Camping can be a new experience for many. We'll help you be prepared.

First time campers and even seasoned campers will have questions about their upcoming experience. Regardless of the season you're joining us, planning ahead is key. If you can't find the answer to your questions here, please reach out to us and we'll be happy to help.

P: 1-800-387-5081



Frequently Asked Questions

We are located on 1 km of shoreline on Koshlong Lake, surrounded by 1,000 acres in the Haliburton Highlands. The closes town is Haliburton, Ontario, just 15 minutes away, which has grocery stores, department stores, restaurants, a hospital and library. 


We're committed to healthy living and an integral part of that is serving campers delicious and nutritious meals that sustain them throughout all the fun. Meals and snacks are planned by our full-time Food Services team. We can accommodate allergies, vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher needs. Portions are hearty in size and served family and buffet style, or on out-trips - beneath the open skies. Make sure to indicate any dietary restrictions or information on your registration. 

We understand that some campers have severe, sometimes life-threatening allergies to nuts and other food. Our Food Services team chooses ingredients and designs menus to minimize the risk to these children and our Tuck Shop does not sell any items containing nuts. When packing, please do not send any products that may contain nut ingredients

Summer Overnight Camp

Depending on the program in which campers are enrolled, they stay in either cabins with a washroom and shower or without. Each cabin has electricity, lights and bunks with mattresses. Please bring your own bedding. Each cabin has at least one separate room for the cabin's counsellors.

Washrooms are located in three centralized buildings around camp with private stalls for showers and toilets. Washrooms are cleaned several times each day.

Yes! We do our best to accommodate cabin mate requests, provided the children are in the same program and are of similar ages. Only one request may be considered and must be mutually requested by both campers. Requests are not guaranteed.

Generally we require campers to attend the program within the age requirement posted on our website. Cabins are most successful in their relationships and friendship-building if peer groups are kept within a limited age gap. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office.

Mornings are spent doing Personal Choice Activities (PCAs), chosen upon registration. These are co-ed and all ages programs. After lunch and a rest period, cabins spent time together doing things they choose as a group and trying new activities around camp. Evening programs include section-specific and camp-wide activities, and are always super creative and fun for all! All campers get to go on an overnight on the lake or outtrip farther away, during their stay. The length and location of outtips vary by program.

Please have a look at the weather forecast prior to packing for camp. We always suggest packing clothes for all kinds of weather in order to be prepared. 

All Campers Packing List

Sr. Traditional & 1st year S.C Canoe Trip packing list

Sr. Tripper -10 Day Canoe Trip Packing List

A chartered coach bus service is available from locations in Hamilton, Burlington, and North of Toronto. Requests for bus transportation To and From camp must be made with the camp office at least four weeks prior to the start date of camp. All changes to transportation must be made in writing. Space is limited on the buses and last minute additions cannot always be accommodated.

2024 Summer Overnight Camp Sessions at YMCA Wanakita will begin on a SUNDAY and end on a THURSDAY.

Round Trip Bus Service $176.00*

One Way Bus Service  $88.00*

*plus HST

To Camp Wanakita 





Mohawk College (Hamilton Mountain)
Fennell Avenue Entrance Parking Lot #P8
Birds eye view of where the bus will be

8:00 am


Ron Edwards Family YMCA
500 Drury Lane, Burlington

8:45 am

North Toronto

Northbound Hwy 400 (King City)
OnRoute Service Station (Between Major Mackenzie and King City Road)
Birds eye view of where the bus will be

9:45 am


Home from Camp Wanakita




North Toronto

Southbound Hwy 400
Esso Service Station (Between Major Mackenzie and King City Road)
Birds eye view of where the bus will be



Ron Edwards Family YMCA
500 Drury Lane, Burlington



Mohawk College (Hamilton Mountain)
Fennell Avenue Entrance Parking Lot #P8
Birds eye view of where the bus will be



Phone Calls & Mobile Phones | Mail & Care Packages | Email

Phone Calls & Mobile Phones

A camper’s experience at camp is full of activities and is very busy. YMCA Wanakita has many programs and activities to offer and we want to ensure that your camper/s have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the things we have to offer. Thus we do not facilitate phone calls home and also discourage campers from bringing electronics to camp. YMCA Wanakita has a no cell phone policy. Mobile phones lessen the immersive camp experience. Therefore, if your camper brings a cell phone it will be collected and stored in a secure location for the duration of their stay.

Mail & Care Packages

Incoming Camper mail is delivered daily via the Wanakita Tuck Shop. Please address camper mail, including care packages clearly as follows:

First Name Last Name (Session xx)

YMCA Wanakita 

1883 Koshlong Lake Rd

Haliburton ON, K0M 1S0

Care Packages
Campers love receiving care packages from home. Please keep these guidelines in mind before posting a care package to a camper.

  • Storage space is very limited in our Tuck Shop PLEASE keep all packages to the size of a regular shoebox.
  • Sharing is Caring, the inclusion of small items like penny candy that can be shared easily is a great idea 
  • Food kept in cabins attracts animals, so keep quantities small.
  • YMCA Wanakita is a peanut and nut sensitive facility. For the safety of all do not send products containing peanuts or nuts. They can pose a huge
    risk to campers who have allergies
  • Please NO GUM

Outgoing Camper Mail
Campers can send mail by placing outgoing mail in the mailbox located on the stage in the dining hall. During the summer months, outgoing mail is collected and mailed the same day. Although postage stamps, envelopes and post cards are available in the Tuck Shop, it is helpful to send pre-stamped envelopes or postcards with your camper(s).

Email/Bunk Notes
An email service for families of campers is provided by our partners in camping Emails are printed once daily, usually before 10:00 am, and sent to each camper through our internal mail system. Your child cannot email you back. This is a one-way system allowing you to send messages to your camper while they are at camp.
To set up an account or log in please follow this link: The preapproved registration code is: CODE WILL BE SENT TO EACH HOUSEHOLD

How to sign up for Bunk Notes
1. Go to our website
2. Click the “Camp Photos / Camper Email” button *
3. Click “Register Now”
4. Enter your Pre-Approved Registration Code: TBA for 2022
5. Fill out all the required information
6. Purchase Bunk Note credits (you will need a credit card)
7. View camper pictures and send an email to your camper!

Personal Choice Activities (PCAs)

YMCA Wanakita provides a wide range of activities where campers are able to develop their technical skills under the instruction of our
trained and experienced staff. While campers will have the opportunity to experience many of these areas with their cabin groups, they choose
preferred areas of interest for their daily Personal Choice Activities.

How many PCAs do you choose?
Choose two PCAs per week of camp unless you fall into the

  • Campers choosing Sailing or Boardsailing, do not choose a second PCA.
  • Senior Traditional campers choose only two PCAs per 2 week session.
  • Senior Trippers do not choose PCAs.

Learn how to play basic chords or move to the
next level. Campers will have the opportunity
to perform for other campers and staff.

Based on the “challenge by choice” model, campers
can participate in challenging and cooperative
activities. Activities include team building, high
ropes, low ropes, the climbing wall, and much more.

Learn to shoot to varying distances and find out
who the real Robin Hoods are! Participants are
awarded Wanakita levels as they learn beginner
and more advanced techniques.

From nature crafts to screen printing, typical
activities include sketching, beading, tie dyeing,
mural painting, collages, and much more!

Campers learn about boating safety, tandem and
solo paddling skills, and play skill-enhancing and
fun games.

Ultimate frisbee, basketball, volleyball and soccer
are some examples of the programs available.
Campers will learn the rules of play and basic
skills, while developing positive attitudes towards
competition, health, and personal challenge.

Campers learn new steps and styles of dance while
working towards performing at our weekly arts
presentation. The dance styles vary depending on
the age, interests, and abilities of each PCA group.

New in 2022, this PCA aims to build on participants
knowledge and understanding of caring for the
environment in their community through activities
including gardening, composting and recycling.
Participants will learn how to be environmental
stewards who can help their home communities
minimize their environmental impact.

Earn YMCA Wanakita’s own awards, from levels I
to III. Flatwater skills are emphasized. Advanced
paddlers can progress to learning whitewater
theory and techniques on the flatwater

Safety and proper riding technique will be taught and
then practiced on YMCA Wanakita’s 25km trail system.
A great way to explore and discover the great

Selecting from a variety of pre-shaped tulipwood
templates, campers will learn to shape, sand, and finish
a paddle that is truly unique to them. Please note that
there is an additional cost of $40 for the paddle blank.

(Counts as 2 PCA choices for one week)
Experienced instructors teach basic sailing skills, knots,
and tips on how to read the wind on our fleet of Hobie
Wave catamarans and PICOs. Campers will have a
chance to earn Wanakita sailing awards based on the
practical skills they learn during their week of PCAs.

Our qualified staff instruct campers in YMCA Canada
Swim Program levels from Learn-to-Swim to Star 7.
Campers will also have an opportunity to participate
in a variety of water based activities, including the
water trampoline.

Campers come away from this program with a sense
of accomplishment and increased self-confidence
while developing and performing plays, singing, and
learning a number of drama games.

Campers will gain an appreciation and knowledge of our
natural world and their place in it. The focus will be on YMCA
Wanakita’s amazing wetland area and 1000 acres of flora
and fauna. This program also includes an extensive outdoor
living program including outdoor cooking and firebuilding,
minimum impact camping, navigation skills, weather
forecasting, knots and other camping skills.

Building upon the foundation of skills learned in the WEP
program, participants develop further skills such as outdoor
cooking, advanced fire-lighting, use of tarps and more.
Participants will develop skills that can help them be more
comfortable in a wilderness context.

(Counts as 2 PCA choices for one week)
Our hybrid Stand Up/Windsurf boards give campers a well
rounded experience. Participants can become comfortable
balancing on the stand up paddle board and then grab a sail
to develop their windsurfing skills. Campers will learn safety
tips, basic maneuvering skills and how to read the wind
during their week of PCAs.

Family Vehicles To & From YMCA Wanakita

If you have chosen to use a Family Vehicle to bring your Camper(s) To or From YMCA Wanakita this summer and live in or around the GTA area the drive can take 3 hours in each direction

Arrival Day at Wanakita 

If you are arriving by Car please plan to arrive around 12:30pm. As many as 300 campers are making their way to Wanakita on arrival days. Please drive carefully on the last leg of your journey - Koshlong Lake Road. There will be cars parked and a lot of pedestrians on the road as you approach the camp. 

Departure Day at Wanakita

If your Camper is departing Wanakita via a family vehicle please plan to depart camp with your camper at around 10:30.  There will be cars parked and a lot of pedestrians on the road as you pick up your campers please be cautious as you make your way home. 

For the safety of everyone arriving and departing please follow Wanakita staff instructions on where to park your car, these staff members might be asking you to leave that lovely parking space so that emergency vehicles and our busses can navigate safely should the need arise. Safety First ALWAYS.

Google Map Directions to YMCA Wanakita

Summer Day Camp

Please ensure your child is prepared for all weather and always has a change of clothes.

What to Bring


Program groups are co-ed and assigned based on age groups where possible. We also accommodate group-mate requests to the best of our ability, provided they are similar in age.

To maintain program start times for all campers, the YMCA Wanakita Day Camp bus departs each pick-up location promptly at the departure time.

AM Pick Up Location PM Drop Off
8:00am Dysart Community Centre (21 Queen Elizabeth Dr., Dysart) 4:55pm
8:06am Former Hilltop Market (4511 Haliburton County Rd 21, Dysart) 5:01pm
8:12am Harper Marine & Storage (3572 Haliburton County Rd 21, Minden) 5:07pm
8:27am Minden Municipal Parking (7 Milne St., Minden) 5:22pm
8:45am Lochlin Community Centre (4713 Gelert Rd., Lochlin) 5:40pm


Family Camp

Each family is assigned to a cabin of their own. Cabins come in various sizes (from 3 - 12 beds), but all are outfitted with single beds or bunk beds with vinyl covered foam mattresses. Please bring your own linents (sheets, blankets/sleeping bags), pillow, towels, etc... 

Each cabin has electricity. Some bun not all cabins have baseboard heating. If concerned about the temperation, please feel free to bring a small space heater for your cabin or a fan if its going to be hot. 

Washrooms are located in three centralized buildings around camp with private stalls for showers and toilets. Washrooms are cleaned several times each day.

The food is great! All meals are served in our dining hall, three times a day (8:30am, 12:30pm and 5:30pm) as well as an evening snack around 8:15pm. We provide delicious and nutritious meals with lots of options that both kids and adults love. Coffee, tea, juice, hot chocolate, toast, fruit and other snacks are available 24 hours a day at a self-serve station in the dining hall.

Please ensure you let us know of any dietary requirements before you arrive to camp. We can accommodate many dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan and most food allergies and religious dietary restrictions, when notified ahead of time. If you have a food preference or a food you simply don't like, we can do our best, but can't guarantee it can be avoided. There are always lots of options at meals otherwise.

Yes, you can definitely bring your own snacks, though we strongly encourage that they be tightly sealed and kept in your cabin or the trunk of your car, to avoid attracting critters. We also sell snacks, ice and other amenities in our Tuck Shop which is open twice daily. Please avoid bringing any products that contain nuts.


Throughout the day we run family-friendly programs as well as programs organized by age groups. You can choose to attend as many or as few programs as you please. Programs are run by enthusiastic and qualified staff members. In addition, many program areas are open to use on your own, such as our hiking and biking trails, waterfront, canoes and kayaks. Evening programs are scheduled every day, and include a mix of age-specific and family-friendly activities. Our programs run rain or shine (except during thunderstorms or high winds).

Sample Weekly Schedule

In addition, some other things to look forward to include: 

  • At the opening and closing of every session, there are group campfires where staff share skits, stories and much anticipated traditional Wanakita songs. Every cabin section has a smaller campfire for you to enjoy in the evenings. Wood is available for purchase at our site. 

  • We have a talent show every Thursday night. Brush up on your talents and showcase them for everyone’s enjoyment. 

  • We have a theme dinner each week. Several weeks before your camp session, we will let you know what the theme will be so you can come prepared with costumes or table decorations if you choose. 

  • You can look forward to our ever-popular arrival and departure day brunches with lots of delicious options. 

  • And so much more! 

In an effort to ensure the opportunity for as many families as possible to enjoy YMCA Wanakita's Summer Family Camp program, registration in only one week of Family Camp per family will be allowed, prior to January 1st. After January 1st, registration in a second week of Family Camp will be welcomed, pending availability. Please note that unfortunately we are unable to accomodate families on Wanakita property during changeover periods between consecutive weeks of Family Camp.

Yes. Please contact us and we will discuss if there is room in the week or your assigned cabin. 

That depends on how many people are currently registered. We have a set capacity in our dining hall, which once filled, can no longer accommodate additional people (even if there is room in your cabin). If you are hoping to have family members or friends join you for a portion of your time at camp, it is necessary that you communicate this to the camp office prior to your arrival. To ensure the safety of all participants, YMCA Wanakita must know who is on site at all times. Also note that when visitors or guests arrive at YMCA Wanakita they must check in at the main office at the front entrance of camp, as well as at the Family Camp Office.

Guests vs Visitors 

  • Guests attend camp part of the full program time. Guest fees are charged at full price, regardless of the time spent at camp, unless your guest is staying for 48 hours or less. 
  • Visitors are any participants attending camp without attending meals or programs (for a few hours at a time). There is no fee charged for this, though it must be communicated to the Director ahead of time. 

Please contact the Family Camp Director for day rates for guests. 

Yes! We love dogs at camp and dogs are part of families too. Our dog policy is as follows: 

  • You must provide a current copy of your pet’s rabies vaccination record before arrival. 
  • Your pet must be on leash at all times, or on a lead outside your cabin. The only exception to this is for swimming at a designated area of the beach, or playing in the archery/baseball field during designated times when programs are not running. 
  • The only building that your pet is allowed is your own cabin. We don’t allow pets in any program buildings, washrooms or the dining hall. The exception to this is working dogs. 

YMCA Wanakita Family Camp defines a family as multi-generational, and preference is given to families fitting that description. If one or more adults with to attend without children, there is the opportunity for a registered family to invite you to stay as a guest in their cabin, assuming there is availability.

We understand that past family campers have a strong connection to YMCA Wanakita. Our first priority is to provide this multi-generational experience to today's families so they can develop these same strong connections with their family that you experienced. We do provide opportunities for adults to come Wanakita during our Getaway Weekends and Work Weekends.

Cell reception at camp is very limited. A short walk around camp to find a cellular pocket, or if needed, a drive into town, will provide you with better cell phone reception and/or access to internet. 

Access to WiFi is not available at Family Camp. We do however recognize that internet access is sometimes a necessity. There are several placed in Haliburton (15 minutes away) that offer free WiFi.

Family campers find the more they disconnect from their electronic devices, the more they connect with their family and friends. We encourage you to enjoy the beautiful setting, have fun, take part in activities and relax in the company of family, friends, staff and campers around you.

We do not provide transportation service for Family Camp. There is a daily bus that arrives and departs from Haliburton, 15 minutes away from camp.

We advise that you come prepared for all types of weather including hot, cold, wet, dry, sunny and cloudy, to make the most of your stay here. Don't forget your costume or props for our Theme Dinner. Details about your camp session's theme will be mailed to you before summer. 

Packing List