Teams from Poplar Springs Hospital and CarMax help with summer camp preparations

PETERSBURG — YMCA Camp Petersburg with the tagline “Get Outside, Grow Inside” starts today. Community partners joined together to give the camp, located behind the YMCA facility, a makeover and volunteers also added a new addition.

A volunteer team with Poplar Springs Hospital arrived last Wednesday to help prepare for summer camp by performing tasks such as: building a new archery range, painting the amphitheater stage and benches and mulching the playground and gaga pit. Gaga ball is a popular dodgeball alternative.

Aaron Flick of CarMax was also present volunteering his time and talents to help build a new archery range.

Flick shared, “CarMax had at least five YMCA volunteer projects listed among so many others — 35 to 40 community efforts — to select. This was the most exciting one for me of course, because I love archery.”

The team from Poplar Springs Hospital was happy to be involved with the summer camp preparations as well. Nelson Smith, Hospital CEO, said, “We’re excited to be part of this community. We love to come out and support Marco and his team and their efforts in engaging families and youth in Petersburg.”

Petersburg YMCA Executive Director Marco Callender appreciated the support.

“We are doing these camp projects throughout Greater Richmond YMCAs," Callender said. "I reached out to my friend Nelson Smith at Poplar Springs to see if he and his team would love to come out and be a part of this volunteer initiative. He simply said ... yes.

“We love the spirit of community collaboration and various organizations putting in sweat equity. It is a beautiful thing.”

Callender also stated, “There’s a quote that our president and CEO of Greater Richmond YMCA says: When it comes to collaboration ... when you want to be somewhere first, you go by yourself, and when you want to go far, you take people with you.

“So, I appreciate that CarMax and Poplar Springs wanted to give us a great start to our summer camp season which begins Monday the 17th,” he said.

Callender stressed the importance of summer camp for children ... if you increase someone’s competency, their confidence will grow.

Dana Spiers, nurse manager with Poplar Springs Hospital, shared why she donated her time to the project. “This is a good chance to volunteer for our local children so they can be outside and experience fun activities,” she said.

According to Callender, the volunteer project will help enhance the summer camp program that services 75 to 80 kids per week.

Families wishing to register their children for the camp, which includes activities such as archery, swimming lessons, nature activities, sports, music, drama, creative arts and more, visit YMCARICHMOND.ORG/CAMP. Financial assistance is available for those in need.

Kristi K. Higgins can be reached at or 804-722-5162.