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About Us

Welcome to the YMCA Adventure Guides
Three Fires Expedition

The Three Fires Expedition of the YMCA Adventure Guides is dedicated to enhancing the relationship between children and their fathers. The program offers many and varied opportunities to firmly set aside that “quality time” with our children which otherwise might be lost in our frenzied Dad-Worlds.

Program Objectives

  • Foster companionship and understanding
  • Build a sense of self-esteem and personal worth
  • Expand awareness of body, mind, and spirit
  • Provide the framework to meet a mutual need of spending enjoyable, constructive, and quality time together
  • Enhance the quality of family time
  • Emphasize the vital role parents play in growth and development
  • Offer parents an opportunity to develop volunteer leadership skills

Members of the YMCA Adventure Guides program participate in small groups called Circles. A Circle usually consists of 7 to 10 parent/child pairs, which take turns meeting in each others’ homes regularly throughout the school year (September through May) for Circle activities. Circles are traditionally organized into all boy or all girl groups; for historical reasons these are often referred to as Guides and Princesses circles.  These Circles combine to form the Three Fires Expedition.

Expedition gatherings and events may vary from year to year.  An annual calendar is posted in the fall and maintained throughout the season, which allows plenty of planning time for Circle and Expedition leaders. The core of the YMCA Adventure Guides program is these Circle and Expedition meetings and adventures. Typical activities during the year include camping, biking, games, canoeing, skating, community service activities, bowling, a Pine car derby, “fun nights” at the YMCA and much more!

The YMCA Adventure Guides Compass Points

At the forefront of the program are the Compass Points, which give members a sense of direction and an inspiration for activities. These points are broad enough in scope to allow for variety and creativity in designing activities.

The four cardinal directions on the compass are the essential components of the program.

  • The Family is True North—the focal point of the program.
  • To the East, Nature and the camping experience are integral parts of the program.
  • The Southern spirit of the program is experienced through belonging to a  Community, called a Circle.
  • Fun is the Western magic of the program.

The YMCA Core Values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility make up the ordinal directions. Along the journey, our dads should model, teach, and demonstrate these values as well as give our children many opportunities to practice and celebrate them. Initially, these four values provide guidance in helping our children select activities, make decisions, and choose appropriate courses of action—both in the program and in their lives. As our children grow, these values become their own internal compass.

The Compass Points allow you and your Circle members to personalize rituals, activities, and events. You can develop Compass Point activities relevant to your own members, Circle, and Expedition.

For more information about the program, contact us! We’d love to hear from you.