Welcome to Bear Valley YMCA Camp!

Dear Camp Family:

With this COVID-19 virus reality before us, we determined we must cancel camp for the summer of 2020. This is a heart-breaking and incredibly difficult decision and was not entered into lightly by our staff. There were some tearful moments. We are working on some options for the summer to offer to your family. 

We had hoped that we could make this a great summer for all those youths who have missed out on friends and activities for the past several months.

Our team explored numerous options to keep camp divided into small groups and continually keep separated. We have engaged with several national entities:

  • YMCA camp directors, and others, from across the country
  • State Government and Department of Health
  • American Camp Association
  • YMCA of the USA
  • CDC

When you send your child to camp, we fully grasp the level of trust you place with us to provide a safe, fun and transformational camp experience. We strive to make sure we uphold these expectations – to protect campers and staff and to make sure families and guests for years to come.

We want to make this process as simple as possible for your family to decide how you would like to redistribute the funds on your Bear Valley account.

OPTIONS: options include donations, to help us keep our full time staff employed and remain sustainable for 2020, roll over of your funds to summer 2021, a full refund or a combination of these options.

TARGET DATE: We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. We will have forms available for you by July 6, 2020

Thank you for your continued support in the YMCA Bear Valley Camp!

Happy Trails!

Nora Shigemoto
District Executive



Did Bear Valley consider alternatives to cancelling the entire summer?

We did.  We looked at a variety of options including starting camp later in the summer with smaller sessions, reducing camper capacity, only certain age groups, smaller cabin groups, removing large group gatherings like campfires and a variety of options around meals and the dining halls. After thoughtful consideration, we decided none of the options could provide the safe and enjoyable high quality experience at Bear Valley YMCA Camp that we promise and you expect.

If guideline/recommendations clear up during the summer, will you reconsider this decision?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to change course mid-summer. Due to the amount of preparation that goes into getting facilities ready and staff fully trained, we simply cannot safely open mid-summer. Additionally, for our seasonal summer staff, it would be unfair to think that they would put everything on hold in waiting to see if anything changes. BUT we are exploring possible late summer Family Camp options and will keep you posted.

What about the fees that I have already paid?

We recognize that this global pandemic is financially affecting people in different ways. As such, we have several different options for families that have already paid some or all of their fees.

  • Donate all fees to the ongoing operations of the Bear Valley YMCA Camp to help keep our full time employees and keep our operation strong until we can meet again.
  • Donate a portion of fees paid and receive either a refund or a 2021 credit for the remainder.
  • Receive a 2021 credit towards overnight camp.
  • Receive a refund for all fees paid.

What is the process to indicate my preference?

We will provide an on-line form for you to indicate your preference.  This will be available in July. It is important to know that completing this form does not register you for summer 2021. You will need to register your campers for any 2021 summer sessions once registration opens.  Please know that due to the large number of camper families and the complexities with the process, donations, refunds and credits will take some time. We truly appreciate your patience.

Why is camp asking me to consider donating some or all of my payments? Would this be a charitable donation?

Bear Valley YMCA Camp is a not-for-profit charitable organization and all gifts are tax deductible. With camp being cancelled, camp is going to need help to remain sustainable for the remainder of 2020. Making a gift of all or part of the funds you have already paid to camp is a generous way to ensure that Bear Valley YMCA Camp remains strong and ready to reopen.

One of my children is aging out of the program. If I apply my credit to 2021, can I use those funds for a different child in my household?

Yes! The credited funds will go toward your household balance.

Will there be some sort of 2021 priority registration for 2020 registered campers?

Yes! While this has not been offered, historically, we are working towards this for 2021 and will keep you posted.

Will Bear Valley YMCA Camp survive without a summer of camp?

Yes! Next to the health and safety of our campers, part of the difficult decision to cancel summer programming for 2020 was also to ensure camp would remain viable in the long run. Bear Valley YMCA Camp has been in operation since the mid-50’s (?) and we will still be offering life-changing experiences for generations to come. Thankfully, our YMCA has a great vision for the future of Camp.

How can I help the Bear Valley YMCA Camp?

Bear Valley YMCA camp relies on donors and a community of supporters who care about our mission. We rely on this support to provide life-changing experiences for guests year-round. Please consider these ways that you can support camp through this difficult time:

  • Keep some of our camp routines alive at home! As with so many across the country, we are hoping for the spread of the virus to stop and for the health and safety of front line workers and medical teams and for those families impacted by the virus and all our camp families.
  • Enjoy some family style meals and table chats just like we do at camp. Pick some great conversation starters, maybe some fun family memories or stories about camp moments.
  • Volunteer! When we can, we will have several volunteer days for our camp families and alum who wish to help us with projects around camp. A variety of projects will be available including family friendly options.
  • Make a donation for the reasons listed above! Bear Valley YMCA camp needs and appreciates your help.