Several donors help replace stolen YMCA canoes

Ohio Rep. Sarah Carruthers was one of several donors who helped raise money to replace five stolen canoes, associated equipment and a trailer. Pictured is Carruthers with three of the YMCA campers at the Hughes Summer Camp at Camp Campbell Gard on Augspurger Road. PROVIDED

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Ohio Rep. Sarah Carruthers was one of several donors who helped raise money to replace five stolen canoes, associated equipment and a trailer. Pictured is Carruthers with three of the YMCA campers at the Hughes Summer Camp at Camp Campbell Gard on Augspurger Road. PROVIDED

Less than a month after several canoes and a trailer were stolen from the YMCA’s day camp, several donors stepped up.

The YMCA Hughes Summer Day Camp had its five brand new canoes, associated gear, and the trailer, all of it was stored inside, stolen sometime before July 7. It was last seen on July 2, ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. The value of the trailer and canoes was reported to be $4,000, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s report.

They planned to purchase replacement canoes, said Chief Operating Officer Karen Staley, but then media reports inspired the donations, including from Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers.

“I just can’t imagine taking anything away from the kids,” she said. “I was moved to help, I contributed and sent a letter to others to help as well. We have to get kids active, outside, learning, and building relationships. Programs like these accomplish all of that.”

Some 300 school-age children are served this summer in program options offered throughout Butler and Warren counties by the Great Miami Valley YMCA. These youth are also being served 1,500 breakfast meals and 2,000 lunches every week. Every Thursday and Friday, the kids had looked forward to being out on the canoes at the Camp Campbell Gard facility on Augspurger Road.

A camp alumni, who chose to remain anonymous, agreed to pay for half the replacement cots, and three other anonymous donors volunteered to fund the remaining expenses.

“The Great Miami Valley YMCA is extremely grateful for the donors who came forward to replace this equipment, and the youth we serve are so appreciative that they are still able to have the traditional camp experience, including kayaking and canoeing, because of the generosity of the Y’s donors,” said Kimberly Munafo. Great Miami Valley YMCA vice president of Development, Marketing and Communications.

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