’t in place.

Campers at Camp Campbell Gard will have to do other activities until five stolen canoes can be replaced, said the Great Miami Valley YMCA’s chief operating officer.

On Thursday, July 7, an employee with the YMCA facility on Augspurger Road in St. Clair Twp. reported five canoes and the trailer they were stored in were stolen from the campgrounds. The canoe trailer and the canoes were reported missing at noon, though the last time it was seen was five days earlier. There was no information on the trailer as it was never registered, according to the report from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

The reported value of the trailer and five canoes is $4,000, according to the sheriff’s office report.

“The kids were so excited,” COO Karen Staley said of the regional day camp at the Hughes Convention Center at Camp Campbell Gard, 4803 Augspurger Road. “It’s everything they look forward to every Thursday and Friday. It’s just really disheartening because this really impacts our kids; they were brand new canoes, our trailer; and pretty much everything.”

Staley said they will replace the canoes and oars, somehow, even though they don’t have the funding in place at this time.

“I got a lead on four canoes that we’re going to have to purchase, again, and find some funding somewhere to pay for them,” she said. “I just ordered them because it’s a big part of camp. This is what they look forward to every week. I couldn’t wait. I bought some even though we didn’t have the funding secured.”

Staley said she planned to pick up the new canoes this week.

In the meantime, they will have to do alternative programming until the YMCA can replace the canoes.

“We still do fishing and things like that on the pond,” she said.

The YMCA posted about the theft on its Facebook page, and they asked if anyone sees “any suspicious postings about Old Town canoes that are red and green” to contact the Butler County Sheriff’s Office at its non-emergency number, 513-785-1300.

Staley said if anyone wants to help fund the replacement canoes, they can reach out to her at or call 513-887-0001.

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