Overnight Camp and Day Camp provide incredible opportunities for children to grow and thrive in a new environment, however it can present anxiety for parents who want their child to be safe, happy and comfortable.
We fully understand the questions that come up and the number of “what-if’s” that arise as you consider the adventure your camper is about to begin. We hope that the information here can help you feel better about camp, but if you have questions not answered below, please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to help you.
How to Contact Y Camp
Tips to Prevent Homesickness
Y Camp Staff
Zero Tolerance Policy
Trading Post Account
Check In/Out Information
What to Bring
What Not to Bring
Telephone Calls, Cell Phones, One-Way Email and Mail
Illness or Injury
Transfer or Cancel Session
National TTT Society Information
Address: 1192- 166th Drive, Boone, IA 50036
Y Camp Office 515-432-7558 (Office hours Monday- Friday 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.)
Y Camp Customer Service Cell 515-230-4042 (After office hours)
DAY CAMP ONLY:
Day Camp Boone Site Cell 515-443-2209
Day Camp Ames Site Cell 515-443-3111
A week at camp can be intimidating for both child and parent. Sometimes it is the first time that a child has been away overnight and can cause nervousness. Being a little nervous is perfectly normal and expected for every camper. Here are a few things to remember:
Camp is a growing experience and growth means change. The short-term uneasiness often creates opportunities for long-term growth.
A week at camp builds confidence and a new sense of independence. Your camper is gaining important personal skills through their new experiences.
Being familiar with camp helps; talk with experienced campers, visit camp and contact us with questions! You can also visit our YouTube page to see visual content from our summer camp programs.
Set your child up for success: don’t promise to rescue your child if they are homesick. Focus on providing positive support such as reminding them how proud you will be when they succeed. Campers who make up their minds to enjoy the week avert homesickness by seeking new friends and getting involved in camp activities.
Some campers feel guilty about leaving the family or pet behind. Assure your camper that you love them, that you will be happy thinking about the good experiences they are having, and that you’ll look forward to hearing about them after camp.
Please don’t suggest phone calls – these are extremely difficult to manage and campers should focus on having fun and participating, not on a phone call. If your camper is experiencing a significant difficulty, the Summer Camp Director will contact you to work on an action plan.
Y Camp staff are carefully screened and selected to ensure a safe environment and the highest quality experience for your camper. Each staff member participates in a week-long training, during which they learn safety awareness, camper relations and programming options. Y Camp staff are required to have current certifications in CPR, First Aid and AED. A selected few of our Y Camp Staff are trained in Mental Health First Aid. All Staff are mandatory reporters and we use a 6:1 camper to staff ratio; well below American Camp Association standards.
If any camper chooses to inappropriately tease, bully or physically confront another camper with the intent to cause harm, they will be expelled from camp by the discretion of the Summer Camp Director. Refunds will not be awarded to camp families for campers sent home for disciplinary reasons. Parents are responsible for transporting campers from camp and are expected to respond in a timely fashion.
Y Camp staff are trained to deal with inappropriate behavior in a constructive, safe and non-degrading fashion. Campers will be held responsible for their actions in a positive manner. Y Camp reserves the right to send a camper home at the parent’s expense if the camper’s behavior consistently takes away from the experience of others or endangers their safety. A camper will immediately be sent home for incidences concerning violence or threats of violence. Again, parents are responsible for transporting campers from camp and are expected to respond in a timely fashion.
Y Camp is Nationally Accredited by the American Camp Association on over 350 standards of safety and program excellence. Y Camp understands the first priority for all campers and staff is safety because without that, no one gains the benefits of everything else camp has to offer. For more information, visit the ACA website.
Sleep Away Camp- a $50 non-refundable deposit is required per session, per child.
Day Camp- A $20 non-refundable deposit is required per session, per child.
Full payment will be required prior to your camper's arrival at camp. Simply go to the Registration Site and sign in with your email address and password. You may make payments using the Return to Pay feature as often as you like as well as view and download your account statement.
Sleep Away Camp:
A Welcome Email will be sent (approximately) one week before check-in day with detailed information for your camper(s)! Please watch your inbox for your email.
**Check-In procedures may change. To be determined**
When you arrive at camp, staff will greet and direct you to the parking area. After you park, leave your belongings in your car. You will go to Pioneer Center for check-in. After you are checked-in you will return to your car and drive to your cabin.
During the check-in process, families will be able to talk to the Executive Director, the Summer Camps Director, Program Director and the Camp Nurse. Campers will receive a head check for lice, a COVID-19 symptoms screening, and be able to deposit money into their camp store account if they have not done so already.
Week-Long Session Sunday 2:00 – 5:00pm
Week Long Session Check-In is split up by Last Name to ensure shorter wait times and higher efficiency. (A-M 2:00 - 3:30pm) (N-Z 3:30 - 5:00pm)
Your Check-In time is very important! Do not arrive early, our Y Camp Leaders will be busy preparing for your campers’ arrival. Any early arrivals will be asked to wait until Check-In begins.
Mini Camp Sessions:
Mini Camp A Sunday 3:00 – 5:00pm
Mini Camp B Wednesday 3:00 – 5:00pm
Week-Long Session Saturday 9:00am
Mini Camp A Wednesday 9:00am
Mini Camp B Saturday 9:00am
Beginning at 9:00am Saturday Y Camp holds a closing program including songs, an explanation of the from the Camp Director team.
To check out campers you will need to be listed on the Camper Confidential Form under Authorized Persons Allowed to Check In and Out my Camper and you MUST show a photo ID for the safety of the campers. All campers must be checked-in and checked-out. Please visit the camp office if you are dropping off or picking up your camper outside of scheduled times.
Campers can check- in and check- out at one of three locations:
Boone: Herman Park, 621 South Green Street
Check- in 7:30 a.m.- 8:15 a.m.
Check- out 4:25 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Ames: Lloyd Kurts Park, 3710 Hyde Ave
Check- in 7:30 a.m.- 8:00 a.m.
Check- out 4:45 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Y Camp Office: Pioneer Center, 1192- 166th Drive
Y Camp Office: 515-432-7558
Check- in 8:00 a.m.- 8:30 a.m.
Check- out 4:00 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.
To check out campers you will need to be listed on the Camper Confidential Form under Authorized Persons Allowed to Check In and Out my Camper and you MUST show a photo ID for the safety of the campers.
You may deposit money into your camper's trading post account during Step 3 of the online registration process. If you'd like to add money after you've registered please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515.432.7558. You will also have the option to deposit money on check in day.
The Trading Post is open for campers every day. Items for sale consist of snacks and camp merchandise. All unspent money is returned to the camper prior to checking out. Your child will not be permitted to spend over their account credit, so please deposit enough for their needs. On average, Sleep Away campers have between $30 and $50 in their account; Day Campers between $10- $15 weekly. Prices range from $1 for snacks and soda, $2 for candy to $15 for t-shirts, or more for a sweatshirt. Personal items such as soap or toothpaste are available to campers that need them.
A common question among parents sending their children to camp is: “what should I send with them?” The first thing to remember is: Y Camp is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items. If it’s too precious or expensive to lose, please find an alternative item or avoid packing it. Labeling items you do send can help too! The second thing to remember is that, while we provide clean and comfortable accommodations, camp can be dirty! Mud, sand and sweat will come home on most articles of clothing, footwear, etc. Prepare for those elements when packing at the start of the week. Here is a short list of suggested items:
Sleep Away Camp and Day Camp:
Face Mask- Optional! If you prefer your camper to wear a mask feel free to send a few along.
Book – Y Camp encourages reading, so bringing a great book to enjoy during down-time can help with summer learning and improving literacy.
Water bottle- Keeping hydrated is a top priority! All campers are required to have a water bottle.
Swim wear – For all those trips to the pool! Campers will stop at the pool at least once a day. Please be conscientious of the swim suits that are brought to camp. We ask that females wear one piece suits or tankini’s and refrain from bringing two piece suits. For Males please refrain from Speedo type suits.
Towels – Always good to stay dry.
Jeans/Long Pants – Your camper will need their legs covered to go horseback riding.
Sunscreen – While camp has back-up bottles, you know your campers skin-care needs. Sending your own bottle is a good plan.
Bug Spray – To deet or not to deet? Another personal choice, as chemicals like bug spray can irritate both mosquitoes and your camper’s skin. Send the spray you use at home. Camp has back-up spray that does not contain deet.
Disposable Camera – It’s a great way to remember camp and keep the memories with you!
Multiple pair of shoes – Camp can be dirty and it can be nice to have dry shoes to change into. (Please do not pack Flip-Flops, as they can be hazardous around camp.) Closed toe shoes will be required for horseback riding.
Day Campers will need to bring a backpack daily to keep these items in.
Additional items for Sleep Away Campers:
Personal Care Items – Toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, etc. are all suggested for hygiene and cleanliness.
Clothes for All Weather – Some mornings and evenings can be brisk and a sweatshirt or jacket can be a good idea.
Bedding- Sleeping Bag and Pillow – Sheets can be nice, but can also be a hassle. Camp beds have twin mattresses but not sheets or blankets. Sending a sleeping bag is a great way to keep warm and it’s an easy option. (Reminder: Camp’s cabins are air-conditioned- except Treehouses).
Flashlight – It can get dark at night at camp! Pack a hand-held light to help avoid bumps and bruises.
Some items will be taken and stored safely until Check-Out. Other prohibited items will require a phone call to parents or result in the dismissal of a camper from camp. DO NOT BRING candy/food, electronics (handheld games, iPods, cell phones, etc.), cash, knives or other weapons, fireworks, alcohol/tobacco products or illegal substances, personal sports equipment, animals, flip flops or lighters.
Y Camp restricts telephone use at camp for two reasons:
The number of camp phones is limited
Homesickness often increases after speaking with a family member
Parents are encouraged to call in case of an emergency. To communicate with your camper, please use our email service or send a letter. This is important to fostering a sense of independence and confidence in the camper.
Cell Phones should be left at home. First, Y Camp holds no responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged electronic items and cell phones easily fall into all three of those categories. Cell phones can also take away from the camp experience and can be a distraction. If Y Camp finds a camper in possession of a cell phone, we will place it in our safe until Check-Out.
One-Way Email for Sleep Away Campers only- option is available for parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. Simply visit the email site here. Emails are printed Monday through Friday at 3:30 p.m. and delivered at dinner.
Mail for Sleep Away Campers only- we recommend writing letters ahead of time and giving them to staff at camper check-in. Staff will deliver them to your camper throughout the week. If you use the U.S. Postal Service, allow three or more days for mail to arrive. Address format to follow: Y Camp, C/O Camper's Name, 1192- 166th Drive, Boone, IA 50036
In the event your child becomes ill or injured while at camp in a manner that requires a stay in the Good Health Center or need further attention by the Health Care Provider the child’s parents will be contacted.
To avoid overheating and dehydration during the week, water bottles are mandatory at Y camp. Campers are welcome to bring one from home or purchase one from the Y Camp store. Dehydration is a serious matter! Help us prevent heat related illness. If your child has special needs that require specific attention, please notify Y Camp. We will make all reasonable attempts to accommodate those needs, however, our staff is not trained to handle all medical or psychological needs.
All medications (including any over-the-counter or “as-needed” medications) must be turned into the Y Camp Health Care Provider during check-in for Sleep Away campers. Day Campers will check- in medications with the Leader at the check- in site.
All medications must come in their original bottles or packages. Prescription medications must contain original prescription information. We encourage families to include only enough doses for the week.
Medications are only distributed during meal times (8:00am, 12:30pm and 6:00pm) and bedtime (9:30pm).
Sleep Away Camp specific:
Upon arrival at camp parents will be asked to fill out a short screening form detailing the general health of camper. Please be honest when answering, as the health and well-being of camper is foremost on our list of priorities. Screening forms are reviewed by Y Camp’s Health Care Provider. Anything abnormal will be addressed privately with a camper’s family, and in some cases a camper may be asked to attend alternate weeks.
If your camper presents with any COVID-19 symptoms or is feeling ill, you will need to get your camper tested before arriving at camp. If your camper is ill do not attend.
Every camper must have an up-to-date immunization record on file at the time of check-in. These records are required to ensure that all Y Camp participants are properly protected from the diseases tetanus, mumps, measles, rubella, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria. The only exemptions from immunization requirements are for biophysical reasons (e.g., the individual is allergic to a serum component) or personal faith. All participants must complete an “Immunization Exemption” form if they are not immunized.
Sleep Away Camp specific:
At Check-In, Y Staff will perform a head lice check. This check is necessary to avoid an outbreak at camp. If lice are found, the camper will be sent home for treatment. Campers are welcome to return 24 hours later for another check. Campers will not be admitted without a clear scalp examination.
Sleep Away Camp specific:
Bed bugs have made a resurgence recently, especially in the hospitality industry. Camp is included in this category and needs your help to prevent visits from these pests. As a human issue, bed bugs can be brought into camp at any time by any guest. Our staff are well trained in detection and response and Y Camp has procedures in place in case the pests are brought in. Please help us out by following these tips:
Wash and dry (on high heat) all items you are sending to Y Camp prior to packing your camper’s bag.
If you are concerned that you have an infestation, contact Y Camp to work through how best to prepare your gear and how Y Camp can help make sure the pests don’t come with your camper.
When your camper returns home, leave their bags outside until everything in them can be washed and dried on high heat.
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about bed bugs. Having bed bugs doesn’t mean you are dirty or unsanitary – it means you had the bad luck of coming in contact with them. More awareness and information is key in helping Y Camp in the fight against bed bugs.
For more information on bed bugs visit:
The Des Moines Y Camp strives to make camp affordable for all. Through the generous donations of Y members, community members and local businesses we are able to offer Financial Assistance to individuals and families at all income levels to make our programs accessible to all. To fill out an application and view our policy please click here.
To transfer to another session please contact the Y Camp at email@example.com for availability. There is no fee to transfer sessions.
If you need to cancel please contact the Y Camp at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be refunded to the card on file less the non-refundable deposit.
The information listed below is specifically for National TTT Society campers.
**All communication regarding TTT Campers will be communicated between TTT Members and Y Camp. If a parent/guardian needs to contact Y Camp or their camper they will need to contact their local TTT Member/Chapter and they will contact Y Camp**
All fees are paid in full by your local TTT Chapter.
TTT Chapters will deposit money into the camper’s trading post account at check-in.
Members of your local TTT Chapter will arrange to pick up your camper and drive them to camp. Check in on Sunday is between 2:00pm- 5:00 pm. When you arrive at camp, staff will greet and direct you to the parking area. After you park, leave your belongings in your car. You will go to Pioneer Center for check-in. After you are checked-in you will return to your car and drive to your cabin.
TTT Members and campers will be able to talk to the Executive Director, the Summer Camps Director, National TTT Society Members and the Camp Nurse. Campers will receive a head check for lice, a COVID-19 symptoms screening and a TTT t-shirt. TTT Members and campers will then be directed to park their vehicles near their camper’s cabin. Once there, they will bring their camper and belongings to the cabin to move in and meet the cabin Leaders.
Beginning at 9:00am Saturday Y Camp holds a closing program including songs, an explanation of the from the Camp Director team.
To check out campers TTT Members will need to be listed on the online TTT Camper Confidential Form under Authorized Persons- TTT Members ONLY. TTT Members MUST show a photo ID for the safety of the campers.
TTT Members will then deliver campers back home.
National TTT Society campers do not need to bring anything from home. Everything they need is provided by your local chapter.
As a reminder: Some items will be taken and stored safely until Check-Out. Other prohibited items will require a phone call to the TTT Members and possibly result in the dismissal of a camper from camp. DO NOT BRING candy/food, electronics (handheld games, iPods, cell phones, etc.), cash, knives or other weapons, fireworks, alcohol/tobacco products or illegal substances, personal sports equipment, animals, flip flops or lighters.
In the event your child becomes ill or injured while at camp in a manner that requires a stay in the Good Health Center or need further attention by the Health Care Provider the TTT Member will be contacted. The TTT Member will then contact the child’s parents.
To avoid overheating and dehydration during the week, water bottles are mandatory at Y camp. Local TTT Chapters provide a water bottle for the campers. Dehydration is a serious matter! Help us prevent heat related illness. If your child has special needs that require specific attention, please notify Y Camp. We will make all reasonable attempts to accommodate those needs, however, our staff is not trained to handle all medical or psychological needs.
Upon arrival at TTT Members will be asked to fill out a short screening form detailing the general health of camper. The camper may complete this form or the TTT Member may ask the camper the questions and complete the form themselves. Screening forms are reviewed by Y Camp’s Health Care Provider.
Every camper must have an up-to-date immunization record on file at the time of check-in. This information is completed on the online Medical Form. These records are required to ensure that all Y Camp participants are properly protected from the diseases tetanus, mumps, measles, rubella, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria. The only exemptions from immunization requirements are for biophysical reasons (e.g., the individual is allergic to a serum component) or personal faith. All participants must complete an “Immunization Exemption” form if they are not immunized.
For information on the following please click the link: