And father-son weekend at Fairview Lake YMCA Camps when Danny Jacobs was 11 deepened his love for the outdoors, shaping his teenage years and career plans.
After five years as a Fairview Lake YMCA camper, Jacobs last year began volunteering on weekends and became a summer camp junior counselor in the Y’s adventure programs.
“I like the atmosphere there, learning new things and meeting people from all over,’’ the 17-year-old Morris Plains resident said.
Jacobs’ devotion to the environment and to sharing knowledge with others has earned him the Fairview Lake Y’s 2015 Youth of the Year Award. Jacobs was honored April 7 at the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges’ 39th annual dinner, held at the Hanover Manor in East Hanover. Fairview Lake Y is one of six branches of the Metro YMCA.
“He discovered a passion for the out-of-doors and a desire and ability to help others appreciate outdoor activities,’’ said Colin Campbell, director of conferences and Environmental Trips for Challenge at Fairview Lake YMCA. The Y is located on 600 acres next to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and attracts more than 25,000 visitors a year to its sleep-away summer camps, year-round environmental education programs, family programs, and conferences.
Jacobs, who enjoys fishing and hunting, participated in numerous Environmental Trips for Challenge, including the Summer Service Corps, in which he volunteered at a Community Supported Agriculture farm, built bat boxes, and cleaned up litter along the Paulinskill River, among other activities.
“My time at Fairview Lake Y definitely set the stage for my love of nature,’’ said Jacobs, a senior in Morristown High School’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy. Jacobs will study fish and wildlife ecology and management at Montana State University in the fall.
Jacobs continues to work weekends at the Y and plans to be a camp counselor again before heading off to college.