Did You Know?
Y Camps Serve Some Very Special Populations

So Much More Send Kids to Camp header

"I don’t know but I’ve been told," dozens of little voices echo through air, "Y Camp is as good as gold!" Silly songs, goofy skits and messy arts and crafts are just some of many time-honored traditions that make YMCA Camp so special and so fun. But there’s so much more to the story! Did you know that the YMCA of San Diego County offers a variety of both day and overnight camps that serve some very special populations?

The Y respects and celebrates each child’s unique attributes that make them who they are and welcomes all families despite their financial circumstances.

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, children from all walks of life have been able to reap the benefits of YMCA Camps — many for the first time! With one-on-one inclusion aides provided as needed in traditional camp settings and in special camps such as these, Y Camp is truly a place where everybody belongs.

  • Camp I CAN is a low-ratio day camp in partnership with the San Diego Autism Society. These deserving kids get a camp experience with daily field trips to fun places like Boomers, Chuck E. Cheese and Belmont Park, as well as opportunities enjoy the Y’s pool throughout the week.
  • Camp Reach for the Sky Oncology Camp is a truly magical week at YMCA Camp Marston for children fighting cancer. In partnership with The Seany Foundation and a generous longtime donor, and thanks to medical staff dressed in T-shirts and shorts, camp is equipped to handle everything from bug bites to chemotherapy and IV antibiotics. For many of these kids it’s their first time being in the wilderness, but for ALL of these kids camp comes when it is needed the most.
  • Operation Appreciation is a summer camp program for active duty military families in the community. Working with Armed Services YMCA on Camp Pendleton to coordinate logistics and registration, the Y provides 180 children with scholarships for this camp each summer during the week of July 4th. It’s a chance to bring simplicity back to young lives and reduce the levels of fear and anxiety kids might feel at home — where sacrifice and collateral damage happens too.
  • RISE Camp is a unique opportunity for children with developmental, physical and mental disabilities, who find it difficult to be successful in a typical outdoor day camp setting. Limited to six children per week and providing a 1:2 staff to camper ratio, camp include swimming, art, science, fun specialty camp activities with other camps on-site, and of course plenty of de-escalation down time. All camp counselors for this program have additional experience working with children with special needs.
  • Teens in Motion is a summer camp that serves 12-22 year olds with developmental disabilities. This camp focuses on integrating our students into the community and enhancing independence skills by riding public transit, ordering food and communicating with their peers. Teens in Motion camp not only teaches important life skills, but encourages plenty of fun through art, games and special activities.

"Thanks to his participation in the Teens in Motion camp, Bailey has acquired many valuable benefits…It means the world to us that Bailey’s friends at Teens in Motion are like a family to him. As parents, we can rest assured that Bailey is happy and learning skills that will be invaluable for his entire life." — Grateful Parent

Parents like Bailey’s treasure the impact that Y Camps have made on their children. Whether it’s a traditional day or overnight camp or a specialized program like the ones we’ve told you about here, all YMCA camps provide participants with exciting activities that build important life skills, create lasting friendships, encourage strong character values and provide a special place where they belong.

Last year 2,761 kids received financial assistance to attend a Y day or overnight camp, and each has a unique and special story. But all shared a common theme — donors like YOU made a difference in their lives

We don’t ask you to give so we can meet a goal, we ask you to give for the thousands of kids whose lives will be changed!

On behalf of Bailey and and kids like him, thank you for considering a gift to the Y’s Kids to Camp program.

Carol Le Beau

2019 Kids to Camp Honorary Chair

Help Send A Kid To Camp

Kids to Camp is an amazing opportunity for donors like you to make an impact in a child's life.

Kids to Camp is a support campaign to help kids in our financial scholarship program attend Day Camp sessions or overnight camp.

Please give a child the experience of a lifetime.

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Tell Us Your Camp Story

We are collecting stories from people who were impacted by a YMCA Day or Overnight Camp (with or without a scholarship), and we'd love to hear from you!

Contact Loena Baranoski, our Director of Philanthropic Services, to share your story today:


Contact Us

Do you have questions about the Kids to Camp program or other ways you can help people in your community?

Contact us today! Our team is happy to help.

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Kids to Camp — Where the Fun Never Ends!

We believe that every child is a unique individual with their own rate of development.

Our goal is to introduce children and teens to as many new positive experiences as possible and help each child feel confident and secure in a fun, safe camp environment.

All of our branches offer Summer Camps that have been accredited by the American Camp Association, exceeding the highest standards in the day camp industry, as well as three YMCA Overnight Camp locations.

The quality of our camping staff is what sets us apart. Our staff members are seasoned youth development professionals with extensive camp experience and a passion for what they do. Our number one goal is to provide the safest, most enriching environment possible for you and your family.

Help Kids to Camp Today