Thanks for a great summer!
The YMCA has been the leader in Summer Camp for over 130 years. Over this time, we’ve fine-tuned our programs to meet youth and their families wherever they are in their journey with the outdoors. There's no place like overnight camp to discover who you are and the gifts you have to share. Explore nature, learn new skills, make new friends and gain respect for the environment.
Serving approximately 250 campers per session, Camp Colman offers a more intimate experience where friendships can grow and continue year after year.
Camp Orkila provides campers with the chance to experience their favorite outdoor activities and make new friends, all against the beautiful backdrop of the San Juan Islands.
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.
As we enter our third year of the pandemic, 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. As we continue to navigate the global pandemic, these foundations will remain central to our programs.
Below you will find an update on our summer 2022 programs. We expect that practices will shift in the coming months. We will update these FAQs as new information and guidance is received from public health and industry leaders. Thank you for your understanding and support.
Yes! We believe that now, as much as ever, there is a need for meaningful and fun outdoor experiences. In conjunction with public health officials, and in alignment with Washington State’s public health measures, we are working to determine how best to offer amazing summer experiences for youth and families. The health and safety of our participants, staff, and community is our top priority.
We plan to provide youth with an overnight experience at YMCA Camp Orkila and Camp Colman. In addition, at Camp Orkila we plan to offer kayaking and day camp programs. We will also offer teen leadership programs at both camps.
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. This document will be updated with additional information on group sizes and programs throughout 2022.
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.
Camp serves nutritious, well-balanced meals. A vegetarian option is available at every meal for vegetarian campers. Healthy snacks consisting of fruit and other items served in the afternoon. Water consumption is encouraged throughout the day. Cabin groups will eat all meals together in our dining hall facilities.
2022 Summer Camp Policy below, effective 5/3/22.
All campers and staff must do one of the following before arriving to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if they have trouble finding a test location.
Covid-19 tests are free and widely available at sites across Washington. For information on testing visit the following websites:
All campers traveling from out of state should follow CDC travel guidance.
Facial coverings/masks will not be required for campers and staff. Any person who chooses to wear a mask is supported in doing so.
Specific location information is available in the summer programs handbook. Bus transportation will be provided to each camp, and check-in locations will be structured similarly to pre-Covid times for bus transportation.
On busses, ventilation will be enhanced by opening windows and vents when possible.
It is recommended camp operators establish policies for visitors that could include, but not be limited to:
You are welcome to connect with your camper while they are attending camp through email, mail, and care packages. Prior to your camper coming to camp, specific information on where to send these communications will be provided to you.
We anticipate the implementation of program modifications, extended cleaning time, and enhanced cleaning procedures during and between sessions. The health and safety of participants, staff, and volunteers are our top priorities.
We are committed to following the recommendations of civil authorities and public health officials. If restrictions remain in place that prevent us from operating, we will cancel programs and notify families.
Impacted families will have an opportunity to credit their fee towards another YMCA of Greater Seattle program in 2023, donate the fee to the Y to support the scholarship program, or request a refund.
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:
The YMCA of Greater Seattle will comply with all Washington State mandates regarding Covid-19 vaccinations. All staff and participants are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted, as available.
It is recommended camp operators establish policies for staff that limit time away from camp that may place them at increased risk for COVID-19. These could include, for example, required antigen testing upon return to camp after being away overnight, following at-home testing package instructions, especially if in or returning from areas of high COVID-19 Community Levels.
In addition to the programmatic steps outlined above, we continue to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures specific to Covid-19. Our leadership team has reviewed and will continue to update necessary protocols to comply with, or exceed, governmental guidelines to reduce risk of exposure. These include but are not limited to, the following:
We are being guided by federal, state, and local health officials and working in regular consultation with our partners at the American Camp Association (ACA) and Y-USA to ensure that we have effective protocols in place to successfully run our programs.
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.
• WA State Department of Health 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19)
• WA State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)
• Find Your Local Health Department or District
• CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19)
• Stigma Reduction Resources
You can make a maximum of one cabinmate request. Cabinmate requests must be mutual.
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.
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, 2022, will be at the discretion of the Y.
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.
If the subsidized price still presents a barrier, financial assistance is available through an application process, which requires annual household income documentation.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 programs handbooks for both camps.