2019 Y-Camp Success Story


When campers enter the Valley, driving down the winding road under a canopy of trees, there is feeling of leaving everything else behind and entering a new world. The forest opens before them and camp greets them as they reach the bottom of the hill and see the entrance sign welcoming them to “the closest place to Heaven on earth.” For 100 years, the Des Moines Y Camp has welcomed campers from all different backgrounds to the banks of the Des Moines River for a week full of fun, friendship and character growth. This summer was no different.


The campers began the week with an opening campfire full of songs, skits, laughter and an introduction to camp followed by the first of their nightly Convos, where they learned about the four core values at Y Camp: honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. On Monday they signed up for their Pathways for the week which are their opportunity to learn more about different skills like soccer, archery, outdoor living skills, nature and more. In the afternoon each day they went with their cabin to different programs and activities that they get to plan as a group. We call them Open Afternoons and they allow the campers to have a hand in designing their weekly schedule. Each evening they attended a different program, including the Trail of Five Fires, a campout night, Inspiration Point, the Arty Talent Show, a visit to Aunt Fifi and the closing night at Honor Point.

Through their week they focused a lot on building relationships with one another, learning of the value of good character, what it takes to be a leader among their peers and building self-confidence. This summer, 125 campers were sponsored through the Iowa State Sherriff and Deputies’ Association and the impact on every camper is tremendous. While at camp they develop a stronger sense of independence, resilience, confidence and make amazing friendships. As they depart camp, driving the same winding path they took to come to camp, they are reminded to “do all the good you can” and work to make the world a better place. They are encouraged to take camp with them and help it extend beyond their week at camp and the Valley they spent it in.