What Activities Can My Child Expect at YMCA Summer Day Camp?
You’re ready for your child’s first day of camp! The sun is shining, your child is excited to make new friends, and you’ve got everything packed — lunch, a water bottle, a swimsuit and towel, sunscreen. You’ve also completed your camper information and medical forms ahead of time to make check-in a breeze. After they’re dropped off, what activities can you expect at your child’s YMCA Summer Day Camp?
Mornings at camp start with opening circle. Campers and counselors gather to sing silly songs, perform skits, and learn about that week’s value. At camp, kids learn about the YMCA’s core values — caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility — and how to use them out in their lives. The opening circle helps set the stage for the day and get campers excited for the day’s activities.
After the opening circle, campers break out into their family groups. Groups are based on age and grade. Each small group has a counselor, a positive adult role model who gets to know each child in order to help them grow and succeed. Counselors are trained in team building, facilitating the formation of friendships that can last a lifetime. Kids stay with their same family group and counselor all week, ensuring consistency and fostering connections within the group.
In the morning, campers rotate through a variety of fun activities designed to get kids active and engaged through games and crafts. Each week, camps have a theme that is incorporated into each camp activity. During Pirate Week, for example, campers may search for hidden treasure or make a spyglass out of paper towel tubes.
One of the most popular activities at YMCA Summer Day Camp is swimming, which is offered at many camp locations. Campers take a swim test each week to participate in recreational swim time, where they learn basic swim skills and important water safety information. Be sure to check your weekly schedule to see what days your camper is swimming and will need to be sent to camp with a swimsuit and towel.
After morning activities, groups gather for a closing circle before heading to lunch.
At the Y, we know that children who receive daily nutrition are set up to succeed. Parents should send their children with a packed lunch that do not need to be refrigerated or heated. Parents should also send their kids with snacks that they can have throughout the day.
The Y also participates in the Summer Meals Program through the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. This program provides free lunches to youth age 18 and under and is offered at several YMCA locations in Pierce and Kitsap counties.
AFTERNOON SPECIALTY ACTIVITIES
After lunch, campers go to their specialty camps, which are chosen at registration. In their specialty, campers dive deep into an area they’re interested in. The Y offers dozens of specialty options from digital photography to basketball to gardening to sculpture. Specialty camps are led by trained instructors with support from counselors. In their afternoon activities, campers can learn new skills, discover hidden talents, and try new experiences. If they come back multiple weeks, they can try a new specialty each week!
At the end of the day, all the campers gather again for songs, stories, skits, and highlights from the day. Closing circle is also a chance to reinforce the value of the week and get kids excited for the next day’s camp activities!
Extended care is offered before and after regular camp hours to provide more flexibility for working families. Extended care allows parents to drop off their campers as early as 7am and pick up as late as 6pm.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY CHILD’S CAMP?
At Summer Day Camp, you can expect that your child will be accepted for who they are; encouraged to challenge themselves; learn new skills through adventure and exploration; and grow as caring, honest, respectful, and responsible kids. They’ll be cared for by trained camp counselors. They’ll make new friends. Above all, they’ll have the best summer ever.