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Though the summer season is long over, YMCA Camp Rocky Creek of Cornwall recently saw a bustling day of activity as employees of Charter Homes & Neighborhoods volunteered their time and effort in a number of maintenance and improvement projects.

Like any summer camp with a limited season, Lebanon Family YMCA’s Camp Rocky Creek requires a lot of year-round work to keep grounds and facilities in shape, and there’s not always time or necessary resources available to tackle some of the larger projects that crop up.

That’s when Charter Homes came in.

Each year, the Lancaster-based construction company chooses an area nonprofit to dedicate a day of work towards in what is known as Making a Difference Day. According to Michelle Fischer, one of the project’s organizers, it was a Charter employee and fan of the camp who suggested this year’s project.

The camp, until recently operated by the Lancaster Family YMCA, was formerly known as Camp Shand and is a summer fixture for many in the region.

Read More: Camp Shand gains new name of “Camp Rocky Creek” as Lebanon County and YMCA celebrate major purchase

One draw for the project was the natural beauty of the camp in mid-autumn. “We usually do a lot of projects in the city, and so we thought, ‘why don’t we get out in nature this time?” said Fischer.

YMCA Camp Rocky Creek, formerly Camp Shand, is located south of Cornwall on 20 Penryn Lane. The grounds were in even more distant times the site of Penryn Park.
A crew works on a pavilion roof.

On Oct. 22, in just one day of work, the 65-person crew of employees tackled a slew of projects from a list provided by camp executive director Chris Smith. They rebuilt fire pits, raised a dock on the camp’s central lake, overhauled the archery range, created new fire pit areas within the camp’s cabin “villages,” repainted interiors and exteriors, and installed new safety features on various bridges.

In anticipation of the camp’s annual Creepy Camp event, held on Oct. 23, the crew also added Halloween-themed decorations around the grounds and buildings.

All of the supplies and labor were provided by Charter Homes.

Another major project involved transforming a long-unused bathroom building into a library space. Plumbing was removed and holes filled in, walls were redone, and employees even donated a collection of books.

The exterior of the new library has a new shade of paint.

“One of our [company principles] is Making a Difference,” explained vice president of marketing Lindsay Dunn. “Each year we pick a day to go out while the whole company closes down for the day. Whether someone’s an accountant, builder, salesperson, or designer, everybody combines their talents.”

“It’s a great day to connect with each other and spend some time together and really make an impact,” she added.

It’s a sentiment shared by camp and YMCA staff, who expressed their deep gratitude and excitement for all of the day’s work. Those present included Smith, program director Spencer Shambaugh, YMCA CEO Phil Tipton, and director of community engagement Amy Pennycoff.

“It’s everybody’s favorite day of the year,” said Dunn. “What you can take on in a day is incredible.”

More photos of the day and projects below:

Outside of one of the “villages” of cabins in the camp, the ground was regraded, the brush was cleared, and the firepit was rebuilt. A rock wall doubling as a sitting space was added.
Several Charter Homes employees take advantage of a pickup truck bed to get around camp.
The fall foliage over the camp’s Penryn Lake makes for a pleasant backdrop to the work activities.
Creepy Camp decorations added a spooky flair to camp in preparation for their overnight Saturday event.
A bridge at one corner of the lake receives structural enhancements.
A few employees relax around the Sky Village’s new firepit.
More Creepy Camp decorations dress up the nurse’s office.
The recreation hall as the day’s work began.
More work was done on the trees lining the water’s edge.
A small fishing dock gets a boost up over the water.
The archery range in the woods gained a major addition with an entirely new enclosure.
Two employees work on a little carpentry.
Charter Homes also supplied its tools and vehicles.
Parts of the rec hall were repainted and new furniture was brought into the space.
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Full Disclosure: The Lebanon Valley Family YMCA is an advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.

Joshua Groh

Josh Groh is a Cornwall native and writer who began reporting for LebTown in 2019. He continued to regularly contribute to LebTown while earning a degree in environmental science at Lebanon Valley College, graduating in 2021. Since then, he has lead conservation crews in Colorado and taken on additional...