Stories – Experience the Impact


Megan2Megan described her first memories of Camp Cormorant as “interesting and unforgettable!” She was 11 when she first attended camp and admitted that she had to go home early after being overwhelmed by the experience. However, she was determined to make it a whole week the next summer.

Megan returned the following year and had a blast! She built confidence and self-esteem, as well as making many new friends and returning to school in the fall eager to share camp songs and memories!

After her time as a camper at Cormorant, she worked at a variety of camps across the state and many different campgrounds. She has worked as a counselor-in-training, junior counselor, counselor and arts & crafts assistant.

Megan3Megan now works as the Camp Coordinator Assistant at Camp Cormorant, and has a passion for all things summer camp.

“All aspects of camp keep me coming back every year,” she said. “It’s a life experience like no other, and one I wish everybody could have!”




MathiasBetty Dollinger wanted to provide opportunities for her son Mathias to learn and grow.

Though cost had become a barrier for some of these opportunities, Betty was determined. She picked up the phone and called the Y, asking there were any opportunities for her son to get involved. “The Y staff was wonderful,” Betty said.

Y staff members supported her efforts to give her son better opportunities. They also accommodated his needs and helped to comfort her as she prepared to say goodbye to her son as he departed for a week at camp.

MathiasCampThe changes in Mathias were evident from the moment he came home from camp. At camp, Mathias was challenged to step outside of he comfort zone, allowing him to gain confidence, build communication skills and make new friends. He became more flexible, independent and more willing to take initiative.

A scholarship provided by the Partner of Youth Annual Campaign alleviated financial strain on the Dollinger family. Mathias even came home after camp and started saving his allowance to donate to the campaign, so he could help other kids go to camp. Mathias made the first donation to the 2016 campaign, giving $100 to the Y’s scholarship fund!



Toni has been a part of YMCA Camp Cormorant for over a decade, and has participated in youth programs like swimming lessons and lock-ins at the YMCA in Fargo for almost two.  As an 8-year old, Toni came into camp timid and uneasy, and a whole week away from her family seemed daunting. But she was anxious and excited to see what camp was all about. After exploring nature, tie dying, swimming in the lake, and cooking over a campfire – right along side all of her new friends – she didn’t want to leave!









For years to follow, Toni continued to enjoy horseback riding, dances, trench ball, and everything about camp. She loved making new friends and running around camp with them in towels and flip flops, while playing in the grass and on the water front.

Becoming a counselor-in-training (CIT) at age 14 and then a counselor at age 17, Toni has learned responsibility and leadership at camp. Her self-esteem has improved and she has been able to experience camp from a totally new perspective. She loves staying up late with her campers and sharing stories over the campfire. She loves being an influential role model to her campers, and then watching them make friendships with each other that last long past camp.

Little did Toni know as an 8-year old, that she would still be at camp today! Toni will be back in 2014, so get ready for more fun, campers!


Camp Cormorant became a place  of comfort, friendship, and  adventure for 8-year old Destiny. Her first night at wilderness camp, she was terrified of overnight tenting, but with the help of her older sister and spirited camp staff, by the end of the week she was huddled tightly around the campfire telling stories with the rest of her new friends, along with playing compass games, learning about animal prints, and watching a turtle lay almost 90 eggs! Needless to say, she came back for a second week of camp later in the summer.


I used to have low self-esteem. YMCA Camp Cormorant changed that for me. It was a place I could just be myself.  I began attending YMCA Camp Cormorant eight years ago with the help of financial assistance available through the YMCA’s Partner of Youth Campaign.  Building relationships with other campers provided me with an environment to open up, meet new friends and realize my potential.

I was very shy, but acting in skits and singing together allowed for me to express myself. As I got older, activities like the ropes course gave me a new sense of confidence. Camp even gave me the confidence to join my school’s speech and debate team, which I have also now become the captain of.

After volunteering as a counselor-in-training, I realized I wanted become a counselor to share what I had experienced with other kids.  I was determined to create an impact on the lives of the kids over the course of each week. There was not a day that went by when I didn’t feel a sense of achievement.

YMCA Camp Cormorant has given me the confidence and life skills I need to be even more successful in the future.


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