Below are answers to many of our frequently asked questions about The YES Camps. Please feel free to contact our office at 604-960-1377 or info@theyes.ca if you have further questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Why go to The YES Camp?

The YES is a truly unique summer camp. We focus on developing a transformational community, strong friendships, and our staff and volunteers are passionate and dedicated role models for the youth who attend.
In addition to the many activities you may expect from other summer camps, such as a campfire, field games, canoeing and swimming, we also offer entertaining and engaging workshops focused on themes such as communication, self-awareness, and leadership. The Youth Excellence Society is focused on bringing out the best in everyone, and creating a safe and inclusive environment that empowers youth from all over BC. Click here for more information on programming, and testimonials.

How much is The YES Camp?

The cost of the program is $825.00 for one week. This fee is already subsidized by funding from BC’s Credit Unions. The true cost of the program is approximately $980.00. To access the Early Bird cost of $775.00, register three weeks prior to your chosen camp. For more information on payments, please see our Camp Policies.

Are there subsidies or sponsorships available?

Yes! We have many sponsors from around BC who send youth from their membership or communities to camp each summer. To see a list of our sponsors, click here. Each sponsor has a different process for selecting participants, so please get in touch with sponsors in your community to find out more. The YES also offers subsidies to participants who require additional support due to financial hardship. In order to access partial subsidies please fill out the form here.

My child is currently 13 years old.  Can they come to camp?

We accept 13 year old participants if they have finished Grade 8. If they are just finishing Grade 7, they will need to wait another year.

Are you an accredited member of British Columbia Camping Association?

The YES is a volunteer based organization and as such is not eligible for BCCA accreditation. However, we do closely monitor BCCA standards and adhere to their policies wherever possible.

What is the refund policy?

Please refer to our Camp Policies for refunds. We understand that 2021 may provide unprecedented changes and are happy to connect regarding refunds on a situational basis regarding implications or concerns around COVID-19.

How do I get a receipt for my payment?

If you don’t receive a copy of your receipt, please contact the office to have one sent. The office can be reached by calling us at 604.960.1377 or e-mailing info@theyes.ca

Where is the camp located?

The YES summer camp program currently operates out of the CLEC (Cowichan Lake Education Centre) located on Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island (for a map, click here). Our fall Reunion program is currently located at Loon Lake Lodge and Retreat Centre in Maple Ridge (for a map, click here).

How should we best prepare for camp?

Take time to review all information concerning the week of camp including the typical day at camp and the camper code of conduct. Feel free to browse our website and our Facebook or check out this camp-inspired video by a past participant. If you would benefit from a conversation with a volunteer staff member or current participant, let us know and we’d be happy to set something up.

How many youth will be attending camp?

Week-long camps usually are between 50-70 youth with 15 staff members. Our Summer 2021 programs will host 40-50 youth, with 13 staff members.

How do you deal with homesickness?

Any participant experiencing homesickness will receive support and guidance from one of our skilled staff members. We also encourage that guardians prepare your child as much as possible for camp and take the steps to ease any concerns. Our experience is that if your child is having a good time and feeling secure, they will not need to call home during the week. It is helpful when parents and guardians don’t require that participants call home as it can sometimes encourage homesickness. Please refer to our Camp Policies for more information.

Is this camp for particular types of youths?

The YES welcomes all youth to attend our programs. We receive youth from all types of backgrounds and from over 90 communities throughout BC. If you have particular needs or barriers, please be in touch, we’d love to talk to you about how to best include you in our programs.


What’s the difference between the Roots and Pathways camps?

Roots and Pathways have similar schedules, themes and activities, however, Pathways programs have more advanced workshops and benefit from having many return participants present who are ready to jump in and form strong, supportive communities. Roots camps are designed for 14-16 year olds (or for 13 year olds who have completed grade 8). Pathways programs are for 16-18 year olds. For 16 year olds who have never attended The YES camp, we suggest attending a Roots camp. The only difference between various Roots and Pathways programs (i.e. Roots A, Roots B) are the dates. Programming is similar between the weeks.

My child is 16, which program should they attend?

If your child is 16 and has not attended The YES previously, we would encourage them to attend a Roots program. Please contact the office if you’d like to discuss this further.

What is a Leadership Camp?

The YES Camp developed out of the co-operative movement, and the style of leadership that we promote and develop is co-operative leadership. We encourage youth to be self-aware, inclusive, conscientious, responsible and develop a healthy self-worth and resilience. The YES encourages youth to be leaders in their own lives by having strong integrity, and being positive members of their families, schools, and communities. As a participant at The YES youth will learn about different styles of leadership, their personal values, using a strengths based approach, communication skills, teambuilding skills and critical thinking skills. We focus on empowering youth to feel confident in knowing who they are and making positive choices for themselves.

What does a typical day of camp look like?

You can check out what a typical day at camp looks like by clicking here. The YES offers many activities throughout the day, including indoor and outdoor activities. The YES believes in encouraging youth to step outside of their comfort zones, while also respecting personal boundaries. We offer a supportive environment for youth to take healthy risks, but listen to youth who might be hesitant to participate in an activity.

What is the camper to staff ratio?

To ensure the safety and success of all participants, our standard camper to staff ratio is 5:1.

Meals and Accommodations

What is the food like? Can you accommodate special diets and allergies?

The CLEC (Cowichan Lake Education Centre) has their own kitchen staff that provide excellent and healthy meals, with a wide range of choices. They are able to accommodate special diets and allergies. Meals are served buffet style with many choices. All meals include a variety of fruits and veggies.

What are the sleeping arrangements?

Participants are divided into sleeping arrangements according to identified gender and cohort groups. The Cowichan Lake Education Centre has a mix of dorms, cabins and double-occupancy rooms. Participants are intentionally mixed up for the purpose of meeting new people and making new friends. We do not take roommate requests. Contact the office if you require more information or a different arrangement based on gender identity or special circumstance. We can be reached at 604-960-1377 or info@theyes.ca.

I heard there is a sleepover. What are the sleeping arrangements?

To recognize and celebrate the experience the community has shared during the week, we do supervise a sleepover on the Friday night of programming. Participants are given the choice to sleep in this environment or return to their usual sleeping area. During this activity staff provide direct supervision at all times throughout the evening, and youth are still divided according to gender identity.


Are cell phones allowed to be used while at camp?

All participants are required to hand in their cellphones or any other device that can connect to the Internet on the first night of camp. Cell phones and other devices will be securely stored by the staff team and will be returned on the last day of camp (Saturday morning). There will be designated times during the week when participants can access their phones to call home, check messages, and charge their devices. We challenge all youth to take a break from technology and unplug while at camp. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to support this goal by not requiring that youth check in throughout the week.

Can I contact my child when they are at camp? Can they email or call home?

For our Summer 2021 programming, participants will have slots of free time in the day where YES Programming does not occur, such as lunch breaks, dinner breaks, etc. This is a great time to connect with your youth. If there is an emergency please don’t hesitate to call the Camp Director.


How are staff selected and trained?

At each camp our staff team is a mix of paid staff and volunteers. All staff go through our 4-day training program in order to be facilitators at The YES. Our training includes workshops in facilitation, active listening, crisis counselling, teambuilding and conflict resolution skills. 85% of our staff are returning alumni many of whom generously donate their time and energy to the program for multiple years. Our staff selection process is competitive and we require criminal record checks for all volunteers and staff.

Is there medical staff on site at camp?

At each camp there are two designated First Aid Attendants who will oversee all medical needs. The First Aid Attendants hold valid First Aid/CPR C certifications. Additionally, we have a lifeguard on site who has First Aid, CPR-C and NLS Poolside certifications.

Health and Safety

What are the rules concerning medication?

For our overnight camps, all prescribed and over the counter medication must be handed in to a designated First Aid Attendant. First Aid Attendant work with participants to guarantee that their medication routine is consistent with the prescribed guidelines. All prescribed medication must come to camp in the original container, or bubble packed. Participants are not required to hand in birth control, inhalers, vitamins, or non-medicated ointments.

What happens if something goes wrong in the middle of the night or day?

Staff members are present in each building or location to ensure safety and appropriate behaviour. Staff are always close by to attend to the needs of any individual needing assistance or an emergency situation.

What if my child is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

All participants are required to be symptom free for at least two weeks prior to the start of any in-person programming. If a participant begins to display symptoms, they will be asked to leave the program. Please see our Camp Policies for more information on health safety and program reimbursements .

What COVID-19 precautions will be taken for camps?

All attendees of our programs, staff or participants, must not experience COVID-19 symptoms two weeks prior to program start date. We will be following BC health and safety regulations closely during programming, and will be offering sanitization stations frequently for all participants, as well as for any equipment that may be used. Our ultimate goal is to provide safe and healthy camps and still allow staff and participants to have a positive engagement with eachother. We will be following the guidelines of our provincial health authorities with regards to the use of PPE (face coverings in particular) for those times physical distancing is not possible. Where possible, our programming will occur in shaded areas outside. Particpants will have the opportunity to make many new friends, and they will also be assigned a cohort which allows them to safely share restrooms, housing, and mealtimes. You can read our approved COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

Camper Information

What is Camper Code of Conduct?

We expect each participant to respect the camp community and guarantee the safety and inclusion of all participants and staff. To ensure this expectation is met, we ask all campers to sign our Camper Code of Conduct.

Can I bring my own food?

Participants cannot bring their own food for the week of camp, but are encouraged to bring snacks for the trip to and from camp. These snacks will be handed in on the first night, and will be returned to the participants at the end of the week. We do this to ensure that food is not present in the dorms, that participants with life-threatening food allergies are safe, and to make sure we don’t attract critters.