Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where do you find your camp staff, how are they screened, and what training do they receive?
The Y recruits mature and capable staff to work in our programs. Our counselors come from all five boroughs of NYC, across the United States, and from over 20 countries around the world.  We count on each of them to be a role model to our campers and to teach campers the Y’s core values – respect, responsibility, honesty and caring.

Prospective staff must complete an interview, provide three references, and undergo both a background check and mandatory drug testing.

All Sleepaway Camp staff members attend a mandatory and comprehensive pre-camp training program that covers all NYC Health Dept., American Camp Association and YMCA requirements. Examples of the trainings our staff participate in are: CPR/First Aid, Responding-to-Emergencies (RTE), Risk Management, positive behavioral support, building group cohesion, homesickness, games, songs, skits and more!

2. What are the sleeping accommodations like?
Cabin life is at the heart of your child’s camp experience because their cabin mates will become their first and closest friends while at camp (and beyond!). Our cabins are designed to house 6 campers and 2 counselors in a setting that is warm, rustic, and inclusive. Counselors are carefully trained to create a safe environment that fosters mutual respect and caring.

3. What kind of activities do you offer at Sleepaway Camp?
Our 1,000+ acre facility with three lakes, beautiful playing fields, tennis & basketball courts, low and high ropes courses and ample rainy day space means that the fun and learning never end.  In keeping with our developmental focus, campers are offered a greater variety of activities, and more challenging activities, with age. Counselors and program staff are trained to teach to all levels ensure success whether your child is honing already impressive skills or trying something for the very first time.

4. What is the food like at camp and what are your policies on food allergens?
We provide meals that support a healthy, active lifestyle. Each day begins with a wholesome breakfast, afternoons are energized with a nourishing lunch plus a mid-afternoon snack, and a hearty supper wraps up the evening. Our meals are 100% delicious, 100% filling, and 100% kid-approved.  All three of our dining halls are nut free, and we are happy to accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs including vegetarians, gluten-free campers and many religion-based food restrictions.

5. What should my child bring to camp?
Detailed packing lists are available on our website.  In general, campers should bring sufficient play clothes for a week of active play (they will get dirty!), including clothes for warm and cool weather, pajamas, sleeping bag & pillow, swim suit and towel, camp-appropriate shoes, and a flashlight.  For campers staying longer than a week, laundry service is available at no additional charge.

6. Is transportation available?
Yes!  We offer coach bus transportation from four YMCA branches across the city:  the West Side YMCA in Manhattan, the Park Slope Armory YMCA in Brooklyn, the Cross Island YMCA in Queens, and the Bronx YMCA.  Camp staff ride to and from camp with your child.

7. How experienced is your medical staff?
Each of our camp programs has their own health center, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a certified nurse or EMT. Our Health Director, a registered nurse with many years of camp experience, provides on-site supervision to our health staff between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM, and on an as needed basis at night. Numerous members of the staff at each of our three camps are certified in CPR for the Professional Rescuer and Advanced First Aid.

8. Is it possible to visit camp?
Yes!  We host three open houses prior to the start of camp (January 27, April 7 & May 5) with transportation available from NYC.  If these dates don’t work for you, please call to schedule a personal tour at your convenience.  We also host two family camp weekends a year (February 15-18 and Aug 30-Sept 2).  Why should your kids have all the fun!