Parent Guide to Camp

YMCA Day Camp is a great way to spend the summer. Find out details to make your summer camp experience one to remember!

Parent Guide to Camp


With the success and learnings from the 2020 camp season, YMCA Day Camps will continue to uphold the standards for COVID safety as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and the American Camping Association.  As standards change and updates are made available, we will continue to update our parent guide for the most accurate information.

FAQs for Summer Day Camp

Cleaning of Facilities

Equipment and touch points will be wiped down on a regular basis throughout the day.  This includes bathroom areas, playgrounds, and additional hard surfaces. What steps will be taken when a child or employee develop symptoms at the camp?
  • We will take the temperatures each day for children and staff as they arrive.  Campers/staff that have temperatures above 100 will be asked to leave and must be 72 hours fever free before returning to camp.  Campers and/or staff that show symptoms will be separated from their huddle and evaluated.
Campers/Staff live with COVID positive family members, be able to attend camp?
  • No, campers and staff that live with COVID positive must quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to camp.  This is part of the daily screening for our summer camps.
What games, activities will the children play that will not expose them to shared equipment or droplets?
  • Children will be in the same group during the day.
  • Group gatherings will remain under the recommended capacity set forth by the state.
  • Games with physical contact will not be played
  • Equipment and touch points will be wiped down on a regular basis throughout the day


Staff and campers will be required to wear masks while at camp.  Campers will be able to remove their masks while eating, drinking, swimming, and/or participating in physical activities (running, climbing, sports, etc.).  This is subject to change following Governor’s Executive Orders and/or CDC recommendations. All campers will be required to wear a mask if the YMCA is transporting them to or from camp. Will the Y provide a refund if we take our child out due to a COVID confirmed child or employee or the camp decides to close due to an outbreak?
  • Yes, we will provide a refund if your camper does not attend summer day camp.
How do I add, cancel, or change the weeks that my camper(s) are attending camp?
  • For any changes to your camp registration, please contact our YMCA admin team.


Each camper will have their temperature taken prior to getting on the bus and parents will be required to complete the intake COVID-19 form.  Campers will be 1 camper per seat and must wear a mask while on the bus.  Siblings can ride on the same seat together. Buses will be cleaned before and after every trip.  Seats will be wiped down. Will the pool be open?
  • Yes, the pools are now open for recreational swimming at our camps.
Will the zip line and alpine tower be open?
  • Yes, we plan to have the Zip Line and Alpine Tower open for Camp Thunderbird.
What are the Daily cleaning protocols?
  • Equipment and touch points will be wiped down on a regular basis throughout the day.
  • Working with CDC to follow guidelines for Summer Day Camp/Child Care
YMCA DAY CAMP PROGRAMS Day camp is a place where campers have fun and parents find an environment that will help their children grow in spirit, mind, and body. Our activities are designed to provide campers with an exciting, safe, and enriching summer experience that is appropriate to their age, interests and abilities. DISCOVER YOUR BEST SELF this summer at YMCA Day Camp!


Week 1 (June 21) "Superheroes" Week 2 (June 28) "Ahoy Matey!" Week 3 (July 5) "Galaxies Far Far Away Week" Week 4 (July 12) "Paint Me Crazy" Week 5 (July 19) "Summerween" Week 6 (July 26) "Walk of Fame" Week 7 (August 2) "Wizarding World Week" Week 8  (August 9) "Camp Before Time" Week 9 (August 16) "Adventure Land" Week 10  (August 23) "Oh, The Places You’ll Go" Week 11 (August 30) "FINAL FOUR"


Each camp across the Greater Richmond area has their own twist and traditions; however, they all share some activities that are universal.  Here are a few:
Small Opening/Closing Counsels Songs, Chants and Cheers Kids' Choice Programming Circle and Group Games
Team-building STEM Gaga Ball (most camps) Creative Arts
Music, Dance and Drama Nature Leadership Development Character Development


A camp is only as good as its staff. Expect excellence at YMCA day camps. Our well-seasoned and well-trained counselors mentor and care for your child. Counselors, staff and lifeguards are required to complete a minimum of 35 hours of pre-camp training including, but not limited to youth and adult CPR, First Aid, AED, Child Abuse Prevention, and Daily Health Observation. We conduct background checks and drug screenings on all camp counselors and employees as mandated by state licensing. We train our counselors and staff in conflict resolution techniques and encourage campers to be inclusive of all and celebrate our differences.


As much as staff teach responsibility and remind campers to take care of their belongings, we do ask that parents/guardians label all belongings with your camper's name on them. This will help us to identify lost items. Here are some items to bring:

What to bring

  • We suggest packing an inexpensive backpack for campers to keep personal items together.
  • Extra pair of clothing (is recommended but not always needed)
  • Peanut/tree nut free lunch
  • Morning Snack
  • Towel
  • A reusable water bottle

What to wear

  • Dress for the weather — day camp continues rain or shine
  • Campers play hard and may get dirty —please choose comfortable appropriate play clothing, free of offensive slogans or symbols. Make sure your child wears sneakers and socks to camp daily
  •  Closed toed shoes. For safety reasons, sandals and Crocs are not permitted during activities (Campers may wear sandals to and from water activities only).
  • Pack a poncho or raincoat in case of rain.
  • Hats and sunglasses are also suggested but optional.
What Not to Bring Counselors will give any of the following items to directors if they are brought to camp. These personal belongings will be returned to campers’ parents during evening pick-up. Please leave these items at home:
  •  Toys, radios, iPods/mp3 players, electronic games, cellular phones, and other electronics do not fit into this setting
  •  Firearms, fireworks, knives, matches, lighters, tobacco products and illegal drugs (all over-the-counter medication must be submitted to camp staff with the correct forms)
  • Expensive items, money, and trading cards at home
  • If you have signed off that the Y can apply sunscreen, please do not have your camper bring those items with them to camp. Sunscreen is considered medication and need special authorization (see "Medications/Health center" section).


All of our day camp programs at each YMCA location open at 7 a.m. for parent drop-off and close at 6 p.m.
  •  If you are driving your camper to and from camp, our Rides In process makes it easy for parents to sign in their camper, and be on their way. There is no need to park or get out of your car unless directed to do so.
  • Parents who wish to pick up their camper early may do so at the camp designated pickup area. Some camp properties are very large; please send an email in the morning, call ahead, or come in at least ONE HOUR prior to pick up so we may arrange to have your camper waiting for you. Otherwise, please be prepared to wait at least 20 – 30 minutes to gather your camper and their belongings for departure.
  • During Rides Out or early pickup, only adults that are listed on the approved pick up list for your camper and present correct identification may be allowed to sign out a camper from a bus stop or on campus.

YMCA Transportation

Whenever the Y transports children, the Y takes every precaution to ensure your child’s safety. Children must follow the below Y basic safety rules while being transported. Our Y drivers are instructed to: load and unload the children only when the vehicle is pulled up to a curb, the side of the road, or in a driveway; to not discipline and drive at the same time; and take precautions to never leave a child alone in a vehicle. In order to reduce paperwork and waste, the electronically signed Youth Enrichment Program registration authorizes the Y to take your child on all field trips for the school year and summer, with notice. You have the right to refuse permission for your child to go on a particular field trip. Just let us know in a timely fashion.


We maintain a direct staff to child ratio that meets or exceeds licensing standards, currently with a staff to camper ratio of 1:13 with groups no larger than 18.



To ensure good health and ability to enter into normal camp activities, please ensure that all documents have been turned into the main office. If your camper requires medication during the day or requires and emergency medication, please ensure that the following guidelines are met: If a child requires medication while at the program:
  •  An “authorization to give medication” form must be completed by the parent/guardian.
  •  Medicines must be in original containers, with the child’s name on it.
  •  In case of food allergies, an Allergy Action Plan, signed by a physician, must be submitted to the camp office.
We have medical administration trained staff onsite to administer medication based on licensing standards. All medication will be kept in a locked box. Only those Youth Enrichment staff who are certified "Medication Administrators" may dispense medications. Please consult the on-site supervisor prior to leaving any medication at the site in order to ensure all Department of Social Services paperwork requirements are met. Find our Health Forms


To help prevent sunburn, it is required that parents apply sunscreen prior to arriving at camp. In addition, all YMCA camps will supply campers with sunscreen (see parent guide and/or handbook). The YMCA will not provide bug spray; however this can also be applied before arriving to camp. Staff will aid children in applying sunscreen after water activities and as needed throughout the day. Y staff will administer personal sunscreen, and/or insect repellent provided:
  • We receive written parental/guardian authorization noting any adverse reactions.
  • Products are in their original containers labeled with your child’s name.


Swimming may be altered from normal operation due to COVID-19 protocols.  Below is how our camps operate swimming under normal operations. Before swimming at camp, all campers are given a swim assessment in the pool under the direct supervision of certified lifeguards and receives a swim band on the first day of camp that they wear as a necklace at the pool. This is a safety procedure that helps staff distinguish between swimmers and non-swimmers. Please make sure that your child wears their swim band to camp every day. Learn more to prepare your child for our Swim Assessment.


During extreme heat and heat advisory days, we will adjust our schedule when possible. The safety and comfort of our campers is always our top priority and we want you to be aware of the changes we will make to our camp schedule with the heat is on.
  • We will limit the time we spend in direct sun.
  • We will spend more outside time in shady places.
  • We will take more breaks that usual to “chill out.”
  • We’ll play games that keep kids hydrated and cool (like water fun).
  • We will move activities inside when possible.
  • We will take extra water breaks and make sure water is always available.
Here are some tips to help your kids stay comfy cool during summer fun:
  • Pack a frozen water bottle.
  • Dress campers in lightweight and light colored clothing.
  • Store lunch in an insulated, chilled lunch box.
  • Send your child with a hat.
  • Apply sunscreen before camp.
  • Tell your camp staff if your child has a health condition that makes them more sensitive to the heat.

Eligibility Criteria

YMCA Camps offer a traditional outdoor summer camp day camp experience. Our trained and certified staff work with our campers in large group settings (within licensing standards). YMCA staff builds relationships, fosters a sense of belonging and creates opportunities for our campers to achieve and learn.  We offer a wide range of engaging specialist activities, reading every day, as well as character development and swim lessons. Every week has a fun and exciting theme with an educational focus and exciting twist.

At camp, we consider the needs of each camper to promote success and provide a positive camp experience. Disclosure of special needs will not bar participation. Let us know when you register if your child is developmentally, emotionally, or physically challenged or requires another type of assistance. YMCA camp allows campers 17 years and younger to participate. Refer to the program registration for permissible ages for each respective camp.

All activities are open to all individuals who meet the following essential eligibility requirements by themselves with or without a reasonable accommodation:

Camper Behavior Requirements

Children are expected to display appropriate behavior at all times. To assure the maximum enjoyment of the program by all participants, please review the following guidelines with your child.

Campers will:

  • Exhibit individual and group behavior that models our Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility and that doesn’t disrupt the flow of teaching and learning
  • Stay with the group
  • Be pleasant to others and refrain from using foul language
  • Refrain from putting themselves and others in danger
  • Use equipment, supplies, and facilities as instructed
  • Have the ability to follow verbal and/or visual direction.
  • Always wear shoes and clothes that conform with the Parent Handbook.

Personal Needs

  • Is able to manage all personal hygiene

Motor Needs

  • Is able to ambulate on own or with a mechanical device in varied terrains, including, sloped and uneven ground.
  • Is able to perform gross motor functions and fine motor functions with reasonable guidance

Additional Requirements for Programs with Outdoor Activities

  • Is able to withstand exposure to the outdoors for extended periods of time.
  • Is able to get in and out of a kayak and/or canoe.
  • Is able to maintain a balanced, upright position when seated in a kayak, canoe, and/or bicycle
  • Is willing to wear all safety equipment correctly such as, but not limited to; protective helmets and life jacket

Other requirements may apply for unique features at some of our camps, like challenge courses.

Parent Education Guide

At the Y, we ask our parents and guardians to be our partners in child abuse prevention. This Parent Education Guide seeks to equip you to be informed about child abuse and to protect your child from abuse.

View the Guide here.