For Brendan Chambers, YMCA Camp Onyahsa was more than just a place to go during summer vacations; it became an integral part of his life.
From the age of nine until he turned twenty-one, Brendan worked his way up from camper to Waterfront Director, missing only one summer during the entire twelve-year span.
“Camp played a huge role in shaping who I am,” he said.
Now a successful banking executive, Brendan is giving back. Along with his wife, Amy, he established The Chambers Family Campership Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to assist children from the Westfield or Chautauqua Lake School Districts who would benefit from the Onyahsa experience, but who require some financial assistance in order to attend.
Current camp director, Jon O’Brian, has been a part of the Onyahsa family since 1971, and has dedicated the past 30 years of his life to leading it. “We strive for excellence in childhood, family, and community development,” Jon said. “That is why Onyahsa means: ‘for fun, for friends, forever.’”
Brendan remembers the significant influence Jon had on his life and continues to be appreciative of his mentorship.
“The beauty of Onyahsa is the same today as it was then,” Brendan said. “It provides a haven for today’s children from the stresses of the complex world in which they grow up.”
Currently, close to 1,000 children attend Camp Onyahsa on a year-round basis, learning life’s core values that impact their futures.
The Chambers Family Campership Fund will ensure that future generations of campers have the opportunity to experience all Camp Onyahsa has to offer.