Boys camping at Camp MacLean
Jun 1, 2023

Boys and Young Men of Color YMCA Camp MacLean Retreat

We had an amazing time last month at the Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC) retreat at YMCA Camp MacLean!

Our cohort of 67 boys and young men, ages 11 to 17, are part of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Community Schools Initiative (CSI); Youth Safety & Violence Prevention (YSVP) program; and Kelly Hall, Rauner Family, and South Side YMCAs. Together, they trekked to the great outdoors, spending the weekend by the beautiful Rockland Lake and having the adventure of a lifetime!

Our campers tackled new and exciting activities, including archery, canoeing, a high ropes course, leather making, fishing, sports, and games — all while team-building and fostering bonds with each other. On Saturday, guest speaker Shango Johnson, an Education Mentor at Luke O’Toole Elementary School, dropped by to talk to the boys and young men about being positive role models and making good decisions.

We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the weekend in a beautiful outdoor setting where the boys and young men were able to connect with peers with similar life experiences and foster camaraderie.

Special thanks to our YMCA chaperones, including Y Vice President of Community Well-being, Andre Goode, and Y Executive Director of CSI & Regional Director of Out-of-School Programs, Eric Werge, for ensuring that the cohort had a safe and enriching experience! 

The BYMOC program is a nationwide YMCA initiative to serve boys and young men of color, supporting their life outcomes and providing resources and opportunities for them to reach their full potential. The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s BYMOC chapter is one of 50 YUSA BYMOC chapters nationwide. Be sure to keep an eye out for future BYMOC opportunities and events!

Additional thanks to the Camp MacLean staff for hosting the BYMOC group and making our campers feel welcome. For more than 80 years, YMCA Camp MacLean has provided a space for camp outings and retreats, where youth from Chicagoland and beyond can learn new skills, find their love for nature, and develop lasting friendships. Whether you’re interested in fun daytime activities or an overnight stay, Camp MacLean has what you’re looking for! Check out what we have in store this summer!