YMCA camp to offer a week of free camping for military children

Openings remain for first-ever ‘Camp Corral’ at Camp Seymour

Special to the GatewayApril 30, 2014 

Children of wounded, disabled or deceased military service members will have an opportunity this summer to attend Camp Corral at YMCA Camp Seymour in Gig Harbor for free.

Camp Corral joins with YMCA camps across the nation to give children a normal week at summer camp. This is the first year Camp Seymour has participated in the event.

Scotty Jackson, executive director of YMCA Camp Seymour, is looking forward to Camp Corral and said, “It is a huge deal. We live in such a populated, amazingly large military community and it is really a population that we need to be working with.”

Openings remain for the weeklong summer session, which will run from Aug. 3 to 8, said Alyssa Bedrosian, communications manager with public relations firm RLF Communications.

Bedrosian said the weeklong camp is an opportunity for children of military families to have a camp experience. It is the only free summer camp in the United States with a focus on those children.

“YMCA camps are known for their high quality of camp experiences,” said Bedrosian. A counselor will be available to the children of military families, but the focus is on providing the kids with an opportunity to just be kids. Another side benefit for the campers is the opportunity to bond with kids who have a similar family situation, Bedrosian said.

Camp Corral will welcome military children from 8-15 years old, with priority given to the children of wounded, disabled or deceased military service members.

The camp will offer the traditional camp experiences such as canoeing, swimming, fishing, archery, arts and crafts, a ropes course and other activities that are geared toward learning new skills and making friends.

Camp Corral’s mission is to “serve those who have served us,” said Steffany Reeve of RLF Communications, and they do that by providing a weeklong experience.

Brent South, a wounded veteran who lives in Florida, said his two sons attended Camp Corral at Camp Ocala and they benefited from the experience.

“At first they were reluctant to go, but I said just try it out and it was so awesome. They made friends from other parts of the country and kept in touch on Facebook,” he said. His oldest son is returning to the camp this year as a counselor, and his younger son will go back again as a camper.

Camp Corral was the brainchild of James Maynard, who worked with a team to explore ways to serve those who have served us. The goal was to provide something meaningful for military families. Twenty camp locations can be found in 16 states, and they have served more than 4,000 children.

Camp Corral is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation.

The YMCA camp at Camp Seymour has openings for its August session of Camp Corral and registration can be accomplished by going to campcorral.org or the Camp Seymour website at campseymour.org.

Joan Cronk is a freelance writer for the Gateway. She can be reached at joancronk @comcast.net

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