Teens: Let’s Take An Adventure!

It is no secret that important, rapid growth takes place during childhood years, but what about teen development? The early adolescent and young adult years in a person’s life hold incredible opportunity for growth and development, and when nurtured can result in a positive, productive adult!

YMCA Camp Lincoln strives to provide positive, nurtured experiences for youth and teens to promote healthy youth development. YMCA Camp Lincoln’s adventure trips provide boys and girls age 11-15 with an unforgettable adventure and a community of their own. Adventure trips are 5-day, 5-night travel experiences that allow teens to build teamwork and leadership skills while gaining self-confidence and having fun. Adventurers will conquer new heights and paddle the rapids on Rock and River; explore Cape Cod and islands by bicycle during Bikes and Beaches; climb and paddle the rugged coast of Maine on The Maine Event; or delve into the White Mountains for hiking, camping adventures, and White Mountain Exploration. Groups are led by experienced camp staff and limited to 10 teens.

Teens who attend summer camp develop life skills that nurture independence and confidence, creating a foundation that will serve them and that they’ll grow from for the rest of their life.

Adventure trips guarantee life-changing, inspiring, outdoor fun! Learn more about adventure trips. Contact Geof Harris with any questions.


Curiosity at the Creek

As a homeschooler growing up in central Oklahoma, I spent the majority of my time outdoors. My neighborhood backed up to a creek that ran for several miles in either direction. My brothers and I would spend hours exploring the slick clay banks collecting golf balls and jumping into murky pools as we went. It was here that I first experienced the pleasure of having over a dozen ticks on me at once and where I first fell through a sheet of thin ice on a cold afternoon. It was also where I learned about water currents, trees, animal habitats, geology, and as neighborhoods began springing up around it suburban sprawl. Through these experiences I gained a curious mind, an appreciation for the outdoors, and a passion for sharing it with others. I am especially passionate about sharing these experiences with the homeschool community, the community that helped form my passions.

In the past year YMCA Camp Lincoln has offered monthly programs to the homeschool community covering topics from migration and forest ecology to winter survival. My goal with these programs is to create a community of curious individuals that have a desire to go home and learn more. Learning through doing (experiential education) is the basis for each program, with students touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, and listening. We explore and discover our natural world.

I remember being a shy kid who was able to open up in the outdoors and feel at ease with others around me. I have seen this very thing happen in YMCA programs. I am excited to continue working with our homeschool community and hopefully our programs and interactions with families will make the same kind of positive impact that I experienced. My life’s direction started by spending a little time outdoors and my hope is to inspire a few others.

-Geof Harris
YMCA Camp Lincoln Program Director

Make A Splash For Youth!

Nearly 6,000 school-age children throughout southern New Hampshire are engaged in Southern District YMCA programs each year. More than 100 kids from 95 families receive financial assistance so they can attend before and after school programs, as well as summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. No one is ever turned away from the YMCA for inability to pay.

Financial assistance is supported through generous community donations and fundraisers such as the 5th Annual Paddle Plunge on April 11 from 10AM – 1PM. Paddle Plunge participants will don their best costumes and take a freezing dip in Kingston Lake to raise money to send local youth to camp and safe after school programs.

Community members are invited to join a team, donate online at www.crowdrise.com/ymcaplunge and attend FREE Family Fun Day, which will be held during the Paddle Plunge. Guests can participate in FREE activities like face painting, playing carpet ball and camp games, s’mores and a free lunch!

Some local organizations are hosting their own fundraisers. Parishioners at Stratham Community Church recently raised $400 to help a camper in need attend summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. Donations like this make it possible for the Y to offset the costs of child care and summer camp for families in need.

WHAT: 5th Annual Paddle Plunge and Family Fun Day

WHEN: Saturday, April 11 from 10AM-1PM

WHERE: YMCA Camp Lincoln, 67 Ball Rd, Kingston, NH 03848

WHY: No one is ever turned away from the Y for inability to pay. More than 100 kids from 95 families receive financial assistance so they can attend before and after school programs, as well as summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. The Paddle Plunge is a fun way to celebrate the end of winter and raise money to support financial assistance.

DONATE: Join a team or support an existing one at www.crowdrise.com/ymcaplunge

Grain-free Berry Cobbler

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we are sharing simple, healthy, delicious, and fun recipes for you to try all week!
Very Berry Cobbler [from the Wellness Mama blog]
Serves 4+
A simple berry cobbler that is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-optional and sweetener-optional.

4 cups of assorted berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or a mix (fresh or frozen)
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup of coconut oil or butter
1 tsp vanilla
optional: stevia, organic honey or maple syrup to taste
optional: organic whole cream, whipped with vanilla (for topping)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a 8×8 or larger baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
  3. Place berries in baking dish.
  4. Combine almond flour, coconut oil/butter and vanilla with your hands until it makes a crumbly topping. You may need to adjust the almond flour up or down slightly, depending on the texture of the brand you use. If using stevia, you can add a small amount to the topping at this point.
  5. Using your hands, sprinkle/crumble the topping over the berries.
  6. Put dish into oven and cook for about 20 minutes (fresh fruit) to 30-40 minutes (frozen fruit).
  7. When done, drizzle with organic honey or maple syrup if using (optional)
  8. Top with whipped organic cream/vanilla if using.
  9. Enjoy!

wellness mama

Let’s Go To Summer Camp!

Camping, like many Y programs, is about learning skills, developing character and making friends. But few environments are as special as camp, where kids become a community as they learn both how to be more independent and how to contribute to a group as they engage in physical, social and educational activities. Camping teaches self-reliance, a love for nature and the outdoors, and the development of attitudes and practices that build character and leadership—all amidst the fun of camp fires, bugle calls, canoeing, archery, talent shows, and meaningful relationships. Y counselors are dedicated to making sure camp is an amazing experience for every camper.

At Camp Lincoln, programs for younger campers are more structured while older campers have more choices about the activities in their day. Traditional day camp activities include swimming lessons, arts and crafts, archery, sports, and more. Specialized camps for older campers offer the choice to participate in off-site activities such as golf or horseback riding. Campers, from ages 11-15, can also participate in 5-day overnight adventure camps throughout New England, from Cape Cod to the White Mountains, and beyond to Quebec City.

YMCA Camp Lincoln offers a variety of affordable summer camp programs with transportation and expanded camp times for working families. No camper has been turned away for inability to pay in 89 years. Scholarships are available for campers in need.

Online registration for summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln is open and filling quickly! Since 1926, campers have developed friendships, discovered new talents and built self-confidence at YMCA Camp Lincoln. Families with children ages 3 to 15 can learn more about a day at camp – and register – on our website.


WINTERFEST 2015 at YMCA Camp Lincoln

YMCA Camp Lincoln chose another perfect winter day to host WINTERFEST. More than 70 people braved the cold, with sleds and skates in hand, and made their way to the shores of Kingston Lake for sledding, ice skating, snow-angel making, and hot chocolate drinking and s’more eating by the campfire.

The skating was perfect; Camp Lincoln staff had shoveled a skating area and trails, but skaters discovered that they could skate through the light snow anyways. Conversation and laughter echoed across the lake.

How are you staying active with your family this winter? Here are some ideas for creative ways to stay active and healthy this winter.

Thanks to all who joined us for a fun WINTERFEST at YMCA Camp Lincoln! Check out photos from WINTERFEST on Facebook.

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Local Couple Recognized for 26 Years of Teen Leadership

Southern District YMCA is thrilled to announce the 2014 Volunteer of the Year. This year, the honor recognizes and celebrates the extraordinary service of two people who are nurturing youth leadership: Helen and Kevin Joyce.

For 26 years, the Joyces have served as advisors to high school delegations to YMCA Youth and Government in New Hampshire. During this time, they have advised, mentored and inspired high school students to be engaged in the democratic process.

In a surprise presentation on December 7, Kimberly Meyer, Director of Community Operations for Southern District YMCA, recognized their contribution in the lives of close to 10,000 youth during their volunteer leadership.

Deb Clark Valentine, retired director of YMCA Youth and Government in New Hampshire, sent her remarks, “Through your own careers as educators and respective roles as history teachers, department heads, guidance counselor and assistant principal … you never wavered from the importance of making sure every generation of teen leaders understand the importance of respectful debate, the role democracy plays in our lives and, of course, the importance of developing their leadership capacity in order to serve.”

YMCA Youth and Government inspires teens to understand the importance of civil service and public engagement. Each year – for more than 60 years – 300 teens from 30 schools have come together in the New Hampshire State House to experience the theory and practice of determining public policy and the principles of democracy. Through hands-on collaborative action, the students learn the importance of moral courage in solving public questions, the significance of the freedoms set forth in the Bill of Rights and in state and federal constitutions, and the value of an honest difference of opinion, with freedom to express it, as a healthy medium in which to attain personal dignity.

Volunteers – such as the Joyces – are the cornerstone of the YMCA and are vital in delivering youth development, healthy living and social responsibility within the community. Through our volunteers’ valuable and selfless commitment to living a cause-driven life, Southern District YMCA is able to deliver much needed community services with high-quality efficient programs. Because of the contributions of volunteers, Southern District YMCA is accessible to all, having never turned away anyone for their inability to pay.

Volunteer of the Year Helen Joyce (not pictured Kevin Joyce); Rob McGregor, Southern District YMCA Executive Director; and Kimberly Meyer, Southern District YMCA Director of Community Operations

Volunteer of the Year Helen Joyce (not pictured Kevin Joyce); Rob McGregor, Southern District YMCA Executive Director; and Kimberly Meyer, Southern District YMCA Director of Community Operations