Life at Camp

Life at YMCA Camp Thunderbird is packed with tradition and activity which all center around building friendships and confidence that lasts a lifetime.

Campers create memories with their friends and our staff in daily camp life, cabin times, devotions, evening programs, campfires and more.


Daily Schedule

Within a few days of arriving at YMCA Camp Thunderbird, campers settle into a comfortable, familiar schedule. While each day includes special moments, a typical day includes the following routine:

7:30 AMRise & Shine
8:15 AMFlag Pole/Breakfast
9:15 AM - 12:15 PMMorning Activities
12:45 PMLunch
1:15 PM - 2:30 PMRest Period
2:30 PM - 5:30 PMAfternoon Activities
6:00 PMFlag Pole / Dinner
6:45 PMSupervised Free Time with Friends
7:30 PMEvening Program
9:30 PMReturn to Cabins for Showers and Devotion
10:15 PMTaps & Lights Out


Special Moments

Opening Campfire

Time to turn up the enthusiasm and build excitement for the session. Campers hear all the fun things that will happen during their session.

Closing Campfire

Campers dress in nice clothes and share memories of their session. The bandana ceremony takes place on this last night of camp.

Field Party

A great evening of fun on the middle Saturday during two-week sessions. Campers dress according to the session theme.

Cabin Night

Each cabin plans a Monday evening activity together or with a fellow cabin.

Talent Show

Come prepared to showcase your talents. Bring your props, costumes and/or music.

Head Counselor Night

Head Counselors engage campers in camp-specific activities.

Evening Programs

Campers gather for large group activities like camp-wide game shows, cabin sports challenges and interactive games.

Dining Hall

Gather ‘round the table.

Cabin groups enjoy all meals family style in our Dining Hall. Family style service is a long tradition at YMCA Camp Thunderbird allowing campers to relax and enjoy fellowship for a short bit during their busy schedule.

Campers and staff assist with meal set up and clean up. Another Dining Hall tradition includes awarding the “Tidy Table Champion Trophy” and “The Chef's Table”.

The menu varies, and campers have lots of choices. Each meal features a delicious entrée plus choices such as cold cereals, pasta bar, salad bar, soup bar and fruit bar. Entrees range from french toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes to pizza, hot dogs, subs to chicken tenders, lasagna and flank steak. We also offer vegetarian and gluten-free dietary options.

We strive to meet each child’s dietary needs and successfully accommodate most food allergies. Our Dining Hall does not serve products that contain peanuts or tree nuts.

Please contact our Food Service Director to discuss dietary needs and food allergies. You may also schedule a parent conference on Opening Days.
Chris Averett, Food Service Director
704-716-4100 |


It does not take long for your child and their cabinmates – no matter where everyone comes from - to recognize that having fun doesn’t require lots of stuff or lots of inside space. Sharing living quarters and responsibilities with same-aged campers builds and grows long-lasting friendships.

We assign cabins by gender and age. Each cabin houses approximately 10-12 campers and two to three counselors. Larger cabins house 12-14 campers and four counselors. Parents may request special cabin placement by age of the other campers. Submit up to two cabin requests. Mutual requests from both parties are required for placing campers together in a cabin. We attempt to honor cabin requests, but this may not always be possible.

Campers sleep in bunk beds. We pre-assign bunks and cubbies. Campers store luggage/trunks beneath their bunk sharing available space with bunk mates. The height from the floor to the bottom bunk bed is approximately 24 inches. The cabins are equipped with modern conveniences such as air conditioning, full bath facilities including hot and cold running water plus ample electrical outlets.

The oldest boy cabins are open air with ceiling fans, ample electrical outlets and a shared bath facility.

With a 5:1 camper to camp staff ratio, our cabin leaders meet one-on-one daily with each camper to ensure that they thrive at camp.