Ending the disruption caused last year by COVID-19, the first weekly camp began Sunday, and the last will end Aug. 13.
“It’s just trying to get kids to enjoy time together, team-building, leadership training,” Staley said. “We have a huge ropes course. The kids really love that.”
Other fun includes ziplines, archery, hikes in the woods, canoeing, crafts swimming, campfires and horseback riding.
“I can’t tell you how many adults we have around here that still talk about Camp Campbell Gard today, and that was from 30 years ago,” he said. “And they donate to send kids to camp because of their experience. We provide programming regardless of ability to pay, so we do raise money every year to sponsor kids who can’t afford the experience of camp as well.”
Children can go with their friends, because, “It’s even more fun with a friend,” she said.
One former camper is Jeff Archiable, communications strategist for the Hamilton Vision Commission, who as a West Chester youth attended camp each year from about age 10-13.
“Camp Campbell Gard was a great opportunity for me to learn some new skills and develop confidence,” Archiable said. “It was just a really great way to get away and to kind of become my own person.”
Parents also can sign up their kids for regional YMCA camps.
“There’s more need than ever,” Staley said. “We have more campers at our three locations today than we had in 2019, so it’s just a great summer for kids to get out and enjoy other kids.”
The return to camps also is good news for the 40-50 paid camp counselors who work per week, depending on numbers of campers.
More information about the camps, including a video, is at ccgymca.org or by calling the camp office at 513-867-0600. Guided tours are available for people who want to learn more about the camps, facilities or safety practices, which include a nurse on site at all times.