For nearly 20 years, Jim Lyons attended YMCA’s Camp Onyahsa rising through the ranks of camper, bugler and tent leader, to eventually earning a full-time position as program director, waterfront director and assistant director.
An educator whose previous roles include Dean of Students at Haverford College and Dean of Student Affairs at Stanford, Lyons fondly recalls the summers of the late-1930s to mid-1950s, teaching crafts, archery, swimming, and water safety courses at the camp.
Recently, Lyons, along with Michael and Barbara Lyons, created The Lyons Family Onyahsa Campership Fund to ensure that youth are able to attend Camp Onyahsa, now, and into the future. This fund will provide camperships that will enable youth to attend Camp Onyahsa during any season of the year.
“Chautauqua County is fortunate to have one of the longest enduring and most educationally significant youth and family camps in the nation,” Lyons said. “It is a setting where important life lessons are learned.”
Some of those lessons Lyons described include, teamwork, leadership and human differences.
By establishing this fund, it is Lyons’ hope that more local residents will be able to attend Camp Onyahsa and experience all that it has to offer.
“One way to give back and invest in the future of our community is to help our youth mature well,” he said. “It is also important that the ability to pay not be allowed to limit access to a program.”