YMCA Camp Campbell
Overnight Camp Parent Guide Quick Links:

Parent Guide Updated: May 17, 2024
Summer Camp Preparation | Getting To Camp By Bus | Getting To Camp By Car | Your Child's Stay At YMCA Camp Campbell


Camp Goals

  • All participants enjoy a safe experience in the Redwoods.
  • Campers develop decision-making skills and take responsibility for their experience with guidance and support from a professional camp staff.
  • Campers gain confidence and discover new traits about themselves.
  • Campers take responsibility for their actions, belongings, and environment.
  • Campers will learn how to appropriately navigate social situations with other children in their age group.

Pre-Camp Preparation Checklist

Download a Summer Camp Preparation Checklist (PDF) and complete all of the required steps prior to your camp session.

Packing List

Download a Summer Camp Preparation Checklist (PDF) to ensure that your camper has all they need for a great camp experience.

Items Not Permitted At Camp

Campers are not permitted to bring the following: Electronics including cell phones, food or candy, knives/firearms, weapons, fireworks, personal sports equipment, pets or animals, aerosol sprays, hair dryers, curling irons, money, alcohol/drugs, cigarettes, vape pens, or vehicles.

Lost and Found

YMCA Camp Campbell and its staff are not responsible for lost/ stolen/damaged possessions. Please label all of your child's belongings. Lost and Found will be displayed before breakfast the last day of camp so campers can claim lost items. We will hold items in storage for two weeks after the session ends; at that time, items will be donated to local charities. The Camp Director may be contacted to search through stored items for you. You may do so by sending an email to redwoods@ymcasv.org with a description of the lost item(s). Please avoid bringing anything to camp that is overly expensive or irreplaceable.



Bus Registration

Bus transportation is available for an additional $50 fee one­-way on Sunday and Friday only. If you would like to sign-up, please reach out to our office team at campcampbell@ymcasv.org. Please register for the bus at least 48 hours before busing is needed. Refunds for bus cancellations will be given up to 48 hours prior to the day of the trip.

Taking the Bus to or from Camp

Bus Check-in begins at 12:30 pm. The bus will depart from Central YMCA at 1:15 pm on Sundays.

Central YMCA is located at 1717 The Alameda, San Jose, 95126

There is no late check-in for the bus.

The returning bus from camp will arrive at Central YMCA between 11:00 am - Noon on Fridays.

Changes to Bus Schedule

Traffic on the mountain roads can be unpredictable. If changes occur the information will be communicated to the staff at the Central YMCA who will then communicate with parents waiting in the parking lot. 

Bus Safety

Parents are expected to supervise their camper until the bus has departed. All campers will follow all camp rules in addition to bus rules communicated by the bus driver prior to leaving the parking lot. These rules include but are not limited to: staying seated in assigned seat, remaining quiet and attentive to all directions, keeping all body parts and possessions inside the bus at all times, keeping aisles and exits clear, and disposing of all trash appropriately.



Driving to Camp

Parking is limited–carpooling is strongly encouraged. Please maintain a 5 mph speed limit while at camp.


Camp is located on Highway 9, three miles north of Boulder Creek. Highway 9 can be accessed from Saratoga via Saratoga Avenue or in Felton off of Highway 17.

  • Take Highway 17 South from San Jose or north from Santa Cruz to the Mount Hermon Road exit and follow Mount Hermon Road to Felton.
  • In Felton, take a right onto Graham Hill Road, then an immediate right onto Highway 9, which will take you to the town of Boulder Creek.
  • Continue through Boulder Creek on Highway 9.
  • YMCA Camp Campbell (16275 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, CA) will be on the left, three miles past the center of town.

Maps and additional directions are on our website.

Check-In Information

One week prior to the start of camp, you will be sent a designated check-in time between 1:30pm and 3:30pm. Please help us by arriving at your designated time. If you are carpooling with a camper(s) with a different assigned time, you may arrive at either/any of the times as long as you come with a single vehicle. All campers will have a health screen that will include a temperature scan and lice check. If your camper is found to have a temperature of 100.4°F or higher, they will not be allowed to move into their cabin until they have been fever free for 24 consecutive hours without medication. If your camper is found to have lice, they will not be allowed to move into their cabin until they are verified to be lice-free by a licensed provider. Parents will have the opportunity to meet their camper's counselor. This is to ensure a timely transition from one check-in time to another.

Check-Out Information

Similar to check-in, you will have an assigned check-out time from 11am to 1pm. Check-out will take place entirely in the parking lot and campers will be brought to you from their designated check-out location. Please bring a photo ID to check-out (at camp or at the bus stop). Campers are only released to authorized individuals. We encourage one adult listed that does not live in your household. Please note that if your child is to be picked up by someone other than the parent, that person will need to be on the pick-up authorization form in CampSpace. If court orders concerning child custody are in effect, please notify us with a written note prior to arrival at camp.




Our camp program is supervised by a professional YMCA Director. Cabin groups of up to 18 are supervised by two or more experienced camp leaders, while maintaining all American Camp Association standards. We pride ourselves in finding the finest people to lead and inspire our campers including year-round program specialists, teachers, and seasonal counselors. Our staff are selected for their desire to work with children and each one undergoes a training program prior to the beginning of summer camp. To increase the cultural awareness of our campers and ensure the highest quality experience, we hire both local and international staff. Character reference and background checks are conducted for all positions and all camp staff have experience in youth development.

Weekly Activities

One of the staples of our summer camp is our progressive program. We offer 35+ progressive programs, including archery, pool activities, hiking in nature, arts and crafts, and various sports. These options aim to teach skills that will allow campers to pursue continued growth in an activity outside of camp.

Campers can choose new progressive program activities every other day of their session, with the first sign-up being after check-in on Sunday. They can stick to one activity for the entire session or select new activities during each sign-up block.

During a traditional two-week session, campers have the opportunity to choose from several activities that are related to our theme for the session. (ex: Rainbow Rally or 4th of July)

Outdoor Science School vs. Summer Camp

We are so excited to have students from YMCA Camp Campbell Outdoor Science School (CCOSS) return as campers for Summer Overnight Camp!

However, it is important to point out some differences between the two. While Summer Camp allows meeting and making new friends, it can come with a different comfort than having familiar classmates and teachers around. It may be uncomfortable initially, but it provides a fantastic opportunity to make new connections and relationships. Additionally, most science camps last three to four nights, whereas our summer camp programs can last up to 11 nights. Lastly, our summer program's content will vastly differ from science camp. Our program focuses on recreational activities and social-emotional development instead of a science curriculum.


Going away to camp for a week or more can be a challenging experience for many children and parents. Short-term separation from parents and learning independence are both important parts of growing up even though it may not always be easy. Many children have some difficulty coping with the changes that come with spending a week away from home. This anxiety is perfectly normal and happens on occasion. You can help by counseling your children prior to camp in order to make the transition easier. Let them know that you have confidence in their ability to be away from family and how exciting it will be to meet new friends. If they are unsure of themselves, let them know how proud you will be of them if they try their best to succeed. While your child is at camp, we will notify you if any concerns arise. Once at camp, we do not allow campers to call home directly. Often, when a homesick child speaks to someone from home, their homesickness is only made worse. Instead, we encourage letter-writing both to and from the family. You may even wish to mail a letter a few days prior to the session to make sure it arrives while your child is at camp. We train our staff to be caring and empathetic, while at the same time keeping the campers so busy having fun that hopefully they will forget about their homesickness entirely.


If there is an emergency, a member of the camp staff or other YMCA Staff will notify all families. Friends and family may send mail and emails to their campers which will be delivered every day after lunch during rest hour. Please do not send any food, drinks, gum, or any consumable items, phones, iPods, tablets, etc, as these will be confiscated by staff. Campers will not have the ability to view any video attachments included in emails. If you would like to RECEIVE mail from your camper, please send pre-addressed and stamped envelopes with them. YMCA of the Redwoods will not send mail that does not have postage included.

When sending mail to your camper please remember to be mindful and write phrases such as 'We're so proud of you" or "You are so strong and we know you will have the best time", ask open-ended questions like "Tell me about a new friend you've made?", "What are you most surprised about?", "Have you eaten any new foods?". To avoid homesickness, refrain from telling your child how much you wish they were home or telling them you terribly miss them.

Send mail to your camper to: 

Camper's Name, Session #
YMCA Camp Campbell
16275 Hwy 9 
Boulder Creek, CA 95006 

We will distribute mail if it is received by 12:00 pm on the campers last full day of camp (Tuesday for 6-day mini-camp, Thursday for all other programs), any posted letters or packages received after will be available for return at checkout.

Or email your camper at: redwoods@ymcasv.org 

  • Include camper's name and cabin in the subject line.
  • Campers are unable to respond via email, but we deliver emails daily at dinner time.

Emergency Parent/Guardian Contact Info

You must provide us with complete emergency contact information on the Health History Form. If you are traveling, please list an itinerary and phone number where you can be reached. For campers from outside the United States, YMCA Camp Campbell requires that families provide an emergency contact with a US phone number who has the ability to be at camp within 8 hours of being contacted.

Emergency Contact Info

In case of emergency, please contact our office at 831-338-2128 during business hours.

If it is during non-business hours, please call our health center at 831-338-6382.

Health Care at Camp 

Our camp has a well-equipped health center with resident health care staff. In case of illness, campers will be housed in the health care facility. If deemed necessary, parents will be contacted to pick up their camper. Parents must have the ability to pick up their camper within 8 hours. If your child is ill, please do not send them to camp. We will try to reschedule for another week. In case of injury, the health care staff will take the necessary measures to ensure proper emergency care which may include: treatment for minor injuries, calling the parents for instructions, or calling local emergency care providers.

YMCA Camp Campbell is a place for campers from a variety of cultures, languages and backgrounds, and has a long history of success with campers whose first language is not English. With that in mind, some safety concerns must be taken in to account, as we cannot guarantee translators for any specific language. We recommend that all campers have at least basic communication skills in English to make sure they can express any health, comfort, or safety concerns to our Staff. 

Send Home Policy 
Campers will be sent home if they have a fever or if they exhibit multiple other symptoms consistent with being unwell. YMCA Camp Campbell's Health Supervisor will determine how long a camper needs to be symptom free based on the symptoms they present. This will typically be 24 hours symptom free without medication.


Please do not pack any medications (including over-the-counter drugs) in your child's luggage. All medications must be submitted to health care staff either at YMCA Camp Campbell or during bus pick-up. All prescription and over-the-counter medications need to be packaged in their original containers. Prescription drugs must be in the original container with a licensed physician's instructions. Please place your packaged medications in a clearly labeled zip-lock bag along with dosage and directions for administering. All medications will be turned in to the Health Cottage Team. Please leave your medications accessible during drop-off. Please put the camper's name on the outside of the bag-permanent marker works well for labeling. All medications are administered by the camp health staff under doctor's or parents' written orders. Unused medications will be returned at the close of the camp session. Medications for which we do not receive written authorization to administer will not be provided by the health staff, including Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

When Camp Staff Will Contact Parents

Typically, there is no need to contact parents while a camper is at YMCA Camp Campbell. Not hearing from our staff is an indication that everything is going according to plan. We will contact parents and or the emergency contact in cases of emergency as deemed necessary by the health supervisor and/ or Camp Director. For routine illnesses such as vomiting, and nausea we do not call parents from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am The camper's medical needs will be cared for by the Health Supervisor and camp staff. Parents will be contacted the next day.

In the event that the Health Supervisor deems it necessary for campers to be seen by a licensed physician, parents are responsible to pick up the camper and return only after they are seen and have procured a doctor's note releasing them to return to camp.

Visitors During Camp

For the safety of your camper we do not have an open visitation policy at YMCA Camp Campbell. Camp is an immersive experience and we want campers busy in activities, cultivating independence, establishing routines and allowing themselves to embrace their community. Campers who were not feeling homesickness may start to after seeing family. If you would like any updates on how your child is adjusting, our staff is more than happy to give you a call during their camp session. We also kindly request you do not tell your child you will visit or pick them up early from camp if they are feeling homesick. This does not allow your child to fully engage in the camp experience.

Cabinmate Requests

Friends requesting to be in the same cabin for their session at camp is something we love to see. Getting to experience camp with a friend can enhance the experience and make it so much better. While we try our absolute hardest to accommodate requests, not all cabinmate requests are possible and they are not guaranteed. It is important to prepare your camper for the possibility that they may not be in the same cabin as the person they requested so they are not surprised with that information on the first day of camp. Here are the most common reasons why requests are not able to be accommodated: 

  • Age - The most common reason for a cabinmate request to not be accommodated is age. The age groups we have in our traditional resident camp and mini-camp programs are 7-10 (Trailblazers), 11-12 (Trekkers), and 13+ (Teens). Even within these age groups, we try to keep campers in cabins with similarly aged cabinmates. The maturity and social needs between a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old is very different, and we take that into consideration with cabinmate requests. With other factors taken into consideration, including cabin size as well as all other cabinmate requests, a few months age difference can be the deciding factor in whether or not a request can be accommodated. This includes requests for siblings.
  • Large Group Size - When looking at cabin placements overall, we have found that large friend groups placed in the same cabin, can often negatively affect the campers in the cabin (Including campers in the friend group, as well as outside the friend group). When groups of four or more request to be together, we often look to place campers in smaller groups so that they are still with someone they requested, but not in a group that large.

It is important to note, that even if a cabinmate request is not accommodated, most of the camp day is spent in either meals or activities in different groups from their cabin group. Additionally, camp is a wonderful place to make new friends. Most campers come without a cabinmate request, and our counselors are trained to help campers establish friendships. 

Program Eligibility

Some of our programs here at YMCA Camp Campbell require campers to meet certain physical, mental, and emotional standards. Failing to meet eligibility standards may result in transferring to another program, or removal from a program all together. Please reference the guide below when preparing for the summer:

Teen Adventure Camp (Ages 13+)

  • Physical Needs - For the Classic Adventure Camp, campers will need to be able to hike upwards of 10 miles in a single day while carrying any food, water, and supplies necessary for a safe hiking experience (Not applicable for TAC Waves and Whitewater). To participate in any water craft activity (Ex. Whitewater Rafting) campers will need to pass a swimming proficiency check at the Camp pool.
  • Behavioral Needs - To be able to participate in off-Camp activities, campers will need to demonstrate the ability to follow instructions in a timely manner, regulate their own behavior, and allow camp staff to assist them during potential challenging experiences.

Counselor in Training (Age: 16) and Leaders in Training (Age: 15)

  • Behavioral Needs - Campers in the CIT and LIT program will need to follow instructions as it relates to any training they have. Campers will need to demonstrate the ability to role model characteristics we look for in potential counselors and leaders including but not limited to the Y's four core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.

The following activities in the Traditional overnight and 6-Day Mini Camp programs are reserved for campers 11 and up: High Ropes, Ceramics, and Photography.

Behavior at Camp

Attending Y camp is a privilege that you as a parent/guardian have chosen for your child.

Our staff will make every attempt to provide positive, realistic expectations and guidelines for your children. All campers and parents must agree to the rules and expectations outlined on the health history form before attending camp. This is a good opportunity for you and your child to discuss the positive nature of good behavior not only at camp but also in other aspects of their life. In addition, participating in one of our camp programs implies consent for YMCA staff to search camper's belongings when there is reasonable suspicion that the camper has possession of illegal, dangerous, or stolen items.

Campers who cannot follow the camp rules or are adversely affecting the experience of other campers will be dismissed without a refund. In these instances it is the responsibility of the parents or guardians to pick up their child from camp immediately. Camp administration reserves the right to determine what constitutes a violation of these rules and will enforce them as necessary.

Summer Payment and Refund Information

Deposit: A deposit of $150 must accompany your registration for each session and is applied to the total camp fee. Deposits are not refundable and not transferable under any circumstances. In case of homesickness, dismissal for behavior, or voluntary withdrawal, there is no refund of any fees. We will refund program fees, minus the deposit, for cancellations made at least 30 days prior to the start of the session or in the event of illness or injury verified by a physician's statement.

Full refunds will be given on a case by case basis with inclusion of a licensed physician's note. Fees cannot be transferred to future years or to campers outside of the immediate family. All cancellations must be made in writing. 


Parents/guardians are responsible for any medical costs incurred as a result of injury or illness while your child is at camp. Be sure to provide accurate information (carrier and policy number) regarding your health insurance on the Health History Form. 

Licensing and Accreditation 

Our camp is inspected annually by the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. Additionally, we are a member of the American Camp Association and undergo a thorough accreditation process in which we successfully meet nationally recognized standards of quality in the field of youth camping.