While the YMCA name wears the historical precedent of initially being an organization for young men, it has proudly evolved as a beacon of inclusion. Through decades of growth, YMCA Calgary has continued its mission to create an inclusive space where children can have transformative experiences, including renowned Camp Chief Hector YMCA in Kananaskis west of Calgary.
In 2022, Camp Chief Hector YMCA is celebrating 50 years of welcoming girls to camp. To honour those experiences and its accessibility to children and youth of all gender identities, YMCA Calgary partnered with local musician Kate Stevens to create a new campfire song to be sung by thousands of children every year going forward.
"I had such a wonderful time on this project, collaboration is key, and it starts with youth,” said Kate Stevens. “Supporting young women and creating spaces where they feel they can shine and create freely is one of the most important things we can do."
The song captures the feelings of community, belonging, and acceptance, and the video being released by YMCA Calgary provides an intimate look at its reception the first time it was ever sung by a group of campers.
“Our charity helps shape the future leaders of our community through an emphasis on inclusive community and values-based education, outdoor physical activity, youth engagement, environmental stewardship, and leadership development
- all the while fostering strong community relationships,” said Dean Paddock, Vice President, Community Engagement at YMCA Calgary.
Watch the campfire song's debut below: