OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau introduces Zach Grulich as its new coordinator of recreation and youth development and director of Camp Hollis.
Grulich returns to the camp where he spent many childhood summers that helped to shape his career path.
“Camp Hollis has always been a part of my life,” said Grulich. “I was a camper for six summers and the counselors I had during that time had a positive impact on me. I knew then that I wanted to work with children at summer camp.”
Grulich became a camp volunteer before joining the staff from 2007 to 2012; the last two years of which he worked as camp co-director.
He went on to work for YMCA programs in Greater Brandywine and Greater Rochester before becoming program director for YMCA Buffalo Niagara.
In that position, he oversaw day- and resident camps along with pre-school and after-school programs at Independent Health YMCA and Lockport Family YMCA.
“All of my career steps can be traced back to my time at Camp Hollis,” Grulich said. “Those positive experiences never left me. I learned a lot from great counselors and from two incredible mentors, former Camp Hollis directors Jim Farfaglia and Brandon Morey.”
He added, “When this position became open, I knew right away that I was the one for the job. I know first-hand what a fun summer camp experience can mean for a child and look forward to helping provide them for this generation of campers and helping young staff grow and develop, just like my predecessors did for me.”
Camp Hollis got its start as the Oswego County Health Camp in 1928.
Dr. Leroy Hollis opened the camp to provide fresh air and wholesome living to children with tuberculosis.
Nearly 20 years later, the camp was re-purposed by Family Court Judge Eugene Sullivan to benefit children from local orphanages and judicial programs.
When Dr. Hollis died, Justice Sullivan moved to rename the camp in the doctor’s memory.
Today, Camp Hollis is open to all children ages 8 to 14.
Author Jim Farfaglia, former long-time camp director and senior youth services specialist with the county, offered this background, “On the morning of July 8, 1946, 27 boys and 27 girls from all over Oswego County got off buses to begin a new adventure. They were ‘pioneers,’ the first to attend a camp program on the shores of Lake Ontario that continues today in an unbroken line, thanks to the ongoing support of the county of Oswego.”
He added, “Zach is a former camper and staff member who worked his way up through the ranks. He was a volunteer in the kitchen, a counselor, lifeguard, group activity leader and co-director. He has earned this position and carries the history of Camp Hollis with him.”
Brandon Morey, former coordinator of recreation and youth development for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and director of Camp Hollis, also worked with Grulich.
He said, “I loved working with Zach. He really cares about what the camp means to the kids and to the community, and he always had fun in his role. That is so important because it makes camp a memorable experience for the campers. I think a lot of them will be very excited that he’s back.”
He continued, “To be a success in this position, you have to love camp and what it does for the kids and adults who spend their summers there. And Zach loves camp; he will do great things at Camps Hollis and Zerbe.”
In addition to the recreational camping program at Camp Hollis, Grulich will also be responsible for overseeing the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe in Williamstown, and the management of a variety of additional youth development programs.
“We’re glad to welcome Zach back to Camp Hollis in this new role,” said Oswego City-County Youth Bureau Executive Director Brian Chetney. “His past experiences here, combined with his success in larger areas such as Rochester and Buffalo, make him a great asset to our program and community. I’m certain his presence will benefit our campers; it’s now his turn to have a memorable and lasting impact on them.”
Camp Hollis is located on the shore of Great Lake Ontario in Oswego Town.
It operates primarily as a co-ed summer camp for children ages 8 to 14 with overnight camping and activities such as arts and crafts, athletics, aquatics, hiking, and theater.
The experience is dedicated to promoting creativity and good sportsmanship, as well as conservation and the responsible use of natural resources.
When summer camp is not is session, the facility is available for groups and organizations to hold special events and activities such as reunions, team-building retreats, and senior camping.
For staff or camper applications, or for more information about Camp Hollis or the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and Parks and Recreation, e-mail Grulich at [email protected] or call 315-349-3451, or visit http://www.oswegocounty.com/youth/hollis/index.html.