Century-old YMCA camps for NYC kids set to close

The YMCA’s three sprawling camps in upstate Huguenot, New York may have seen 100 years of stories, but now, they may see their last summer.

The YMCA has decided to sell the property, which serves inner-city kids from some of the lowest-income areas of the city who, without these camps, won’t be able to go to a summer camp.

"When you make the choice to sell in a fire sale, a legacy as distinct and established 102-year-old camp. We have to question why was this the only choice" says Amina Kennedy who is on the Board of Managers for the YMCA.

The YMCA claims that with fundraising at an all-time low, the pandemic forced them to lose more than $100M last year.

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In a statement, the organization said in part " they can no longer financially support our sleepaway camp."

"For young people from New York City who rely on scholarships and financial assistance, there's just not that many opportunities out there," said Emily Vaningen, who is also on the Board of Managers for the YMCA.

On average, 1,400 kids attend the YMCA’s three camps on the one property. 80 percent of them receive financial assistance.

"All of it is being forced to shut," Vaningen said.

Now, Vaningen and her team are attempting to raise $5M to buy the property and keep it operating. They have begun a GoFundMe page, and aren't giving up the fight to save a place close to their hearts.

"I consider the Y the greatest institution on the planet," said John Block, a former staff member at the camp. "I consider it the most influential part of my life beyond my parents."