Press Releases

Fairview Lake YMCA Camps’ Second-in-Command Has Long Y History and Big Visions for its Future

Jennie Griffin, longtime employee of the Fairview Lake YMCA Camps, is now its associate executive director. The Y attracts more than 24,000 visitors each year. Credits: The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges

As much as Jennie Griffin loved teaching, she quickly realized the classroom wasn’t for her.

“I didn’t like being indoors,’’ said Griffin, who graduated from New York University and briefly taught in a public school after graduating. At the NYU career center, she learned of an opening for an environmental education instructor at Fairview Lake YMCA Camps.

The Manhattan native had never driven on a highway, but she got behind the wheel and made the 65-mile trek to Stillwater, landing a job that would be the start of a 20-plus-year career at the Fairview Lake Y.

Sign Up for E-News

“Name a job title and I did it,’’ said Griffin, rattling off a list of more than a dozen positions she has held at the Fairview Lake Y since the early 1990s. (The only areas she hasn’t worked in are food services and maintenance).

Griffin recently added a new title: associate executive director.

“This is such an exciting time to be at the Fairview Lake Y, celebrating 100 years and thinking about all the people whose lives have been touched by it,’’ Griffin said.

World War I was already a year underway when the Y got its start in 1915. A group of boys from West Orange spent two weeks living in tents along the nearly mile-long Fairview Lake. 

In the ensuing years, the camp expanded and grew to serve children from all over New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – and far beyond. Between the summer camps, environmental education programs and weekend conferences, the 600-acre Y now attracts more than 24,000 visitors a year from at least 12 states and other countries, including Spain, France and Hong Kong.

Last year, the Fairview Lake Y opened the new 8,000-square-foot Minisink Lodge complete with a three-story indoor rock wall, ski lodge and theater.  It replaces the lodge that was destroyed by a lighting strike in 2012.

While Griffin’s immediate focus is on making The Centennial weekend, June 12-14, spectacular for the estimated 275 alumni and family members, she is looking to expand the Fairview Lake Y’s draw as a state-of-the art environmental learning center with new opportunities for individuals, families and groups to unplug and play in the great outdoors.

“The way we have to grow is to dream big – we can do anything at camp we can think up that people would enjoy,’’ Griffin said.

Griffin said she is amazed by the camaraderie between people attending different conferences held on the same weekend.  “Building community. That’s my favorite thing about camp,’’ Griffin said. “These are the connections that make the world better."

“Jennie leads with passion, and that’s what is so important when you’re serving others,’’ said Fairview Lake Y Executive Director Bob Kahle. And Griffin “has the skills and personality to motivate staff to hit the goals that will keep the Y growing,” he said. “We expect great things from Jennie.’’  

Griffin grew up spending summers at sleep-away camp. As a kid with dyslexia, school could be a struggle, but at camp, learning about nature came easily. “I understood everything that was going on, because I could see it. I could touch it,’’ the 45-year-old said. “Kids who don’t necessarily thrive in a classroom, here, they thrive.’’

Griffin was senior program director in late 2012 when she left Fairview lake YMCA Camps to move to Australia with her partner of 18 years, whose U.S. Visa had expired. But she kept her ties with the Y, even returning in the summer of 2013 as waterfront director of the Sussex County YMCA’s Blue Mountain Day Camp, located at Fairview Lake.

“When I heard the associate executive position was available, I had to take the job; I have such a strong connection to our past and I can see how much further we can go,’’ she said.

A change in U.S. law will allow Griffin to sponsor her partner, Sarah Trehearn, for U.S. citizenship.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


A Tale of Two Very Different Town Administrator Searches

Both Maplewood and South Orange are looking for new town administrators at the same time, a rare occurrence.

And their approaches couldn’t be any more different.

Maplewood, whose long-time administrator Joseph Manning is retiring May 31, launched its search last month the old-fashioned way: hiring a recruiting firm and letting them do the heavy lifting (or more appropriately the ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

South Orange Police Blotter - 7 Burglaries Reported

February 24, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of Feb. 24

Burglary - A Brookside Rd. resident reported that sometime between 10:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19, and 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20, actor(s) unknown entered her garage and stole a set of spare keys to her residence. The actor(s) also rummaged through her unlocked vehicle, which was parked in the garage at the time, but nothing appears to have ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Teens Arrested for Theft from Auto

February 12 - Theft; A resident from Burroughs Way reported that sometime over the past day, a snow blower was stolen from an open garage.

February 17- Theft from Auto; At approximately 5:15 p.m., two males were observed going through vehicles on Hillcrest Rd.  Officers responded to the area and were able to locate two males fitting the description. The males, 18 year ...

Women's Club of Maplewood Donates $300K to Maplewood Library Foundation Capital Campaign

February 23, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Library Foundation's Capital Campaign received $300,000 from the Women's Club of Maplewood on Thursday, the first major gift since the campaign began on Feb. 22, according to a release from the Maplewood Library.

The capital campaign is raising funds to renovate the main Maplewood Library "that will serve the community for generations to ...

Maplewood Chili Cookoff this Sunday Combines Food, Family Fun, and Fundraising for a Good Cause

Update on February 23: All Tasting Passes to the Maplewood Chili Cookoff are sold out. A few more spots are left to submit a chili, which can be done here.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - There's a new annual tradition in SOMA: The Maplewood Chili Cookoff. Back at The Woodland for its second year on Sunday, Feb. 25, the cookoff has local residents sharing their best chili ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend "Wacky Winter Olympics" Open House

Education Other


Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Maplewood Middle School Auditorium, Maplewood

Maplewood Middle School Presents Rogers & ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Sun, February 25, 6:00 PM

The Burgdorff Center for the Performings Arts, Maplewood

Auditions for The Strollers': A Midsummer Night's ...

Arts & Entertainment

School Walkout Efforts Reach West Orange High School

February 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Hundreds of West Orange High School (WOHS) students participated in a peaceful walkout Wednesday afternoon in support of their fellow classmates in South Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people last week.

“They want to see change [in gun control],” said WOHS Principal Hayden Moore, who was present during the impromptu student-organized walkout.

Indictment Handed Down in Millburn Carjacking

TRENTON, NJ – An indictment was handed down in the November carjacking in Millburn where a 13-year old girl was allegedly grabbed by the neck and the suspect threatened to kill her. 

The 11-count state grand jury indictment charges Ahmed Anthony, 30, of Newark with conspiracy, carjacking, robbery and making terroristic threats among other charges. The conspiracy in the first-degree ...

Sky Zone on Rt. 22 in Springfield Opened Saturday

February 24, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Mayor Rich Huber and Township Committeeman Chris Capodice joined State Senator Tom Kean and Sky Zone officials to “cut the ribbon” for their official opening on Saturday, February 24. After officially signing in, guests were allowed free rein of the facility. Some of what the 35,000 square foot park includes wall to wall trampoline courts, a warped wall to ...

Dunkin Donuts Approved for Abandoned Checkers Location on Rt.22 in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Longtime Springfield residents Mr. and Mrs. Sailesh Patel of Hillside Avenue were approved for a drive through Dunkin Donuts at 30 Route 22 in Springfield. They are doing business as Soni Realty LLC. 

The site currently has an abandoned Checkers' restaurant on the property. Safety was a concern of Board members at the meeting Tuesday night. The meeting ...

My Clutter is Taking Over! With Jamie Novak at the Millburn Library

February 24, 2018

The Millburn Free Public Library is pleased to welcome back Jamie Novak to the library to talk about your clutter on Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the auditorium.

If you can't open your drawers, if stuff topples out of closets, and you haven't seen the top of your kitchen table in a while then run, don't walk, to this de-cluttering comedy show! Welcome back to ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace & Cafe - Feb. 23 to March 1

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Alaskan Cod Fillet $9.99lb (Ashley Fish Market)
Chuck for Stew/Stroganoff $6.99lb (Meat)
Thumann’s Deluxe Ham $8.98lb (Deli)
Midnight Moon $18.99lb (Cheese)
Red Globe Grapes $3.49lb
Cavendish Hash Browns 2/$5
Beef Meatloaf $6.99lb (Prep Food)
Polly O Ricotta $5.99 ...

Free Cardiac and Concussion Screenings for Young Athletes

The Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Mountain Recreation Complex, Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.

When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac problems is provided to ...