March 02, 2016
by Brent Ayers
Guest post by Mike Nicoloff
If you had the opportunity to spend the day outdoors with your family, doing a bunch of fun activities at a YMCA mountain camp, would you do it? Well, that’s exactly what 26 different FAN Club families from the Southbay did on Sunday, February 21st. Those families all met up at YMCA CAMP SURF, signed in, got a wristband, and then either hopped on a YMCA bus, or drove up the mountain in their family vehicle.
Now a lot of you may be asking, “What exactly is FAN Club?” FAN Club is a program ran out of YMCA CAMP SURF, where a staff member visits fourteen different afterschool sites bi-weekly. A rotation of outdoor education, outdoor recreation, and outdoor skill is taught. Additionally, every month during the spring and fall, SURF hosts a weekend event and invites those families of the students in the program to join us. Ultimately, the main goal of FAN Club is to get students and their families excited about the great outdoors.
Upon arrival to YMCA CAMP MARSTON, the families were greeted by the amazing MARSTON team, and then were directed to the picnic pavilion to enjoy a nice lunch. Families at this point were mixing and mingling as a lot of them had never met one another. After a quick half hour, the MARSTON team introduced themselves, and let us know what activities would be available. The families were excited to hear that they would be able to participate in: rock climbing, shooting BB guns at the marksmanship range, pulling back some slingshots, doing archery, making candles, and even going on staff led hikes!
The families didn’t waste a minute. Most of them did every activity at least once, and many of them did them twice. Walking around and checking in with families, I loved seeing so many smiling, happy faces. There was one woman in particular that walked up to me and mentioned that she had never done anything like this with her grandson before. She explained that this was a rare opportunity for her and her grandson to have some quality bonding time in nature.
That’s what FAN Club is about and I was happy to be a part of it. The families had a blast and it’s all thanks to the tremendous YMCA CAMP MARSTON team! Thank you CAMP MARSTON for a truly unforgettable adventure!