Pittsfield YMCA, Berkshire Community College hatch an idea

Tuesday, Aug. 18
BOSTON -- Camp Sumner, run by the Pittsfield Family YMCA, could soon have a more permanent home on the city campus of Berkshire Community College under a bill approved Monday morning in the state Senate that would allow the two organizations to enter a long-term lease agreement.

Two years ago, the YMCA gave up property that for years had housed Camp Sumner. Then in 2007, the YMCA partnered with the community college with year-to-year rental agreements to operate Camp Sumner on the Pittsfield campus.

The legislation approved by the Senate Monday would allow the college and the YMCA to enter into a lease of up to 20 years. It would give Camp Sumner extended security and give campers access to all of Berkshire Community College's facilities, including soccer fields, pools, classroom space and the cafeteria.

"Collaboration and resource sharing are important in maximizing the ability to deliver quality services with limited funding. This partnership between BCC and the YMCA is a winning proposition for the campers, the YMCA, BCC, and our community at large," said Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, in a statement.

Downing filed the legislation along with his his House colleague Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox.

Berkshire Community College President Paul Raverta said the partnership will not only solidify a home for the camp, but expose hundreds of youth to a college campus as they begin to think about their futures.

"This arrangement allows us to introduce 130 youngsters every day, all summer long, to the positive aspects of higher education in their lives with the intention of expanding their dreams and aspirations," Raverta said.

In addition to the normal summer camp programs, YMCA Executive Director Randy Kinnas said the camp experience will also include workshops taught by college faculty.

The bill is now waiting for approval from the House of Representatives.


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