First Time Campers

A camper's first-time overnight camp experience can be filled with a wide variation of mixed emotions for both kids and parents. Both you and your child might feel anxious at the thought of being away from home for the first time or be filled with excitement not knowing what the week will hold.

At YMCA Camp Watia we thrive on making sure that your child has an incredible experience. Our goal is to help teach your camper the following:

  • Lifelong skills
  • Challenge them in a positive and supportive environment
  • Help them expand their comfort zones
  • Create long-lasting friendships and unforgettable memories

We are here to help make this the best summer ever for both parents and campers.

Watia Quick Facts:

  • We were founded in 2016.
  • Our cabins have a maximum of 12-14 campers and at least 2 staff.
  • We maintain no greater than a 1:7 staff to camper ratio.
  • Each session begins on a Sunday and ends on a Friday after dinner.
  • We serve campers 7-16 years old and our "Counselors in Training" are 17 years old or rising 12th graders.
  • Cabin Counselors are at least 18 years old and high school graduates.
  • We average 110 campers per session with a maximum capacity of 120.

Tips on how you can help your first-time camper:

  • Camp is like a family and campers live and experience Watia through their cabin unit. Cabins are determined by age/gender are led by passionate and caring role models.
  • Go over the schedule, packing list, and camper forms
  • Reassure them that their nervousness, anxiety, and/or excitement is completely normal and that you are proud of them
    • Explain homesickness and reassure them again that things will be okay and that you are proud of them. Homesickness is a normal part of growing up, being away from home, and is common at camp.
    • Our staff are well trained to help support them during the week and help guide them through any tough times.
  • Have them create a list of any questions that will help them understand their experience and feel free to contact us with that list.
  • Explaining sleeping and shower arrangements
    • Cabins are bunk bed style and there can be up to 12-14 kids in cabin.
    • Campers are asked to help with cleaning up the cabin along with making their bed and keeping their belongings organized.
    • Showers and bathroom stalls have private changing areas and stall doors. Campers are encouraged to shower daily because of all the fun we have during the day!
  • Write to your camper while at camp
    • You can even bring letters at check-in and mark on the envelope what day you want the letter delivered. You drop these daily letters off at the camp store.
    • Campers are required to leave their electronic devices at home but can receive one-way emails through our parent email system. 

We want our campers and parents to have an enjoyable and smooth experience with YMCA Camp Watia. If there are any other questions you may have that we haven’t answered, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at or by phone at 828-209-9600.