Summer Youth Camp Program Earns High Marks

BERLIN — The Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) wrapped up their Berlin summer camp season with a cookout and school supply giveaway last week.

Though the camp is officially over, both WYFCS and town representatives are predicting that this is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between the agencies.

“It went very well,” said WYFCS President Teresa Fields of the giveaway.

The event ran from 5-7 p.m. and included music and food. Fields estimated that around 65 book bags loaded with everything from pens and pencils to notebooks and folders were passed out to area youth. Fields also gave a special thanks to Stevenson United Methodist Church, which was responsible for many donations used for the supplies.  

Last Wednesday’s cookout was the last of several events that made up the WYFCS Berlin summer camp, which included fieldtrips, sports, crafts and other activities. At its peak, the camp had 30 youth enrolled, with more than 20 in attendance on average per day during the camp, which took place several times a week from June until August. In Fields’ opinion, the cookout and giveaway was a perfect cap to a great season.

“It was a nice, low-key event,” she said, adding that it also gave her staff a chance to interact with the campers and their entire families.

Mayor Gee Williams called the school supply giveaway a “wonderful outreach and a very practical one.”

When asked about the town’s review of the summer camp, Williams had nothing but praise for WYFCS.

“The summer camp has exceeded all expectations,” he said.

This season was a first for the camp. Last spring, Berlin began searching for a consultant to host youth programs tailored specifically to the town. Instead of one consultant, however, the town eventually decided to contract the entire WYFCS agency.

It’s a decision that Williams stands by emphatically. With the summer wrapping up, the next step in the partnership will be to gear up afterschool programs for the fall, with a second season of summer camp already set for next June.

“Those programs will be mirroring the camp,” Fields said of the planned afterschool activities, “but on a smaller scale.”

Regarding the success of the camp, Williams added, “This bodes well for the future. Community works best when it works like a family.”