YMCA Camp Ohiyesa Photo

The Story

Just after college graduation, I landed a dream job at Yale researching the liver disease I was born with. My job would not start until the end of August 2013, so I hoped to earn a little money in the few months I had before moving. I applied to be a counselor at Camp Ohiyesa because I got a free place to stay and did not have to cook for myself. I knew I was having fun, but at the time I did not realize how impactful that summer truly was. I still think about the last day of that summer. A camper I had bonded with, Alex*, ran over with a big grin on his face to say goodbye. Alex* had caused me many headaches from weeks of yelling, spitting, and hiding from me. He came up to me and was wearing my name tag, which he had kept for weeks without my noticing. He looked me in the eye, said “thank you for caring,” and gave me a hug. We exchanged a tearful goodbye and I promised him that I would try my best to return the following year.


Throughout the year I spent doing fascinating research, my mind could not stop replaying memories from the summer; a camper catching a Bass with a whole baby carrot, swimming across the lake, and playing clothespin tag in the pouring rain. Even though I spent the past 4 years of my life working towards a career in medical research, the three months I spent at camp were enough to change my entire future. I followed through on my promise and returned to camp the following summer, much to the delight of  Alex*. For years I thought the way I would make a positive change in the world was research, but by working at Camp Ohiyesa I found out that I can make a difference by working with kids. I recently earned my teaching certificate and plan on continuing to be a positive role model by sharing my passion of science with my students.


-Matthew S.


Mathew and Alex's story is just one example of the many lives positively impacted by Camp Ohiyesa over the years. To find out more about the amazing impact camp has click on and view the teams below. Sign up to join a team and support campers by fundraising. Donate to your favorite activity to make to more widely available for the children who need it most, the children of metropolitian Detroit. We have the ability to change hundreds of lives for the better but it can only happen if we work together. 


100% of the donations made on this page go directly to iniatives at Camp Ohiyesa


*Alex’s name has been changed to protect his identity