Are we running in-person day camp? What will virtual camp be like? How do I prepare my child for camp? Who are the camp instructors? Find out the answers to these questions and other frequently asked questions in our Summer 2020 Camp FAQ.
About In-person Camps
Yes, we are running remote and in-person day camp for K-8 students through our partnership with the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). These free camps, which are open to all NYC families, will run at 38 sites, including a mix of Y branches and NYC schools. Virtual offerings are underway, and in-person services will begin soon. You can register through DYCD's website.
Although we aren’t able to offer all of our traditional summer programming this year, we are hopeful that our combination of remote and in-person services allow all families who want a Y experience this summer the opportunity to join us.
Your health and well-being is our number one priority. For our in-person DYCD camps, you can expect we will follow updated health and wellness protocols, our facilities will be thoroughly sanitized and clean, our staff will be wearing protective equipment, and we will have processes in place to follow all government guidelines.
The Y is providing child care to emergency workers at a seven of our branches. We’re proud to be able support our community and New Yorkers in need with this service.
About Y Virtual Summer Camps
Our virtual camps will be all the best parts of camp — campers will go on adventures, explore new skills, make friends, and get wacky! Overseen by the YMCA’s caring and well-trained staff, our virtual camps will teach healthy behaviors and positive values through a mix of specialized programs and physical activities. Each camp will have a weekly theme, last approximately 1 hour per day, and registration is week to week, because we know summer isn’t all about screen-time.
We completely understand. We know many of us have had more screen time while staying home. Although YMCA Virtual Summer Camp is still on a screen, we’ll be engaging children with constructive, educational lessons to build new skills and learn positive values — while still giving them a chance to be silly and have fun with their friends. We will use the screens as a way to connect — nothing more. All learning and activities will be hands on and incredibly interactive. Y Virtual Camps will be a way for kids to connect, explore, and get excited about summer activities on and off screens.
Virtual Camp Details
Most of our virtual camps run for 8 weeks, from the week of June 29 to the week of August 17. (The exceptions are Making and Tinkering Camp, which starts the week of June 15 and runs through the week of August 17, and the Jr. Dungeon Masters Camp, which runs only during the week of June 22.)
Families can sign up for one week at a time, because we know summer isn’t all about screen-time.
Each YMCA Virtual Camp will be approximately 1 hour per day, and will run from two to five days per week, depending on the camp.
Registration can be completed online. Find a Camp to get started. Please note that registration for each week of virtual camp closes at 10 AM on the Friday before the camp week begins.
Once your registration is complete, additional information will be sent via email. Details about cost and time of each camp be found on our pages about specific camps.
All YMCA Virtual Camp activities will be facilitated on Zoom. All our Zoom meetings are by invite only and are password protected to make sure only the instructors and registered participants can access. Additionally, the instructors are always in full control — they ensure that only registered participants enter, and control functions like screen sharing. Each group has two instructors present and are on hand to assist should a problem arise.
Only the child who is registered for camp can join the session. You can register more than one child for camp.
All YMCA of Greater New York Camps, whether in-person or held remotely, have very strict standards. Our standards are geared toward assuring a healthy environment, positive staff/camper interactions, and strong programming. We always maintain the proper counselor-to-child ratio, and attentive, professional staff members are ready and alert to attend to campers’ needs. All our staff complete rigorous screenings to ensure we have the best team possible to support your family.
Our instructors are seasoned employees that have worked in camp for multiple years. They are highly trained and enthusiastic to have some camp fun!
The Y recruits mature and capable staff to work in our programs. 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.
All Y Virtual Camp staff members are carefully screened and selected based on:
• Experience, skills, and abilities
• Certifications and education
• Love of working with children
All Virtual Camp staff members attend a mandatory and comprehensive pre-camp training program that covers all YMCA requirements. Examples of the trainings our staff participate in are: Risk Management, YMCA Camp Standards, Program Quality, and Online Safety and Security.
Most of our Day Camp staff work for the Y year-round in programs such as Y Afterschool, Early Childhood, and Teen Programs.
Preparing for Camp
• Gather materials for the camp session. For notetaking, have pencil and paper ready.
• Find a comfortable and quiet space at home — free from distraction. It is recommended to use a table to set up your device and do camp activities.
• Exit out of other applications on your device.
• Check that the microphone, camera and sound work.
• Turn on your camera and look around you. Put up a fun virtual background if necessary. Learn more about how to add a virtual background.
• Follow the code of conduct — read this with your child prior to virtual camp starting.
• Ensure that your child understands how to use Zoom. Here is a quick how-to.
• We want to make sure that all campers are comfortable and ready to have fun. For the first few activities, we recommend parents supervise children from a distance, in case they need any assistance.
• Set up a camp space — children should be seated in a comfortable location like at a table where they can prop up their learning device if needed. We ask that devices stay in a stationary location during the activities.
• Here are some additional resources for you and your family on internet safety awareness:
A typical virtual camp activity session will look like:
• Camp spirit check in
• Specialty activity and instruction
• Movement activity
Each day of camp is designed to engage children in a variety of ways. Your child will be moving, socializing, creating, and having fun for the duration of each session.
Your child will need access to wi-fi, and a device such as a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet. Specialty camps will rely on families to have access to additional camp specific materials, while other camps will draw from everyday items found at home. The instructor will notify registered families of supplies needed prior to camp starting. All campers will receive a fun Y Virtual Camp starter kit with basic supplies before the start of camp.
Once you’ve registered for virtual camp, you will be contacted to provide additional camp information. Once we have your application, we will reach out with programmatic details, including links and log in information and mail you your Y Virtual Camp starter kit.
Cost, Financial Assistance, and Credit Policy
There is only one session offered each day, so unfortunately there are no make-up sessions.
Contact Info and Additional Questions
Find a Virtual Camp
Choose from dance camp, art camp, LEGO camp, language camps, and much more.