Each year our community on Vancouver Island supports the YMCA-YWCA with charitable donations. These donations in turn are made available through Financial Assistance to families who demonstrate a financial need so all children may have a summer camp experience. Additionally each year there are opportunities for additional funding through generous lasting legacy gifts.

At the Y, we know that there are many challenges facing families today… don’t let camp be one of them.  Funding is available for those who are not unwilling but unable to pay the full camp fees. On occasion we are unable to provide funding due to the amount of funding available or your financial information provided to the Y.  In these situations, we can try to accommodate a more flexible payment plan for the full fees.

The YMCA-YWCA uses the Government Low Income Cut Offs (LICO) as a guide to ensure those families in the most need receive assistance, both the LICO and available funding from our Annual Campaign changes from year to year therefore reapplication is required. Please provide an accurate assessment of your financial information so we may fairly assess and award funding toward an experience at camp this upcoming summer.


The financial assistance application will open in early 2023, please check back for an exact date. Assistance, if approved, is available for the camp portion of fees, for 1 camp per camper.  We strongly encourage you to apply before registration opens.  All campers are also considered for the Summer Camp Legacy Funds, detailed below.
  1. Prepare your documents.
  2. Complete the online form – check back January 2023
  3. All applications will be considered for any opportunities for additional funding.
  4. Email registration@vancouverislandy.ca your supporting documents.  This is the responsibility of the applicant.  Your application will not be processed without this and we will not contact you to submit this information.
  5. Check your email for updates or confirmation of your application being processed.   Please respond in a timely fashion if more information is requested.

On occasion we are unable to provide funding due to the amount of funding available for the Y to provide or based on your financial information provided to the Y.  In these situations, we can try to accommodate a more flexible payment plan for the full fees.

Funding is available for residents of Vancouver Island (including the Gulf Islands).  If you require funding but live outside of this area contact a Y near you for assistance accessing their summer camp programs.


Every year, the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island has the privilege of distributing a number of private funds designated to assist children attending summer camp who need extra subsidy.

Peter McGill Memorial Endowment Fund

This Fund supports Leadership Development for youth under 18 years at Camp Thunderbird.  Peter McGill was a well respected teacher and mentor for 35 years with School District 61 and a long time Y member.

Mitch Pechet Memorial Fund

Established in 2009 by Mitch’s family and friends here at the Y.  Mitch’s association with the Y is legendary – he was a daily presence for almost 65 years – the last 40 of which were spent with the early birds at the Downtown Y. Mitch’s fund covers 100% of fees for one overnight camper in the Primary or Junior age group who is in most financial need.

Nicola Benn Scholarship Fund

Nicola was a beloved Counsellor at Camp Thunderbird who passed away at a very young age. Nicola grew up spending her summers as a camper at Camp Thunderbird and then worked as a camp staff member from 1985 – 1989.  There is a very special place at Camp Thunderbird known as Nicola Ridge in her honor.  This fund supports young campers to attend Camp Thunderbird every summer and share the outdoor experiences that Nicola loved.

Ken Currey Leadership Development Fund

This fund is in memory of a long time staff member  who was the Director of Development at the Vancouver Island Y. Ken had a fondness for Camp Thunderbird and Currey Corners at Camp is named after Ken.

Dorothy Hamilton Endowment Fund

Started in 2006 by her husband Don, the Dorothy Hamilton Endowment Fund supports campers in financial need at Camp Thunderbird. Dorothy was an active Y member, a dedicated runner, and a volunteer Board member for the Y who was very attached to the leadership programs at Camp Thunderbird.

Impact Story – Finding Joy at Camp

My son recently turned 13 and is now in grade seven. He has gone to the Y’s Camp Thunderbird for the last two summers and has significant learning disabilities. His dyslexia impacts everything he tries to do. From grades 4-6, he experienced severe bullying and was called stupid and dumb. He hated school.

During this time his father and I divorced. His dad was homeless, and I was back to work and trying to support a family after being a stay at home mom for 10 years. With all this happening, along with the death of his four year old cousin, my son became very sad. It was very difficult to watch. He missed his dad, I was working all the time, and I was grieving and tired too. As a single mom, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island.

Through the Y’s Annual Campaign, we received Financial Assistance the first summer to make Camp Thunderbird possible. My son went with one of his classmates and spent a week at camp. When I picked him up, he had more joy then I have ever seen. His counsellors described him as a generous, kind person who was a leader on the hikes and kayaks. He loved camp! He also built a bond with his classmate and now had an ally at school. At Camp Thunderbird, he felt as though he counted and was valued.
His brother is also dyslexic and struggles at school, and I cannot wait to have him attend Camp Thunderbird and feel the same joy in such a safe place, because that is truly what Camp Thunderbird is. It is a place where ALL children can be kids, get dirty, laugh and feel loved. It is a place where children are challenged and supported, and where they come to realize they are capable and good.

Receiving and sharing impact stories with our community is extremely important to the  YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island. Hearing the stories from families drives the work being done at the Y and reinforces how these valuable experiences can impact lives of individuals and families in our community.

Do you have a story of how the Y has impacted you or your family? Submit your story today.

Share Your Y Story

As you may know, the Y is a non-profit charitable organization that strives to build healthy communities. From infants to older adults, the Y can have a positive impact on the lives of its members. How has the Y helped you? We want to hear your Y story.
  • Please note: responses from this form are only accessible to Y senior management.


For information on financial assistance for your Outdoor Education booking please contact the Camp Manager by email at lferris@vancouverislandy.ca

Charitable registration #: 10822 5566 RR001

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