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YBEO Youth Bridge Camp

This year will be the 11th annual YBEO Youth Bridge Camp held in Carlinville, IL (June 23-29). This program is sponsored by the Youth Bridge Education Organization NFP, Inc, with support from the ACBL Ed Foundation and numerous private donors. This keeps the cost per student very low for this week-long, overnight, bridge-intensive summer camp ($450 or just over half the average price for a week-long, overnight camp). It is open to all students entering 6th-10th grades in the Fall of 2019.

Last year I was invited to teach and wasn't really sure what to expect from a camp that crammed so much bridge in amongst all the usual summer camp activities like archery, swimming, canoeing, and mini-golf; I was pleasantly surprised to find that the students kept asking for even more bridge on top of two lessons a day and tournament play in the evening.

The schedule is tight, but it keeps the students actively engaged all week-long, no small feat given that electronic devices aren’t permitted among the campers. The camp site itself is quite state of the art offering air-conditioned accommodations for the campers, buffet-style dining, and every typical summer camp activity plus a few others like black-light dodge ball and something colloquially known as “the blob” (think giant air bag that one person jumps onto one end launching another person into the lake).

A bridge camp is in the unique position to cater to the way younger people learn so much so quickly, with the afternoon lesson building off the morning’s lesson and so-on throughout the week. The camp features cards-on-the-table, learning by playing techniques that mean even the students in the novice class are playing bridge right away. The intermediate class focuses on bidding in competition and commonly used conventions. The advanced bridge class can really dig into play-of-the-hand and defense techniques.

In addition to the three-levels of classes there is a camp-only ACBL-sanctioned 299er sectional tournament with an event held every evening. I am proud to report that every single camper left the camp last year with at least some small fraction of a silver point, yes even the novice students who had never played bridge at the beginning of the week.

This year donations have been so abundant that we have financial aid available for more students than ever before. I would like to get the word out about that while there are still slots available. I would also like to note there are still opportunities for camp counselors so if you’re interested in spending a week back at camp, we’d love to hear from you too.

Our website is www.bridgeisfun.org where there is much more about the camp and the campground itself.

If you’re interested in more information about signing up a student, please contact Kathy at registrar@bridgeisfun.org.

If you’re interested in volunteering to be a counselor, please contact Mary at counselor@bridgeisfun.org.

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