Healthy KidsYMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

3 absolute favourite camper activities

12 August 2021 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
Written by Alisha Badwal

There’s no doubt this past year and a half has been unlike any other. Campers were spending more time learning and playing indoors instead of getting outside and socializing with friends. Everyone is eager to get back to a fun summer camp routine and reduce screen time.

This summer, YMCA of Greater Toronto Day Camps took precautions to deliver an outstanding in-person camp experience for campers to enjoy the outdoors and be active. The YMCA Day Camps staff took extra steps to create camp programming that is stimulating, skill-building, and allows campers to interact as safely as possible.

With Y Summer Camps in full swing, we've seen several activities across different camp locations in the Greater Toronto Area become absolute camper favourites! Here are just a few.

1. Theme Days

Our campers are loving the different theme days arranged by camp staff each week. At Blyth Academy YMCA Day Camp in Port Credit, Mississauga, campers enjoy a special theme day every Friday, from funky Fridays to wacky hair days. Similarly, at Hitherfield YMCA Day Camp in Milton, the camp director arranges for camp-wide challenges every week. Different groups play fun games in a friendly competition.

Campers at Oshawa Maxwell Heights YMCA Day Camp loved their recent athletic competition where they participated in different sports and games! There’s even Woo Wednesdays, a YMCA camp-wide initiative that all camps compete in every week. These activities encourage campers to work on their team-building and communication skills and, most importantly, have lots of fun.

2. Arts and Crafts

Visual arts along with creative crafts have been camper favourites every week. Campers experience various creative mediums and proudly present their artwork at the end of the week to their fellow campers and their parents. At Toronto Wineva Y Day Camp, rock painting has become the go-to art activity every camper loves. After campers have designed their rock, they get to add it to the colourful rock snake at Kew Beach that stretches almost a kilometre long!

At Chris Hadfield Y Day Camp, campers have been enjoying art projects that range from nature bookmarks and self-portraits to making bird homes. The camp director at Toronto Cooper Koo Family Cherry St Y Day Camp describes these crafts as not the usual art projects but instead much more extravagant – including creating your own plaster sculptures. These activities allow campers to express themselves, become confident, problem-solve, and persevere, all while having fun with their friends.

3. Value Beads

The Y’s value beads program runs across all Y Day Camp locations. Each camper receives a bracelet with a white welcome bead on their first day to which they can add more beads that they earn. Each colour represents an important value at the Y. Campers love this program as each bead represents an accomplishment and motivates them to earn more beads. The camp director at Pickering Petticoat Y Day Camp describes the bead ceremony each Friday as a camper favourite, where excited campers are awarded their beads.

For younger campers in Kinder programs, the value beads provide an opportunity to learn more about the values each bead represents including:

  • caring

  • health

  • honesty

  • inclusiveness

  • respect

  • responsibility

Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre’s camp director expresses how eager young campers are to learn and how proud they feel when earning their value beads. Not only do our campers get to learn about these important values and practise embodying them, but they also get to proudly show their friends and families their beautiful bracelets.

Summer is off to an amazing start for all our campers and we’re excited to see what else YMCA Summer Day Camps has in store.


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