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Overnight Camp Handbook

Overnight Camp is a great place to learn, play, and discover. Character development and respect are fundamental parts of YMCA camp culture, while access, inclusion, and diversity are integral parts of our community commitment.

Camper Readiness
The Basics

With the YMCA, you will develop life skills, build interpersonal relationships, and learn to appreciate nature.

You will also have the opportunity to try new things and explore personal interests.


Most Overnight Camps are week-long experiences, but we also offer shorter (sampler) and longer (bridge) options too.

No matter how long you stay, we can't wait to see you at camp!

Cabin Groups

Participants experience a sense of community and form close-knit relationships by living with other participants and getting to know their counselors.

Campers are typically organized into cabin groups by age and gender, with a typical cabin group consisting of 8–12 kids and two staff members.


Our kitchen staff prides themselves on creating a well-balanced and tasty HEPA-certified menu.

  • Meals are hearty and served family-style.
  • We provide a salad bar at dinner and fresh fruit daily, and we make sure participants have plenty of food.
  • Participants are encouraged to drink water (especially during extreme heat) throughout the day.
  • Milk is provided daily.

If your child has any food allergies or dietary needs, please include these in your participant’s health records. We will do our best to accommodate special needs.

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Participant accommodations are safe and durable:

  • Participants sleep in bunkhouse cabins.
  • Centralized bath and toilet facilities serve all participants.
Sample Schedule


7:00 a.m. – Wake-up Call

7:15 a.m. – Polar Bear Swim, Yoga, or Road Runners

7:45 a.m. – Flag Raising

8:00 a.m. – Breakfast

8:45 a.m. – Morning Activity

9:00 a.m. – Cabin Activity Time

10:45 a.m. – Progressive

12:15 p.m. – Lunch

1:00 p.m. – Rest Period

2:10 p.m. – Activity Time

3:30 p.m. – Snack

4:00 p.m. – Activity Time

5:30 p.m. – Dinner

6:10 p.m. – Cabin Activity Time

7:30 p.m. – Flag Lowering

7:45 p.m. – Evening Activity

8:45 p.m. – Evening Reflection

9:30 p.m. – Lights Out


Children make many new friends at camp in addition to enjoying their old ones. 

  • Most campers come alone and make friends quickly.
  • Participants may bunk with one or two friends if they are within two years of age (and the request is made in advance).
  • We limit the number of friends coming together to three per cabin to support strong group dynamics.

If you forget to make your friend request(s) during registration, please contact Customer Service.

What to Bring

Our recommended packing lists can be downloaded below. These items are not required, and you are welcome to modify the list based on unique participant needs and session type.

Packing List (PDF)launch
Camp Stores

Every location has a camp store that sells camp merch and other helpful items.

Cash is not accepted, so gift cards must be purchased beforehand.

Purchase Gift Cardslaunch
Guardian Readiness

You are welcome to bring your child directly or register for the bus program.

Overnight Camp Transportation
Health and Safety

Safety comes first at YMCA of the North – from sunscreen and dispensation of medications to injuries and emergency care.

Health and Safety

YMCA adventure centers are designed to create positive experiences and lifelong memories; but it takes a village, people.

Behavior Guidelines
Character Development

Our well-trained counselors lead quality programs that are safe, fun, and enriching. At YMCA adventure centers, we approach Social Emotional Learning as the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes to:

  • Develop healthy identities 
  • Manage emotions 
  • Achieve personal and collective goals 
  • Geel and show empathy for others 
  • Establish and maintain supportive relationships 
  • Make responsible and caring decisions
  • Our Waterfront staff has extensive training and certification in both lifeguard and brown water safety, as well as CPR and First Aid.
  • Our emphasis activity leaders have special knowledge and training in that specialty area.
  • Our camp counselors are a minimum of 18 years old.
  • Our staff is chosen for their experience, maturity, and dedication to our core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and equity.
  • All staff members undergo a background check and intense training before working with participants.

“Snail Mail”

Mail takes 3–4 days to arrive at camp, so send yours ahead of time and we’ll save it for your participant when they are here.


If you send care packages, please do not send food, candy, soda, or perishables to camp. And please waive the signature for express packages.


We do not provide email access to participants. If you send an email to the adventure center for your participant, it will be printed and put in with the regular mail. No attachments, please.

Lost and Found

We encourage participants to take responsibility for their belongings. As part of the daily camp routine, we display lost-and-found items.

  • Any items left at camp after the session are kept at the adventure center.
  • Claimed items will be held for two weeks and must be retrieved from camp.
  • Anything not retrieved within two weeks will be donated to a local charity. 
  • For sanitary reasons, we do not keep undergarments, socks, or swimwear.
  • To claim lost items, please call the adventure center. Please have a description of the item(s), including your participant’s full name, phone number, and camp session dates.

The YMCA is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Camp-Issued Handbooks

Each location is unique and has its own supplement.


Family Handbook


Family Handbook


Family Handbook


Family Handbook

Two young ladies at a climbing course

Making Adventure Accessible

The YMCA offers need-based financial assistance to help people access the programs that are important to them.

Here to Help

Have a question or need assistance?

Our customer service team is always happy to help.