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Participant Requirements

Outdoor adventure comes with a degree of risk. To help ensure the safety of everyone, participants must meet certain eligibility requirements.

Overnight Camp

Camp requires effort and the ability to communicate. To ensure your child has a safe summer camp experience, your child must:

  • Be able to understand, remember, and follow instructions
  • Be able to respect and relate responsibly to others in a group
  • Be able to participate in primarily outdoor activities in large and small groups

To ensure camper safety, swimming ability will be assessed on the first day of camp to determine the swimming section and needs for PFDs during swimming.

As a minimum requirement, participants must able to right themselves and remain face-up in the water with the aid of a Personal Flotation Device (lifejacket). PFDs are provided by the YMCA and must be worn and zipped in all boating activities.


Riding helmets are provided by the YMCA and must be worn during horse activities.

Participants are also required to wear long pants and sturdy, closed-toed shoes.

Teen Wilderness

Wilderness Camp Essential Eligibility Criteria

The YMCA of the North’s Wilderness Camps – Camp Widjiwagan and Camp Menogyn - offer summer programs that focus on wilderness trips for teenagers. Depending on age and experience, camp sessions range from 5-50 days, and trips travel across North America. YMCA Wilderness Camp trips operate in remote wilderness areas, and our groups travel by foot or canoe. On backpacking trips, groups hike each day and camp in a new location each night. On our canoe trips, groups paddle across lakes and portage (the process of carrying all your gear on paths connecting lakes) multiple times each day and camp in a new location each night. All the areas we travel to require primitive camping, which means there are no established shelters or bathrooms. 

Our priority is the health and well-being of all our campers, along with providing a positive and enriching experience. To help you identify the skills you will need to successfully participate in a YMCA Wilderness Camp summer program, YMCA of the North has created the following Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC). The General Criteria are applicable to all wilderness programs. We have also created additional criteria for each type of trip: canoeing, backpacking, or climbing (Menogyn only). If you are unable to meet certain criteria, please contact us. We may be able to make a reasonable accommodation unless it would change the fundamental nature of the trip, would compromise your camper’s safety or the safety of other campers or counselors, or would place an undue financial or administrative burden on the YMCA Wilderness Camps. Please reach out with questions regarding your camper’s health, medical, and/or accessibility needs prior to registration.  If we are unable to accommodate your camper at one of our Wilderness Camps, we may be able to accommodate them at another YMCA camp.

After instruction, each camper must …

  • Be able to understand verbal and/or visual instructions.
  • Be able to understand basic safety instructions or directions in English in an emergency situation.
  • Be able to communicate personal distress, injury, or need for assistance. 
  • Be self-sufficient in basic self-care and hygiene such as hydration, nourishment, bathroom use, and dress. 
  • Be able to adhere to medication and treatment plan outlined by parent/guardians and their medical professional(s) if needed.
  • Be able to refrain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, and misuse of prescription or OTC drugs. 
  • Be able to understand environmental and equipment-related risks when explained and follow instructions related to those risks even if Wilderness trip staff is not present.
  • Be able to adapt to the physical and emotional rigors of a wilderness environment, at minimum a day from advanced medical care, for the entire length of the wilderness trip.  
  • Be able to walk unassisted over uneven terrain.
  • Be able and willing to contribute to group tasks and responsibilities. 
  • Be able to contribute to and maintain a physically and emotionally safe environment for self and group members.
  • Be able to respect the wilderness environment and adhere to Leave No Trace principles. 
  • Ability to act independently and as a part of the community.
  • Be able to carry packs and other gear items weighing at least 40 pounds over rough terrain for up to 1 mile with rest breaks as needed.
  • Be able to wear a Personal Flotation Device and maintain a face-up position in water while wearing a PFD.
  • Be able to sit in a canoe for up to 4-6 hours a day with stretch breaks as needed.
  • Be able to grip and control a paddle.
  • Be able to enter and exit a canoe independently. 
  • Be able to re-enter a canoe from the water with assistance.
  • Be able to carry a backpack weighing at least 50 pounds while hiking over rough terrain for 4-6 hours with rest breaks as needed.
Rock Climbing

Menogyn Only

  • Able to wear a climbing harness and helmet correctly. 
  • Able to participate in belaying and climbing activities.
Family Camp LDP

Participants must meet the following criteria to participate in the Family Camp Leadership Development Program:

  • Entering grade 9 the summer after senior year of high school, willing to serve the needs of the camp and family campers for a two-week period. 

  • Committed to working on the following: personal, interpersonal and leadership skills. 

  • Open to trying new experiences in the outdoors (ex. Canoeing, fire starting, camping, etc.). 

  • Excited to assist staff with scheduled family activities and age groups. 

  • Willing to assist in the daily activities around camp (ex. Dishes, cabin cleaning, work projects, etc.).

  • Prepared to live in community with peers, using shared sleeping quarters and bathrooms, ability to address conflict respectfully and appropriately.

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.