Camp Director Brian Shelley Is Excited about Summer Day Camp, Are You?

Dear Campers,
(Moms and Dads, you can read this, too.)

I know it’s April, and your calendars are counting down. Many of you have just finished Spring Break, but I cannot contain myself any more. I am about to BURST! I have been holding on to so much, AND WAITING, for the perfect opportunity to share it with you. Are you ready?

We are only a month away from our first official day of SUMMER CAMP!

AAAHHHHH!! I cannot wait, CAN YOU?!?!?

This summer is going to be so exciting, so much fun, and so memorable. I cannot wait to show you everything we are going to do. Here are a few notes to help you get as excited as I am about this summer.

First Year Campers:

You are about to experience something transformational. You will remember summer camp for the rest of your life. Rather than tell you what to expect and how to prepare, here’s some advice that will make your experience even better…

  • Jump in with both feet. Camp is all about trying something new, meeting new people, and learning to love Summer Day Camp at the YMCAeverything about both. So don’t worry about what others think. Chances are they are feeling just as excited and nervous as you are!
  • Each morning, your camp day will start with Opening Ceremony. It can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. This part of the day is dedicated to being silly, singing songs, seeing skits from counselors, talking about the Y’s core values, and getting excited about all the plans for the day.
  • Fake it ‘til you make it. While that seems like a lot, and you may be nervous, I encourage you to jump in with both feet. The best way to do that is to fake it until you make it. Camp songs are great, and a very traditional part of camp, but they are an evolution. It’s impossible to know every word, and that’s OK! Every camp “sings” the same songs, but they use different tunes, different words, and different volumes. In fact, new camp songs get created every year because we try to fake it, and the new version ends up being our favorite!
  • You’re going to swim. So jump in with both feet, because cannonballs are the best. If you are afraid of the water, don’t worry, our counselors will be swimming with you to make sure you are safe. We also have more than enough life guards. And don’t worry if you need a life jacket, we have those too.

All things considered, you’re going to experience new and great things. Try them all! Whether it’s your first time doing archery, making model robots, or following animal tracks through the woods, you are at the beginning of a great journey! Click below to check out what’s in store for you this summer!

Returning Campers:

We are so excited to see you again! It’s been so long since last summer, and I need to update you on a few things…

I’m delighted to tell you that your favorite counselor may be back this summer! We are in the midst of hiring, and we have QUITE a few of your favorite team members returning. I know you may be afraid of new staff and wonder whether they will truly understand our traditions. But trust me, they will catch on (in fact some of them may become your new favorite).

  • Be a Counselor in Training – Are you getting to the point where you’ve been coming for so long, that you Day Campers at the YMCAcould run the place? Well check our Camp Guide! We have a new offering this year, CIT Camp, where you can learn the skills to become a counselor and help others get the same great experience you had! And when you’re old enough, we just might have a spot for you on the team.
  • Lost and Found – Can’t find your favorite T-shirt? Sorry, we’ve donated everything from last year. Please make sure you label all of your belongings. We want to make sure you go home with everything you bring to camp.
  • New Experiences – Did you know that we’re going to do several new Enrichment Camps this summer? From “Circus in Training” to “Grossology” to “Extreme Sports,” we have a ton of new things for you to enjoy. Check out my first blog in the new Campfire series for a roundup of camp enhancements and other fun new things to do.

Can you do me one favor?

Introduce yourself to a new camper this summer. I know you’ve made a lot of friends over the years, but we have new campers coming this summer, and they would love to meet someone like you. I hope you can form the same lasting friendship with these campers as before. Besides, we could all use a little help to learn the ropes.

To All Campers (and parents, of course):

I cannot believe how exciting things are getting for us. We have the opportunity to continue on a great tradition which we have been doing for over 100 years. This year we are going to make new friends, learn something new, and make connections that will last us a lifetime.

Jump on in, I can’t wait to see you.



Brian Shelley is the senior director of Day Camp for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. This is the second in the new Campfire Series about Summer Day Camps at the Y this year. Follow along!