“The Y has stood by me and my family during the most difficult times imaginable. You can’t put a price tag on that support.”
-Laurel, Circle of Champs mom
Circle of Champs is a program dedicated to improving the quality of life for children battling a life-threatening illness. Our program offers opportunities for families to enjoy outings together including baseball games, cooking classes, camp, and more.
The CDYMCA recognizes treating an illness can cause financial challenges for families. All program activities are free for families. We offer free household memberships to the Y, to provide a fun place to gather and play together.
Circle of Champs was founded in 1999 by a group of volunteers dedicated to serving families with a child facing a life-threatening illness. Originally based in Guilderland, New York, the program has expanded to serve families throughout the entire Capital Region. Since its foundation, the CDYMCA Circle of Champs has served over 1,000 families through monthly activities, a support system, and camp.
A Unique Approach
The Circle of Champs focuses on the needs of each child and their family. We understand that a child’s illness affects the entire family. Our approach gives children and those in their lives the chance to spend time together in a different and fun setting.
Kids Get to be Kids
“At Circle of Champs, staff are just as focused on my ‘normal’ child as they are on my affected child. They give both my kids equal attention.”
-Fawn, Circle of Champs mom
Free of charge, Circle of Champs kids enjoy a week of summer fun at four of our YMCA locations: YMCA Adventure Camp, Southern Saratoga, Greenbush and Bethlehem.
Join Champs Today
What do you most love about Circle of Champs?
I love how each member of our families is valued and treated with the same amount of attention and love. There is a clear mission to offer support and encouragement to everyone in the family, not only the medically fragile child.
What is the best part of being a volunteer for Circle of Champs?
Assisting to facilitate moments where families get to interact and support each other while getting a little break from their daily challenges is incredibly meaningful and truly humbling. Seeing what they go through, talking with them and getting to know them a little bit is a privilege; and the perspective it gives is invaluable.