Choosing the right summer camp for your child

 Choosing the right summer camp can be tough. With so many camps out there in the Fraser Valley, parents have to really dig through the s’moregasbord of options to find the best one for their family.

Camp types, activities, hours, cost, transportation, credibility of provider…oh my! These are just a few factors to consider.

So how can you make the best decision for your family?

“Ask questions and do some research online,” says Pam Chater, Manager of YMCA Camp Elphinstone, an overnight camp of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

“The key to choosing a camp is making sure you collect enough information to make an informed decision so you feel good about the place you select for your child,” continues Chater.

Organizations like the YMCA have been around a long time. Here in the Greater Vancouver area, they’ve been offering camps for kids since 1907—that’s quite a track record!  The Y also recommends families ask questions about camp accreditations, safety policies, counsellor training and counsellor-to-child ratios.

“Helping young people grow up healthy, active and engaged is why the YMCA exists,” comments Chater.

“We believe camp is unlike any other childhood experience—the skills learned and friendships created at camp last a lifetime.”

From day camps full of hands-on activities and out-trips, to overnight camps at the oceanfront YMCA Camp Elphinstone on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, the Y has something for everyone!

Overnight camps run from Sunday to Friday, and offer transportation options including a drop-off/pick up location at the Tong Louie Family YMCA in Surrey. Day camps run out of various locations across the Lower Mainland and operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m,. with options for extended care hours for families that need a bit of extra time to drop-off or pick-up. The Y also offers day camp transportation options for families, particularly for those in the Fraser Valley (yahoo!).

Another great thing about the YMCA is their Financial Assistance program. Summer camps can be costly, but the Y has payment plans or a YMCA Financial Assistance program to help make it easier for families. They are also currently offering a few discounts for families including a reduced fee for YMCA Members or a 10% discount if you register with a friend!

Not sure which camp is right for you? Check out a snap shot of a few camps the Y offers that might be of interest to families in the Fraser Valley.



Optimized-YMCA Camp Elphinstone  671 (1)


Overnight Camps at YMCA Camp Elphinstone (ages 5-17)

Best for: Intrepid Explorers

Working together with cabin-mates, campers choose activities that meet their interests and skill levels. Campers build lifelong friendships as they engage in exciting activities together such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, archery, climbing, ropes courses, and so much more. Campers live in cabins with up to ten children near their own age, along with two experienced group leaders. Specialized hiking, biking and canoeing/kayaking camps are also available.

 Location: YMCA Camp Elphinstone (1760 YMCA Road, Gibsons)—just a 40 minute ferry from West Vancouver. Local drop-off/pick-up bus stops available.

 Price: $658+



Optimized-2010-08-2414-28-30Camp Elphinstone

Day Camps (ages 5-12)

Best for: General Fun-Seekers

These camps feature exciting activities to keep kids having fun all summer long! Campers receive a minimum of 90 minutes of physical activity per day through activities like sports and games. Campers also enjoy global education, literacy programming, scrapbooking, hands-on science workshops and Play it Fair games that promote respect and cooperation.

Locations: Tong Louie Family YMCA (14988 57th Avenue, Surrey), Northside YMCA Kids Club (located within Bernard Elementary 5465 Bernard Avenue, Chilliwack), Southside YMCA Kids Club (located within Tyson Elementary 45170 South Sumas Road, Chilliwack), and many more!

Price: $147+


Optimized-2010-08-2416-29-15Camp Elphinstone

Outdoor Adventure Day Camps (ages 5-12)

Best for:  Fresh-Air Enthusiasts

Love the outdoors? This action-packed camp provides a range of outdoor land and water-based programming to keep kids moving and having fun. Activities vary by location, but may include archery, forest games, geocaching, scavenger hunts, paddle and skim boarding, swimming and canoeing.

Locations: Lena Shaw Elementary (14250 100A Avenue, Surrey), Centennial Park (14600 North Bluff Road, White Rock), Camp Southwind (20315 16th Avenue, Langley). Various drop-off/pick-up bus stops available.

Price: $189


2010-08-2514-43-45Camp Elphinstone


Youth Leadership Day Camps (ages 12-15)

Best for: Future Leaders

Gain experience working together with peers and mentors to develop leadership and team building skills. Youth are provided with unique opportunities for growth and skill development through community outreach and activities such as ropes challenges or canoeing excursions.

Location: Tong Louie Family YMCA (14988 57th Avenue, Surrey)

Price: $144


Optimized-YMCA Camp Elphinstone  174

Leadership Development I/II Overnight Camps (ages 15-17)

 Best for: Leaders in Training

These two or four week intensive overnight programs are designed especially for campers who wish to become a part of the dedicated YMCA staff team. Programs focus on teaching campers the technical skills associated with delivering camp activities, team building and leading/supporting others. Youth learn about communication, group dynamics, child care and risk management, and participate in an out-trip.

Location: YMCA Camp Elphinstone (1760 YMCA Road, Gibsons)—just a 40 minute ferry from West Vancouver. Local drop-off/pick-up bus stops available.

Price: $1,219+


Well that sure is a lot of options! Not sure where to start? Why not try the Y’s Family Camp, which promises to be fun for the whole family!

Spaces are limited and camps fill quickly, so register soon to avoid disappointment. To register or learn more, please visit the YMCA’s website at www.vanymca.org/camps.

Happy camping, everyone!

All images courtesy of © Jeff Chang for YMCA of Greater Vancouver 

(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post)


Leave a Reply