Camper Development

YMCA Camp Shepard focuses on camper progression, individual growth, team building, and leadership growth within our programming efforts.  Each experience at camp is designed with intentionality to assist each camper with reaching short, medium, and long term goals. Within our camper and group based activities, campers are given a sense of belonging, achievement, all while making new friends and everlasting memories.




YMCA Camp Shepard consists of children between the ages of 4 and 14.   Campers are placed into units based on the grade they are entering in the fall as well as their age. They are then further divided into smaller groups within the unit maintaining counselor to camper ratios per our DPH license. Unites are not just age groups but small communities that demonstrate pride and camp spirit. 

VIKINGS (Ages 4 - 6 / Grades Pre-k, K, 1)

This program is especially designed for the younger camper and maintains a 5:1 camper to counselor ratio. They will participate in activities specially geared to their age level. Campers experience the same activities as the older groups, participating in swim lessons, recreational swim, arts and crafts, ropes, kayaking, nature, sports, storytime and more! This unit is lead by a Unit Director who is dedicated to making sure our youngest campers have the best experience possible.  Our Unit Head has a high level of professionalism and a deep understanding of the needs of our youngest campers.


SPARTANS (Ages 7-9 / Grades 2,3,4) & TITANS (Ages 10-12 / Grades 5,6,7)

Programs for this age group are designed to achieve a balance of instruction and recreation as well as group development and individual accomplishment.  Emphasis is placed on cooperative learning and the YMCA four core values: Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.  Campers will participate in fun and challenging activities that meet their individual interests, abilities and needs.  The goal is to have each camper have a sense of belonging, make new friends, achieve new goals and have fun.


TEEN LEADERS (Ages 13 & 14 / Grades 8, 9) (co-ed)

Campers in the Teen Leaders Group participate in camp activities at a higher skill level. Special projects, trainings and activities such as mountain biking, hiking, high and low ropes adventure are included in this fun and challenging teen program. This program also involves developing leadership skills, including communication, decision making, conflict resolution and more.  These skills will benefit teens in their home, school and community.  These skills are taught through many activities and projects such as discussions, teambuilding challenges and service-learning activities all while emphasizing the YMCA’s four core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.   It’s the last year to enjoy camp as campers while starting to make the transition toward greater responsibility.


Camp Shepard will be limited to 200 campers per session.

Per the Department of Health, camp groups will be 1 counselor for up to 10 campers for ages seven and above, and 1 counselor for every 5 campers ages six and below. 

Camp Shepard plans on 15 campers per group accompanied by 2 counselors for ages seven and up, and 10 campers per group accompanied by 2 counselors  for ages six and below.


Our staff team is the most important ingredient in the success of our program. Program specialists and counselors are chosen for their maturity, leadership skills, dedication and experience. They represent positive role models for children and are trained in accordance with the philosophy and objectives of the YMCA.


Campers will be given the opportunity to participate in instructional and recreational swim. We have an in-ground pool that is staffed with 2 lifeguards and other staff members are assigned strategic positions to ensure camper safety. At no point will the lifeguard to swimmer ratio be more than 1:25. YMCA Camp Shepard ensures the safety of each individual child by following a test, mark, protect procedure. All campers are given a swim test by a Certified Lifeguard on their first day and are allowed to retest as many times as they like as they progress due to swimming instruction. Each swimmer is marked to easily identify their level and placed with necessary restrictions including area of the pool and life jackets. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your campers’ safety please do not hesitate to contact the Camp Director or CEO.


Your camper will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities while at camp. A typical day includes 6 45-minute periods (3 before lunch and 3 after lunch). We aim to provide a well-rounded experience and ensuring each group with equal time in each “skill area”. Skill areas include but are not limited to: Archery, Creative Arts, Canoeing/Kayaking, High/Low Ropes Challenge and Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking (10+), Nature Classes, and Sports. Each group is intentionally scheduled free periods where they may use this time to prepare their camp sites, go on hikes, and challenge other groups to friendly competitions.  Campers will also enjoy participating in theme days scheduled in the middle of the week. Schedules outlining their activities and these special events/days will be provided on the first day of each session. 



The following are general guidelines of our expectations and rules that we require campers to follow to ensure the safety of themselves and others as well as to ensure they have the best summer possible.

  • Follow the CORE Values of the YMCA at all times:
    • Caring- Treat others the way you would like to be treated
    • Honesty- Be truthful to yourself and others at all times
    • Respect- Respect campers, staff, volunteers and Nature
    • Responsibility- Be responsible for yourself, your actions, and your items
  • Follow Directions
  • Keep your hands/feet to yourself
  • Use appropriate language
  • Stay with your group
  • Leave rocks and sticks on the ground
  • Do not use electronics


What we do at camp!
Archery Arts & Crafts
Camp Site Decorating Canoeing
Climbing Tower Environmental Awareness
High Ropes Challenge Course Hiking
Low Ropes Challenge Course Mountain Biking (Ages 10+)
Swim Lessons & Free Swim Songs
Specialties Sports
Team Building  Theme Days
What to Bring
Backpack Lunch & Snacks
Swimsuit Towel
Water Bottle Bug Spray
Change of Clothes Closed Toe Shoes - NO Crocs Please!
Sun Screen