The Y Outdoor Centre, home of Camp Thunderbird, is nestled in the Sooke Foothills and has provided outdoor experiences for children and youth since 1935. Our mission is to work together to enhance individual and community potential through participation, learning and leadership. At the Y Outdoor Centre we believe that high-quality mentorship, small group experiences, time spent being physically active in natural spaces, democratic group living and community service are key elements in the healthy growth and development of young people. We can accommodate groups of up to 220 in our Outdoor Education season, and each summer we welcome approximately 800 camp participants.

Studies and numerous published books have shown the benefits of spending times outdoors and in nature for the healthy growth and development of children and youth. These benefits include better outcomes for physical and mental health.  We provide opportunities for young people to challenge themselves, build their self awareness, social skills, take a break from technology and reconnect with themselves, others and the natural environment.

Risk Awareness

The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island Outdoor Centre and Camp Thunderbird is committed to providing quality outdoor experiences that support healthy growth and development of young people.  We invest significant resources to create programs that provide these benefits to our participants without exposing them to unacceptable hazards.

Participants and their families should be aware of the risks involved in participating in camp programs and accept that by participating they are taking those risks. Please take the time to review this summary of risks and our risk management approach. Risks will vary for each program, so we ask that you also take the time to review the information provided about each program.

YMCA-YWCA Outdoor Centre and Camp Thunderbird Risk Awareness

Camp Thunderbird Alumni

Want to stay connected and informed about Camp Thunderbird news and events. Register as an Alumni today!


Thunderbird staff members are the best in the business, with the perfect blend of training, enthusiasm, care and certification. They will ensure that your camper/student has the experience of a lifetime!


Peter Carson (Hemlock), our Summer Camp Program Manager, has worked at the Y for over 13 years in both Camping and Child Care programs and has a passion for introducing kids to the natural environment. His experience in Camping has come both from 11 years of service here at Camp Thunderbird where he worked as a counsellor, Sea Kayak Guide, Out Trip Program Coordinator and Summer Camp Program Coordinator. Recently, Peter spent two years with the Calgary YMCA’s Camp Chief Hector as their Outdoor Schools Manager. Peter is a Lead Sea Kayak guide, Level Two Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Instructor and instructor with the Outdoor Council of Canada. He has paddled most of the BC coast from as far North as Prince Rupert to right here on Vancouver Island, most often, with groups of kids.


hanaHana Kucera (Juniper) joined Camp Thunderbird in 2014 as Program Manager. Hana has been teaching and working with children and youth for over 15 years. She has a background in nature-based immersion education for children, youth and adults and came most recently from the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre where she taught undergraduate courses and engaged youth in hands-on marine science education. Hana holds a PhD in marine biology and has conducted field work in remote areas of BC and the maritimes. During her PhD, Hana founded the University of New Brunswick outreach chapter of Let’s Talk Science. Hana enjoys spending her spare time looking for and identifying mushrooms, trees, and birds, improving her rock climbing skills, and travelling to wild places.



Fiona Hough (Otter) is filling in during the 2016/2017 school year as the Outdoor Education Program Manager while Hana Kucera is on maternity leave.  She has been working in the field of Adventure and Outdoor Experiential Education since 1989, including 19 years as an Instructor, Course Director and Program Director for Outward Bound Canada. Fiona is a certified teacher with the BCCT and holds degrees in Education from Queen’s University and UBC, as well as Geography and Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism from Lakehead University. She has taught and supervised secondary school Outdoor Integrated Curriculum programs in Ontario and Quebec and has a strong belief in the power of immersive community based outdoor experiential programs for academic engagement and social development. A certified Paddle Canada Advanced Instructor Trainer, sea kayak guide, guide trainer and 4 season outdoor enthusiast Fiona can be found in her spare time out exploring BC’s coastlines, mountains and rivers.

Luke Ferris (Chinook)Luke, our General Manager, has been a part of Camp Thunderbird since 1994 when he started as a summer camp counselor in the Explorer section. As the father of two boys who have grown up going to camp, Luke has first hand experience with what it’s like to be a camp parent and a rich understanding of the growth and development that takes place in these programs. Luke’s post secondary education includes Kinesiology at the University of Calgary and Civil Engineering at Camosun College. He served as President of the BC Camping Association in 2012 and 2013 and continues to serve the greater camping community as an accreditation inspector for BC camps. In his spare time, Luke is an avid hiker, mountain biker, back-country skier and rock climber. He believes strongly in the importance of human-powered, outdoor activity for healthy development in people of all ages.

Program Coordinators and Team Leaders round out the senior staff, providing support, direction, enthusiasm and leadership in all aspects of camp life.

Volunteer doctors and nurses live on-site during July and August.

In our summer programs, two counsellors stay in each cabin with eight campers. They provide around-the-clock care and guide each camper’s experience. By acting as role models, they demonstrate respect for others, themselves and for the environment. Specialized program areas are coordinated and facilitated by the program team. Their job is to provide quality, safety, excitement and challenge in all Thunderbird programs.

In our Outdoor Education programs, one instructor teaches a variety of programs for a group of students (9-14 individuals). In these programs, parent volunteers and teachers play a critical role for supervising and caring for the children at camp. These adults participate in activities and sleep in the same cabins as the children/youth.

Counseling and program staff hold Standard First Aid, CPR “C” and Bronze Cross certifications, go through a Criminal Record Check process and attend extensive training before their work begins and on a continual basis. Many staff have guiding certifications, advanced first aid and advanced lifeguarding qualifications as well.

Camp Thunderbird
5040 Glinz Lake Road
Sooke, BC V9Z 0E3
T: 250.642.3136
F: 250.642.3980

Camp Thunderbird is located 3km along Glinz Lake Road at the top of the hill.

Registration Services
851 Broughton St.
Victoria BC, V8W 1E5
T: 250.386.7511
F: 250.380.1933

Ready to sign up?