Water, Land, Tradition

Days at camp are divided between adventures on land and lake, with scores of options for campers to choose that fit their age, interests and abilities. 

Our Bandanna Program encourages participation with rewards for campers who challenge themselves by setting goals and trying new experiences.

Water Activities

Our excellent waterfront activities present the challenge of learning new skills through quality instruction and participation.

All campers get to take part in every water activity during their stay at YMCA Camp Thunderbird.

  • Paddlesports
    • Canoeing
    • Corcling
    • Kayaking
    • Paddleboarding
  • Sailing
  • Water Skiing
    • Kneeboarding
    • Skiiing
    • Wakeboarding
    • Wakeskating
    • Wakesurfing
  • Water Toys
    • Super Inflatables
    • The Banana
    • The Blob
    • Tubing
    • Water Slide
  • Swimming
    • Recreational Swim
    • Swim Classes

We schedule waterfront activities by cabin groups. Each activity lasts 45 minutes or 90 minutes (sailing and wakesports). We also offer Advanced Wakesports as an add-on for campers.

 

Safety

All our waterfront staff are trained in CPR, First Aid and Lifeguarding. Boat drivers are U.S. Coast Guard certified and have a National Safe Boaters License. Specific staff receive additional training and certification depending on activity requirements. Staff continue to receive training throughout the summer to enhance their ability to provide a safe atmosphere while supervising our waterfront areas.

Every camper must participate in a swimming skills assessment in accordance with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.

We place water stations at every water activity to ensure campers and staff stay properly hydrated.

Land Activities

Experience traditional fun, 21st century learning or both when you create your own adventure on land.

Two-week campers participate in six pre-selected land activities; 3 on A Day and 3 on B Day. Parents receive instructions for choosing land activities with their camper after completion of camp registration. Activities listed below may not be available during every session. One-week campers are assigned an assortment of activities.

  • Archery
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Athletic Conditioning
  • Backyard Games
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Challenge Course
  • Cheerleading
  • Dance
  • Digital Media
  • Drama
  • Fishing
  • Flag Football
  • Future Engineers
  • Geocaching / Orienteering
  • Guitar
  • Lacrosse
  • Outdoor Living Skills
  • Pottery
  • Riflery
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball

Campers receive individualized land activity schedules. Each activity lasts one hour. During every session campers may switch up to 2 activities if there are open spots in other land activities. Campers communicate with their cabin counselor and land director to make a switch.

Don’t miss out on our add-on land activities which give campers more in-depth training.

We also offer a youth development program known as the “Achievement Through Leadership And Service” program, A.T.L.A.S., that is available to campers ages 13-15 as part of their normal land activity schedule.

 

Safety

All our land staff are trained in CPR and First Aid. Staff also receives specialized training and instructional methods from professional organizations such as the Camp Archery Association, the National Rifle Association, Camp Horseman's Association, Association of Challenge Course Technology and the American Camping Association. Safety and quality instruction are paramount.

Add-Ons

In addition to our general water and land programs, we offer other challenging add-on activities and enhanced experiences. Parents and campers select these activities during the registration process. If you need to register for an add-on after completing your camper’s registration, please email our registrar at campthunderbird@ymcacharlotte.org. YMCA Camp Thunderbird does not accept any add-on registration after opening day of your child's session.

 

Activities

Advanced Wakesports

Ages:All
Sessions:All
Cost:One Week   Two Week
 $210   $347

Does your camper want to spend more time on the water? Learn the basics or sharpen your skills with our top-notch equipment in our competition ski boats. Campers receive small group instruction in 3-hour sessions (4 sessions during a two week session and twice during a one week session) from our in boat coaches in the watersports of their choice: wakeboarding, wakeskating, wakesurfing, kneeboarding, two skiing and slalom skiing. These options are in addition to the regular scheduled waterfront activities and replace three of the general land activities. Advanced wakesports is not recommended for first time campers that are 8 years old or younger with no experience behind a large ski boat.

 

Horseback Riding

Ages:All
Sessions:All (Except 5A) | Limited to 48 campers per session
Cost:One Week   Two Week
 $150   $295

YMCA Camp Thunderbird’s highly sought after horseback riding program provides campers opportunities to ride both English and Western. We focus on teaching walking, trotting, cantering and jumping. We also introduce campers to basic skills in caring for horses and equipment used for riding.

Our horseback riding class meets for two hours: twice during a one-week session and four times during a two-week session. This is an add-on program and replaces two of the general land activities. We ask campers to bring long pants for riding classes as well as closed toed shoes that have smooth soles.

 

Guitar

Ages:All
Sessions:2-5
Cost:$260

The Guitar add-on is a great way for your camper to grow their guitar ability while at camp or learn the foundations of guitar. The difference between Camp’s guitar activity and the Guitar add-on is that the learning doesn’t stop once camp ends. Campers will go through an intentional program with our camp staff and with virtual guitar professionals while at camp. Once they leave, campers will have access to online guitar lessons to continue their journey as a musician. The other big difference that comes with the Guitar add-on is that campers will receive their very own custom handmade guitars from Campfire Guitar as a part of the cost of the program. This is a great opportunity for parents to allow their children to grow while not having to drive all around the city to do it. The online lessons can be played at home from any computer or smart TV.

Tennis Clinic

Ages:All
Sessions:2-5 (limited to 25 campers per session)
Cost:$100

We design our tennis clinic to sharpen the skills of campers who already have tennis knowledge and basic skills. Campers work with qualified staff members to increase their fundamentals, ability and knowledge of the game.

Our tennis clinic meets on four days for an hour each day during two-week sessions. This is an add-on program and replaces one of the general land activities. Campers remain on site for lessons. We ask all tennis clinic participants to bring tennis rackets, tennis shoes and water bottles.

 

Paintball

Ages:12 and older
Sessions:2-5 (limited to 30 campers per session)
Cost:$110

Campers love the fun of a safe high paced and action packed games of Paintball with their friends. Enjoy four days of paintball, one hour per game. This is an add-on program and replaces one of the general land activities.

YMCA Camp Thunderbird supplies all needed equipment: Paintball, CO2, Paintball Marker, Safety Equipment (masks, chest protector and neck protector). We ask all paintball participants to bring a long pair of pants and long shirt to wear during the games. (Please note that these clothes will get dirty from the paint)

 

Services

Atlanta Bus Transportation Home

Ages:All
Sessions:2-5
Cost:$160 one way

Take advantage of our popular and convenient chartered Atlanta Bus to transport your registered campers from YMCA Camp Thunderbird at the end of their session.

North Springs High School | 7447 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30328

Luggage Arrives | 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Campers Arrive | 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

For questions about Atlanta Bus transportation, please email campthunderbird@ymcacharlotte.org.

 

Teen Leadership

These positions prepare teens to become staff members at camp as well as productive members of their home community.

 

COUNSELOR IN TRAINING (CIT) | For Rising High School Juniors
Our CIT program provides leadership experiences specific to camp counseling. We require CITs to commit for four weeks. During that time, they live in a cabin with campers and counselors. They meet daily with the program director to discuss observations and strategies for leading campers effectively. CITs spend a portion of each day lending leadership in the activity areas. They also coordinate two talent shows as part of their experience.

During the afternoon activity time, CITs participate in the activities of their choice. Many elect to continue working to earn their bandanas. Being a CIT is the best of both worlds….camper and leader.

CIT selection is competitive. Most program participants have attended camp as campers, but this is not a prerequisite. Candidates submit an online questionnaire and are contacted by the Director of the C.I.T. program to set-up potential interviews that may include face-to-face interaction, Skype, or Facetime as a means of communication. If the candidate is selected to be a part of the program, the C.I.T. Director will then initiate the rest of the registration process, which includes the waiver/deposit form and the official registration through our Sales and Service team for the upcoming summer.

We often invite our C.I.T. program participants to become a part of our YMCA Camp Thunderbird Staff as Junior Counselors. However, participation in the C.I.T. program does not guarantee an invitation.

CIT Questionaire >>
 
For information, please contact:
YMCA Camp Thunderbird Office | 800-732-3855 | campthunderbird@ymcacharlotte.org

Bandana Program

Our Bandana Program rewards campers for hard work and motivates them to set goals in all activities. Created in 1983 by Wes Stevens, Scott Pitts and "Captain" Bill Carraway. The bandana program is a progressive program within our land and water activities that takes kids from an “on ramp” experience of an activity to the highest level of skill mastery within our activities.

Each activity includes four levels of achievement that campers strive to reach: Red (beginner), Blue (intermediate), Silver (advanced) and Gold (expert). To pass each level and receive a card, campers complete certain tasks. We award points for each card: red card=1 point, blue card=2 points, silver card=3 points, gold card=4 points. We keep a master card on record for each camper. Each year a camper returns they can pick back up where they left off the previous year. A camper’s progress is tracked, monitored, and saved on an electronic system which stores and records all their cards, points, and bandana levels.

Campers achieve a red bandana with 12 points; blue bandana with 36 points; silver bandana with 72 points and gold bandana with 120 points. The double gold bandana was created in 2007 when a need was observed for further engagement once campers reached the gold milestone. After a camper successfully completes their 120 points needed for a gold bandana they are eligible to do it all over again and try for 240 points and a double gold bandana.

YMCA Camp Thunderbird traditionally awards bandanas on the final night of camp at a camp-wide ceremony. Campers choose which staff member they want to recognize their achievements by awarding them with the bandana. The recognition ceremony is often the highlight of camp!

To qualify for any bandana, campers must show good citizenship in their activities and in their cabin by demonstrating the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. We recognize Gold bandana and double gold recipients by name and year on a large displau that hangs in the YMCA Camp Thunderbird Dining Hall.

The bandana program is a key element in a camper’s experience while with us. We believe that it allows campers to set attainable goals, engage in a diverse selection of activities, and have a sense of accomplishment as they journey through their activities. These experiences culminate into a larger sense of belonging as your child interacts with staff and peers in each activity and in their cabins.

Changeover

For most sessions, campers can changeover Saturday night at no additional cost. This allows parents flexiblity to create a longer camp session that works for your campers. Check registration information to register for scheduled changeover options.

Ages:All
Sessions:2 & 3, 3 & 4, 4 & 5, 5 & 6, 6 & 7, 7 & 8, 8 & 9
Cost:$0

 

Is your camper staying for multiple sessions? Our Change Over service allows your child to continue their experience and fellowship with staff and other campers. During Change Over, campers stay in cabins onsite with camp staff and have the opportunity to participate in activities both onsite and offsite. Campers encounter a different side of camp as they relax and refuel for the next session. All registrations for Change Over must be complete by opening day of your child’s session.

There's so much to do at Camp Thunderbird...

Sailing 6
Sailing 3
Wakeboarding 11
Wakeboarding 08
Waterfront 2
Wakeboarding 07
Waterfront 4
Waterfront 1
Sailing 3
Wakeboarding 05
Sailing 2
Waterfront 11
Basketball 6
Kayaking 11
Paddleboarding 10
Paddleboarding 09
Paddleboarding 06
Paddleboarding 04
Kayaking 09
Kayaking 04
Kayaking 05
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Camp Life 09
Camp Life 34
Kayaking 02
Camp Life 13
Pool 10
Pool 12
Pool 13
Pool 04
Pool 21
Pool 23
Pool 07
Pool 02
Pool 05
Pool 22
Ropes/Climbing 09
Ropes/Climbing 24
Ropes/Climbing 26
Ropes/Climbing 10
Ropes/Climbing 13
Ropes/Climbing 39
Ropes/Climbing 33
Ropes/Climbing 31
Ropes/Climbing 17
Ropes/Climbing 28
Ropes/Climbing 03
Ropes/Climbing 21
Ropes/Climbing 35
Ropes/Climbing 06
Ropes/Climbing 38
Ropes/Climbing 43
Ropes/Climbing 11
Ropes/Climbing 22
Ropes/Climbing 40
Ropes/Climbing 01
Ropes/Climbing 27
Fishing 15
Fishing 13
Fishing 12
Fishing 09
Fishing 08
Arts and Crafts 9
Fishing 05
Fishing 06
Camp Buildings
Arts and Crafts 1
Arts and Crafts 2
Arts and Crafts 3
Fishing 02
Arts and Crafts 4
Arts and Crafts 5
Camp Buildings
Arts and Crafts 7
Arts and Crafts 8
Camp Life 19
Camp Life 21
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Canoeing 4
Waterfront 04
Waterfront 06
Canoeing 5
Paddleboarding 03
Canoeing 6
Canoeing 7
Waterfront 08
Camp Buildings
Camp Life 31
Camp Life 02
Camp Life 24
Camp Life 26
Camp Life 33
Chapel 1
Paddleboarding 02
Kayaking 01
Chapel 2
Canoeing 3
Camp Buildings
Waterfront 01
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Basketball 3
Soccer 8
Soccer 3
Camp Life 27
Soccer 4
Soccer 5
Flag Football 1
Soccer 6
Basketball 1
Sand Volleyball 7
Sand Volleyball 6
Soccer 1
Sand Volleyball 3
Sand Volleyball 2
Tennis
Sand Volleyball 1
Tennis
Tennis
Tennis
Tennis
Tennis
Camp Living
Tennis
Pool 6
Pool 3
Waterfront 4
Pool 5
Pool 1
Pool 2
Waterfront 2
Banana Boat 2
Banana Boat 1
Waterfront 1
Camp Life
Camp Life
Ultimate Frisbee 4
Ultimate Frisbee 5
Ultimate Frisbee 6
Ultimate Frisbee 1
Ultimate Frisbee 2
Ultimate Frisbee 3
Geocaching 19
Geocaching 17
Geocaching 16
Geocaching 15
Geocaching 12
Fishing 11
Fishing 12
Ropes/Climbing
Fishing 17
Fishing 19
Ropes/Climbing
Fishing 18
Riflery 15
Waterfront 2
Pottery 2
Pottery 3
Ropes/Climbing
Ropes/Climbing
Riflery 08
Waterfront 1
Riflery 12
Riflery 13
Geocaching 01
Geocaching 02
Geocaching 05
Geocaching 21
Ropes/Climbing
Geocaching 09
Geocaching 10
Fishing 01
Ropes/Climbing
Fishing 09
Camp Life 1
Fishing 15
Ropes/Climbing
Pottery 1
Riflery 02
Riflery 03
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Riflery 05
Riflery 06
Riflery 07
Archery 12
Archery 14
Archery 15
Archery 06
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Archery 03
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Wakeboarding 64
Wakeboarding 31
Paddleboarding 3
The Blob 2
The Blob 1
Wakeboarding 53
Wakeboarding 34
Wakeboarding 2
Wakeboarding 68
Wakeboarding 12
Wakeboarding 09
Wakeboarding 13
Waterskiing 11
Waterskiing 06
Wakeboarding 42
Waterskiing 01
Waterfront 5
Waterfront 4
Waterfront 3
Waterfront 2
Wakeboarding 27
Wakeboarding 52
Wakeboarding 28
Wakeboarding 20
Wakeboarding 45
Wakeboarding 40
Tubing 7
Waterfront 1
Paddleboarding 3
Paddleboarding 4
Tubing 2
Paddleboarding 1
Wakeboarding 22
Wakeboarding 02
Wakeboarding 05
Wakeboarding 08
Wakeboarding 11
Wakeboarding 15
Wakeboarding 06
Wakeboarding 12
Tubing 1
Wakeboarding 17
The Blob 1
The Blob 2
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