YMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

Campers achieve personal success and confidence with YMCA Value Beads program

13 May 2024 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

As summer approaches, it's time to embark on the exciting journey of finding the perfect day camp for your child. With so many options out there, it can feel like searching for buried treasure. But fear not! YMCA Summer Day Camp offers a truly special program: Value Beads. And guess what? We're celebrating its 15th anniversary this year! 

Y Day Camp offerings span the bustling Greater Toronto Area and beyond with over 50 locations to choose from. We're all about making it easy and convenient for families like yours to join the fun! With our dedicated and diverse team of staff, we're ready to ignite curiosity, foster friendships, and create lasting memories for campers. 

Our Value Beads program is the cherry on top of our summer sundae. Campers earn colourful beads by demonstrating different values throughout their camp experience. Each value is represented by a unique colour, and character growth becomes a vibrant display of achievements.

Why did we create this program? 

The Value Beads program instils various values in YMCA Day Camp participants and staff. Coloured beads represent different values such as kindness, inclusiveness, respect, integrity, optimism, and well-being. Campers can earn special beads, like the gold bead for excellence and the silver bead for leadership. 

It's not just about the campers. Staff members also participate in the program. In our training sessions, we teach our staff about the Value Beads program and encourage them to recognize and reward one another for demonstrating these values. It's a great way to build a positive camp culture and show appreciation for everyone's efforts. 

Let’s dive deeper into how the Value Beads program works, value-teaching during camp, and why it's so important to us at the Y to recognize and reward these values. 

A cam

Shine On bead 

Campers and staff start their journey at YMCA Summer Day Camp by earning the Shine On bead, the first bead they receive upon arrival. This special bead symbolizes the brightness and positive energy they bring to camp and the potential each one of them has within them. It's the beginning of their camp adventure and ignites possibilities for the week of camp ahead.

Red for kindness 

Show kindness and earn the red bead! Whether it's lending a helping hand or sharing a smile, campers spread joy wherever they go. 

Orange for inclusiveness 

Celebrate diversity and earn the orange bead! We believe in creating an inclusive environment where every camper feels valued and accepted. From welcoming a new friend to making sure everyone feels included, campers can earn the orange bead by showing the value of inclusiveness. 

Yellow for respect 

Respect earns you the yellow bead. Treat others with respect and consideration, then watch as friendships flourish. 

Green for integrity 

When a camper or staff member shows integrity, they earn the green bead! We value honesty, accountability, and doing the right thing, even when no one's watching.

Blue for optimism 

Optimism earns you the blue bead! Stay positive, embrace challenges, and watch as you grow more confident with each hurdle you overcome.

Purple for well-being 

Prioritize well-being and earn the purple bead! Take care of yourself, both mentally and physically, and watch as you thrive. Campers are rewarded for advocating for their needs.

A camper is in a bus and is showing off their Value Beads.

Excellence bead

The Excellence bead is a significant milestone in our Value Beads program, earned by campers who demonstrate all seven core values represented by the Shine On, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple beads. This gold bead celebrates their commitment to kindness, inclusiveness, respect, integrity, optimism, and well-being. 


Become a steward of the planet and earn the wooden eco-bead! Learning about sustainability by demonstrating how to make a positive impact on the environment will earn you this bead.

Glow-in-the-dark for sun safety 

Practise sun safety and earn the glow-in-the-dark bead! Have fun in the sun while staying safe and protected. 

Silver for leadership 

Show leadership and earn the silver bead! Whether it's leading a group activity or standing up for what you believe in, you’ll be recognized for making an impact.

Choose Y Day Camps for a summer of growth and fun! 

When you sign up your child for Y Summer Day Camp you're not just signing them up for a summer of fun, you're giving them the opportunity to earn and display their colours of character, one bead at a time. With our Value Beads program as their guide, campers and staff embark on a journey of self-discovery and awareness, empowerment, and community-building that extends far beyond the camp experience.

As you navigate a sea of summer day camp options, consider the difference YMCA values bring to your camper’s day and beyond. Choose Y Day Camps for a summer filled with adventure, friendship, and the priceless gift of character growth!

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