Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Camp Thunderbird summer programs. We believe this is the socially responsible thing to do and do not take this measure lightly. We know how disappointing this news will be for the 1300+ campers who were looking forward to playing, learning, and growing in the forest at Glinz Lake in July and August. The health of our campers, staff, volunteers and the broader community members is always our priority.

For the FULL 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.

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.

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.


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