YMCA Camp at Mineral Lake
Y outdoor education at Mineral Lake will nurture the potential of youth, promote healthy living, and foster social responsibility.
Building on the Y’s legacy of connecting youth to each other, the natural world, and their sense of self, outdoor education at Mineral Lake will build future stewards of the land while also preserving and protecting it. The YMCA of Greater Seattle will create a new overnight camp and environmental education center adjacent to Mineral Lake, bringing the splendor of the great outdoors to youth. Located in eastern Lewis County, the camp will sit on less than 150 acres of the total 2100 acres, about 7% of the site, leaving the remaining 93% of the land in its natural state.
The Y approach to the outdoors is centered on good stewardship of the land and nurturing the potential of youth through experiences that build life skills and a sense of belonging, and fostering future environmental leaders.
The Y commits to:
The Y will protect the natural environment at Mineral Lake in the decades ahead by leaving 93% of this beautiful forest intact and undeveloped, providing an outdoor classroom for generations of local children to foster environmental stewardship and instill a love of the natural world.
Y outdoor programs encourage examination, curiosity, and critical thinking through play and exploration. Young people will have the opportunity to tent or cabin camp and backpack, growing their outdoor skills as they develop a sense of belonging and care for the land.
The Y strives to create inclusive environments to empower all campers to discover their unique inner strengths and put the Y values of Respect, Caring, Honesty, and Responsibility into practice in all aspects of life that they will carry with them for life.
We are very excited to report that the first major step toward this goal is complete – we closed on the purchase of 500 acres on the shore of Mineral Lake in September 2021. This is a major milestone in bringing the outdoors to more youth, but there are still many steps ahead.
An application is currently in progress for a Lewis County Comp Plan Amendment that will allow the Y to take the next step in planning for day and overnight camping experiences at Mineral Lake.
In 2022, we hope to purchase the remaining 1,600 acres by raising $7 million in donor funds.
Dependent on application for building permits and progress towards raising $40 million in donor funds, the Y will begin building out camp facilities between 2023-2032.
For over 100 years, the Y's Camp Colman and Camp Orkila have provided world-class outdoor education in the Washington communities of Orcas Island and Longbranch on the Key Peninsula, demonstrating a proven history of good stewardship of both the land and the youth that attend our camps.
At Y overnight camps, caring staff lead youth in grades 1-8 through activities such as archery, arts & crafts, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, drama, and more. Youth in grades 8-12 can also participate in wilderness and leadership development backpacking trips across Washington state.
In collaboration with local schools, Y outdoor education programs provide environmental curriculum for students with opportunities to learn about nature, ask questions in the field, build outdoor skills, and participate in challenging experiences that foster life skills.
At the Y, we believe that every kid deserves the benefits and lifelong memories camp provides and that finances should never be a barrier for anyone to attend camp. At Camp Colman and Camp Orkila, 1 in 5 youth receive financial assistance to attend summer camp.
More than ever, children and families in our region need access to the benefits of high-quality outdoor education, recreation, and camping. Here are ways you can support bringing the great outdoors to more communities.
See our most frequently asked questions about Y outdoor experiences at Mineral Lake.
Have additional questions or want to share your support? Contact us for more information.
Help make this dream a reality by donating today to support outdoor education at Mineral Lake.
The Y acknowledges the ancestral keepers of the land we gather on. We thank them for their immense contributions to our state and local history, culture, economy, and identity as Washingtonians.
Camp Colman has offered kids and teens the chance to explore their individuality, become a part of their own community, and enjoy the classic American camp experience of archery, rock climbing, and s’mores over the campfire.
Explore the magic of Camp Colman and Camp Orkila through water activities, challenge course experiences, campfires, and more while getting to spend quality time with your loved ones.
Youth ages 11 to 18 are inspired to be their most courageous and confident selves as they explore some of the most beautiful and natural places in the Pacific Northwest. Through BOLD & GOLD expeditions, young people spend weeks in the wilderness, learning life skills, strength, teamwork and more.