Joe Gerrard straps into a harness to prepare for a go on the temporary rock climbing wall at summer Camp.
Though it’s no problem for him to get to the top and ring the buzzer that proves it – it’s no longer the same thrill.
That’s because the wall he remembers is – a five-sided, 40 foot tall tower with a zip line.
“It was just really fun,” says Joe. “You felt really good when you got to the top and got to get on the zip line.”
Last month, vandals burned the tower at the Bayview YMCA to the ground. “It was the night before camp started so it was a big devastation for the kids,” says Adam Wallach of the Bayview YMCA.
Investigators have not made any arrests but have ruled the fire arson.
“It was really mean. I don’t know why someone would do that,” says Joe Gerrard. He has put his frustration- and talent- to work making colorful friendship bracelets made of thick cord and selling them to his friends and fellow campers.
“Joe hit the ground running,” says Wallach. "He sold out all of his bracelets in the first two days. It’s been really inspirational for the other kids to see what he’s doing.”
But it didn’t stop there. The bracelets have caught on as a key fashion accessory among summer campers. “This is definitely the 'in' thing,” says Wallach. One bracelet is not enough, you have to have two.”
So Joe upped his goal from raising $500 to $1,000. Now he’s even topped that. “It’s hard,” he explains. “It’s hard on your fingers- you get blisters after you do it for a long time.”
“He’s 12 years old and there’s a lot of thing he’s rather be doing at night instead of sitting there making bracelets,” says his mom Wendi Latko. “But he’s stuck with it and he’s proud of himself too.”
It will take $100,000 to build a bigger, better tower. Yet, rather than be daunted, this seventh grader is taking it one $5 dollar bracelet at a time.
“I feel a sense of accomplishment, that what I’m doing is right and that I should keep doing it,” Joe says.
To learn more about Joe’s bracelets http://rochesterymca.org/camps/day-camps/camp-bay-view/