Frost Valley YMCA extends the summer
camp vibe throughout the year
Story by Brian P.J. Cronin
Photo: Courtesy of Frost Valley YMCA
Bob Eddings, the Director of Group and Family Programs at the Frost Valley YMCA, likes to tell a story about a school without any windows.
It was the kind of school most parents would be delighted to send their kids to: A diverse and caring community, down-to-earth teachers who let the kids call them by their first names, a nationally ranked chess club, the works.
“But there were no windows!” said Eddings. “It was in a really cool old warehouse in Long Island City, but that meant that none of the classrooms had windows.” Eddings had come to the school to help them plan an overnight trip to Frost Valley, as one of the hundreds of schools and groups that come up to the Catskills to spend time at the camp learning about the outdoors and getting to know each other better. They picked out six different structured activities in two-hour blocks to keep the 8th graders busy. Shortly after the school arrived at Frost Valley however, one of the teachers ran up to Eddings in a panic and told him they needed to cancel all the planned activities for the day. When Eddings asked what was wrong, the teacher said, “Nothing, but, well, look.”
The kids were all rolling down the hill, lying in the fields, relaxing under the trees.
They canceled the activities.
“As a parent, that’s exactly what you’d want to see happen,” said Eddings. “And for us here at Frost Valley, those moments when we see kids getting to be kids and families getting to be families is what it’s all about. Those kids came from a school playground that was all concrete, and here they are running through the fields. So we canceled the activities that afternoon, and next year when that school comes back, we’ll know to build in a free play period.”