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About Summer Camp

The Point Bonita YMCA is the gateway for all YMCA of San Francisco youth to develop a deep and lasting connection to nature.  To make sure every family across San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties has the opportunity to take part in our programs in the Marin Headlands, families can now sign their children for camp through their local YMCA!

Two types of camp are being offered in Summer 2018:
YMCA Environmental Stewards (YES!) Camp and Y Rangers.

Drop-offs and pick-ups will occur at your home YMCA of San Francisco branch before your camper is transported to the beauty of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Camp staff from your home YMCA will travel and participate with campers each day while nature-engagement specialists from Point Bonita will lead the outdoor activities.

YES! Camp dates: June 11 - July 20, 2018         YRangers dates: July 23 - August 17, 2018

Y Rangers - Bringing Youth Outdoors Together

For the fourth year in a row, the YMCA of San Francisco is proud to offer four-weeks of Y Rangers, a summer camp without walls.  A partnership between the YMCA of the USA, the Department of the Interior, and the National League of Cities, Y Rangers is a part of the national “Bringing Youth Outdoors Together” campaign.  This is a technology-free program where all campers will have the chance to learn about the historic, recreation and volunteer opportunities available in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  All campers will have a chance to give back to their parks through age-specific service projects.  Campers will also explore various Golden Gate National Recreation Area and California State Park sites such as Muir Woods, the Presidio, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, Hyde Street Pier and the Marin Headlands.  They will meet Park Rangers and end the week with a Ranger-led campfire complete with stories, games and s’mores!

Registration for Y Rangers is through our partner YMCA of San Francisco branches.  Drop-off and pick-up will be at your YMCA of registration, with transportation provided by the YMCA for the daily field trips.

Sample week schedule:
Monday            Camp Welcome and Pt. Bonita Day
Tuesday            Marin Headlands Exploration & Thematic Activities
Wednesday        Service Learning Projects & National Park Exploration
Thursday           Field Trips & Thematic Activities
Friday               GGNRA Parks & Community Campfire


Y Rangers Camps

Park Explorers

July 23-27, 2018

K-2nd; 3rd-5th 
Earn your Jr. Ranger badge and learn the Junior Ranger motto of Explore, Learn and Protect. Campers will visit various Golden Gate National Recreation Area and CA State Park sites, participate in a service project, meet Park Rangers and end the week with songs and s’mores at Rob Hill Campground in the Presidio.  Campers will get to meet the horses at the Presidio Riding Club, search for wildlife in the Headlands and connect to nature through lots of outdoor play!

This camp aims to plant the seeds of stewardship in youth. Campers will gain the skills to become 21st century stewards by participating in service projects, gaining career and leadership skills, and taking field trips to iconic Golden Gate National Recreation Area sites and state parks including Alcatraz, Muir Woods and Angel Island. Service projects vary but may include habitat restoration, plant propagation and trail work.  Campers will get up close and personal with the horses of the Rodeo Valley Stables and hit the trails to get a new perspective on their world.

Survival Skills

July 30th-August 3rd
Start your child’s appreciation of the great outdoors! From the moment campers arrive each day, counselors guide them through traditional camp experiences including hiking, nature study, group games, and arts & crafts. Campers will have opportunities to sing songs, tell stories, and meet new friends. All activities are geared to show your camper the wonders of nature in their National Parks and beyond.
3rd-5th; 6th-8th
Do you have what it takes to survive in the great outdoors? Learn basic skills and challenge yourself in the great outdoors. Campers discover the finer points of preparing for an outdoor adventure, developing orienteering skills using a map and compass, and learning about plant and animal identification. Campers may also learn a variety of useful camping skills including building a fire, making camp shelters, knot tying, and campfire cooking.

Splish! Splash!

August 6th-10th
K-2nd; 3rd-5th; 6th-8th
Campers will learn basic water safety skills by participating in dry land and pool activities. Campers will then take their newfound skills to explore the water, waves and beaches of their public lands. They will embark on a week-long adventure in a variety of aquatic settings where they will examine marine life, build sand castles at the beach, swim at the Presidio YMCA’s pool and frolic in the calm waters of East Bay lakes.  Each camper will have two sessions at the Y pool and a day at Lake Don Castro! 
[6th-8th grade campers will have the opportunity to kayak on the bay with Sea Trek in Sausalito.]

Outdoor Adventures

August 13th-17th
Campers become “Eco-Explorers” as they become outdoor detectives, investigating their natural surroundings Campers will take walks through the forest, grassy hillsides, coastal dune scrubs, and sandy beaches of the Bay Area to explore our local wildlife and geography. Activities include bug safaris, nature hunts, create-a-critter-from-litter, nature games, Rodeo Beach Lagoon exploration and more! 
3rd-5th; 6th-8th
Campers will explore the ways their parks have been a source of adventure over time.  Campers will take walks through the forest, grassy hillsides, coastal dune scrubs, and sandy beaches of the Bay Area to explore our local wildlife, history and geography.  Activities may include trail hikes in the Headlands, field trips to Angel Island, investigations of the lives of the Buffalo Soldiers of the Presidio, exploration of historic forts and batteries, nature play, and planning their own outdoor adventures with family members after summer is over.


YES! Camp (YMCA Environmental Stewards)

Point Bonita’s residential Outdoor Education Program is now available as a day camp!  Using fun themes that bring the magic of environmental education and stewardship to life, YMCA naturalists will work with camp counselors from your home YMCA to foster a deep and lasting connection to nature in your child.  Campers will travel to our campus in the Marin Headlands each day and hit the trails for age-appropriate hikes, games, activities and exploration! 

Registration for Y Rangers is through our partner YMCA of San Francisco branches.  Drop-off and pick-up will be at your YMCA of registration, with transportation provided by the YMCA for the daily trips to the Headlands.


YES! Camp Sessions

Animal Camp

K-2: Coastal Critters
Feeling wild? Would you rather be a Red-Tailed Hawk soaring over the beach, a sneaky bobcat prowling under the brush, or a slippery seal sunning on a rock? Channel your inner animal as we discover the critters in the Marin Headlands! Coastal Critter campers will learn about the coastal food chain and animal adaptations while we play animal games, create crafts, tell stories and explore with new friends.

Participating Branches:
July 9-13:     Presidio Community YMCA 
3-5: Creature Detectives
Are you good at solving mysteries? Use your detective skills and help us find clues. Feathers, bones and scat will never look the same as campers track and investigate animals that fly, swim and prowl in our National Park. After this week of solving animal mysteries, Creature Detectives will be able to bring these skills to their own neighborhood. Come learn about how life on the coast is one big adventure!
Participating Branches:
June 18-22:     Presidio Community YMCA 
6-8: Planet Pioneers
Do you want to help the planet? Do you want to speak the language of the animals? Become a Planet Pioneer! We will follow animal tracks on the trail, use magnifying glasses and water test kits to check on pond critters, and investigate tide pool life to learn about human impact and how we are all connected. We will learn how to protect the creatures in the park, both big and small, so we can be the change we want to see in the world.

Participating Branches:
July 9-13:     Presidio Community YMCA 

Outdoor Survival Skills

K-2: Junior Naturalists
Welcome to the biggest playground in the world- the Great Outdoors! Junior Naturalists will learn to notice the secrets of the outdoors. From animal tracking, to making forts and discovering edible plants, we will use our five senses to connect with the nature alongside new friends.

Participating Branches:
June 25-29:    Presidio Community YMCA
3-5: Nature Guides
Are you ready for an outdoor adventure? Nature Guides will navigate with a compass, perfect our shelter-building skills, and try a hand at knot-tying. We’ll learn about our watershed systems, play games outside, explore the lands around us, get dirty in the Y garden, and discover how everything is connected.
Participating Branches:
June 11-15:        Presidio Community YMCA         
June 18-22:         Richmond District YMCA
July 2-6 (no camp 7/4):    Marin YMCA    
July 16-20:        Mission YMCA


6-8: Wilderness Warriors
Are you wild at heart? Do you have what it takes to rough it in the great outdoors? As Wilderness Warriors, we will build the wilderness skills we need for successful and safe adventure in the Headlands. Filter water, start a fire without matches, and build a shelter - all without leaving a trace. Whether we’re up-close with poison plants or using a compass to find our way, this team is perfect for anyone who’s ready to band together to survive – and thrive! - on the rough-and-windy coast.

Participating Branches:
June 18-22:    Presidio Community YMCA
June 18-22:    Richmond District YMCA
July 16-20:    Mission YMCA    

Time Travelers

K-2: Time Travelers
Join us on a journey through time! We will share folk tales, games and crafts to experience History in the Headlands. Discover ancient stones, honor Miwok culture, and learn about Spanish Vaquero cowboys that once lived in the park. Get ready for stories galore as you become a Time Traveler.

Participating Branches:
To be announced 
3-5: Time Keeper
Native Americans, Spanish Vaqueros and soldiers - oh my! We will keep Headlands history alive as Time Keepers. To honor the past, we must find clues to uncover secrets in the Headlands. We will explore, play games, and create our own artifacts for everyone to see!

Participating Branches:
July 16-20:     Presidio Community YMCA 
6-8: Time Masters.
Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong decade? Become a Time Master! Discover geology, military history, and the origins of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We’ll enjoy the beauty of the land and learn what it takes to protect this park. This camp will shape the environmental values we need to master the future we want to see!

Participating Branches:
To be announced

Resident Camp

The Point Bonita YMCA has partnered with our sister branch, Camp Jones Gulch, to offer two weeks of resident camp in the Marin Headlands!   This week includes archery, fort tag, visits to the historic Point Bonita Lighthouse, the beaches of the Marin Headlands, the Marine Mammal Center, and a field trip to kayak in the Bay.  Camp runs Sunday-Friday.  

For more information, please contact Camp Jones Gulch at (650) 747-1200.

June 24-29:    Myths & Legends
July 22-27:    Flora & Fauna

Outdoor Advanced Leadership Academy

This six-day residential camp experience allows students entering 6th-10th grades learn what it takes to become the leaders of the next generation of environmental activism.  Campers stay in the historic dorms of the Point Bonita YMCA, have meals in the YMCA”s dining hall, and participate in a variety of outdoor activities designed to stimulate their bodies and minds by getting them out into nature and discussing the environment, conservationism and personal agency.

Applications are no longer being accepted, both summer sessions are already full. 

    June 24-29 - Session full!
    July 22-27 - Session full!

    6th-10th grade

For questions please reach out to Sean Dries, Associate Executive Director via email (sdries@ymcasf.org), fax (415-331-2567) or mail (981 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965).  Applications are no longer being accepted. 

Camp Hours

Camp Hours

​On-site programming from 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM​

Safety at Y Camp

The safety of our kids is paramount. We have rigorous hiring standards and supervision policies which include the following: Personal interview, with child safety based questions. Four references, including one personal reference. Criminal background check. Comprehensive Child Safety training for all staff. Supervision policies: No one-on-one contact with children. No outside contact with minor participants. Staff work in pairs or groups, so they are never alone with children. Parent education: We provide parent manuals about child safety and talking to your children. Participant education: Participants are told they have a right to be safe and are told they should notify staff or any other adult if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable. It is our policy that staff are not to communicate with youth participants outside of our programs, by social media or by any other means. For more information on the Y's policies for creating a safe child environment, click here.