Find Your Answers

We’ve done our best to answer all your questions about summer overnight camp at Camp Orkila including our planned safety protocols, cancellation policy, and other frequently asked questions below.

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General Questions

What programs will be offered this summer?

We plan to provide youth with an overnight experience at Camp Orkila and Camp Colman. In addition, at Camp Orkila we plan to offer kayaking, speciality, and day camp programs. We will also offer teen leadership programs at both camps. 

What will overnight camp groups look like this summer?

We will continue to create meaningful small group experiences at camp. We anticipate individual cabin groups will have 10 campers. Most programming will occur within cabin or sleeping groups and at least one other cabin group. We will update this guidance with additional information on group sizes and programs throughout 2023. 

What will activities and programs look like this summer? 

From archery to art, challenge courses to campfires, campers will create lasting memories through a variety of activities. But there is much more that happens at camp on a deeper level! It is as much about exploring the outdoors as it is about self-discovery. Through expeditions, arts and crafts, marine science, kayaking, and challenge courses, kids and teens learn and grow on many different levels with the support of well-trained staff dedicated to engaging kids and creating equity in the outdoors. 

How will food service work this summer? 

Camp serves nutritious, well-balanced meals. A vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free option is available at every meal. Healthy snacks consisting of fruit and other items served in the afternoon. Water consumption is encouraged throughout the day. Cabin groups will eat most meals together in our dining hall facilities. 

Can I make a cabinmate request?

You can make a maximum of one cabinmate request. Cabinmate requests must be mutual, from the same program, and similar ages.  

How do waitlists work?

Open spots will be released to participants on the waitlist in the order they signed up. Once a spot has been released, the first participant on the waitlist will receive an email with a link to register. The link will be active for five days before moving on to the next participant in the waitlist queue. Once summer sessions begin, the response time will be adjusted to 24-48 hours for waitlist response time. 

How do I apply for the Islanders, Counselor in Training, or Summer Intern programs at Camp Orkila?

Please fill out this form to begin the application and interview process for the Islanders, Counselor in Training (CIT), or Summer Intern programs at Camp Orkila. 

What’s the refund policy if I choose to cancel my session?

Deposits are non-refundable. To receive a refund, you must notify us by June 1 if your camper is unable to attend camp. Please allow two weeks for processing refunds. Any cancellations or refund requests received after June 1, 2023, will be at the discretion of the Y. 

Why are there two prices? What do they mean?

We recognize families have different abilities to pay and offer two different fee structures to best meet each family’s needs. This is completely confidential and does not impact your participant’s experience in any way. 

  • Full cost reflects the full cost of sending a camper to the program selected. If your family is able to pay this amount, please do. 
  • Subsidized price is a partially-subsidized rate to help families who are unable to afford the full cost of the camp program. Choose this rate if your family needs it. 

If the subsidized price still presents a barrier, financial assistance is available through an application process, which requires annual household income documentation. 

Who works at camp and what training does camp provide?

Camp Orkila’s and Camp Colman’s staff are the heart of our camp. All program staff who run camp activities have individual areas of expertise to share with campers. Cabin counselors are selected for their experience working with children, judgment, maturity, and caring attitude. 

We recruit staff from around the world, who serve as role models for campers by demonstrating strong leadership skills that reflect the mission, commitment to equity and justice, and the core values of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. Through role modeling and by creating challenges that foster individual and group development, we provide campers with the opportunity to leave camp with a better understanding in the values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring. 

Staff must complete the application and interview process as outlined by the YMCA of Greater Seattle. Staff must have current First Aid and CPR certifications and pass a national background check. An instructor on expedition courses has a wilderness first aid certification or higher. 

Interviews are conducted with at least two references. Cabin counselors generally complete eight days of training, and directors and trip leaders complete an eight-day director’s training in addition to all-staff training. Training topics include: cultural humility and restorative justice, child behavior management, positive discipline techniques, games, age-appropriate programming, emergency procedures, values-based programs, bullying & child abuse prevention, and health and safety management. 

What should we know about the community at camp?

At the YMCA of Greater Seattle, we are committed to becoming an anti-racist and inclusive gathering space where people of all colors, religions, genders, and backgrounds are welcomed and have the opportunity to succeed, be healthy, and thrive. For us, that means closely examining what we do – our systems, hiring practices, partners, contracting, and all of our processes, programs, and locations – to ensure we are learning, adapting, and doing all that we can to build a more equitable, healthy, and just community in the future. 

Restorative Justice Practices at Camp 

To limit instances of bias at camp and to respond in a way which aligns with our organizational values, camp is focused on implementing restorative justice practices into the curriculum, daily routine, and culture. Our staff teams will be trained to add social and emotional learning aspects into all programs, create community, and facilitate conflict resolution. These practices will be introduced to and practiced by campers throughout their camp experience through intentional community building activities like teambuilding and values sessions. We are committed to building strong communities within our camps and assisting campers in dealing with conflict in a healthy and productive manner. We aim to address the root of behavioral issues and conflicts at camp by finding solutions which use restorative practices as the foundation for overcoming conflict and addressing bias. 

What are behavioral expectations at camp?

From the moment campers arrive at camp, staff work to build an inclusive space with clear expectations. Additionally, we partner with parents and guardians on strategies for working with camper's individual behaviors. Should behavioral support be needed, camp staff will make every effort to call the family starting with the primary contact, then the emergency contact. 

We know that certain behaviors can cause lasting harm. We do not tolerate bullying: aggressive behavior that is intentional, is repeated over time, and involves an imbalance of power or strength, and bigotry: making derogatory comments, including making fun of the individual or individual family's national origin, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation, gender; threatening bodily harm to the individual or individual’s family/friends. 

When the welfare of the camper, other campers, or camp property/equipment is jeopardized, the parent(s) or guardian(s) may be notified to pick up their camper at their own expense. Travel arrangements will always be made in advance with the parent or guardian. Program fees will be forfeited. In the case of a serious incident, the campers involved will not be invited back to camp for future experiences. 

Additional information about our community expectations can be found in the summer handbooks for both camps.

Covid-19 Questions

What to expect around Covid-19 testing, quarantines, and vaccinations?

The outbreak of Covid-19 has profoundly impacted our communities, businesses, families, and daily lives. Our hearts go out to those affected—particularly to those personally at-risk or who have lost a loved one. The health and well-being of our participants and staff is paramount, and we take the threat of Covid-19 very seriously. We are continuing to monitor the spread and impact of this virus in the Pacific Northwest, and particularly in the areas we operate.

At Camp Colman and Camp Orkila, we are asking ourselves to respond the same way we would ask of our participants—with courage, hope, and above all, compassion. We believe the impacts of camp on youth and community are as important as ever. Rooted in our mission and our commitment to equity and justice, camp programs offer youth the chance to explore their individuality and learn new social and emotional skills while forming lifelong friendships. We expect that practices will shift in the coming months.  

Our 2022 summer policies are listed below.  We will update these FAQs for 2023 as new information and guidance is received from public health and industry leaders.  

All campers and staff must do one of the following before arriving to camp: 

  1. Be up-to-date with Covid-19 vaccinations, OR 

  1. Receive a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at camp.  

We strongly recommend that participants, staff, and volunteers are up to date on vaccinations and receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at camp.  

Documentation of COVID-19 vaccination must be an official record, such as COVID-19 vaccination record card, documentation from a healthcare provider electronic health record or state Immunization Information System.  Families must retain written documentation of negative results for camp check in.  This may include over the counter tests or self-tests conducted at home. 

Families will be directed to contact camp staff at if they have trouble finding a test location. 

COVID-19 test locations in King County 

COVID-19 test locations in Pierce County 

COVID-19 test locations in Washington State 

What should I expect around facial coverings (masks)?

Facial coverings/masks will not be required for campers and staff. Any person who chooses to wear a mask is supported in doing so.  

Masks may be recommended for public health protection in certain circumstances, such as: 

  • Exposure to someone with Covid-19.

  • Symptoms consistent with Covid-19. 

  • Spending time in crowded indoor settings where physical distancing is not possible.  

  • Individuals with increased risk for severe Covid-19, e.g., medically fragile campers, immunocompromised individuals.  

  • Staff caring for campers with disabilities that prevent them from wearing face coverings. 

Masks may be required for public health protection in certain circumstances, such as: 

  • A person who has tested positive for Covid-19, has completed 5 days of isolation, is returning to camp activities after their symptoms have improved AND they are without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. These individuals MUST wear a well-fitting mask for days 6-10 OR have a negative antigen test after the 5th day of isolation so as not to wear a mask (a positive test requires the individual to continue to wear a mask for the remainder of their 10-day isolation period).        

  • If there is an outbreak or cluster of cases at the camp. 

  • If there is a surge of disease. 

  • In designated healthcare settings. 

L&I requirements to protect worker safety still apply. Employers cannot prevent employees from wearing a face mask if they choose (SB 5254). 

How will you address health and safety concerns around Covid-19 for participants, staff, and volunteers?

Camp Colman and Camp Orkila’s eligibility criteria and health screening processes will be updated as needed to minimize, as far as practical, the risk of transmission of Covid-19 occurring at camp. 

The requirements for participants will depend on best practices at that time, as determined by: 

  • Guidance from federal and local health authorities, like the CDC 

  • State health departments for schools, camps, guided recreation activities, and businesses  

  • The types of tests, vaccinations, and other screening tools considered to be highly reliable and widely available at that time.

Do you have additional resources and information for Covid-19?

Stay up-to-date on the current COVID-19 situation in Washington, Governor Inslee’s proclamations, symptoms, how it spreads, and how and when people should get tested. See the Washington State Department of Health's Frequently Asked Questions for more information.  
A person’s race/ethnicity or nationality does not, itself, put them at greater risk of COVID-19. However, data are revealing that communities of color are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This is due to the effects of racism, and in particular, structural racism, that leaves some groups with fewer opportunities to protect themselves and their communities. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Share only accurate information to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.  



Day Camp

Offering active days spent learning new skills and making lifelong friends, Y Day Camps offers fun camp activities to engage brains, exploration rotations to encourage kids to try new things, and plenty of physical activity and games to keep bodies moving.


Boys, Girls, and All Gender Outdoor Leadership (BOLD & GOLD) expeditions inspire youth ages 11 to 18 to be their most courageous and confident selves as they explore some of the most beautiful and natural places in the Pacific Northwest.

Join the Y!

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