YMCA's outdoor camp expands with help of Blue Cross Blue Shield

By Zarrin Tasnim Ahmed | Sep 28, 2016
Photo by: Zarrin Tasnim Ahmed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts employees replant garden beds outside the Gleason Family YMCA.

Approximately 50 Blue Cross Blue Shield employees helped improve the Gleason Family YMCA's outdoor camp on Wednesday.

It was the sixth annual Service Day for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and an estimated 3,000 employees across the state were out in their communities, helping nonprofits all day. At the YMCA, volunteers gave their time and energy for six different projects on the grounds.

By the end of the day, the Y had two new fire-pits, scraped and repainted picnic tables, a safety fence around the archery field, a storybook trail, two new gardens and a redesigned and restored lunch area.

Debbie Fringuelli, executive director at the Y, worked with the team, especially building the storybook trail where posts were set up along the outdoor trail with laminated storybook pages.

"[Blue Cross Blue Shield runs] an incredible program," said Fringuelli.

Each year, nonprofits are able to submit a request for proposal and are chosen based on three categories: how closely their mission aligns with our healthy living focus, how well the project will accommodate a group of 60-80 volunteers, and the level of positive impact the project will have on the communities they serve. Each nonprofit chosen receives a $5,000 grant.

Fringuelli applied for the grant at the urging of Tricia Brigoili, a Wareham resident who has been an employee at Blue Cross Blue Shield for the past 18 years and a member of the Y for the past 10 years.

"This is the very first one at this site," said Brigioli. "It's special and with all the people working together, we've been able to accomplish so much."

According to site leader Tracy Lehman, most of the volunteers met each other for the first time.

"A lot of these people didn't know each other when they got here," she said. In order to get them to mingle and meet each other, she "separated them on purpose."

If any project was left unfinished, the volunteers will come back during the spring before the Y's summer program, Camp Nep-In-Nae, opens.

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