Overnight, day or specialty camps at the Y share one thing: they’re about discovery. Kids have the opportunity to explore nature, find new talents, try new activities, gain independence, and make lasting friendships and memories. And, of course, it’s fun too.
Summer Day Camp – Camp Okonoka ages 5-15
Day Camp, like many Y programs, is about learning skills, developing character and making friends. But few environments are as special as camp, where kids become a community as they learn both how to be more independent and how to contribute to a group as they engage in physical, social and educational activities.
Our Belle Isle location incorporates all the traditional components of day camp at the Y in an exciting outdoor setting! Our campers will have the opportunity to play and learn in nature and enjoy all the island has to offer. We spend our days swimming in the river, exploring nature paths, playing kickball and GAGA or eating lunch under a tree with friends. Each camper goes on one field trip per week and swims twice in the Detroit River.
Summer Day Camps runs from 9:00 am–4:00 pm, and we provide before and after care (7:00 am-6:00 pm) at no additional cost. Children must have completed kindergarten to attend Camp Okonoka.
Camp Okonoka Location: Belle Isle
Camp Okonoka Camp Weeks
- Week A: Get Moving!
- Week B: Hollywood Extravaganza
- Week C: World of Sports
- Week D: Spirit Spectacular
- Week E: Ocean Commotion
- Week F: Farm Life
- Week G: Mad Science
- Week H: Summer Safari
- Week I: Moving and Grooving
- Week J: Superhero Adventure Week
- Week K: Movers, Shakers, Gizmo Makers
- Week L: Game Show Mania
Specialty Summer Day Camp ages 5-9
Our Boll YMCA location provides a smaller camp with more specialized interests. Campers take part in some of the traditional camp activities (swimming, sports, crafts, etc.) but focus more on the theme of the week. Campers do spend time in the building. However, most of their time is spent outside with daily trips to Grand Circle Park, the Riverwalk, or other local parks. Campers will develop skills while exploring new interests.
Specialty Camp Location: Boll Family YMCA
Specialty Camp Weeks
- Week B: CSI Week
- Week C: Chef Weed
- Week D: Einstein’s Lab Week
- Week E: Baking Week
- Week F: Fashion Show Week
- Week G: Boll Institute of Art Week
- Week H: Sports & Fitness Week
- Week I: Splashtastic Water Week
- Week J: Robotics Week
- Week K: Chef Week
- Week L: Talent Show Week
Specialty Summer Day Camps runs from 9:00 am–4:00 pm, and we provide before and after care (7:00 am-6:00 pm) at no additional cost. Children must have completed kindergarten to attend Specialty Day Camp.
Preschool Summer Day Camp ages 3-5
With a 1:6 teacher to child ratio, our Preschool Summer Enrichment program gives preschoolers a fun-filled summer! Children will be participate in activities that will enhance their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. They have the opportunity to develop relationships with peers and adults while experiencing a feeling of self-worth. Activities include: arts and crafts, sports, music, field trips, swimming, and much more! Preschoolers must be completely potty trained and out of diapers/pull ups to attend.
Preschool Camp Location: Boll Family YMCA
School Break Camp ages 5-15
When school is out, fun is in at the Y! Our experienced staff takes the right steps to ensure your camper’s safety and happiness during an action-packed day.
School Break Camps run from 9:00 am–4:00 pm, and we provide before and after care (7:00 am-6:00 pm) at no additional cost. Children must have completed kindergarten to attend camp.
Schedule for 2017-2018 School Break Camps
- Holiday Break Camp
- December 26-29. December 27 is a field trip to Punch Bowl Social.
- January 2-4. January 4 is a field trip to Lincoln Park Skate Center for Minion Glow Skating. Bring your neon colors!
- Mid-Winter Break Camp
- February 18
- Spring Break Camp
- April 1-5
- Election Day Camp
- November 4
Overnight Camp at the Y offers a wide variety of outdoor adventures led by trained and experienced leaders who guide children and teenagers through unforgettable experiences. Expect new and fun activities that will not only build skills but great new friends and character values for life.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has two overnight resident camps, Camp Ohiyesa and Camp Nissokone. You can learn more about them on our Overnight Camps page.
About Y Camps
Safe, Licensed Programs
Safety is our motivation at the Y. We hold our programs to the very highest standards through internal assessments and external inspections. Many of our camps voluntarily fulfill with third party requirements and regulation, including state-licensing and/or ACA accreditation. This helps further ensure a safe, healthy and worthwhile camping experience.
Certified, Well-Trained Staff
Y counselors are dedicated to making sure camp is an amazing experience for every camper. Each “Professional Role Model” has the knowledge and training to make each moment of your camper’s summer fun and enriching. Our staff believes in developing youth through nurturing the potential of every camper.
Camper-Counselor Ratios at Camp
- 6 campers : 1 counselor for ages 3-5
- 8 campers : 1 counselor for ages 6-8
- 10 campers : 1 counselor for ages 9-11
- 12 campers : 1 counselor for ages 12-17
All Y staff meet the following criteria before joining our team:
- CPR certification
- First Aid certification
- Child Safe certification
- Background check
- Drug screen
Financial Assistance Available to Qualified Families
We work hard throughout the year so everyone can be a part of the Y. Our Annual Campaign makes financial assistance available for those who qualify. For more information or for application materials, please contact our Y.
Camp Okonoka FAQ
Q: What will campers do all day on Belle Isle?
A: Campers will participate supervised activities that teach core values, conflict resolution, leadership skills, social responsibility, and more. With plenty of extra space campers will also enjoy arts & crafts, sports, games, archery, songs, talent shows, dancing, character development, STEM, literacy, swimming, and team building activities.
Q: Why is it named “Camp Okonoka”?
A: The location of our camp on Belle Isle is right around the corner from Lake Okonoka (OH-CON-OH-KA). Lake Okonoka is a land made lake on Belle Isle that was formed in 1889.
Q: What building will camp use?
A: Camp will use Come Play Detroit’s fieldhouse (Recreation Field Dr. Detroit, MI 48207). We have exclusive use of the field house during camp hours (7am-6pm).
Q: Will there be air conditioning?
A: New this summer, Camp will have access to an air conditioned space on the island. This will mainly be used on extremely hot days or rainy days that camp is inside. However, on most hot days campers will always have the options of lots of shade, sprinklers, fun water activities like water balloons, and potentially an extra swimming day.
Q: Where do I park?
A: Parent parking is available in the two large lots next to the fieldhouse (Recreation Field Dr. Detroit, MI 48207). This is a huge benefit for being on the island; street parking and traffic is not an obstacle.
Q: Will I need to buy a State Park Pass?
A: Parents will not need to buy a State Park pass. The Michigan DNR (Department of Natural Resources) will allow all cars picking up or dropping off campers onto the island for free. Any visitation to the island will require a pass be purchased.
Q: Will there be clean bathrooms?
A: All campers will have access to clean bathrooms, the field house has both men’s and women’s bathrooms. They will be cleaned and restocked daily. There will also be additional porta-potties installed at the fieldhouse for campers use.
Q: Will campers swim?
A: Campers will swim twice a week at the beach on Belle Isle.
Q: What should my camper bring?
A: All campers should bring a backpack with two snacks, a water bottle, a towel, and a swimsuit to camp every day.
Q: Will there still be camp on the island when there are special events?
A: Camp will still run on the island even when there are special events such as the Grand Prix, Metro Youth Day, the fireworks, etc. The Grand Prix takes place on the west end of the island and should not significantly affect us. Our campers will be participating in Metro Youth Day and we’ll be sharing our fields with the event. For the fireworks, we work closely with the DNR to ensure that campers have a safe space away from crowds and parents have access on and off the island for pick up.
Q: Will campers be served lunch?
A: All campers will be provided a healthy USDA approved lunch free of charge through our partnership with Meet Up and Eat Up. A monthly menu will be posted for parents. If an alternative lunch if preferred, parents are welcome to pack a healthy lunch for their children (please leave soda, chips, and candy at home). To supplement the lunch being provided, we recommend packing -2 healthy snacks each day for your camper.
Q: What will camp do if it rains or storms?
A: In the event of heavy rain or storms, campers will take shelter in the pavilions around the island or inside the fieldhouse. If there is only light rain, campers may stay outside to finish their activity, packing a poncho or raincoat on days with predicted rain is recommended.
Q: Can I still get to camp if I use public transportation?
A: There is a public bus that stops right on the island and is only a short walk to where camp will be located. You can find the bus schedules at: http://www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/Locate-Transportation/Bus-Schedules.
Q: Will we get to see the inside of the field house before camp?
A: Our May open house will take place on Belle Isle. We will have the building open for families to see. Hopefully we will have a summer full of sun and will spend little time inside this summer!
Q: Will my camper be safe on Belle Isle?
A: Safety is always our number one priority and we are confident in camper safety at Belle Isle. All of our staff complete 40+ hours of training before summer starts. We are also working closely with the DNR, the Michigan State Police, Border Patrol and the Coast Guard all of whom have a presence on the island and are committed to camper safety.
Q: Will campers still go on field trips off the island?
A: Campers will go on one field trip each week.
Q: Will I be able to call the camp staff on the island?
A: Parents will be able to contact camp on the island at all times. A camp leadership staff member will have a phone on the island and contact information will be available to parents.
Q: Will I be able to sign up for camp, change my schedule or make payment when I’m dropping off to picking up my camper?
A: Parents will be able to add weeks or days to their campers schedule on site at Belle Isle. Payments with credit cards will also be accepted. We will not be accepting any cash, checks, money orders on site. If parents need to pay with anything other than a credit card, that payment will need to be made at the Boll YMCA’s front desk. Changes and cancellations must be done at the Boll Family YMCA.