Finding My Place

My Y Story: Ashleigh and Grayson

Ashleigh and GraysonA Story of Growth and Connection at Camp

Grayson’s camp story began when his Kindergarten teacher at the time, Mark McHugh, highly recommended the Y’s Camp Sargent.  Mark knew that his student Grayson, who is on the spectrum, needed structure and nurturing to have a successful experience, all things he felt Camp Sargent could provide.  When Ashleigh, Grayson’s mom, heard the recommendation she was excited and looked into it.  The small group sizes along with fact that campers are separated by grade as well as the daily structure attracted Ashleigh to the summer long day camp which resides on 22 acres of land near Lake Naticook in Merrimack.  Grayson began attending camp the summer before his first grade year and almost immediately found his place and became an engaged camper.  Grayson, now 11 and in fifth grade, has been attending camp ever since, in fact he’s already registered for this summer!  Grayson looks forward to enrolling in camp each year, asking his mom starting in January when camp registration will open.  Ashleigh has promised him “As long as I can afford it, you can go to camp.”  And because of the support from Y Cares, our financial assistance program, Ashleigh is able to do just that.

Y-Cares exists through the generous donations from our community. Many families need support but struggle to ask for financial assistance.  Parents, like Ashleigh, know that Y-Cares is there to assist them and provide their children with life-changing opportunities.  We thank YOU for making this possible!

The impact that camp has had on Grayson is so clear to his mom, she shared that she sees a different child than during the school year, “You can see his happiness, vastly different than at school.”  Grayson has challenges with being comfortable with adults regularly but loves Sargent and the staff there, especially Tiffany Joslin.  He loves to help out the counselors and feels included.  “He feels like he’s being heard” Ashleigh shared.  Grayson always excitedly shares his day with her at pick up, he loves all activities at camp but enjoys archery and boating the most.  And Ashleigh loves to see the relationships he’s building each year, even if only for the summer. “Grayson feels like he’s part of something, which is hard for kids on the spectrum.”  Ashleigh also expressed that having a Behavioral Specialist provided by Greater Nashua Mental Health has been a beneficial support for all the kids and staff because of their presence but also training and expertise.

Grayson Receiving an Award

Camper of the Week Award 2023

Grayson takes our four core values: respect, responsibility, honesty and caring, to heart and wants to exemplify these each day.  The experience is so meaningful and impactful for him, he wanted to share it in his own words: “I love camp because it’s fun and helps me with keeping my summer structure. I love that I feel very safe there and that everyone is kind and caring. I like that there are so many different activities, and I love that. I like that they are respectful to us, like they want us to be. I like that we learn the four core values. They are very good at keeping communication open between campers and staff. I also like meeting all the new kids every year, and being able to make new friends. Camp is my number 1 favorite thing to do all summer. I just love it, love it, love it. “

If you want to make a difference in your community, please click the link below and donate today! Your donation enriches the lives of so many children like Grayson.  We need your support to reach our goal of sending 100 kids to camp for Camp Sargent’s 100th Anniversary!




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