Prepare for Camp

Going off to day camp brings great excitement and maybe some anxiety for both campers and parents.

We understand that you have many choices when planning your child’s summer. You take a tremendous leap of faith when registering your child for YMCA Camp Thunderbird Day Camp. We do not take our responsibility lightly and want you to feel as comfortable as you can while taking that leap.

Our Open Houses, Parent Guide and Parent Resources provide information and answer many of your questions. You may also contact our Camp Thunderbird staff to ease any concerns you may have about camp.


Parent Handbook

This is your go-to guide for everything you and your camper need to know to be prepared and have an awesome camp experience! Check out our Parent Handbook.

Arrival & Departure

Camp Address

One Thunderbird Lane, Lake Wylie, SC 29710


Arrival to Camp

  • Please bring your children to camp between 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM for curbside service in cars
  • Opening ceremony begins promptly at 8:30 AM
  • Optional Bus Arrival - Please arrive at New City Church of Charlotte parking lot between 7:15 AM and 7:40 AM


Departure from Camp

Parents and authorized pick-up individuals will be responsible for providing the correct identification, a Driver’s license, when signing out their camper. To ensure the camper’s safety, YMCA Camp Thunderbird reserves the right not to release a camper to “unauthorized” individuals.


  • Normal daily pick-up time is between 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Optional Bus Pick up time is 5:30 PM - 6:00 PM at New City Church of Charlotte


Early Pick-Up

  • Parents who wish to pick up their camper early may do so at the camp office PRIOR TO 4:15 PM
  • The camp property is very large so please send a note with your child in the morning or call ahead, so we may arrange to have your camper waiting for you
  • Without a prior note or calling ahead, please be prepared to wait at least 20 – 30 minutes in order to gather your camper and their belongings for departure


Late Pick-Up

  • Staff are scheduled until 6:00 PM, but staff will not leave a camper unattended
  • $1 per minute will be charged per camper for every minute that a camper remains after 6:00 PM and payment is expected upon pick-up
  • Chronic late pick-up may be grounds for dismissal from the program
What to Bring/Wear

We suggest packing an inexpensive backpack for campers to keep personal items together. Label all clothing / swim items plus backpack, cooler, lunch box, towel, and sunscreen with camper’s name. A reusable water bottle is optional to bring, as we have water available at every activity, lunch and canteen.

Pack a swimsuit that is designed for active wear and one that provides complete coverage and fastens securely.

We also have a swag bag that can be delivered to your camper with a Thunderbird t-shirt, hat and sports bag.


What to Wear

  • Dress for the weather — day camp continues rain or shine
  • Campers play hard and may get dirty —please choose comfortable appropriate play clothing, free of offensive slogans or symbols
    Make sure your child wears sneakers and socks to camp daily
  • For safety reasons, sandals and Crocs are not permitted during activities (Campers may wear sandals to and from water activities only)
  • Pack a poncho or raincoat in case of rain
  • Swimwear should provide complete coverage, fasten securely and be designed for active wear
  • Two piece suits are allowed if they have one tie, accompanied by another fastener (no triangle bikini tops and bottoms that tie are allowed)


What not to Bring

Counselors will give any of the following items to directors if they are brought to camp. These personal belongings will be returned to campers’ parents during evening pick-up. Please leave these
items at home:

  • Toys, radios, iPods/mp3 players, electronic games, cellular phones, and other electronics do not fit into this setting
  • Firearms, fireworks, knives, matches, lighters, tobacco products and illegal drugs
  • Expensive items, money, and trading cards at home
  • Canned repellent is not allowed at camp (insect repellent must be in the form of lotion or wipes)
  • Aerosol cans become a safety hazard around other children and the campfire.
  • Do not send money to camp
Lunch Information

Campers are very active and will get hungry! Pack a healthy, satisfying lunch every day if not purchasing lunch through camp. We aren’t able to refrigerate lunches, so please pack them in a small cooler/lunch box with ice packs or frozen water bottles. Water fountains are located throughout camp. Label everything!


Lunch from Home

  • All nut products are asked to be left at home as we strive to provide a nut-free facility.
  • Pack a nutritious lunch for your camper.
  • A water bottle or drink is optional as we provide water at all activities and at lunch.
  • Camp does not have refrigeration for lunches (please do not send milk or mayonnaise based products.)
  • A small cooler with the camper’s name works best for packing a lunch.



The Camp Canteen will be offered every afternoon for campers and is included in your Camp fee.

  • Water, chips, pretzels, hummus, cheese sticks, and fruit are some of the snack options for campers
  • Campers are limited to one snack item and one drink per day at the Canteen
  • Camper’s special dietary and food allergy needs will be met when necessary
  • Please be sure to note these on your camper’s health form and confidential form to help your child’s counselor and the Health Center staff know your child’s special needs
Camp Schedule

Our Younger Camp program (ages 6 - 8) has activities that are progressively structured to challenge each child according to their age. The program is planned to give children an introduction to a wide variety of camp activities, along with providing them the opportunity for creative expression.

Campers (ages 9 - 12) participate in the Older Camp program. The program allows for group team building and individual skill development in a variety of fun and motivating activities.

We have the option to spend Friday night if you’re registered for the weeks ending June 21, June 28, July 12 or July 19.


Day Camp Schedule

7:30 AM - 8:30 AMDrop-off/Curb-side Service in Cars
8:30 AM - 8:55 AMOpening Ceremony and Devotion
8:55 AM - 9:05 AMGroup Time and Attendance
9:15 AM - 10:15 AMLand Activity Period 1 - Archery, Arts & Crafts, Group Games, Sports, Nature, Riflery, Low Ropes, Fishing, Challenge Course (ages 7 - 12), Slingshots (ages 9 - 12)
10:20 AM - 11:20 AMLand Activity Period 2 - Same as Above
11:30 AM - 12:00 PMLunch
12:00 PM - 12:30 PMChange for Water Activities
12:30 PM - 1:30 PMWater Activity Period 1 - Banana Boat, Water Toys, Water Slide, Canoe and Kayak, Free Swim, Sailing (ages 9 - 12), Shore Tours (ages 11 - 12), Stand-up Paddle Boards (ages 9 - 12)
1:35 PM - 2:35 PMWater Activity Period 2 - Same as Above
2:35 PM - 2:45 PMChange for Electives
2:50 PM - 3:10 PMCanteen (Snack)
3:15 PM - 4:10 PMElectives Campers Selected
4:10 PM - 4:25 PMGroup Scoop Group Time for Reflection and Daily Recognition
4:30 PM - 5:00 PMClosing Ceremony
5:00 PM - 6:00 PMCamper Pick-up/Curb-side Service in Cars
Medications/Health Center

The Health Center is staffed and open for urgent medical situations. To ensure good health and ability to enter into normal camp activities, the health history form on must be completed by June 1st. Accident insurance is not included in the camp fee.


Registering with

Details for registering with and completing the necessary medical forms will be available upon registration. Camper parents will receive a welcome email detailing instructions for completing camper health care information at this time.


Prescription Medications

For campers who will take medications during camp, parents are required to provide the medication on Day 1 of the session at drop-off. The medicine must be in an original container with the prescription.


Over the Counter Meds

  • Unless a medication, vitamin, supplement is prescribed by a physician; we ask that campers refrain from taking over the counter substances while at camp
  • Please do not bring OTCs to camp
  • If your camper require an OTC while attending camp, an OTC may be provided at the Health Center and administered by one of the camp nurses

For specific questions please contact our Health Center Administrator at camp.

Swim Assessment

Before swimming at camp, all campers are given a swim assessment in the pool under the direct supervision of certified lifeguards and receives a swim band on the first day of camp that they wear as a necklace at the pool. This is a safety procedure that helps staff distinguish between swimmers and non-swimmers. Please make sure that your child wears their swim band to camp every day.

Heat Advisory

The safety and comfort of our campers is always our top priority and we want you to be aware of the changes we will make to our camp schedule on extremely hot days.

Sunscreen Application

Protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays is important. If you have specific questions about sunscreen application or if you have a child with a sunscreen allergy, please contact your branch camp director.

  • Apply sunscreen to your child before arriving at camp — we can assist in reapplying as needed
  • Send your preferred sunscreen labeled with your child’s name on it
Camp Photos

Log on to our Y Camp Life Portal to check out fun photos of your camper in action!