Summer for Joey Gerrard, 12, of Webster got off to an adventurous start. He spent the first week of his vacation hiking and climbing on the rocks of Zion and Brice national parks. Rock climbing is a hobby Joey took up at the 45-foot climbing tower at the Bay View Family YMCA in Webster.
“Learning how to get up the rock climbing wall — and using the zip line to get down — gave me a lot of confidence and a huge sense of accomplishment,” said the incoming seventh-grader at Spry Middle School.
Unfortunately, when Joey returned home from his adventures out West, he learned that a June 24 fire destroyed the structure just before the start of day camp season. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and arson is suspected.
Responding to this misfortune, Joey started making and selling friendship bracelets for $5 a strand. So far, he has sold $800 in bracelets, and he is not slowing down in his efforts to contribute to the $100,000 necessary to restore the rock climbing wall.
His mom, Wendi Latko, an active volunteer at the YMCA who is organizing some larger fundraising efforts to restore the tower, said although Joey and his friends were saddened by the news, the kids at Bay View this summer remain happy campers. The YMCA installed a temporary climbing wall for the season.
“The kids were really devastated, but I am very proud of my son’s work in raising money to restore the tower and the resilient spirit of the kids at the day camp,” said Wendi. She said that Joey attends camp in the day and returns home in the afternoons to work on the bracelets.
Mike Stevens, executive director of the Bay View Family YMCA, said he has been pleased by the generosity of many Webster families, the Webster Rotary Club and the Webster Chamber of Commerce, who so far donated $9,000 to replace the tower.
To purchase a bracelet, call the YMCA camp office at (585) 341-4001, or to make a donation, go to rochesterymca.org/rebuild.
While some scale a rock wall for fun, others like to take to the water. The town of Penfield is looking for feedback from residents as it plans to expand LaSalle Park on the Irondequoit Bay in 2013. Supervisor Tony La Fountain will explain plans and listen to suggestions from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Penfield Town Hall auditorium.
The discussion, sponsored by Penfield’s “Daytime Education at Recreation” program, will offer listeners details on plans for improved launching docks for canoes and kayaks, restroom facilities, open area shelters for picnics and places for bird watching.
Also discussed at the meeting will be the recognition of the 343rd anniversary of when French explorer René de La Salle first explored the area that is now Penfield. To experience the area LaSalle explored, take a guided canoe tour Sept. 16 at Bay Creek Paddle, 1099 Empire Blvd., Penfield. The $20 fee will in part benefit Friends of LaSalle Park.
Contact Stacy Gittleman at [email protected] with news and notable people from east-side towns.