2015-07-09 / Business

Camp Copneconic celebrates 100

By Carie RaCosta
810-452-2645 • cracosta@mihomepaper.com

FENTON -- Camp Copneconic welcomes all to join in their 100 year celebration with several community events this month, along with an ever-expansive list of themed adventure options for youth, seeking unforgettable summer memories that will last a lifetime.

“Although times have changed, kids haven’t. The want the same things. It might sound cliché, but our saying of Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary is true. We do,” said Executive Director, John Carlson.

YMCA Camp Copneconic opened in 1915, as a Christian boys camp, and has evolved over the years to provide outdoor programs on a scenic plot of 700 lush acres for youth and families of all ages, faiths, abilities, and leisure-seeking styles.

“We offer a genuine and authentic outdoor experience. We strive to provide a summer with impact,” said Carlson.

On Friday July 24, a staff reunion cookout will be held at the Auker Day Camp Pavilion from 6:30-9:30 p.m. AFTERGLOW takes place from 9:30-11 p.m. where all will be welcome to sit around a classic bonfire, laugh, sing, and share camp stories.

The following day, July 25, Staff and Camper Alumni will be held to gather all, including the public to rejoice in the celebration and community affinity for the popular, important, and progressive camp.

This will be the place for the major celebration of the 100th Anniversary with food, activities, and a very special campfire. The festive old-fashioned fun starts with registration on-site, at 11 a.m.

Around 2,000 children attend day camps at Copneconic, throughout the year.

Over 20 different partner camps have been formed on the property throughout the year serving as the “home” base for various groups of children with specific medical issues (asthma, cancer, autism, kidney disease, etc.) so they can bond, but also to frolic together, and forget about their struggles in daily life.

Camp Quality is one such partner camp, with the next experience scheduled for the week of July 19.

Ava Ferguson 10, of Lapeer, a cancer survivor, is visiting Camp Copneconic for the third time, and is looking forward “to all the many fun things do and pulling up to the lineup of all the cool counselors for a five days of fun.”

“Even when I was going through chemo treatments when I first went there, I was able to do things I never thought I could, or in a different way. My doctors said I couldn’t go on trampolines. There is this big Aqua Drum float in the lake, and you could bounce all around on it. It was fun and better than a trampoline. I could actually go on it, and I love horses and riding is one of the things on your list of choices each day.” she said.

The staff at Camp Copneconic make sure that every child, no matter their physical or health limitations, can (with proper instruction and on-site equipment) partake in every activity and enjoy each fun aspect of available joy while visiting.

“They have a theme each time. We decorate our cabins with our own ideas. Then there is a contest. The last day is the best. The girls get a sort of spa afternoon. We get our nails painted and our hair done at different stations before the talent show at night,” said Ferguson.

“We make sure every camper has a genuine childhood experience of nature. After all, nature is the great equalizer. We believe it helps. Kids shouldn’t have to face health challenges. It breaks your heart,” said Carlson.

Camp Copneconic is considered one of the top YMCA camps in the nation, for traditional campers, special guests, and visitors from all over.

Tremendous growth has been ongoing since the eighties. In the past several years, CampCopneconic tripled their fan club number, by treating all kids to the experience they were intended to bask in, during their formative years.

“It is a place where they don’t allow electronics, but you don’t even miss them, because it is so, so much fun,” said Ava Ferguson.

“We stay successful by staying true to our traditions, but also adapting when needed. Our mission has always been to be what our community needs us to be. More than anything, we are the protectors of the sanctity of childhood,” said Carlson.

Camp Copneconic is located at 10407 N. Fenton Rd, Fenton. Online registration for day, overnight, week, and family camp options, with additional community invite information: campcopneconic.org.

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