Grantee Blog 2020

In a world where you can be anything, be kind

At the Y, summer means camp! Camp becomes all consuming for July and August, many do not realize the long days and hours that go into running a quality program. We were excited about building back our camps after 2020 but there were many details to attend to including COVID-19 health and safety protocols and new challenges like moving one of our camps to a new location.

To top things off, we started the summer with a heat wave. Typically you can count on the first few weeks of camp to have the best weather with the heat building as you get to August. In my past 10 summers as a Camp Director I have definitely noticed a shift in weather that I have to attribute to climate change – hotter and wetter.

The weather had a tremendous impact on the St. Cloud garden. Due to the unseasonably hot weather with little rain June into July, some of the tomato and bean plants died, although plant crowding may have been an issue too. Luckily our garden guru, Cherie, was on top of it, clearing the plants and putting in cucumbers from our other garden at Edison Middle School in West Orange.  In addition, we also planted a special type of lettuce that does well in hot weather (oak leaf lettuce). 

Thanks to the knowledge of our gardeners and their ability to adapt, we were still able to bring weekly donations to the Food Pantry at Holy Trinity over the summer. Our volunteers always received a warm welcome as they arrived with crates of fresh vegetables for the weekly distribution. As one food pantry volunteer said “You people at the community garden are angels!” 

About the Grantee

West Essex YMCA

The West Essex YMCA, a Branch of the Metro YMCA of the Oranges, is a mission driven organization and trusted community partner in youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y has been serving the needs of the community for over 50 years, providing a wide variety of activities and programs in an environment welcoming all.