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.

Leadership Development

For youth who have completed grades 9-10, this program emphasizes leadership, initiative, communication and the group care skills necessary to be a strong leader in a camp setting or elsewhere. We have two programs for this purpose. Our traditional Leadership Development program is our Quest program, a 19 day program with nine day out-trip program. Our new Leadership Development Base Camp program is a 10 day program broken into two weeks, one in July and one in August. Campers in Leadership Development Base Camp attend both weeks of camp.

Registration Dates

 Priority Registration Opens Monday January 6 at 9:00am

Priority Registration will be given to campers who registered and attended in 2019.  Our system will recognize if you are a camper returning from 2019.  If an error has occurred, please contact Registration Services.

Open Registration Starts Monday February 3 at 9:00am

This is when all other campers including family members will be eligible to register.  This delay in registration dates is to allow returning campers an equal opportunity to return to camp in 2020.


2020 Camp Programs

New Leadership Development Base Camp

Our Leadership Development Base Camp Program is a two week non-continuous program with the first week in July and the second week in August. Campers who register in this program attend both weeks of camp.  In the first week, the program will participate in Camp activities and teach what it takes to lead our onsite out-trip programs. In the second week, groups will participate in regular camp activities but will also learn about leading those activities and will either help lead some camp wide games such as capture the flag or other multi group programs. Those who have already had this experience or another leadership development experience with Camp Thunderbird will be able to participate in a cabin placement where they get to shadow our counselors in day to day cabin leadership.

Dates Fees Cabin Type
July 13-17 & August 10-14 $1,250 All Gender CabinView Online

Leadership Development Quest

Our Leadership Development Quest program is a series of two three week (19 day) programs over two summers. Each three week program is individually registered and participants do not have to commit to both summers.  We suggest campers gain experience from attending each of the two programs due to the opportunity to build on their experience to gain the most learning. There are placements with cabin groups for those who are in their second three week program that require the campers to have the experience acquired in the first programs to participate in. That opportunity gives campers the ability to test if working with kids in an outdoor environment is something they would like to try. This can be completed in the same or back to back summers.

Having completed this program will ensure campers get the most out of the experience and is valuable for those who want to volunteer or work with us or any other camp setting in the future. This program is suited to those who want to learn more about themselves, working with kids and/or wilderness travel.

Participants spend most of their time in their group on a nine-day backcountry expedition to one of our locations below. They also work directly with groups of young campers to practice first-hand their teaching and group care skills. While on their expedition, Thunderbird counsellors and guides lead the campers as they take turns being “leader of the day” and work together to navigate, practice Leave No Trace camping, food preparation and site cleanliness. There is a service component to each program as well.

LD Kayak Program

Groups travel in a mix of single and double kayaks, and participants learn on-the-water navigation and leadership skills. Each day, campers can expect to paddle approximately 4-5 hours, with some longer days of up to 7 hours on the water. Campers work together, and take turns leading aspects of the trip, including water travel, set up and functioning of the campsite, cooking and clean-up.

Broughton Archipelago – July 2020

Participants travel to the spectacular wilderness of the Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park. This area is home to wildlife including seabirds, bears and the highest diversity of marine mammals in coastal Canadian waters, including the endangered Northern Resident Killer Whales.

Dates Fees Cabin Type
July 6-24 $3,126 All Gender CabinView Online

Clayoquot Sound – August 2020

LD Kayak Clayoquat Sound campers spend their time paddling in Clayoquot Sound. They will camp mainly on the large sandy beaches that make Clayoquot Sound famous but also spend some nights in rough wilderness camps. There is a reason Clayoquot sound is considered one of the most beautiful paddling destinations on our coast.

Groups hike together and travel distances of 7-15 kilometers a day. Both trips take 9 days to complete the trail they travel along leaving plenty of time for breaks and at least one rest day for recovery and skill building. They work through challenges together and build solutions to those challenges. The LD Hikers will learn the functioning of the campsite, cooking and clean-up.

Dates Fees Cabin Type
August 3-21 $3,126 All Gender CabinView Online

LD Hike Program

LD Hike North Coast Trail – July 2020

The North Coast Trail is a more remote version of the West Coast Trail, a shorter trail but more rough. Campers get to see Cape Scott and the stunning large beaches along the North Coast of Vancouver Island on this lesser traveled trail.

Dates Fees Cabin Type
July 6-24 $3,061 All Gender CabinView Online

LD West Coast Trail – August 2020

Campers hike the world famous West Coast Trail on the rugged outer coast of Vancouver Island. Parks Canada has put together a short video introduction to the trail, titled the “Hike of a Lifetime”. The West Coast Trail is an experience for a lifetime.

Dates Fees Cabin Type
August 3-21 $3,061 All Gender CabinView Online


Information in this booklet is updated every year, and all of the information is vital for your camper(s) to have a successful experience. 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 take the most out of their Camp Thunderbird opportunity.

Download the 10 Day Base Camp Info Package Download the 19 Day Quest Camp Info Package

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