Chickami Capital | West Suburban YMCA Newton, MA | West Suburban YMCA

Camp Chickami

Where Magical Moments Last A Lifetime

Since 1955, children have spent their summers at Camp Chickami, walking forest paths, catching frogs in Pine Brook, and getting filthy in Mud City. Chickami has a magical formula: use unexpected, creative activities to develop tomorrow’s great citizens. To be sure, we’re dedicated to building skills, providing new experiences and teaching YMCA values—honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. At Chickami, kids learn to swim, conquer our ropes course, and tackle fantastic crafts projects.

But that’s only the beginning. Chickami is full of old-fashioned, crazy fun. The kind of fun that’s often missing at home and school, where kids are overscheduled and plugged in to electronic devices. It’s so fun campers call Chickami “The Best Place on Earth.”

Our staff give kids the independence to do what they love, the motivation to learn and excel their own way, and the confidence to try. It all happens in nature, where the best tool to create fun is the imagination. The result: friendships, teamwork, creative thinking and laughter. Pure magic.

Now, it’s time for us to invest in the camp’s physical space in order to continue to provide the environment that ensures generations of children will flourish at Chickami.

Our Plans

Chickami’s huge success has created challenges. Most of our facilities were built in 1963 or even much earlier, and were designed to serve half as many kids as we serve today. Thanks to a great staff and lots of creative thinking, we make magical moments despite our limitations. But we can do even more. It’s time to ensure that our campers have amazing experiences well into the future. And we look to you to help us make that happen.

Phase 1: More Space, More Magic: NEW MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING AND RECREATION CENTER

Indoor space can be at a premium at Chickami, especially when it rains. We saw this firsthand in 2021, when the main building flooded multiple times, leading to evacuations to neighboring Temple Shir Tikva. A new building will provide increased space for innovative programming, an updated Nurse’s Care Center with running water, and additional administrative office space for our growing staff. Air conditioning, heating, and an accessible layout will create a year-round facility to welcome more children and community partners to experience the magic of Chickami. This will be coupled with an all-weather, protective shelter covering a full basketball court, to be used for a range of recreational activities. Together, these two new structures will ensure the safety and positive experience for our full camp on our own property, in all weather.

We are thrilled to name the new building in honor of Jim “Loch” Lochiatto, who served Camp Chickami for 40 years.

After the extreme weather of 2021, our need has become more urgent. While our other plans outlined below will come to fruition over the next few years, the time is now for our new indoor spaces. Our goal: Raise $2 million for the building, protected courts, and related infrastructure, ready to greet campers in the summer of 2022. We are over halfway to our goal, and need your help to make it happen.

Chickami has made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of children, staff, and their families. Now, you can make an impact on Chickami for generations to come. Give today.

Phase 2: More Room to Learn and Splash: NEW AQUATICS COMPLEX

After we meet the need of additional indoor space, we will begin Phase 2 of our project to improve our aquatics facilities.

  • Larger Pool: Thousands of children have learned to swim in our pool. But we can do more. Our current pool was built for a previous generation and can no longer accommodate the growing number of campers. A new, larger pool will provide more time for swimming lessons and recreational swimming by allowing us to serve more campers at one time.
  • Larger Locker Room Facility. The current locker rooms are outdated and too small for our growing camp. Our new, modern facility will more comfortably accommodate campers and staff.
  • Splash Pad. We’ll add a new form of magic that provides more old-fashioned fun in a 21st century way. A splash pad is perfect for kids of all swimming abilities and will allow them to stay cool in the summer heat.

Building Blocks for Magical Moments: INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

  • Control of Pine Brook: Environmental changes at Chickami have caused a section of Pine Brook to infringe upon our program area. We hope to work with Town of Wayland and other agencies over the next few years to rectify this situation in an environmentally sound manner.
  • Septic System Upgrades: With nearly 400 people on site daily, our 60-year-old septic system is no longer efficient. We will update the septic system to meet new standards, and increase our water conservation.

Celebrating A Legacy

For the past 67 years, whenever kids have returned to Chickami, they could count on plenty that’s special. Color War. Gold Rush Day. Crazy overnights. Sliding in the mud.

Camp Chickami Capital Plan Info Sheet

Learn more about our plans to ensure that future generations can grow and thrive at Camp Chickami.