Student & Parent Guide

We are excited that your child will soon be participating in our environmental education program. At Camp Kern, students gain a deeper respect for the natural world and for other people. If you have questions after reading this guide, feel free to contact us using the information below.


Your child will be participating in a highly organized learning experience. We teach about the outdoors by being outdoors. He or she may go fossil hunting, interact with costumed “pioneers”, stroll through our 200-year old beech forest, collect and study animals from our ponds, and participate in many other “hands-on” outdoor activities. Evening programs typically end with songs and stories around a campfire or with a quiet and safe night hike.


YMCA Camp Kern is accredited by the American Camping Association. We have high standards of excellence in our staff, administration, programs, health, and safety. The facilities are completely winterized and kept in excellent condition by our maintenance staff.


The Kern Outdoor Education staff, schoolteachers, and chaperones combine for a ratio of about one adult leader to every 10-14 students. All Kern educators have experience working with children in an outdoor setting and are trained in CPR and First Aid. Students are actively involved in supervised programs throughout the day. Teachers and chaperones provide night supervision. Your child’s well-being is our top priority. We ask that you do not visit or call just to “see how things are going.” We will, of course, relay any emergency or urgent family messages.


The wholesome meals served at Kern are made to be kid friendly. Designated students serve as “kitchen patrol”, setting the tables and keeping platters full. A snack (fruit, granola bars, chips etc.) is served at 9 PM. Parents who have a child with food allergies or other concerns should contact the Outdoor Education Director at 1-800-255-5376 ext.1527 or our Food Service Director at extension 1516.


Minor injuries are taken care of by the Kern staff or teachers. Arrow Springs Hospital is located just 9 miles from Kern and is open 24 hours. Parents are immediately notified of any necessary care. YMCA Camp Kern does not provide accident or medical insurance for participants.


It is very important that your child has clothing suitable for whatever weather may occur. We conduct indoor activities in cases of bitter cold or during thunderstorms, but we venture out in “normal” amounts of wind, rain, snow, and cold. Another concern with clothing is all the articles that get left here when the group leaves. Putting names and phone numbers on valued items is highly recommended.