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 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

Read Across America with Dr. Seuss

Students nationwide will pick up a book to celebrate Dr. Seuss today, March 2, National Education Association’s 18th annual Read Across America Day celebration of reading and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. NEA, in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, created NEA’s Read Across America Day in 1997 to promote the joy and importance of reading and to celebrate the birthday of beloved author Dr. Seuss. NEA’s Read Across America has grown into a year-round literacy program engaging more than 50 national partners and millions of children, teens, and adults.

Take part in this exciting celebration! Here are some ideas:

1. Take the Reader’s Oath

2. Visit your local library and read one of Dr. Seuss’ books

3. Make reading fun at home! Find great ideas on our Pinterest!

Read across america

Every Duck Makes A Difference

Thank you to everyone who purchased a duck as part of the Every Duck Makes A Difference fundraiser on July 12! We raised more than $1,200, all of which will go towards scholarships for local children to attend year-round YMCA programs such as School Age Child Care or summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln.

The winning ducks were:
First place- 222, Second place- 261, Third place- 197, Fourth place- 259, Fifth place- 69

Congratulations to our Rubber Duck Race winners!

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CSA: Local Food Opportunities

Last Saturday was CSA day at Seacoast Eat Local’s Exeter Winter Farmers Market. If you were in a saddened state because you missed this great event, I have some good news: a second CSA day will take place on February 22 at the Wentworth Greenhouses Farmers Market in Rollinsford. Click here for a list of the farms that you might see at CSA day.

What is a CSA, you might ask? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is an opportunity for a farm and its customer to form a direct relationship. CSA members make a commitment to a farm by purchasing a “share” of the harvest in advance of the growing season. This commitment provides farmers with the capital they need early in the year to buy seeds and supplies. In return, members receive a weekly “share” of the farm’s harvest: fresh, in-season, high quality food grown and harvested on the farm. Depending on the farm and CSA you choose, this food could include vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, dairy products, grains, or more.

Not only is a CSA a great way to secure fresh, local food for your family; it can be a wonderful opportunity to learn about local farms, introduce your family to the benefits of supporting local businesses, maintain good health, and get creative in your kitchen. In some cases, joining a CSA can even offer the opportunity to get your hands dirty on the farm. Is there a better way to educate our youth about food and health?

There are many local farms offering different types of CSA shares. For a searchable list of CSA farms in the NH seacoast area, visit For a nationwide directory, visit


Fall Homeschool Picnic

Last week Camp Lincoln hosted roughly 120 children and parents at the annual Homeschool Picnic. Much more than a picnic, these families participated in a day of camp activities including the ropes course, archery, fall crafts, boating, candle making, and pumpkin decorating. The event was a complete success, and we are already looking forward to this winter’s Homeschool Winter Festival. Winter Festival will include ice skating, snowshoeing, winter survival skills, sledding, and more! Homeschoolers, we hope you will join us!

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Thank You, ECCA!

During a small reception last week, the president of the Exeter Center for Creative Arts (ECCA) presented a check of $26,522 to Southern District YMCA in support of the campaign to build a YMCA facility in Exeter. In September, the ECCA board voted to dissolve ECCA as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donate its remaining funds to the Y, continuing its long-standing dedication to art education.

The Board of Directors for the Exeter Center for Creative Arts (ECCA) has enjoyed a two-year partnership with the Y-Arts program operated by Southern District YMCA.

“We have been so pleased that the Y-Arts curriculum provides high quality arts education for our community,” said Emma Dentinger, president, ECCA Board of Directors. “That was always ECCA’s goal. Looking forward, we are energized by putting the support of ECCA into the Southern District YMCA campaign to build a facility in which to continue art education classes.”

“It is our pleasure to carry on the wonderful legacy of ECCA,” said Cindy Dominguez, vice chair, Board of Directors, Southern District YMCA, upon accepting the donation on behalf of the YMCA. “The Y-Arts program provides learning through experience, which instills in young minds the value of creative expression. This kind of experience gives kids in-the-moment creative accomplishment that is critical in today’s world, and is perfectly aligned with YMCA goals of developing mind, body, and soul.”

ECCA’s vision of art education in Exeter will live on in the planned YMCA facility. Southern District YMCA is raising the needed funds to build a 30,000-square-foot YMCA at 56 Linden St., site of the old Exeter Area Junior High School. The facility will serve the community needs for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Read the full article here.

Phillips Exeter Serves at Camp Lincoln

Hundreds of employees from Phillips Exeter Academy participated in three major community service projects in the local area on August 29. Offices closed as PEA employees gave back to their local communities while building and enhancing connections among its diverse employee population. A team worked tirelessly at Camp Lincoln to paint cabins, install and repair benches, install stairs in the Amphitheater and Lakeside Stage, and more. Thank you, PEA employees! We couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you, Phillips Exeter Academy faculty and staff, for extending the life of our cabins, making our footpaths safer, putting fresh life into weathered tables, and bringing your vibrant spirit of community to Camp Lincoln. Camp kids and staff are very appreciative!

See more photos, show your appreciation, join the conversation: #PEAserves

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YMCA Thanks Exeter Area New Car Dealers

The campaign to raise the funds necessary to break ground on the YMCA facility in Exeter in April 2014 is off and running.

The Exeter Area New Car Dealers Association made a major down-payment to benefit the greater Exeter area, when they presented an award for a quarter of a million dollars to the Southern District YMCA to help build a new community center. The facility will serve as a home for individual and community wellness, expanding programs for all ages to include afterschool activities, teen programming, adult and senior fitness classes, and increased art education programs. The special presentation occurred on August 20 at the Portsmouth Country Club. Governor Maggie Hassan was in attendance.

This award leads the YMCA’s fundraising effort to raise the $3.5 million needed for the second phase of the project. The first phase of the project was fully funded by the Southern District YMCA and included the purchase and demolition of the old Exeter Area Junior High School at a cost of $500K.

“This relationship will change lives in our community,” explains Rob McGregor, Executive Director of the SD YMCA. “Whether it’s providing a place to go for a latch-key child who has no one home after school, or giving a chance for one of our older residents to get out of the house and come socialize with other people in the community, our YMCA will play a real and significant role in the lives of area residents. With this award, the Exeter Area New Car Dealers Association will have an enduring impact on the health and wellness of this community for generations to come.”

The Exeter Area New Car Dealers Association is a non-profit coalition of business owners who have contributed to community causes, projects and non-profit projects for decades.  Founded in the 1950s, its members include:  Foss Motors Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep; Holloway Automotive Group Mercedes-Benz; Seacoast Volkswagen; Gary Blake Motor Cars; Exeter Subaru; BMW of Stratham; McFarland Ford; Hurlbert Toyota, Scion; Autofair Nissan, Wentworth Motors Volvo; Honda Barn;  and Porsche, Audi of Stratham.

EANCDA presents donation check


25 Years of YMCA Service

It is typical of a large organization to ebb and flow with time. Campers grow up, positions change, new programs begin, employees move on. We are fortunate this year to celebrate Beverly Bowles for 25 years of service to Southern District YMCA/Camp Lincoln.

Executive Director, Rob McGregor, described Bev as the steady anchor in our organization, and spoke of Bev’s wonderful impact on the YMCA at Community Night at Camp Lincoln last month. Bev’s passion for gardening is evident in the multiple flower gardens that she has created over the past 25 years. It is certainly appropriate for a beautiful flower garden that overlooks Kingston Lake to be dedicated to Bev for her 25 years of service. Congratulations, Bev!

bevs garden

Community Night At Camp Lincoln

The wet weather didn’t stop more than 15 families from enjoying an evening at Camp Lincoln during the first of three Community Nights this summer. Children and parents tested their focus at the archery range, learned how to put on a climbing harness, and scaled up a slick rock wall before grabbing their towels and heading to the waterfront for swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking. It’s hard to say if any adults actually went in the water last night, but many kids were splashing, laughing, and practicing their swimming strokes.

Camp Lincoln staff grilled burgers and dogs; some families took a break to sit and enjoy dinner, while others grabbed a quick bite between activities. Despite the drizzly weather, the energy and excitement for playing at camp was undeniable.

Mark your calendars, and invite your friends, for the next Community Night on Tuesday, July 23, 6-8 pm.

Some of the kids enjoying Community Night

Some of the kids enjoying Community Night