Wanakita Summer 2021 Announcement
Issued: April 15, 2021

This past year has felt like a game of tetherball at camp with the many changes and challenges that the pandemic has brought, but we have some news to share with you.

We were very hopeful that we would be able to offer Summer Overnight Camp and Day Camp to our campers this year, but unfortunately these valuable programs will have to be put on hold once again this summer.

The safety of our campers is always our top priority and although cohorting of campers among many other safety measures have been considered, there are still many unknowns that make the delivery of our traditional programs a great challenge to offer. That experience will be greatly missed this year by our entire team and hundreds of children but with the rollout of vaccines, we are confident that all programs will resume again in 2022.

We also have good news to share - you do not have to miss out on Wanakita entirely. We are excited to share that we will be reopening Wanakita for a different-type of camping experience for your family this summer.

After much deliberation and planning, we feel the safest way to give children and families a Wanakita experience this summer is to offer a modified family program - YMCA Wanakita Family Lodge.

Our approach has been driven by the regulations set forth and in discussion with public health authorities to protect the health of campers and staff and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

What is Wanakita Family Lodge?
For one summer only, our entire site, both Wanakita West (typically reserved for Kids Camp programs) and Wanakita East (Family Camp), will be open for an all-inclusive, family-style retreat for one week sessions throughout the entire summer. You and your family will be invited to book a one week session, in your own cabin to enjoy a family vacation with many of the activities and amenities that Wanakita has to offer.
What does a week at Wanakita Family Lodge include?
  • Private family cabin with bunk beds, shelving units and electricity
  • 3 meals daily, plus snacks
  • Archery
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Boardsailing
  • Canoeing
  • Environmental and Wilderness Activities
  • Kayaking
  • Performing Arts
  • Sailing
  • Sports
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Access to fire pits
  • Loads of family fun!
Complete details including session dates, fees, health and safety protocols and answers to many questions, can be found in the Family Lodge Field Guide.

When does registration open for Family Lodge?
On May 2nd, General Registraiton will open for Family Lodge online.

We anticipate Family Lodge weeks will fill up quickly and we want you to be part of this one-summer only Wanakita program. We hope to see you this summer on the shores of Koshlong.

YMCA Wanakita Camp Update
Issued: March 29, 2021

Dear YMCA Wanakita Campers…

Thank you for your support and patience as we continue to monitor the pandemic and the uncertainty it has brought to overnight camps.

We remain hopeful that we will be together, in some capacity, this summer at YMCA Wanakita and are continuing to plan for our reopening.

The Ontario Camps Association (OCA), has been working closely with provincial officials to advocate for the safe reopening and delivery of camps this summer. Though a decision has not been confirmed on whether the province will permit the operation of summer overnight camps, they have shared with OCA member camps, that there is general support for the reopening of camps for children and youth in Ontario in 2021.  

We know there will be significant health and safety instructions, guidance and conditions, beyond what we are already preparing to implement, that will be provided by the province. A recent environmental scan by Public Health Ontario related to summer camps has given some indication of the guidance we may expect to see to mitigate transmission at camp, including measures such as cohorting of campers, use of face coverings, enhanced hygiene/cleaning and pre and post arrival testing. 

Information changes daily and these many unknowns, including any limitations on the number of campers we will be allowed to welcome to camp, have led us to delay registration just a little bit longer.

Again, we thank you for your patience. We expect we will have more concrete direction on summer programs in the coming weeks and we are committed to keeping you updated.

We miss the sounds of kids, families and fun on Koshlong and wish you well.
Yours in camping,
Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita
An Update from YMCA Wanakita
Issued: March 3, 2021

“The kids need time to connect with each other, to talk, to laugh, to be away from screens, to get dirty.”
“We need this for our family’s mental health.”
“Help. He needs socialization.”
“Kids need to be kids!”
“Let them play!”
“It would be so great to be outdoors and live again.”
“We are ready. Bring it on!”

Dear YMCA Wanakita Families…

These quotes are just a small taste of the supportive and sometimes heartbreaking comments that you shared with us in our recent YMCA Wanakita Camp Readiness Survey. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, concerns and support for returning to camp.

We have poured over the survey results and it is clear – there is a yearning to return to a place that gives children a sense of normalcy, where they can build in-person friendships and experience the freedom and independence that Wanakita offers.

We’re with you!

While we are sad to share that we will not be running Spring Programs this year, provincial directives and decisions on summer camps have not been announced at this point.

We remain hopeful that we will be enjoying a campfire together again this summer and will provide an update about summer registration by the end of March.

We will continue to share information with you as updates are made available.

In the meantime, we’d like to share some highlights from our recent survey. A more detailed report from the survey will be shared in the Spring Issue of the Koshlong Current.

Thanks again for being part of our valued camp family.

Yours in camping,

Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita

Winter 2021 Program Update

Issued: October 19, 2020

The season is changing yet again on Koshlong Lake and around YMCA Wanakita. The leaves have changed, and we have awoken to mornings of frost and cool temperatures. Our minds have turned to Winter. Weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to cancel our Fall programs given the continued uncertainty about how to deliver programs safely in our unique camp environment.

We have now turned our attention to our Winter programming. With on-going unknowns about the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have chosen to cancel our programs for the winter season. This includes family programs, our winter women's weekend, and any school/user groups we would normally welcome during our Winter Outdoor Centre season. During this time we are continuing to plan and coordinate how to best and safely re-open in the future, and are following directions from the government and our local health unit. 

We will post any updates to future program openings on our website, as we move forward.

We want to thank all of you who’ve shared expressions of support and well wishes with the Wanakita team. For those who’ve inquired about additional opportunities to support YMCA Wanakita, please visit: ymcahbb.ca/wanakita/donate-today

We look forward to seeing you again.

Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita

YMCA Wanakita Pre-Registration Update
Issued: September 28, 2020

Dear YMCA Wanakita Families..

I hope you and your family are well and are settling into a new Fall routine.

At this time of year we traditionally open pre-registration for the upcoming camp year - a time that we always relish as we see the familiar names of returning campers and families flood our office.

Though we continue to plan for a great 2021 camp year, we have chosen to delay our October 1st pre-registration until we can better understand how camp may operate in the current pandemic environment.

There are many factors that go into making a difficult decision to delay registration but at the heart of it is to ensure that when we open registration, we will be able to provide further details about camp operations, capacity and safety measures that will keep campers safe and healthy.

It is our plan to provide further information to you later this Fall. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.

Yours in camping,

Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita
Fall 2020 Program Update
Issued: July 16, 2020

There is a stillness on the shores of Koshlong Lake this summer. Typically, this time of year YMCA Wanakita hums with the sound of children’s laughter and campfire songs. Weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to cancel our summer overnight and family camp program given the uncertainty about how to deliver programs safely in a camp environment at that time.

We have now turned our attention to the Fall. While there are positive signs as our Province continues to re-open, there is also some continued ambiguity about the weeks ahead.

Later this summer, school boards across the Province will share their plans for the return to school and we expect there will be some short-term changes to the learning environment.

Minimally, we know that school out trips will continue to be restricted for the time being.

This dramatically impacts our Fall program and as a result, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to cancel all Fall programming at YMCA Wanakita.

Unless we have heard from you otherwise, all program fees will be refunded to your credit card.

We want to thank all of you who’ve shared expressions of support and well wishes with the Wanakita team. For those who’ve inquired about additional opportunities to support YMCA Wanakita, please visit: ymcahbb.ca/wanakita/donate-today

We look forward to seeing you soon.


Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita

An Important Update About Wanakita Summer Programs
Issuead: May 14, 2020

Dear Campers…

I hope this letter finds you and your families well, safe and healthy. And I hope that among the challenges that the current pandemic situation has brought, that you've also found opportunities to embrace an old hobby, build a new skill and connect with others in different ways as we all practice physical distancing. It is these connections to our self and others that are so vital to our overall well-being.

We know Wanakita is an important place for you to build these connections. We've received many questions about whether summer programs will be impacted by government and public health direction, physical distancing measures and more.

Our number one priority in delivering camp programs has always been the health, safety and protection of our campers, staff and volunteers and COVID-19 has raised many questions and uncertainties about how to deliver programs safely this summer in a camp environment.

I'm saddened to share that we've made the difficult decision to cancel all YMCA Wanakita programs for Summer 2020.

This will be the first summer ever in our 67 year history that Wanakita and Koshlong Lake will not come alive with campers. We know this news will be hard for many of you, your children and families, who live for their Wanakita summer. We feel it too.

However, we will not operate camp programs if we cannot be confident that we can ensure the health of our campers and staff.

We know camp can be a significant investment for families each year and to that end, we'd like to provide you with some options for your fees paid to date. You can read more about each option at the link below. The simplest thing we can do to get you ready for our 2021 season is to carry your fees forward as a credit so that all you need to do is finalize your 2021 registration. Should you choose to carry your fees forward, you will receive Priority Registration between June 8 - July 8, 2020.

It's with our heartfelt thanks for your understanding and patience as we've worked through this situation. We know it's not the outcome anyone hoped but it is the reality that we are living in at this time. We cannot wait to see you again on the shores of Koshlong. Be well.

Yours in camping,

Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita
COVID-19 - An Update to our YMCA Camp Families
Issued: April 2, 2020

Dear Campers…

Staying connected to Wanakita families is vitally important to the YMCA particularly during this challenging time.

Further to our communication last week, I wanted to provide a short update from camp as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

We continue to plan and prepare for an amazing camp season this summer.

To help support families, we have decided to put a hold on the upcoming payment scheduled to be processed on April 30th. We know there are many uncertainties for families right now and we do not want your next camp payment to be one of them.

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and make decisions based on advice and guidance from Canadian health authorities. At this point, all April payments will be deferred to May 15th . We expect we’ll have a better understanding of how we’ll proceed with summer camp season at that point.
We will continue to keep families posted and want to thank each of you for the expressions of support and well wishes you’ve shared with the Wanakita team. For those who’ve inquired about additional opportunities to support the YMCA, please visit ymcahbb.ca/donate.

We look forward to seeing you soon.


Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita

COVID-19 - Letter to our YMCA Camp Families
Issued: March 25, 2020

Dear Campers...

As an important part of our camp family, I want to share an update with you on how we at YMCA Wanakita are responding to COVID-19 and the impact on camp programs.

The safety, health and well-being of our campers, families, staff and volunteers is always our top priority. We are in close contact with our local public health and continue to follow the advice of public health authorities as the situation continues to evolve. For the time being, we have temporarily closed camp and cancelled spring programs.

We know how much all of you, our staff, volunteers and campers, look forward to the summer months when you call YMCA Wanakita your second home. We want to assure you that we are still preparing and planning for a wonderful summer camp season and we truly can't wait for that time when we can all be together.

We will continue to monitor the situation and take decisive actions to protect our community and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are committed to keeping you informed.

For more information and updates, on how we're responding to COVID-19 at the YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford, please visit: YMCAHBB.CA/COVID-19 or contact us at camp at wanakita@ymcahbb.ca.

Thank you for your ongoing support of YMCA Wanakita. We must look after each other during these challenging times as a true camp family does.


Andy Gruppe
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita