Adventure Programs Information

Adventure Programs provides dedicated one-on-one time with fathers and their children.

Adventure Programs Information

Adventure Programs

Go with your child on a journey of discovery with YMCA Adventure Programs.  The program allows fathers and father figures to spend one-on-one time with their child in a fun environment.  Its purpose is to foster a strong parent-child relationship through quality time spent together.  Our program is divided into two groups.

The Guides are for fathers and their sons, while the Princesses include fathers and their daughters. New members of the program create or are assigned to a circle, which is a group of father figures and child pairs.  Each circle creates their own fun name and builds great relationships throughout the year.  Depending on the level of engagement in the program, circles participate in the following opportunities:

  • Planned quality time together
  • Circle meetings on a monthly basis (see program manual below for examples)
  • Fall Fun Day at Camp Thunderbird
  • Overnight camping event in the spring at YMCA Camp Thunderbird
  • Large event opportunities such as the Daddy Daughter Dance, Pinewood Derby Race, Tubing and more
  • Opportunities to volunteer and be a part of YMCA branch initiatives

The typical age range for guides and princesses is between 5 and 12 years old (Must be in Kindergarten through 5th grade), however, there are opportunities for veteran campers to mentor and campout with their traditional circle.  

Purpose: The purpose of YMCA Adventure Programs is to foster understanding and companionship between father figure and child.  

Motto: “Pals Forever, Friends Always”


  1. To be clean in body and pure in heart
  2. To be pals forever with my father/son/daughter
  3. To love the sacred circle of my family
  4. To listen while others speak
  5. To love my neighbor as myself
  6. To seek and preserve the beauty of our Creator’s work in forest, field and stream.

Pledge: “We, father and son/daughter, through friendly service to each other, to this circle, to our community, seek a world pleasing to the eye of the Creator.” 

Benediction: May the peace of the forest, the song of the birds, the inspiration of the hills, the warmth of the sun, the strength of the tree, the fragrance of the flowers, the joy of the wind, and the calm of the lake, in all of which is the Creator of all good things, be in our hearts today and always. 

Closing: “And now may the Great Spirit of all Great Spirits be with you and you and you and you…and you for now and forever more. 


Registration is made based on the weekend your Circle is scheduled to go out to Camp Thunderbird. For these coming seasons, all registrations for each event will be made separately, instead of one full fee for the year.  

Fall Registration

Fall registration has closed for the time being and will re-open in the summer of 2021. The Fall registration includes a Fall Fun Day at Camp Thunderbird with your circle. At your first campout, you will receive your new participant packet which includes all of your starter patches for the program.

Spring Registration

Spring registration opens on January 1, 2021. The Spring registration, for this year, includes a Campout at Camp Thunderbird with your circle.

The dates for all Spring Campouts are listed below. Each assigned circle is based on the size and capacity of camping locations. Chiefs, if you do not know your Circle’s assigned campout weekend, please contact  Program participants can contact their chief or the same YMCA email.  

If you are brand new to the program and need to be placed in a core Circle group, please contact to be placed in a Circle based on your neighborhood and your child’s school. We strongly encourage new participants to sign up with a few neighborhood friends or close friends to create a new circle! 


Spring Campouts

Registration for the Spring Campouts will begin on January 1, 2021.  The Spring Campout is the signature event of the Adventure Programs year. At Camp Thunderbird, circles camp onsite together from Friday night until Sunday. 

  • When:  Friday- 4PM Check-in, Sunday-12PM 
  • Cost: YMCA Members: $60, Non-Members: $80 ($15 each additional child)
  • What to Bring: Water, meals (talk to your circle chief for food assignments), snacks, activewear (including closed toed shoes), mask, program vest, sleeping supplies, tent, flashlights, bonfire materials (ask about vendor contacts), rain jacket

COVID Safety Procedures:

  • CHANGE: Camp staff will designate tent camping locations only.  Cabin locations will not be used.  
  • Saturday Ceremonies will occur on the upper field to provide more space for social distancing. 
  • Each circle will have a schedule to follow to keep social distance. A block will be open to fish, hike or just relax.
  • Health screening form will be mandatory upon arrival.
  • All activities will be cleaned and sanitized after each rotation.
  • Masks should be worn in areas where 6 feet of distance cannot be observed.

Pinewood Derby

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel the pinewood derby this year.

Volunteer Day

Volunteer Day is an excellent way for Circles to give back. Camp Thunderbird needs some TLC to keep it looking its best and we would appreciate help from our Adventure Program Participants. All participants will also earn a cleanup patch to add to their vest.

The date of the event is TBD.

Daddy/Daughter Dance

We are so sad to announce that the Daddy Daughter Dance for 2021 has been canceled due to the lack of social distancing opportunities at this event.  We hope and encourage circles takes this opportunity to meet virtually or in a safe atmosphere for a night away, whether that is a dinner date, patio dance, or your favorite activities! 

Check out what we normally do here: The Daddy Daughter Dance is an opportunity for father figures and their children to spend the night out! The Science Museum of Richmond is the perfect place to make a night to remember. You can expect a DJ, professional photo booth, dancing, light appetizers, and even a chance to explore a Science Museum exhibit.  The dress attire is semi-formal.  There is a separate registration for this event and entrance fee.

Campout Dates

  • April 16-18- Guides Campout
  • April 23-25- Princess Campout
  • May 1-2- Overflow Weekend

Resources for Program Participants

Links for Vest Purchasing: 

Links for stock or custom patches:

Adventure Guides Program Manual (Updated July 2019)