Adventure Guides

Adventure Guides

Friends Forever

Connecting with your kid, while they're still a kid

The Adventure Guides program launches dads* and their children—Kindergarten–grade 3—on a journey of discovery, with the child as the Explorer and the dad as the Guide. Adventure Guides encourages dads to bond with their child through group activities. The one-on-one time in a fun, special environment builds important bonds through shared experiences.

*We recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes. Any significant adult in a child’s life is invited to fill the role of Guide.

Compass Points

In Adventure Guides, fathers and children develop healthy relationships, gain a sense of belonging and learn the importance of giving back to the community through one-on-one interactions with other families and community service projects. At the heart of the program are the Compass Points, which give members a sense of direction and an inspiration for activities.

  • Family | Family is ‘true north’—the focal point of the program.
  • Nature | The natural world and the camping experience are integral parts of the program.
  • Community | The spirit of the program is experienced through belonging to a small community—the Circle.
  • Fun | Fun is the magic of the program.
Program Objectives

The program’s objectives, purpose and aims provide a foundation for the Adventure Guides program. Take time to memorize the following. In years to come, you’ll have many opportunities to recite them in meetings and ceremonies.

  • Foster friendship and understanding and set a foundation for positive, lifelong relationships between father and child.
  • Build a sense of self-esteem and personal worth.
  • Expand awareness of spirit, mind and body.
  • Provide a framework to meet a mutual need to spending enjoyable, constructive and quality time together.
  • Enhance the quality of family time.
  • Emphasize the vital role that fathers play in the growth and development of their children.
  • Offer an important and unique opportunity to develop and enjoy volunteer leadership skills.
Program Purpose and Aims

To foster understanding and friendship between father and child. Through this program, we aim

  • To be clean in body and pure in heart
  • To be friends forever with my dad/child
  • To love the sacred circle of my family 
  • To listen while others speak 
  • To love my neighbor as myself
  • To respect the traditions and beliefs of all people
  • To seek and preserve the beauty of Our Creator’s work in forest, field and stream
Program Structure

Guide and Explorer

Guide | Parent

Explorer | Child Kindergarten—grade 3

  • Guide and Explorer take on responsibilities which benefit their circle


Circle |  Group of 8–10 Guides and Explorers pairs

Circle Navigator | Parent leader and representative

  • Weekly or bi-weekly meetings
  • Monthly activities
  • Monthly parent meetings


Expedition | Group of Circles

Expedition Navigator | Parent leader and representative

  • Semi-annual meetings
  • Special events and gatherings
  • Semi-annual camp-outs


Federation | Group of Expeditions within a YMCA association—the father-son and father-daughter Expeditions together make up a Federation.

  • Expedition Navigators meet as a Federation to work on joint causes and collaborations
  • Federation within the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA

Additional Information

Program Leadership

The program is run by YMCA staff and program volunteers. Volunteers are recruited or elected by Circle members to assume these roles. There are Circle Officers, Expedition Officers and Federation Officers, each of which includes the following positions

  • Navigator
  • Compass Bearer
  • Log Keeper
  • Treasure Keeper
  • Naturalist
  • Scout
  • Elder
  • Outfitter
Program Rituals

Adventure Guides is based on rituals and traditions that bring a sense of continuity, community and magic to the program. These include those listed here and others, depending on your Y.

  • Program names
  • Circle/Expedition property
  • Awards
  • Rites of passage
  • Program attire
  • Ceremonies

Locations Offering Adventure Guides

Westside YMCA
Sherwood Regional Family YMCA


Please contact Melody Danner for more information at 503.862.4011 or email us at