Wilderness Adventure is a SPECIALTY RESIDENT CAMP for youth ages 8-17 who are comfortable in the outdoors and want to experience life in nature even more.  Wilderness Adventure campers will stay for a week in our cabins and eat in our dining hall, just like traditional resident camp, but instead of the traditional program areas, campers will learn more about wilderness survival and other primitive camping skills.  

What's a Specialty Camp? 
A specialty camp is a camp session that is programmed according to a specific theme, such as wilderness survival.  Campers in a specialty session participate in primarily specialized activities to learn the skills associated with the theme.  This differs from a "traditional" camp session in that a traditional camp requires campers to choose programming from a variety of generalized program options.  Instruction in a traditional camp session is typically less specific and less comprehensive than in a specialty session.  

How it Works:
Our specialty camps preserve personal choice for campers!  Wilderness Adventure campers will choose three "tracks," or categories, they wish to learn about and participate in for the session.  The exact content learned in each track and for each skill will vary by age group.  More information on tracks is below!

Tracks, Skills, and Activities:
The majority of the time at Wilderness Adventure Camp will be spent in three periods in the camper's self-chosen tracks.  What a camper learns and does in each track will vary by the camper's grade.  We will divide the periods roughly by grade in order to offer quality, age-appropriate instruction so every camper has the best chance for success.  The tracks and their possible activities are as follows: 

Navigation: Map reading, orienteering, tracking, hiking/backpacking, canoeing
Environment:  Water ecology, forest ecology, geology, wild edibles
Survival: Natural shelter building, basic first aid, fire building, water purification. 
Camp Crafts:  Man-made shelter building, knots/lashings , nature crafts, outdoor cooking, archery.

The session will culminate in an exciting predator/prey experience called "THE CHASE."  

What About Fun Traditional Camp Activities? 
Each day at Wilderness Adventure will feature one of our popular Smorgasbord free-choice periods, when campers may choose from a variety of traditional camp activities, such as free swim, canoeing/kayaking, archery, riflery, sailing, arts & crafts, etc.  This serves as a break from the wilderness activities and gives the camper the opportunity to experience something different of their choosing every day.  Please see the Activities page for a complete listing of our traditional activities!  

Cabin & Camp Life:  
Cabin and camp life in our specialty sessions is very similar to our traditional camp sessions.  Campers are assigned a cabin, or "tribe," with other campers of their gender in their grade in school.  Tribes will have a Cabin Activity every day so they can spend time together as a camp family outside their tracks.  Tribes also eat together and typically do evening activities together.  

Once per week, there will be a SPECIAL cabin activity.  The exact activity will vary by age group, and may include astronomy, a night hike, low ropes in the dark, or any host of adventures designed to help the campers bond and experience the nocturnal world in a new and exciting way!

Other evening activities may include unit (age-group) activities, all-camp games, an all-camp social/party, or an overnight (see below!).  

Every tribe at Wilderness Adventure Camp will go on a one-night overnight during the session.  Campers will cook their own dinner over a fire at their location.  The youngest campers will sleep in one of our lean-to shelters and the older tribes will build a tarp or natural shelter or sleep under the stars.  

Orienteering Overnight Adventure: 

Check-In and Check-Out
Check-In will start at 2:00pm on Sunday.  Staff will greet cars at the top of the hill and direct traffic down the hill when there is space.  Check-in will take place in Y-Owasco Lodge and will include medication check-in, a brief well-being survey, and a head lice check for each camper.  

Check-Out will be on Thursday from 9:30am to 11:00am. Staff will again be managing traffic flow, and we appreciate your cooperation to keep every one safe and property undamaged. You may find your camper in his or her cabin after coming down the hill.  

Typical Daily Schedule:

7:30     Wake Up Call - Bathroom and prep time.
8:00     Flagpole, thought for the day
8:15    Breakfast
9:00     Camp & Cabin Cleanup
9:30     Track 1
11:00   Cabin Activity
12:30   Lunch
1:15     Siesta (rest period)
2:15    Smorgasbord
3:30    Track 2
5:00    Track 3
6:30    Dinner
7:30    Evening Activity
9:00    Showers, Embers
10:00  Lights Out

Can Parents Visit?  While with our day camp parents are encouraged to attend the awards ceremony, at any of our resident camp sessions we seek to build independence, confidence, and appropriate peer relationships.  Therefore, we would rather not have parents or guardians visit their campers while they are at Wilderness Adventure Camp, even for the awards ceremony, as the time they spend here away from home and family is crucial in attaining that personal growth.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the camp director.  Letters and packages to campers are ALWAYS welcome, though!  Please visit the "Contact" page to learn how.  

Does your child have special medical needs?  Click here for more information.  
D I S C O V E R   Y O U R   W I L D   S I D E ! 
Over the course of the week, the oldest boys and girls tribes will perform a number of teambuilding and low-ropes exercises while learning a multitude of wilderness skills, especially orienteering and map reading. On Thursday, these oldest campers will be bussed to a local state forest, where they will embark on a journey to predetermined points across wild, heavily forested terrain. Using the skills they've built over the week, campers will work together to find supplies they need to successfully spend the night. Counselors will tag along to supervise, but the campers will lead the way! 

In This Section:

A d v e n t u r e   E v e r y   D a y
W I L D E R N E S S   A D V E N T U R E
Click here for more information from the Parent Handbook

CLICK HERE to register ONLINE for Camp!


contact us to have a brochure mailed to you!

The YMCA turns no one away for an inability to pay. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. Please contact the Auburn YMCA for a camp scholarship application at 315-253-5304 
click here to download one to mail back. A payment plan can also be worked out with the Camp Director. Feel free to contact the Camp Director with any questions.