Every year as summer comes to a close, South Shore YMCA Camp Burgess & Hayward ends the season with one last week of Camp for our friends from Friendship Home. Based in Norwell, Friendship Home is an organization whose mission is “to enrich the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by providing quality respite care and support services in a safe and caring environment.” Last week marked our thirteenth summer of “Camp Friendship”, where members from Friendship Home, along with their dedicated staff and volunteers, joined the Camp Burgess & Hayward community for a week of summer fun on the Cape.
Our week was jam-packed with all the classic camp activities that have become synonymous with Burgess & Hayward: like arts & crafts in Pam Place, exploring the Burgess Farm, swimming, and boating around Spectacle Pond, and even jumping on the water trampoline. Everyone had the opportunity to climb the rock wall and soar down the zipline.
“My favorite part of camp is arts and crafts,” says Julie from the Friendship Home. “We do tie dye and it’s fun.”
Our goal each summer is to create a Camp experience where nobody is held back by any limitations. Over the years, Camp has made accommodations to the property and our programs so that no one is left out of the fun, such as acquiring specialty harnesses and equipment so that even participants that are wheelchair-bound still have a chance to zipline across the heart of camp.
The fun doesn’t just stop when the sun goes down. At night, we have a variety of activities such as an outdoor movie night outside under the stars, a hoedown in the Burgess Barn accompanied by a live band, and the yearly variety show where the members of Friendship Home put on their own song and dance routines… a cannot-miss event!
The folks from Friendship Home have truly become a part of the South Shore YMCA Camp Burgess & Hayward family. We have a tradition at Camp of honoring when members of the community have reached certain milestones. When somebody reaches five years attending Camp, they are gifted a custom Camp Burgess & Hayward watch. At 10 years, they receive a brick with their name on it, which is placed in the ground outside of the dining halls. To date, almost 15 members of Friendship Home have bricks with their names proudly displayed outside the Hayward Dining Hall, which is no small feat.
“It’s hard to pick what I like most,” says Tim of the Friendship Home. “I love all the YMCA staff, the zip line, and our talent show.”
We can’t wait for another summer with Friendship Home and are so excited to watch this program grow.