For the latest update on the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island’s response to COVID-19 as it relates to Camp Thunderbird and the Y Outdoor Centre click here.


We know sending your child to camp can generate a lot of questions.  Take a few moments to read through the information below.  Still have a question give us a call or email we are happy to help!

Camper Care

Camper wellness is critical to a rewarding experience at camp. Here are some of the things we do to make sure our campers are physically and emotionally safe.

Medical Staff Program
Each week during the summer a doctor or nurse live at camp with their family. Our medical staff support our counselors and supervisory staff in identifying and treating camper illnesses or injuries.

Safety Standards
All Camp Thunderbird programs are run according to the British Columbia Camping Association safety accreditation standards. There standards apply to staff, equipment and procedures.

First Aid Training
All Camp Thunderbird counselors are trained in Standard First Aid and CPR C and each cabin counseling team carries a well stocked first aid kits at all times. All of our multi-day off site outtrips are lead by a staff member certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Camper Medications
All camper medications brought to camp are checked in with our Wellness Coordinator. Medication taken on a regular basis is kept with a supervisor and given at appropriate times. Emergency medications such as inhalers or epinephrine injections are kept either with the camper, or in staff first aid kits that stay with the group. Any time a medication is given the staff and camper initial a tracking form so there is a clear record of the medication being given.

Over the Counter Medications
Camp Thunderbird stocks basic over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antihistamines, cough syrup, throat lozenges, and upset stomach relief medications. We encourage families not to send these medications to camp with their campers. We will always do our best to make contact with guardians to get permission before administering medications, however if we are unable to make contact our manager may decide to administer the medication under the advice of our medical staff.

Wellness Centre
Camp Thunderbird’s wellness centre has three beds, a three-piece bathroom and living quarters for staff to stay in. If a camper is sick for a short duration they can rest in the wellness centre and are cared for by a staff member who is always nearby. If a camper is sick for a longer period we may ask that they be brought home to recover.

Challenge by Choice
Camp Thunderbird operates on a challenge by choice philosophy. Our campers learn and grow by trying things that may be new, challenging or even a little intimidating. Achieving something they didn’t think they could do can be immensely rewarding. However we never want a camper to be out of their comfort zone. All challenges at Camp Thunderbird are optional and the decision of how far they want to push themselves is in the hands of the campers.

Camp Thunderbird does not tolerate bullying; all Thunderbird counselors are required to report any incidences of bullying to their supervisor so they can help ensure it is dealt with properly. If bullying does occur we engage all campers involved in working to make sure it does not happen again.

A lot of campers get homesick, especially their first time at camp. We train our staff on how to help campers with homesickness and most of the time it can be overcome quite easily. Many campers leave camp very proud of how well they have overcome their homesickness. If a camper is repeatedly or seriously homesick we will contact the parents to let them know and seek their advice in helping the camper through it.

Contacting My Camper


We use a summer camp email service called Bunk1. It provides free contact with campers (called bunk notes) on a limited basis, and the option to purchase extra bunk notes for families wishing to have more regular contact. We will post a link on our website in June 2020 with the Bunk1 access code on it.

Bunk Notes are printed once per day, at 11:00am and distributed at breakfast, lunch or dinner within 24 hours. Campers do not receive bunk notes while on out-trip. Bunk Notes sent after 11am on the last Thursday of the program will not reach the camper before they leave.

Bunk1 is a 3rd party service that we use. Bunk1 is a reliable service that is quick and easy to distribute. All families receive at least one free bunk note per child, per week of camp. Bunk1 is a for-profit venture, and they charge for any additional bunk notes at a cost of $1.00 per note. 50% of all profits from bunk notes sent to Camp Thunderbird campers are donated to the Strong Kids Campaign, which helps send kids to Camp Thunderbird programs who otherwise could not afford it.

Regular Mail

Thunderbird’s Mailing Address:
Camper Name and section (Explorer, Pioneer, etc.)
c/o Camp Thunderbird
5040 Glinz Lake Rd
Sooke, BC V9Z 0E3

Sending a letter before your child arrives at camp ensures that they receive a letter during their stay. A letter from home can be a wonderful treat if it is positive and light-hearted. If you get an unhappy letter from your child, don’t panic. It’s likely whatever made them unhappy when they wrote the letter has long since been forgotten, or it has been addressed by your camper’s counsellor or another camp staff. If you have a concern, please call.


No phone is available for campers to regularly make or receive calls while at camp. If you would like to speak with the Summer Program Manager for any reason, please feel free to phone the Y Outdoor Centre.

Camp Meals

Camp Thunderbird’s kitchen strives to meet a balance between taste, nutrition, the right portions, dietary needs and food that will be enjoyed by kids and adults.

Dietary Needs (Day camp sleepover and overnight camp)

Camp Thunderbird’s kitchen can accommodate most dietary needs and allergies. At any given time our kitchen typically prepares, in addition to our regular menu, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant and Celiac-friendly menus. We do not use nut products in our kitchen. Dietary needs and/or allergies information may be provided during registration.

A typical day of food in the dining hall 

Cabin groups sit at a round table together and eat family style. Food is served in large serving dishes and campers control what goes on their plate (and in meals like sandwiches, what fillings they use). Counselors monitor what campers are eating to ensure they are getting the right amount of food.

Here are a few examples of food that is served in the dining hall on a regular basis:

8:30am Breakfast
all breakfasts are accompanied by a buffet with hot and cold cereal, yogurt and fruit, as well as juice
French Toast
Scrambled Eggs and Hashbrowns
Scrambled Eggs and English Muffins

12:30pm Lunch
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Homemade Vegetable Soup
Hamburgers with Homemade Vegetable Soup
Macaroni and Cheese with Carrot and Celery Sticks
Beef Burritos (with lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa)

5:30pm Dinner
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread and Caesar Salad
Baked Chicken Breast, Rice and Peas
Baked Ham, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Lasagna and Dinner Rolls
Beef and Bean Chili with Corn Bread

Evening Snacks
Homemade Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Granola Bars

Camp Thunderbird’s Quest camps have Outtrips that are 2 to 14 days long and may be hiking or paddling trips. The type of trip dictates how much weight you can carry and how much preparation time a meal can take. Meals can vary from quickly cooking some dried ingredients to elaborately prepared meals with lots of fresh ingredients. Here are a few examples of what food might look like on outtrip.

Cream of Wheat
Breakfast Burritos

Bagels/tortillas or crackers with toppings*
Chick pea salad
Pasta Salad
*Toppings may include: jam, cream cheese, tuna, cheese, hummus, peanut butter (only on trips that are off of Thunderbird property when no one in the group has an allergy).

Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
Pita Pizzas
Vegetable Stew with Couscous
Macaroni and Cheese

Family Information Packages (including packing lists)


Information in these booklets are updated each year, and all of the information is vital for your camper(s) to have a successful experience. These information booklets include packing lists for each camp.  Please read carefully even if you have been to camp before! Life at camp is different from the routines and patterns of home. Taking the time to talk with your camper(s) about their upcoming experience is an important step in preparing. Setting a positive tone and clarifying expectations can really help your child make the adjustment. In doing this, your child will make the most of their Camp Thunderbird experience.

Camp Program
Day Camps Download
3 & 5 Day Base Camps Download
5, 9 & 12 Day Quest Camps Download
9 & 12 Outpost Camps Download
Leadership Development Base Camps Download
Leadership Development Quest Camps Download
Updating Information Provided During Registration


We understand that things change in the time between registration and attending camp.  Most information can be updated  online at your convenience. Please note, some questions will be locked as camp dates approach.  After logging in, in your “My Account” screen, click “Change Question Answers” under the Account Settings.


You may update your credit card information for scheduled payments up to 1 day before the payment date.  This can be updated online at your convenience. Please note it is a two step process.

  1. After logging in, in your “My Account” screen, click “List Saved Credit Cards/Electronic Checks” under the Account Activity. Click the credit card to be updated and follow the steps.
  2. Next click “Payment Details“, click “Change Auto-Charge Payments“.  Select the receipt for your camp registration and follow the steps.  Repeat for all camp registrations you wish to update.


We understand that you may need to update your authorized pick up person.  Please update your information online.  After logging in, in your “My Account” screen, click “Change Question Answers” under the Account Settings.

If it is less than 24 hours before pick up time, please phone/email the Outdoor Centre Camp Thunderbird directly.

Camp Drop Off and Pick Up


Camper Drop Off Time

All Camps begin on a Monday or a Thursday. Please check your registration to ensure you are dropping off on the correct first day of camp.

Camp Program Driven by Car to Camp By Bus from the Downtown Y By Bus from the Westhills Y
Day Camp 9:00am 7:50am 8:30am
Explorers/Pioneers 9:00am 7:50am 8:30am
Outpost/Leadership 9:30am 7:50am 8:30am

Camper Pick Up Time

All Camps end on a Friday. Please take into account heavy traffic on your route to camp for pick up on Friday.

Camp Program Driven by Car at Camp By Bus to the Downtown Y By Bus to the Westhills Y
Day Camp 3:30pm 5:10pm 4:30pm
Explorers/Pioneers 3:00pm 5:10pm 4:30pm
Outpost/Leadership 2:30pm 5:10pm 4:30pm

Lost and Found

Lost and Found items are displayed outside the dining hall during the session and are available for review by parents on pick-up days. Lost and Found items are kept at camp for 14 days after the session ends and are then donated to charity unless you fill out our Lost and Found request form and a staff member will check the lost and found for you. If the item is found, we will contact you and make arrangements to hold it for you at camp until September 15th at the latest. This will give you time to get to camp during our office hours for collection. We do not transport items to Victoria or Langford.

The best ways to help us reduce the amount of lost and found is to talk to your camper about keeping track of his or her things before getting to camp and putting your camper’s name on anything brought to camp.

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