We have designed the Thunderbird Leadership program specifically to develop a solid base of outdoor skills and foster the abilities needed to provide quality leadership. Using the camp, its programming, and the Y’s childcare values as a foundation, participants learn valuable leadership skills that are transferable to a broad spectrum of life or work situations. The Leadership program teaches participants to provide strong guidance to younger children and helps them develop into leaders among their peers. Leadership Trainers are dedicated and professional individuals with years of outdoor leadership experience, extensive first aid and outdoor training, enthusiasm and warmth.

Leadership programs emphasize leadership, initiative, communication and group skills necessary to be a strong leader . Our Leadership campers work directly with groups of young campers to practice their teaching and counselling skills first-hand.

The Leadership program is composed of 3 programs:

New – Leadership Development Base Camp

This program is for youth who have completed grades 10-11. Our Leadership Development Base Camp program is an opportunity for our campers who have come to Thunderbird through our Base Camp program stream to begin the path towards becoming a staff member at Camp Thunderbird. They cover all the same topics as our traditional LD 1 and LD 2 programs through our onsite activities without the out trip portion of the program.

Leadership Development 1 (LD1)

For youth who have completed grades 9-10, the LD1 program begins to lay the foundation skills that participants will need as outdoor professionals.  While in camp, LD1 participants learn how to teach outdoor activities, group management skills.

LD 1 Kayak

LD 1 Kayak campers spend nine days paddling in Barkley Sound spending most of their time in the Deer Group or on Vancouver Island. 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 3-4 hours, with some longer days of up to 6 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.

LD 1 Hike

LD1 Hike campers take on new challenges on the North Coast Trail. The group will hike the trail together learning navigation, group management and other hiking skills. Durring this the group will work together, and take turns leading aspects of the trip, including travel, set up and functioning of the campsite, cooking and clean-up.

Leadership Development 2 (LD2)

For youth who have completed grades 10-11, this program emphasizes leadership, initiative, communication and the group care skills necessary to be a strong leader in a camp setting or elsewhere. Participants work directly with groups of young campers to practice first-hand their teaching and group care skills. While on their out-trip, Thunderbird counsellors guide 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.

LD2 Hike

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”. While campers can expect to hike 7-15 kilometers per day, the group takes a comfortable 8-9 days to complete the hike, and at least one rest day is included. Prior to the trip, campers do a preparatory hike on Camp Thunderbird property, where they try out their gear, bond as a group, and contribute to the camp community by assisting with some trail maintenance.

LD2 Kayak

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. The group spends 11 days island hopping through the archipelago, camping in backcountry sites, and developing their leadership skills through teamwork, contributions to all aspects of the trip.


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.

Leadership Development Family Information Package

Dates and Fees

Program Days Fee (GST not included) Dates
NEW Leadership Development 1 Base Camp 9 $1050 Aug 3-11
Leadership Development 1 Kayak 19 $2,640 July 10-28
Leadership Development 1 Coastal Hike 19 $2,595 Aug 7-25
Leadership Development 2 Coastal Hike 19 $2,595 July 10-28
Leadership Development 2 Kayak 19 $2,640 Aug 7-25


Bus space for overnight campers is limited and fills up fast! Pick up/Drop off is available from the Downtown Y and Westhills Y. Campers may also be driven to/from camp by car.  Please arrive early or on-time and be prepared to sign in and out your camper by showing photo identification.

Transportation Location Drop Off Pick Up
By Car at Camp Thunderbird 5040 Glinz Lake Rd. Sooke, B.C. 9:30 AM 3:00 PM
By Bus Downtown Y 851 Broughton St. Victoria, B.C. 7:50 AM 5:10 PM
By Bus Westhills Y 1319 Westhills Dr. Langford, B.C. 8:30 AM 4:30 PM




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