Great facilities, wonderful counselors at Chelsea day camp

Published 1:05 pm Monday, June 11, 2012

Campers at Hargis Christian Retreat enjoy a canoe lesson. (contributed)

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

“Mom, aren’t you jealous of me because I get to go to Camp Hargis and do all this fun stuff while you and Dad go to work every day?” Kathy Porter’s son, Stuart, asked.

“He thoroughly enjoys the archery, canoeing, fishing and other activities,” she said, adding, “We all love Hargis.”

“My husband Craig and I are YMCA kids, having enjoyed many hours at Y programs and camps while growing up,” she said. “When we became parents, we knew we could rely on the YMCA to provide the same safe, family-friendly atmosphere for our child. However, the Camp Hargis Day Camp program has completely exceeded our expectations.”

Christine Shores, day camp director, said when she went to work right out of high school as a day camp and after-school counselor, she was looking for a summer job that would be fun. “Isn’t that what every college student is looking for?” She ased.

But she quickly “discovered how rewarding it is to work for the YMCA and have the opportunity to mentor our youth,” Shores said.

She graduated from the University of Montevallo with a degree in health promotions. This is her fifth summer with Hargis, she said. It was when she became day camp director in 2008 that she realized how really special Hargis is.

“Our day camp program has the means of exposing children to activities that they may have never done or even considered doing.” she said. “Activities as simple as going on a hike or swimming in the lake to things as complex as rock climbing or building a fire.”

According to its website, counselors go through an extensive interview, background/reference check and intensive training.

“The facilities are great and the location is convenient,” said Kathy Porter. “But it’s the wonderful counselors that truly set Hargis apart. Our son Stuart looks to them as role models and even says he’d like to be a Hargis counselor some day.”

Hargis is located on 200 beautiful wooded acres just off U.S. 280 at Chelsea. Find out more about YMCA Hargis Retreat at on Facebook or call 678-6512.


Shelba Nivens can be reached by email at