HELENA – In just a few days, campers will begin to arrive and summer at Camp Child south of Elliston will get underway.
The work of 12 AmeriCorps members over the past five weeks will help to improve their experience here.
“We re-did the kitchen, which was a huge project, took out the flooring and replaced that and just doing a lot of painting in the lodge to make sure that the interior was updated and then we also did prep in the bathhouse making sure that’s ready for the kids,” says AmeriCorps Team Leader Teralyn Dorst.
Just days after the AmeriCorps team arrived at Camp Child, Helena YMCA welcomed its new CEO David Oclander at the beginning of May.
Oclander says the group’s work has made a major impact.
“The work they have done, by all accounts, has probably moved us forward by like three years compared to what we would have been able to do on our own,” says Oclander.
The team made improvements to Camp Child and the main facility in Helena.
Oclander says the community will notice more than a physical change.
“The leap forward we’ve been able to have through our partnership with AmeriCorps and the hard work the staff at the Y have put in has really, I think brought a new attitude to our staff as well as to our members in the community that are coming in and commenting about the new environment that people are seeing.”
For the AmeriCorps members – none of which had been to Montana prior to this trip – it’s been a great experience, as well.
“It’s been a lot of fun working with the YMCA, just knowing that we’re going to have an impact on these kids when they have their first day at camp,” says Dorst.
Oclander says this is just the beginning.
“Everything from our sports programs to Camp Child, our day camp and really invest in the training of our staff and how professionally we run those programs so that families can feel they are being respected and honored with the time and investment that they make bringing their children to our programs, as well as their participation in our group programs and everything that we run at the Y.”
Oclander says the YMCA still has openings for both its summer day camps and Camp Child.
Reporting by Melissa Jensen for MTN News