SSYMCA Mission Moment: Meet Emma

Joyce MacDonald Tue 31, 2023

The South Shore YMCA exists to strengthen the community, improving the lives of those we serve in spirit, mind and body. We are pleased to share this Moment presented by Bruce Netherwood, Vice President of Camping Services at the South Shore YMCA.


Following each summer at overnight Camp, we receive many letters from families, sharing with us the positive impact that Y Camp has had on their children and even grandchildren. Whether the child is a first-timer or a camper who has Camp experiences and memories that encompass many summers, that sense of belonging and community is at the core of what Y Camp provides for kids.

Emma has been a longtime camper at the South Shore YMCA’s Camp Hayward for girls, our overnight camp that sits across the pond from its brother camp, SSYMCA Camp Burgess for boys. As she completed her final season as a camper, and transitions to next year when she plans to be a counselor-in-training, her grandmother, Laureen, proudly shared her thoughts on the impact our Y and our Camp has had on Emma and their family.

“Crossing the Sagamore Bridge to pick up my granddaughter Emma brought bittersweet tears to my eyes as this would be the last year of her Camp Hayward journey as a camper. Emma has grown confident & resilient over the years, significantly due to all the valuable & positive impacts Camp has made in her life. From a 3-year-old at the South Shore Y Preschool, to the many day camps at the Emilson Y, and finally to Camp Hayward. Emma has thrived at Camp since 2018 and learned so many life skills through her experiences, not just with peers but with the extraordinary and selfless Camp Hayward staff who are incredible role-models for these girls. The Counselors provide endless opportunities to practice empathy skills and lifelong learning lessons promoting the Y values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility,” Laureen shared.

Emma has bonded with many friends at Camp and stays in touch with campers all year long. As she talks about her memories and the magic of Camp, she shared, “I just love Camp, everything about it makes me smile, like a hug. All kids should be able to have Camp in their lives!”

Following in the footsteps of her Y preschool teachers and camp counselors, Emma is looking to becoming a role model for young children by becoming a camp counselor herself, inspired by her life-changing Camp experiences at the Y.

Hear from Emma and Laureen by watching our video.

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