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AmeriCorps teams up with Helena YMCA to refurbish Camp Child

Posted at 11:44 AM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 13:44:26-04

HELENA – In just a few days, campers will begin to arrive and the summer season at Camp Child south of Elliston will be underway.

The work of 12 AmeriCorps members over the past five weeks will help improve the experience for campers.

“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,” said 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 said the group’s work has made a huge 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,” he said.

The team made improvements to Camp Child and the main facility in Helena.

Oclander said 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 whom had been to Montana prior to the 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,” said Dorst.

Oclander added the improvements are 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 said the YMCA still has openings for both its summer day camps and Camp Child.

Click here to read more about Camp Child.

-Reported by Melissa Jensen/MTN News