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Outdoor Programs at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte


The YMCA of Greater Charlotte believes in developing youth with an awareness and respectful understanding of our natural environment. Our outdoor education programs encourage good stewardship of the earth to kids of all ages through expert teaching and hands-on instruction in nature. While fostering a love of nature is a key component of our outdoor education programs at the Y, our strategic mission focuses on youth development through specific grade-level learning, camp experiences in environmental science, character education and personal growth.


Partnering With Schools for More Than 30 Years

Environmental education has been a part of the Y’s mission since 1986. At our two camp facilities, we currently serve over 17,000 students and chaperones from 140 schools across the Southeast. Our leaders hold advanced degrees in environmental sciences including education, biology, or horticulture. We partner closely with the school systems we serve in order to optimize our curriculum and impact on students.


Inspiring Respect for the Environment

We all live on this remarkable planet. By bringing groups of students, chaperones and teachers to camp for day excursions and overnight experiences during the school year, we create a community of citizens who respect, understand and value the environment around us — and inspire a desire to conserve and protect its resources for the future. While here, the students participate in team building exercises where they learn about themselves, how to work as a team and how to cooperate with others. For many children, the Y’s outdoor education program is their first opportunity to spend the night away from home. Experiencing this with their teachers and classmates, students feel a sense of belonging as they build confidence, develop independence and learn about their unique place and responsibility in the world.


The Future of Outdoor Education

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte hopes to expand the number of schools we serve in order to enhance STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) to an ever-growing and inclusive population of students. At Camp Harrison, fundraising is currently underway for a new Nature Center, built adjacent to Lake Broyhill and its tributaries, which will provide the perfect learning environment for students to collect, research and analyze the wildlife and plants they find outside.