Our expedition does three annual campouts at YMCA camps, and they are among our most popular activities. New and potential members often seem concerned about camping in the snow or having the right equipment. There’s nothing to worry about, and the only equipment you’ll need are blankets and pillows.
We camp at various YMCA camps around Michigan. These camps have bunk houses, with heat and electricity. Many have bathrooms in each bunkhouse, others have shared bathroom buildings nearby. Some have large common rooms with fireplaces. The bunk houses have bunkbeds with mattress pads; traditionally the dads sleep on the bottom bunk below their sons or daughters. You’ll need to bring come combination of sheets, blankets and/or a sleeping bag, and pillows.
Hot meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining hall, often with snacks, hot chocolate and coffee in between. Salad bars are common at lunch and dinner. Breakfast is usually an assortment of juice, pancakes, french toast, fresh fruit and cold cereal.
Camps begin Friday night with an evening activity like a night hike or dance. Saturday after breakfast we’ll have 2-3 activities like rockwall climbing, crafts, horseback riding, archery, canoeing, model rockets, team activities and games – the list varies by camp and campout. Lunch is followed by more activities until Dinner. Evening brings the campfire, possibly some indoor activity and snacks, and then finally bedtime. Sunday brings breakfast and possibly some last minute activities before heading home.
When you’re packing for camp, in addition to the bedding mentioned above, I would consider bringing the following:
A Flashlight – there’s something about kids and flashlights when you’re camping.
Camp Chair for relaxing around the bunkhouse between activities.
Travel Mug for taking a cup with you when heading out to the mornings activities.
Warm Clothes for outdoor activities. Particularly for winter campout, you’ll want boots, snow pants and extra socks. We spend about half the day outdoors depending on the activities and the weather.
A Camera is a must have, you’ll be getting some great shots for the yearbook!
Fishing Poles are great to have at certain camps. Ask someone who has been to the specific camp we’re going to about opportunities to fish.
What NOT to bring:
One thing we encourage is to have the kids leave their electronics in the car when they get to camp. It’s not a rule, and feel free to do whatever you think makes sense. We encourage individual circles to discuss the goals of the program – spending time with your kids – and consider how handheld electronics at camp contribute or detract from that goal.