YMCA OF COLUMBIA-WILLAMETTE

FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
FOR HEALTHY LIVING
FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

YMCA Camp Collins

3001 SE Oxbow Parkway, Gresham, OR 97080

YMCA Camp Collins FAQ

YMCA Camp Collins FAQs

How do I know if my child is ready to stay overnight?

Children are ready to attend overnight camp at different ages. A great resource for parents is the American Camp Association website. Our Summer Program Director will be happy to speak with you about whether YMCA Camp Collins’ summer programs will be a good fit for your child. To discuss this further, contact us at 503.405.1435.

What is your cancellation policy?

A required nonrefundable $50 deposit is required per camper/per session at the time of registration. The remaining balance of the camp fee is due in full no later than June 1. A space will not be held past June 1 without full payment. If registered after June 1, full payment is required to complete your camper’s registration. After June 1, 50% of the total camp fee is refundable 3 weeks prior to the start of your child’s session. Transferring your child to another session of camp is allowed provided space is available and a written request is received at least 3 weeks prior to the start of their original session. No refunds are given if a child leaves camp early for any reason, drops within 3 weeks of their session start date, or does not show up on the first day of camp.

How long does my child stay at camp?

Overnight campers arrive on Sunday afternoon and leave on Saturday morning. There are half-week overnight sessions, Sunday–Wednesday or Wednesday–Saturday, available for campers entering second–fourth grade during Session 3 and 7. Day campers arrive at camp each morning and leave each afternoon, Monday–Friday.

How old does my child need to be to attend camp?

Day Campers must be entering grade one to participate. Overnight Campers must be entering grade two.

May I tour the site before sending my child to summer camp?

We strongly encourage your family to visit our site before your child’s camp session. We host two Spring Open Houses for families to meet camp staff and take a tour. Checkout our Facebook Page for event details. We are able to give tours during office hours on the weekdays, please call ahead at 503.663.5813 to make tour arrangements.

Do YMCA members get a discount?

No, we try to keep our prices affordable for both members and non-members by offering a three-tier rate structure. This option allows families to choose the rate that best fits into their budget.

What is the ratio of staff to campers?

In the cabins there are 10 campers and two staff (a 5:1 ratio). During the day, cabin groups travel together to activity areas during the day with their cabin counselor where one or more program staff will also be present.

What kind of experience does the summer staff have working with children?

Many of Camp Collins’ staff members return for multiple summers and our new staff members have experience working at outdoor school programs, other camps, or childcare sites. At the beginning of each summer, staff members attend a weeklong intensive training and orientation that helps prepare them to work with your child and his or her cabin group. All of our staff members go through a comprehensive hiring process that includes a multi-state background check.

Is Camp Collins prepared to give attention to my child who has special needs?

We strive to be inclusive; however, our program may not be right for all campers. To speak in depth about whether our summer programs will be a good fit for your child’s specific needs, please call 503.405.1435 and speak to our Summer Program Director.

What does my child need to bring to camp?

Once your child is registered for camp, your family will receive a link to our Parent Handbook. It includes ideas of how to help them be successful, what to pack, and other useful information. Please view a copy of our Parent Handbook for more information.

Can my child and their best friend be put in the same cabin?

Yes, as long as your child’s friend is of the same gender, within one year of age and in the same unit (Pioneer, Explorer, or Questor). Please request only one cabin mate for your child. Camp is the perfect place to meet new friends! Questor cabin mate requests are not guaranteed due to specialty assignments. We do our best to honor cabin mate requests, however, they are not guaranteed.

What are the sleeping arrangements at Camp?

Units have a capacity for 60 campers (30 male / 30 female) in their respective cabins. To make camp accessible to more campers we utilize yurts, which are round canvas living spaces that exist in Rotary Village (Explorers) and Treetops Village (Questors) that extend each unit’s capacity to 70-80 campers. Cabin placement is on a first come first serve basis and placement in a cabin in not guaranteed. The only exceptions exist when trying to honor cabin mate requests and/or Questor specialty requests.

We do our best to honor “cabin mate requests” however, they are not guaranteed. We have learned from experience that placing three or more requested campers together tends to negatively impact cabin dynamics. Therefore, campers may mutually request one person only, within one year of the camper’s age, on their registration forms. Questor cabins are assigned by specialty in addition to cabin mate requests. Due to the schedule of running the specific programs campers in morning specialties follow a different schedule than those in an afternoon specialty. For example, if Aquatics meets in the morning and Wilderness Living Skills meets in the afternoon these campers will not be placed in the same cabin. Camp will work to have sleeping arraignment assigned by the Thursday before the start of the session.

Is there transportation to and from camp?

Every morning and evening, Day Campers will be transported in and out of camp from predetermined sites in Gresham, Clackamas, and NE Portland. This service is included in the Day Camp fee. There is no transportation provided for Overnight Camp.

What time do I drop off and pick up my child from Overnight Camp?

Check-in on Sunday* is staggered because of limited parking. Please follow this schedule based on the camper's last name. Camp is not ready to accept campers earlier than 2:00 PM. Check out for all camps is closed at 10:30 AM.

Sunday
2 PM A – F
2:20 PM G – L
2:40 PM M – R
3 PM S – Z
*For Pioneer Mini campers starting a session on Wednesday (3b and 7b), check in is from 2 PM–2:30 PM.

Check out on Saturday* is also staggered according to the camper's last name.
Saturday
9:30 AM S – Z
9:45 AM A – H
10:00 AM I – R
*Pioneer Mini campers end a session on Wednesday (3a and 7a), check out is from 10 AM.

What time do I drop off and pick up my child from Day Camp?

When bringing your Day Camper directly to Camp Collins check in will begin at 8:30 AM and activities will start at 9 AM. Check out from Camp Collins will start at 4:30 PM and supervision at camp will end at 5 PM. When using one of the three transportation sites follow this schedule:

NE Portland – Alameda Elementary
7:30 AM – Supervision begins
8 AM – Departs for camp
5:45 PM – Returns to site
6 PM – Supervision ends

Gresham – East Hill Family Church
7:30 AM – Supervision begins
8:30 AM – Departs for camp
5 PM – Returns to site
6 PM – Supervision ends

Clackamas – Sunnyside Elementary School
7:30 AM – Supervision begins
8 AM – Departs for camp
5 PM – Returns to site
6 PM – Supervision ends

What if my child is taking prescription medicine?

YMCA Camp Collins has a Health Officer in residence that administers medications and provides limited health care to our campers. All of our summer camp staff are also First Aid and CPR certified.

What are the specifics of the CIT sessions?

Three week sessions

CITs spend the first two weeks of camp building a team and working together with experienced camp staff to learn the necessary aspects of camp counseling and youth development. During this time they will take field trips to other camps in the region to gain a broader perspective of camping programs. The three week session also includes an American Red Cross Adult and Child CPR and First Aid course for which CITs will have the chance to receive this 2 year certification. This is a valuable certification that is required of employees within most youth serving organizations.

The three week session will also feature a lesson planning workshop where CITs will learn how to create camp activity lesson plans to include safety considerations, equipment and age appropriateness. CITs will then practice the art of facilitation and giving clear instructions as they implement their activities with campers.

Two week sessions

CIT's will spend the first week of camp building a team and working together with experienced camp staff to learn the necessary aspects of camp counseling and youth development. 

During the CIT's last week—at both the three week and two week sessions—they have the opportunity to practice their skills in a cabin as an assistant counselor. Beside a senior staff member, CIT's will help lead younger campers through exciting camp activities. They will receive support, coaching and verbal and written feedback through evaluations from camp staff and the CIT Coordinators.

Will my camper have a chance to do laundry?

Only campers participating in our multi-week programs such as Teen Camp and CITs will have an opportunity to do laundry at camp.

What are Questor Specialties?

Questors are the oldest of the overnight campers, focusing on skills such as role modeling, making positive choices and taking personal responsibility. Questors choose a program area of focus for the week called "specialty." Questors spend 2–3 hours a day in their specialty and the remainder of the week enjoy traditional camp activities. We do our best to assign each Questor their first or second choice specialty.

  • Aquatics—basic lifeguard skills, raft down the Sandy River and enjoy a variety of pool activities.
  • Challenge Course—learn basic knot tying, facilitation and belaying from certified staff. 
  • Horseback Riding—learn basic Western riding skills, tack, grooming and other related equestrian skills. 
  • Archery—learn the basics in range safety as well as parts of the bow and arrow.
  • Wilderness Living Skills—learn fire-building, orienteering and shelter building using the natural environment of camp. 
  • Performing Arts—learn acting techniques, improvisation games and other skills all culminating in a short performance at our Friday night campfire.
  • Mountain Biking—learn basic riding skills, maintenance and bike safety. Led by qualified staff, biking specialty campers explore the trails of Oxbow Regional Park and enjoy a long trail ride off camp.
Can I email my camper? 

Yes, you can send your camper an email while they are away. Camper emails are printed by the office staff and delivered to the camper during the summer sessions. Emails sent after 11 AM will be delivered the next day. Campers do not have computer access to return emails. Please do not include images in your email.