Warner-Tully YMCA Camp to host first Thanksgiving Camp

Published 9:43 am Monday, November 16, 2015

Though Thanksgiving is still nearly two weeks away, people are already making plans for the holiday — turkey, dressing, Air Band, Color Wars and more.

That’s what Warner-Tully YMCA Camp co-directors Allison East and Mille Wolfe are planning, at least.

“We’ve had a lot of campers and parents ask us over the years to bring them more Warner-Tully,” East said. “Kids have begged for a ‘winter session’ as long as I can remember. This is our first attempt to ease into off-season camps.”

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Warner-Tully traditionally hosts five one-week sessions and one three-night mini session during the summer. Recent upgrades made the off-season expansion possible, she said.

“Over the last few years we’ve added more beds, so that makes it possible to have more campers, and that makes a difference, especially when we can only offer so many spots for this camp,” East said. “Last winter we added central heat to all the cabins, so winter camp rentals and sessions like this are possible now.”

Planning for the camp has been exciting but different, she said.

“Obviously some things, like a turkey and dressing Thanksgiving meal, just make sense, and we can borrow some from our summer schedule,” East said. “Our summer days revolve a lot around swimming or playing in water, though, so we’re having to be creative and come up with some new activities or twists on some summer ones to fill the week, but we’re dedicated to keeping all the classics.”

East said Warner-Tully classics that are must-dos during Thanksgiving session are capture the flag, scavenger hunt, talent show and more.

“Honestly, some of the activities we normally do will actually be more pleasant in November because they involve a lot of running around,” she said. “The average highs that week are in the mid-60s, so if we can stay around that it’ll be awesome weather.”

Camp counselor Bergeron Fink said Thanksgiving Camp is a great addition to Warner-Tully.

“Being back in that environment is what I’m most excited about,” she said. “Camp is a weird place. It’s good weird, but still weird. You start on a Sunday morning, and maybe you don’t know anyone or you just know a few people, but by the end of it you’ve gained a whole family and some lifelong friendships. It’s a place where you can be yourself and your strange quirks are not only accepted but applauded. I’m really just looking forward to being back where I feel most at home.”

Fink said she has been attending Warner-Tully for years, even before she became a counselor, and she’s excited to see it grow.

“As a former camper, I remember missing camp so much between leaving and starting back the next summer,” she said. “If this would’ve been offered to me as a kid I would have been stoked, and I think many present campers will feel the same way. They’ll get to pick their summer friendships back up and enjoy all the Warner-Tully traditions that we all love.”

Grayson Parman, 14, has attended Warner-Tully for many summers and echoed Fink’s sentiments that it is a special place.

“My favorite part is meeting new people and making memories with them,” Parman said. “I always look forward to going back to make new friends, make sure everyone has the best possible experience, and have fun at the same time.”

Warner-Tully offers things that keep him coming back, he said.

Registration is limited. The cost for attending Thanksgiving Camp is $350 for YMCA members and $375 for non-members. Some financial assistance is available.

To learn more about Warner-Tully’s Thanksgiving Camp, contact Allison East by phone at 601-638-1071 or email at allison@vicksburgymca.com or visit Warner-Tully’s Facebook page.