June 17, 2024

Where Summer Happens: YMCA Summer Camps

By on June 20, 2019 0 757 Views

Summer vacation is approaching, and this means parents will be hearing some familiar words. But, it won’t be the usual “I’m bored,” most likely it will be the sound of their own voice asking children to “put that phone/video game down, and go outside.” This is where they’ll be thankful for YMCA’s summer camps which run from July 8 to August 30, 2019.

There is a wide variety offered such as: Youth, Dance, Sports, Cooking, Arts, and Swim camps. Preschool Camps cater to ages 3-6, while Youth Camps and Counsellor-in-Training are geared towards 12–16 year olds.

In addition, camps are also teaching youth and children life skills. For example, “Lil’ Chefs Camp teaches children as young as four to five the basics of cooking through healthy food choices and maybe a couple of desserts,” as per the brochure.

Kids in the Kitchen (6–9yrs) features daily cooking sessions. Campers “get to eat what they make! They explore food through games, recipes, meal planning, a supermarket scavenger hunt, and basic cooking. Participants will also get the chance to tour a professional kitchen!”

Rounding out the list are Y-Chefs (9–12yrs). This camp will “explore healthy food choices, food handling, the Canada Food Guide, and cooking. Campers will learn more advanced techniques in the preparation of delicious and nutritious meals.”

Brian Ferdinand, Senior Director – Day Camps, YMCA, says many reasons make the YMCA summer camps unique.

“The YMCA has been around for 112 years and is Canada’s largest summer camp provider. That means that for more than 100 years, children and youth have been spending their summers at the YMCA discovering a love of sport and physical activity, learning new skills in arts and sciences, gaining the life skill of swimming, and making friendships that can last a lifetime.”

“We are helping young people grow up healthy, active, and engaged is why the Y exists. By building connections with other campers and YMCA staff, kids at our camps are encouraged to reach for the best in themselves, and in others, every day. Participating in the YMCA community and building positive relationships is definitely something that sets our camp experience apart,” he adds.

Some camps will have field trips about once a week; preschool campers may be taking a local trip such as a nature walk or know your community walk.

“The YMCA has made a promise to never turn anyone away due to the inability to pay. We raise funds for our Opportunity Fund, which is available to those who need subsidy to have a Y experience,” notes Ferdinand.

YMCA Camps have free pre-care from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and free post-care from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. To accommodate earlier working schedules, pre-care is available starting at 6:30 a.m. for a small extra fee. Please note parents/guardians must register for the 6:30 a.m., pre-care.


For more information on YMCA summer day camps, please visit northernalberta.ymca.ca/Camps or call the YMCA directly at 780-790-9622.


Over packing is a common issue for parents and guardians. The YMCA recommends the following camp essentials only to pack for your child:

  • Completed medical forms prior to camps starting (highlight any medical needs).
  • Lunch, two snacks, and water every day.
  • Swim stuff for the first day – after that, the counsellor should be able to confirm swim days, so that you won’t need to pack those things every day.
  • For preschool-aged children: ensure that they are potty-trained, but if there is a chance of an accident, please pack an extra outfit.
  • Pay attention to the weather and the forecast. Pack an extra sweater for cooler days, a light rain jacket for rainy days, and extra shoes for rainy or muddy days.

The Summer Day Camp program guide has a list of ‘Camp Essentials’ on its website. Go to northernalberta.ymca.ca and search “Summer Camps” for the list and full information on all camps available.


2019 Local Summer Camps

Aim High Park
Summer Camp

It’s trampoline fun, and much more with nine weeks of different activities planned for adventurous campers at Aim High. Weekly themes include: Super Hero Camp, Shark Week, Circus Camp, Minute to Win It, Fairytale camp, Rocking Decade Camp, Around the World Camp and Sports Camp.

  • July 2 to August 30, 2019
  • 8821 Manning Avenue
  • 780-750-9000
  • aimhighpark.com/summer-camps


Early Start Explorers

The Early Start Explorer summer programs are designed to build confidence, self-esteem, social skills and school readiness. The programs are designed for ages 20 months to four and a half years.

  • Dates: July 2 to August 23, 2019
  • Location: 101 Signal Road
  • Phone: 587-258-8332
  • Website: www.earlystart.ca


Heritage Park

Heritage Village offers 10 summer camps options featuring Pioneer, Drama and Little Preschool options for children ages five to 12 years. The Pioneer Camps have themes like The Northern Lights Brigade, The Wild Wild North and Messy Masters to name a few.

  • July 8 to August 23, 2019
  • 1 Tolen Drive
  • 780-791-7575
  • fortmcmurrayheritage.com


Lionheart Camp – District Recording Studio

Lionheart Creative and Performing Arts Camp gives campers the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes in music production. There’s a wide range of opportunities for instrumental music, voice, dance, drama, visual arts, videography, production and technical arts, and more.

  • July 2 to July 19, 2019
  • 9803 King Street
  • 780-713-6283
  • thedistrictstudio.ca/lionheart.html


MacDonald Island Park

Mi Summer Camps are week-long camps offered between July 2 and August 30, 2019. The activities include team sports, interactive games and activities, golf, dance, crafts, water play and more.

  • July 2 to August 30, 2019
  • 1 MacDonald Drive
  • 780-791-0070
  • www.macdonaldisland.ca


Oilsands Discovery Centre

Summer Science Camps at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre offer an exciting range of science-themed camps for children from Kindergarten to Grade 6. From doing exciting experiments to exploring the world around us, these camps have something for everyone.

  • July 2 to August 30, 2019
  • 515 MacKenzie Boulevard
  • 780-743-7167
  • oilsandsdiscovery.ca


Creative Roots Summer Camp

The focus of Creative Roots Summer Camp with Some Other Solutions  has a wide variety of classes focused on creativity, nature, mindfulness and play. Campers can explore a different artist, art style or theme each week.

  • July 2 to August 30, 2019
  • 407 Wolverine Drive
  • 780-743-8605 Ext. 0
  • someothersolutions.com


Photos: The YMCA has been around for 112 years and is Canada’s largest summer camp provider. Join the fun this summer! Supplied photos

About the author

Freelance Journalist

Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.