The YMCA of San Diego County will provide military kids and their family members from San Diego County with opportunities to attend YMCA day, overnight and family camps for free this summer, thanks to a $15,000 grant from The Sierra Club Foundation.
Camper at YMCA Camp Surf Climbing Wall
The YMCA of San Diego is one of eight Ys to receive grants as part of a larger gift to YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation's YMCAs, from The Sierra Club Foundation through its Military Families Outdoor Camping Initiative.

San Diego County military families are encouraged to contact their local Y to sign up for Camp. Click here to find your closest Y.

Through programs such as day and resident camping, outdoor education and teen adventure excursions, the Y knows the benefits of outdoor camping experiences first-hand. ¢‰âÒWe have witnessed the positive changes that happen when families spend time outdoors,¢‰âÂå said Baron Herdelin-Doherty, President and CEO. ¢‰âÒNot only do kids become more active, but they develop a greater sense of independence and social skills as they interact with others and make new friends. Families together learn about nature and develop a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors.¢‰âÂå

The YMCA of San Diego County will use the grant to provide scholarships for kids from actively deployed military service families (including members of the National Guard or Reserves) to attend day camp, overnight camp and/or family camp. Priority will be given to children who have a parent deployed, going to be deployed or recently returned from deployment or children who have of a wounded recovering parent and/or have had a parent killed in action.

¢‰âÒToday's military families endure unprecedented hardships as our service men and women take on multiple deployments in defense of our nation,¢‰âÂå said Stacy Bare, Military Families and Veterans Initiative Representative. ¢‰âÒSierra Club is committed to ensuring that the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our treasured lands, waterways and communities and their families - should have every opportunity to enjoy the country they have worked so hard to protect. We are excited that The Sierra Club Foundation's grant will help more military children and their family members experience the healing power of the great outdoors.

¢‰âÒThis can be especially important for those in military life, since quality time spent outdoors in activities such as swimming, hiking and environmental education when done with others in similar situationscan give youth one more tool to help them cope with the stress of deployment,¢‰âÂå said Bare.

The Y has a long history of working with the military to provide essential programs and services to personnel and their family members, including active duty military, National Guard and Reserves. This year participating Ys, including the YMCA of San Diego County, will ¢‰âÒmatch¢‰âÂå the funding from The Sierra Club Foundation, increasing by 33 percent the number of youth and family members receiving free camping services.

¢‰âÒWe are very grateful to The Sierra Club for allowing us to provide more opportunities to the military families in our community,¢‰âÂå Herdelin-Doherty added. ¢‰âÒWe want these families to know the Y is here to support them.¢‰âÂå