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As a father of two girls, Jared Dykstra was looking to get involved in a program where he could spend time with his daughters Paige, age 7 and Casey, age 9.

Adventure Guides is a YMCA program that lets parents and children participate in activities that set a foundation for positive, lifelong relationships.

Dykstra was attracted to the important values the program offers and likes that his daughters are building lifelong skills through the activities. “The core values we focus on in this program are family, nature, community and fun. On top of that though, during our activities the girls are provided with opportunities to demonstrate both independence and teamwork, which helps build their confidence and leadership skills. I think it’s important to lead by example and guide the girls. We want to show them they can do anything they put their minds to – even if that means, as an adult with a fear of heights, that you have to be the first one to jump out of a 55-foot high zip line tower.”

Dykstra’s daughters love spending time with their dad and friends. “It’s a good way to learn how to survive in the outdoors. The camps are super fun and packed with great activities for us and our dad. I also enjoy the community service events where we help people in need,” says Casey. Her sister Paige adds, “There are nice people, fun activities, a lot of teamwork and learning, and the camps are so amazing.”

Sage Hegdal, Executive Director at the Plymouth YMCA explains that all groups and families can be a part of the adventure, “Some of our dads have daughters and sons, so some of our groups are mixed-gender groups. Some groups are based on geographical location. We also have some moms who participate with their children, and all are welcome.” Participants help shape and influence our program so that Adventure Guides continues to evolve to meet the needs of our community.

Adventure Guides kicks off the season in September and monthly events are offered throughout the school year. Join us for a trip to Adventure Park in West Bloomfield, the fall campout at YMCA Camp Copneconic, packing food baskets for families in need, Family Fun Night at the Y, and a winter campout at YMCA Camp Mystic Lake.

To find out more information or to register for Adventure Guides contact Sage Hegdal at shegdal@ymcadetroit.org.