Camp Santa Maria FAQs

Where is YMCA Camp Santa Maria?

We are located about 45 minutes west of Denver, near Bailey, Colorado, off of U.S. Highway 285.

How are YMCA Camp Santa Maria staff members selected?

Our staff members go through a rigorous hiring process, including a written application and interview. All candidates must provide three written references and are subject to a state and federal criminal background check, including fingerprinting. We hire staff members based on their experience working with youth, knowledge and skills in specific camp activity areas, and their ability to create positive relationships with campers and fellow staff members. Additionally, staff are chosen for their commitment to being a role model for kids and contributing to the camp community.

How does YMCA Camp Santa Maria help campers adjust to being away from home?

Our staff is trained to help campers cope with their feelings of homesickness. A good portion of staff training focuses on child development, behavioral guidance and overcoming homesickness. Once at camp, fun programs and meeting new friends keep campers busy. Our staff members strive to provide a nurturing environment, where campers can overcome their feelings of homesickness, become more independent and feel proud of their accomplishments. We strive to create a community that serves as your camper’s home away from home. We also have a list of suggestions for parents to use before sending their kids to camp.

How does YMCA Camp Santa Maria handle behavioral issues?

When you get a large number of people together in one place for any period of time, issues between individuals can arise. At YMCA Camp Santa Maria we practice Behavioral Guidance to address these types of issues. On the first day of a session, all of the campers learn about the guidelines and rules of camp. Staff take time to let campers know the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Then, each cabin creates its own "Cabin Code of Living," with guidance from staff, on how they want to treat each other for the session. Each cabin then chooses one word to be its motto for the session and shares that with the rest of their village and camp. These contracts and mottos help to provide a framework for the staff to guide the cabin’s behavior throughout the session.

If issues arise in a cabin or between members of different cabins, the first intervention happens with cabin staff. In staff training, we teach the staff various methods to guide each person involved in the incident to a mutually-agreeable solution. It can take some time. If the cabin staff need assistance, a Unit Director or the Camp Director will be called. It is our goal to keep kids at camp. There are certain behaviors, however, that we will not tolerate, including physically attacking another person, physical, emotional or psychological bullying, inappropriate sexual contact, or continued refusal to follow the camp policies. All campers and staff are held to these standards.

If a camper gets into a situation that requires staff intervention, YMCA Camp Santa Maria will use the following steps to address the issue:

  1. Staff and the camper(s) involved will sit down and talk about the incident. Any other people involved in the event will also participate. If necessary, a Unit Director or the Camp Director will be involved.
  2. The parents of the camper(s) involved will be called and informed of the situation.
  3. The camper(s) will create with the staff a behavioral contract that will state the issue being addressed and actions that each person involved will follow. Parents will be called and filled in on the particulars of the contract.
  4. If the behavior of the camper(s) is such that it is determined that the camper needs to go home, or the camper is unwilling to change his or her behavior, the parents will be called and expected to pick up their child as soon as possible. In some cases, a camper may be removed from camp and allowed to come back the same summer. If a camper is removed from camp and does not come back, a discussion between the camp and the parents may need to take place before the camper is allowed to return to camp.

What is the camp position on bullying?

At YMCA Camp Santa Maria, we take the issue of bullying very seriously, and the people who choose to bully at camp must leave camp. Whether the bullying is physical, psychological, emotional or even electronic, it is grounds for a camper to be removed. We train our staff in the various forms of bullying prevention and even the different ways boys and girls bully. If you have any questions about bullying or what constitutes bullying at camp, please contact us.

Does YMCA Camp Santa Maria offer scholarships?

It is our belief that the camp experience is an important part of childhood, and we provide that experience for all children no matter their family’s financial situation. YMCA Camp Santa Maria provides financial assistance to families that complete our financial assistance application process and qualify. To apply for financial assistance, please complete a Financial Assistance Application.

How can I be best involved in my child’s camp experience?

Parents play an important role in a camper’s experience. Sending your child to camp prepared is important to his or her success. It is also important for parents to discuss with their child what to expect while they are at camp. Campers are always excited to receive mail, and parents are encouraged to correspond with their camper. At Camp Santa Maria, we also encourage camp families to have open communication with our staff so we may serve campers in the best way possible.

Is transportation provided to and from camp?

We feel it is important for families to drop off their campers and pick them up after their child's experience. Pick-up and drop-off days give parents an opportunity to visit with camp staff and enjoy a day in the mountains. We do not provide transportation to and from camp unless campers have signed up for the bus that will leave from the Arapahoe YMCA in Lafayette, CO. We ask that any out of state campers that are traveling from the airport arrange for the local pick-up with a close friend or family member. In an emergency situation where the camper is not able to be picked up from DIA, please contact the Camp Director and we can work out arrangements to have the child transported to camp. Pick-up occurs on Saturdays from 9am to 10pm. Drop-off occurs on Sundays from 2pm to 4pm.

What type of medical care is provided at camp?

YMCA Camp Santa Maria has a full-time medical person who lives onsite and provides medical care to campers. We are also connected with a pediatrician and clinic in the town of Conifer, and are serviced by local emergency medical services. It is important that parents discuss special medical needs with the Camp Director prior to coming to camp.

Can my camper make phone calls?

In general, we do not allow campers to call home. We enforce this policy because we have found that calling home can have a negative effect and prolong homesickness. Of course, if you want to talk with your camper, you will be able to. And if a camper is very upset, you will hear from us ASAP. A staff member will contact you in the case that your camper is ill or experiencing ongoing homesickness. Parents are encouraged to call camp with any concerns and our staff members are happy to update parents about their child’s experience. Please note that campers are not permitted to have cell phones at camp, so please leave them at home. Your camper will survive, and perhaps even thrive, without their phone at camp.


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