Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about our Camps and Outdoor Centre programs? We’ve got answers!

Why Choose YMCA Summer Programming?

Benefits of Camp

Beads that Boost Belonging: Day Camp Value Beads

  • At YMCA Day Camps, value beads play an important role as a sign of character and personal achievement. As a form of recognition, beads at camp promote positive behaviour, and are worn as a constant reminder of what we value as a camp community. Throughout the week, beads are awarded to individuals for demonstrating our YMCA core values of responsibility, respect, inclusiveness, caring, health and honesty, and achieving success in specific program areas. Ask your camper how they achieved their beads!
  • Find out more about our value beads

Highly Trained Staff

  • Day Camp
    • YMCA Camp Staff are a minimum of 17 years of age, and most are college and university students or recent graduates.
    • All staff must have their current Standard First Aid and CPR “C” certification as well as a clear criminal reference check on file.
    • YMCA Camp Staff receive a minimum of one week of pre-camp training each spring, and senior staff receive approximately 90 hours prior to each camp season!

We Make Things Convenient

  • Day Camp
    • Bus to Camp: With 56 buses on the road each day with over 100 stops you can be sure to find a bus stop near you. To find your closest bus stop, create your own personalized e-Guide to camp by clicking here.
    • Extended Hours: Does 9AM – 4PM not work for your schedule? We have extended hours locations across the GTA that may open as early as 7:00 AM and end as late as 6:00 PM. Check out our bus schedule for a list of locations by clicking here.
  • Cedar Glen
    • Lunch Option: All campers will receive a barbeque lunch on Friday, and may choose to register for a lunch for the remainder of the week. All food is provided by YMCA Cedar Glen's professional food services team.
    • Bus to Camp: With 56 buses on the road each day with over 100 stops you can be sure to find a bus stop near you. To find your closest bus stop, create your own personalized e-Guide to camp by clicking here.
    • Extended Hours: Does 9AM – 4PM not work for your schedule? Extended hours at Cedar Glen will open at 7:00 AM and end at 6:00 PM. Check out our bus schedule for a list of locations by clicking here.

Registering For Camp

How Do I Register for Summer Camp?

  • Visit our How to Register to start your registration for YMCA Camps
  • Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive an Information Guide with answers to all your questions about our Summer Camp experience!

Do you accept Campers with Additional needs (Integration Program)?

  • Our Integration Program is available to campers who require additional support to fully participate in camp programming. We do our best to ensure that every child is placed in a camp that best supports their needs.
  • Not all of our camp locations are fully accessible, please speak with our Integration Support Team to find a site that best suits your camper’s needs.
  • Spaces are allocated on a first come, first serve basis and our Integration Support team works closely with your family to review your child’s needs. In order to be considered for the 2018 day camp season, all applicants must be received by May 31, 2018.
  • The YMCA may decline applications based on the level of training and/or expertise required to support the camper safely. The camper must not pose health risks to themselves or others, the camp setting must be suitable for the campers needs, and support staff and campers must not be put at risk due to undisclosed behaviors.
  • In addition to the camp program fee, there is an additional fee of $305 per week to participate in our Integration program.
  • To get in touch with our Integration Support team and discuss if camp is the right fit for your camper, please complete the online Inquiry Form

What if I have to cancel my child's Day Camp registration?

  • Requests for cancellations or refunds must be made in writing and submitted to the YMCA Program Registration Office via email to Cancellation requests received at least 28 days before the start of camp will receive a refund minus an administration fee of $25 per program being cancelled. Cancellation requests received with less than 28 days’ notice will receive a refund minus an administration fee of 50% of the cost of the program being cancelled. Cancellation requests that are received less than 8 days prior to the start of the program being requested to cancel will not qualify for a refund. A doctor’s note is required for cancellations due to medical reasons. Refunds are not granted for inclement weather. Refund requests received after September 7th, of the current camping year, will not be granted.

Applying for Financial Assistance

What if I can't afford the camp fees?

  • The YMCA of Greater Toronto offers financial assistance for kids, youth, and families to access critical YMCA programs and services. Our goal is to provide all children with up to four weeks of day camp each year.
  • The selection process is based on a sliding scale and determined by comparing the amount of dependents in a household with the family total income (Maximum Eligible Family Income: $100,000/year).

How do I apply for Financial Assistance?

  • To apply for financial assistance for summer day camp, please follow these steps:
    1. Visit the Day Camp Guide to explore camp locations and programs. (Note: Financial assistance is usually available for a maximum of two weeks of camp.)
    2. Download and complete the Camp & Club Registration Form (PDF). Please complete all sections of the registration form, including camp locations and programs, financial assistance details, and payment information.
    3. Email the completed registration form, and any supporting documentation, to If you apply during the summer camp season (April 1 to July 15), you will be advised of the status of your application in as little as 10 business days. (Applications received outside the camp season can take four to six weeks to process.)
  • Program availability is based on current enrollment.
  • Campers are registered on a first come, first served basis.
  • For more information about financial assistance for camps, call 647-439-6611 or 1-877-303-2267.

Can I apply my government subsidy toward camp?

  • YMCA Summer Programs welcomes families that currently receive government subsidies for child care. To ensure your registration is processed and you receive your first choice, complete all sections of the registration form, including the payment information section, and send the completed form to the camp office via email or fax (416-928-2030).
  • In order to process your registration, we must receive confirmation from your regional office, which can take up to 15 business days to process.
  • Overnight camp and the lunch and towel options are not included in your parental fee and must be purchased at the printed fee.
  • For more information, call 647-439-6611 or 1-877-303-2267.

Preparing for Camp

What does a typical of camp look like?

What should my child bring to camp?

  • Along with wearing comfy clothes, a hat and if necessary a rain coat/poncho, your child should also have a backpack with these essentials all labelled with their name: sunscreen, a hearty lunch, at least two snacks, a refillable water bottle, bathing suit and towel. Campers should not bring electronics to camp, and the YMCA cannot be responsible for any lost or stolen valuables.
  • For specialty camps, our information guides detail additional items your child may need to bring. For example for our soccer camps, campers are encouraged to bring soccer cleats, shin pads and soccer socks to camp.

Parent communication

  • Day Camp:
    • Automated Calls: Thursday evening before your camper is registered to attend camp, you will receive an automated pre-camp call with information specific to your child’s Day Camp location, including the onsite contact number. If you don’t receive this call, please contact the YMCA Program Registration Office at 1-877-303-2267 to ensure we have your correct phone number on file.
    • Camper Newsletters: You will receive an email in the week prior to your camp session with a link to learn more about your specific camp. If you do not receive this letter, send us an email at
  • Overnight Camp and Outdoor Centres:
    • If you would like to communicate with your child, please leave a message for your camper’s counsellor to check in with you about their progress.
    • We do not allow campers to call parents during the session as we find it is disruptive to their camp adjustment process.

Can I visit my child's program?

  • Day Camp:
    • Visiting your child’s program location is the best way to learn more about their experience. Call ahead, directly to the location to make arrangements to meet your child’s group at the designated meeting area. You will be asked to wear a visitor badge and sign in and out.
  • Overnight Camp:
    • Arrival Day is an open house where your family can explore and play together while your child settles in.
    • We do not allow visitors during the session as we find it is disruptive to the campers’ camp adjustment process.

What if my child loses something?

  • To help ensure all belongings return with your camper at the end of the day, teach your child to put items back in their backpack when they’re finished with them. It also helps to label all items with your child’s name and to have your child help pack their backpack so they know what’s inside — many kids don’t recognize their own stuff, especially if it’s new! It’s important that children bring a backpack, since it’s easier to carry and more sturdy than a plastic bag. Any found items at the end of the day are collected and stored. If your child loses something, call your camp directly or visit to look through the lost and found.
  • The YMCA is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Please encourage your child to bring only what’s needed for the program to camp. Do not bring electronic toys.

What should my child wear to camp?

  • We have a lot of fun and tend to get dirty when playing outside! Please dress your child in washable clothes that you don’t mind possibly getting stained. Choose fabrics that are cool and lightweight. It’s a good idea to layer clothes as mornings can be cool and days can be very hot. Children are very active in our programs — running, climbing, rolling, jumping — so please choose shorts or lightweight pants (no skirts or dresses), and running shoes (no flip-flops). You may want to avoid sandals as toes easily get stepped on. Please ensure that your child wears a hat each day.
  • For Winter Camp sessions, our staff will provide a packing list for winter attire as we want to ensure all participants are ready to be outside for the majority of each day.

How big are your camper groups?

  • Day Camp:
    • To give our campers the opportunity for individual growth and development, we limit our Day Camp group sizes to 8 campers for the discovery age group (4-5 years old), 10 campers for the Jr. age group (6-8 year olds), and 12 campers for the Sr. age group (9-12 year olds). We have found this is an ideal group size to encourage our campers to develop social and leadership skills, while learning how to get along in a group setting.
  • Overnight Camp:
    • In Overnight Camp the group sizes for campers are 8 and leadership sessions are 10.

What is your camper code of conduct?

  • The safety of each individual in the program is of the utmost importance to the YMCA. Each registrant must recognize a personal responsibility to learn and follow at all times the safety and other rules established by YMCA staff. I hereby agree that any behaviour of the registrant that places him/herself or others at risk may result in the registrant’s immediate dismissal from the program. Further, if dismissed from the program, I agree to cover any expense(s) arising from such dismissal. I hereby acknowledge and agree that no refund will be granted for dismissal or removal of the registrant at his/her request before the end of a program session. In order to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals participating in the program, the YMCA reserves the right to alter the program at any time without notice or compensation to the Registrant.

Dropping Off and Picking Up your Camper

When do I drop off my child?

  • Day Camp:
    • Each Day Camp day starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. On the first day of each session follow the signs to the drop-off area.
    • Please ensure you sign your camper in and out each day with a YMCA staff member.
    • If you require care for your child prior to 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. please register them for an Extended Hours program.
    • For your child’s safety, please have your ID ready to sign out your child. In order to authorize someone else to pick up your child, please call the office to let us know or we will not let the child leave. Please note repeated failure to pick your child up on time could result in withdrawal from the camp program.
  • Overnight Camp:
    • Arrival days are the first Sunday of the session. Please refer to the Information Guide for your specific bus time and location. Buses will not wait more than 5 minutes from scheduled departure time so please arrive early.

What if I need to pick up my child during the day from Day Camp?

  • Please call your child’s camp location directly to make arrangements to meet your child’s group at the designated meeting area. It is best if you make arrangements ahead of time, as your child might be away from the main site participating in an activity and it can take some time for them to walk back to meet you.

What if someone else is picking up my child?

  • On the registration form you can include two main contacts and one emergency contact. If you require any additional adults to be authorized to pick up your child from camp, please send a note to your child’s counsellor with the date and your signature. We will ask all people we have not met to identify themselves with photo identification (e.g., driver’s licence). The person must be over the age of 16. If someone comes to pick up your child without your prior written authorization, we will call home for verbal permission before releasing your child.

What if I'm late to pick up my child at the bus stop for Day Camp?

  • Please ensure you are at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled drop off time. If you are late, your child will be dropped off at the next closest Extended Hours location on the bus route. If you’re late, please call 1-877-303-2267.
  • If the next stop or stops do not have extended hours on site, the camper will be waiting at the last stop with the counsellor.
  • A child with parents who are consistently late picking them up may be withdrawn from the program.
  • Can my child travel to and from Day Camp on their own?

    • Your child’s safety is very important to us. An adult must pick up children under the age of 12 years. The YMCA defines an adult as 16 years of age or older. On the Summer Camp Registration Form there is an opportunity for parents to give permission for children ages 12 years or older to be permitted to walk home unescorted from Day Camp.
    • If your child is not picked up and there is no signed release form, your child will be dropped off at the next closest Extended Hours location or the last bus stop where they will wait for the authorized pick-up person.

    Health-Related Questions

    What if my child is going to be absent from Day Camp?

    • If your child is going to be absent, please call your Day Camp phone number, which will be provided in the email newsletter, and leave a message.

    What if my child becomes ill at camp?

    • If your child is too ill to participate fully in all aspects of the program, please keep them home from camp.
    • In the event your child becomes ill at a YMCA Day Camp program, we will call you to come and pick them up at the camp site.
    • Specific to Overnight:
      • At Overnight Camp we have separate accommodations in the wellness centre for children who just need to recuperate for a night in the Wellness Centre.
      • Please refer to our Lice Policy and Communicable Disease Policy for specifics. You may be asked to pick up your child if further care is required.
      • If your child needs to visit a doctor or has been injured during their time at Overnight Camp you will be contacted.

    What happens in inclement weather?

    • Day Camp:
      • Extreme heat: Camp Directors check the weather daily to help keep campers safe. In the event of extreme heat, your camper’s counsellor will ask them to apply sunscreen every couple of hours. At outdoor sites they will play in the shaded areas. Indoor sites will play inside with limited time outside in the sun. Counsellors will also remind your campers to take water breaks regularly throughout the day.
      • Thunderstorms at indoor sites: Campers will remain inside, or under a shelter at outdoor sites, continuing their normal camp day until the storm passes over and it’s safe to continue with outdoor play.
      • Thunderstorms at outdoor sites: Campers will be taken to a sheltered area and play low-key camp games until the storm passes. During a thunderstorm NO water play is permitted; this includes swimming in the pool and boating in a lake or stream.
    • Overnight and Outdoor Centre Programs:
      • We will continue to run programs in all sorts of weather. Our staff will adapt to weather conditions onsite to ensure the safety of all campers and adjust programming to ensure they are enjoying themselves.
      • In case of canoe trips, each staff is trained on safety procedures and safe group travel. They carry cell phones and check-in regularly with the camp as a safety precaution. In extreme cases, we will change the trip venue.

    How do I protect my child from insect bites?

    • If you are considering sending insect repellent to camp with your child, please read the instructions carefully and check Health Canada’s recommendations:
    • Ages 2 to 12:
      • Choose a product with less than 10% DEET
      • Apply no more than three times per day
    • Ages 12 or older:
      • Choose a product with less than 30% DEET
      • Apply no more than three times per day
    • Insect repellent should be applied after sunscreen and should be reapplied after swimming.
    • Visit Health Canada for more information.
    • Don’t forget to label your child’s insect repellent with their name. Staff will remind your child to reapply insect repellent only if it is within the Health Canada recommended percentage of DEET. You may want to consult with your child’s physician before applying any insect repellent.

    What if my child needs medication at camp?

    • If your child requires medication during the day, please download the YMCA medication form (PDF) and ensure you hand it, with the medication, directly to a YMCA staff member on the first day of the program.
    • If your child has a potential life-threatening allergy (anaphylaxis), please download the Individual Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan (PDF) and ensure you hand it, with the medication, directly to a YMCA staff member on the first day of the program.
    • All medications need to be in the original container with your child’s name and the date of the prescription clearly labeled on the container. All medications are locked in storage at camp and can be refrigerated if required. If the medication is for emergency use (e.g. inhaler or EpiPen) the counsellor will carry it in their emergency waist pack. If your child self-administers their medication, they can carry it in their waist pack.

    How do I protect my child from the sun?

    • The best way to ensure children are protected from the sun is to teach them how to apply sunscreen and to wear a hat at all times when outdoors. Please send sunscreen labeled with your child’s name to camp, and we will remind them to reapply throughout the day and after water-related activities
    • We will also plan activities so that children are not in the hot sun all day, and blend active and quiet activities. Canadian Cancer Society will provide campers at select camps with wide-brim hats free of charge and Society volunteers will work with camp staff to teach your child the 5 steps to sun safety:
      1. Wear a wide-brim hat.
      2. Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
      3. Play in the shade.
      4. Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover your arms and legs.
      5. Wear sunglasses with uVA and uVB protection.

    Can the kitchen at Cedar Glen or Pine Crest accommodate guests with allergies?

    • Our kitchens can accommodate participants with dietary restrictions and allergies. Please notify us of any allergies you may have prior to your arrival.
    • At Pine Crest we are a nut sensitive site and provide dietary options including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, celiac considerations, paleo, lactose free and exemptions for religious reasons. Please list your dietary concerns or allergies in full on your registration form.