A New Partnership: YMCA Camping & Outdoor Leadership and National Parks

Last updated: March 15, 2018, at 10:21 a.m. PT

Originally published: October 5, 2017, at 7:15 a.m. PT

This summer, YMCA Camping & Outdoor Leadership partnered with the National Parks’ English Camp on San Juan Island. This expansion to our Island Explorers pilot program helped give more kids the experience of camp, but at off-site locations. We know youth benefit from overnight outdoor experiences and by getting creative with partnerships we are able to serve more kids immediately.


We are currently developing these new programs, based on our learnings from our pilot programs over the summer, with potential expansion in summer 2018 to Cornet Bay, Ramblewood and Moran State Parks, as well as English Camp.


The Island Explorers program has proven to be a popular option for kids interested in a new and different camp experience. Campers spent their first and last nights at Camp Orkila, but the majority of their session took place on our own Satellite Island and Twin Lakes property near Moran State Park. More than 100 campers have enjoyed this “off-the-grid” experience since the program began in 2015, practicing teamwork, building and strengthening new skills, and discovering more about the natural world and themselves.


Partnerships and innovative programs like these are essential to continuing the growth of our YMCA overnight camp programs and serve more youth with these life-changing experiences.