The famed Chinese philosopher Confucius once said that one "chooses a job they love and they will never have to work a day in their life." For counselors at Camp Y-Ki, located in Kiwanis Park, the choice seemed obvious.
"It's fun to be outside all day, every day," said returning summer counselor Nick Sykes, 17, of New Canaan.
For campers, who range in age from 5 to 13, the choices are simpler.
"We have archery, swimming, nature walks, dodgeball, arts and crafts," said Assistant Director Ryan King.
Camp Y-Ki, which has been in operation for 42 years, is headed by camp director Davie Cedela. Entering her fourth year as the Youth and Family director at the New Canaan YMCA, Cedela believes parents are attracted to Camp Y-Ki because of the YMCA's experience with youth programs.
"When people look for a traditional day camp, they look for Y's."
Cedela, who describes her staff as "absolutely awesome," said the camp would not be what it is without the passionate and veteran counselors who return summer after summer.
On a nature walk with the third- and fourth-graders, the camp's nature specialist carefully pointed out the local flora and fauna, most importantly poison ivy. At arts and crafts, where campers diligently crafted red and blue "patriotic windsocks" in honor of Independence Day, Janet Greywacz raced from table to table handing out markers and glue. Returning for her 14th summer, Greywacz designs novel and creative projects that match the camp's weekly themes. This week's theme: "Uncle Sam's Birthday."
Cedela said that the camp maintains the same commitment to serving children from a variety of backgrounds, as the YMCA does. "We are an inclusive camp, so we also have specialists for special-needs campers."
When asked why he enjoyed archery above all other stations, camper Joshua Buckner looked up and simply replied, "'Cause you get to shoot."
Counselor Alex Boston, who designs games that challenge the communication skills of young minds, believes that Kiwanis Park is often overlooked by residents of New Canaan. "It's not the most used park, but it's really a wonderful space for the Y," he said.
On this particular day, Boston was working on communicative "strategies" and "techniques" by having campers complete an obstacle course blindfolded, with the assistance of unimpaired campers.
"Making clearer verbal and nonverbal communication is what it's all about. I think that's helping no matter what you do in life."