YMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

YMCA Day Camp: A Career in Shaping Camp Experiences

26 April 2024 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

At the YMCA, we believe in fostering growth, creating unforgettable experiences, and empowering our staff. A career in YMCA Day Camps not only provides a fun and engaging way to make a living, it's a way to make a positive impact on today’s youth. 

From the everyday perks of working for the YMCA day camp team to initiatives like the Henry Labatte Scholarship, we aim to provide our staff the tools and unique opportunities to shape the camp experience for our participants and also our staff’s professional development experience.

The Life of a Camp Counselor: Jane’s Story

At the YMCA, our day camps offer a diverse array of programs aimed at providing campers with enriching and memorable experiences. From Stop Motion Animation and Eco-Adventure to Basketball, Performing Arts, Leadership, and more, campers have the opportunity to explore their interests and develop new skills. This diversity reflects our commitment to offering inclusive and engaging activities that cater to the diverse interests and backgrounds of our campers. 

Jane's journey within the YMCA serves as a testament to our dedication to staff development and empowerment. Starting as a counselor and progressing to the role of program head, Jane's commitment to empowering campers showcases the core values of the YMCA. Her journey highlights the fulfillment that comes from guiding campers as they explore their interests and unlock their potential. 

Before the start of the summer season, program heads like Jane undergo extensive training to ensure they are well-prepared to deliver exceptional programs. This training includes coaching sessions, leadership development workshops, and more, aimed at equipping staff with the skills and knowledge needed to create a positive and impactful camp experience. Through our investment in staff development, we recognize the crucial role our staff play in shaping camp experiences and fostering growth and development among our campers.

A counsellor helps a young camper put on their helmet and harness.

The Henry Labatte Scholarship: Winnie and Zoe’s Journey

Winnie, a regional day camp director, and Zoe, a summer camp assistant director, embarked on a transformative journey through the Henry Labatte Scholarship. This scholarship, named after a former CEO of the YMCA, aims to provide YMCA staff members with the opportunity to explore global YMCA affiliates and exchange ideas with international partners. 

Their adventure took them to Colombia, where they had the chance to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and collaborative spirit of local YMCA affiliates. From Bogotá to Medellín, Winnie and Zoe were welcomed with open arms, quickly forming connections with their Colombian counterparts. 

During their time in Colombia, Winnie and Zoe had the privilege of participating in various youth development programs, gaining firsthand experience in different approaches to community engagement and program implementation. One of the most impactful aspects of their journey was the opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices with local staff members. 

"I can say confidently that my time spent in Colombia had a significant impact on my professional and personal life," reflects Winnie. "Having had the opportunity to participate in a number of programs, I was able to interact directly with members of the community, and participate in the facilitation of activities that supported the personal & professional growth of young individuals." 

Her experiences in Colombia ignited a passion within her and solidified her commitment to pursuing a career dedicated to making a difference in communities around the world. "My overall experience in Colombia has led to my confidence in taking the first steps towards my MSW, in hopes of making a difference in communities around the world." 

Overall, Winnie and Zoe's journey through the Henry Labatte Scholarship was a testament to the enriching nature of working at the YMCA. Through meaningful connections, cross-cultural exchange, and hands-on learning experiences, they gained invaluable insights that will continue to shape their work and impact within the YMCA community. 

A group of counsellors pose with a couple of campers.

Looking Ahead: A Future of Fulfillment

Reflecting on their journeys, Winnie, Zoe, and Jane envision futures filled with opportunities to continue making positive impacts within the YMCA community. Their experiences in Colombia and at YMCA camps reaffirmed their passion for youth development and inspired them to explore innovative ways to enhance the camp experience. With newfound insights and a deeper understanding of the transformative power of community engagement, they are eager to apply their knowledge to create even more enriching experiences for campers in the future.

In closing, Winnie, Zoe, and Jane express gratitude for the opportunity to help shape the camp experience and make a difference in the lives of young campers. Their roles and experiences highlight the fulfilling nature of working at the YMCA, where every day brings new opportunities to inspire, empower, and enrich the lives of others. Through their dedication and passion, they exemplify the YMCA's mission of empowering youth and fostering community connections.

Join us in celebrating the joy of helping youth discover their passions and unleash their potential at the YMCA. Together, we can continue to make a positive impact and create a brighter future for generations to come.

Ready to give your child an unforgettable summer experience with our incredible staff? Sign them up for camp today and be a part of our community-driven mission. Register now!


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