Staff would often encounter resistance from Caden when an activity did not appeal to him and also noticed that social interactions with other students were quite problematic. As a new, younger participant, he often found himself to be on the ‘outside of the social circle.’   When staff brought these concerns to Caden’s parents, they shared the same concerns regarding his behavior at home.

Since his start with the SACC program, Caden has also enrolled in Summer Day Camp – camp counselors happily report a positive change in Caden’s behavior as well as his social skills. Most notably, Caden now exhibits leadership and compassion toward other campers. One specific occurrence was during the first week of camp: Caden had observed another camper who would sometime wander from the group and had trouble following directions. When this camper began to stray from the activity, Caden – without any prompting from counselors - quietly went over to her, took her hand and led her back to the table while gently informing her why she could not just drift from the group.  This act of leadership and kindness earned him this summer’s first Honor Camper Award, which is given to campers who exemplify the positive qualities of the YMCA. When the counselors informed Caden’s dad about his award, his dad replied, “I don’t know what you guys do, but whatever you are doing, keep doing it!”

Caden is one example of how the YMCA encourages youth development and social responsibility through programs and services such as Summer Day Camp. Get involved in the Y today and become our next success story!

Caden Dunlap