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 from camp through their local YMCA!
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.
Y Rangers - Bringing Youth Outdoors Together
Since 2015, the YMCA of San Francisco is proud to offer 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 campaign to connect youth to their public outdoor spaces. 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, as well as local state and local parks. All campers will have a chance to give back to these spaces through age-specific service projects. Campers will explore 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
Y Rangers: Rookies (K-2nd Grade)
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 and beyond! 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.
Our campers will put down their devices and marvel at the magic of nature as Junior Naturalists exploring 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.
Welcome to the biggest playground in the world- the Great Outdoors! Do you look at a beach and see a natural phenomenon or do you see a giant playground waiting to be explored? Is a playground just about the swings and slides, or are there ways to experience a whole different world right in front of your eyes? Our campers see both in Playgrounds Abound. We’ll explore natural spaces far and wide to see how we can take advantage of our green spaces, playing and recreating throughout the entire journey.
Y Rangers (3rd-5th Grade)
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 bring these skills to their own neighborhoods. Come learn about how life on the coast is one big mystery you can solve!
Are you wild at heart? Do you have what it takes to rough it in the great outdoors? In Survival Skills, we will build the wilderness skills we need for successful and safe adventure in your national parks and beyond. Filter water, start a fire, and build a shelter - all without leaving a trace. Whether we’re up-close with poisonous 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! – in the wild.
Power to the People
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” –Mahatma Gandhi.
If you want to be a positive change-maker and see a world of exploration and inspiration, join us in Power to the People! Campers will step back in time through field trips, games, and storytelling to inherit the living history of culture and natural spaces in the Bay area. How are the people who have shaped this land, and were shaped by the land, like us? How is your heritage and those of your fellow campers reflected through their experiences? Discover their stories, and maybe a bit of your own, while creating new stories and memories with friends along the way.
Y Rangers: Xtreme (6th-8th Grade)
Do you want to change the world? Do you want to speak the language of the animals? Become an Environmental Steward! 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 all in an effort to better understand human impact on the world and how we can make the world a better place. We will learn how to protect the creatures in your parks, both big and small, so we can be the change we want to see in the world.
Are you ready to experience your backyard in a way you never imagined? Campers will become Extreme Adventurers as they explore the spaces that they have passed, but never truly seen and experienced. Campers will learn how to safely navigate these new spaces with a survival mindset, and, whether on land or at sea, these adventurers are prepared for the epic adventures ahead. Activities could include challenge hikes, overnight campouts, kayaking and more!
Power to the People: Power to the Pedal*
Discover the diversity people who have come before you as you Pedal the Parks. Imagine the feeling of the wind blowing through your hair as your glide down a hill overlooking the entire San Francisco Bay area as campers explore their backyards with a unique perspective, both on their community and history. You know that San Francisco is only 7 by 7 miles, and now you will see how interconnected our entire Golden Gate National Recreation Area Urban National Park is, while learning about the people and places that shaped it over time. Topics such as incarceration, immigration, pollution and race (and their intersectionality) will be explored.
*Cohort size is limited to 15 campers.
Priority registration is given to Y branches that offer fully-subsidized enrollment.
Not available all weeks of summer.
Y Rangers Residential Coastal Camp
Join us for this exciting twist on our Traditional Resident Camp experience! A partnership between the YMCA and the National Park Service, this week of camp takes place on the Pacific Coast in the Marin Headlands with our sister camp, YMCA Camp Jones Gulch. Campers will explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, meet park rangers, visit the historic Point Bonita Lighthouse, kayak on the Bay and take part in other outdoor adventures while enjoying all of the traditions of the Y's resident camp experience.
For more information, contact Jess Prevost, Youth and Family Director at Camp Jones Gulch, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 747-0986.
June 21-26, 2020
July 19-24, 2020
Outdoor Advanced Leadership Academy (OALA)
This six-day residential camp is the culminating experience of our Y Rangers program. Over the course of the week, students entering 6th-10th grades will 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 with our residential camp counselors, 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. Activities include kayaking, ropes course challenges, star gazing, bird counts, group research projects, and challenge hikes.
Youth wishing to take part in the program must complete an application and submit it by February 15, 2020. Notification of acceptance into the program will be made by March 1, 2020.
Learn more about our program here.
OALA has a tiered pricing structure based on household income and the generosity of YMCA donors. In order to provide opportunities for all youth to take part and to create inclusive spaces for all, applications are reviewed in order to ensure a balance of family backgrounds.
Tier 1: $0 (fully subsidized)
Tier 2: $250 (partial subsidy)
Tier 3: $600
BOLD & GOLD - Boys/Girls Outdoor Leadership Development
BOLD & GOLD (Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development)
Grades: Entering 7 - 12 (Max age: 17)
Through outdoor adventures and wilderness experiences, the BOLD & GOLD program hosted by YMCA Camp Jones Gulch inspires courage and multi-cultural leadership in diverse groups of boys and girls ages 11-18 years old. The challenge, glory, and beauty of the wilderness come together on our exciting adventures, which range from six to ten-day expeditions. Campers explore the backcountry of a beautiful national or state park, all while carrying everything they need on their back, learning backpacking skills, and staying at campsites with primitive facilities.
- Introduction to Backpacking
- Point Reyes Expedition
- Desolation Wilderness of Lake Tahoe
- Yosemite Backpacking Big Basin
- Skyline-to-Sea Backpacking
For more information click here.
Teen Leadership Programs (Grades 8+)
Teens who have taken in the Y Rangers day and residential camp programs, or who may have aged out of our Outdoor Advanced Leadership Academy, are invited to take part in the teen leadership programs available at our sister branch, YMCA Camp Jones Gulch.
Click here to learn more about the Leaders in Service (grades 8-11), Counselor in Training I (age 15) and Counselor in Training II (age 16) programs.
On-site programming from 10:00 AM - 3:00 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.