Following in the tradition of the YMCA, Triangle Y Ranch in Oracle continues to offer overnight camping for children ages 6 to 17.
The property, which resides about 40 miles north of downtown Tucson, was donated to the YMCA in 1948 as an all boys camp. Now, 65 years later, the coed organization offers leadership camps and specialty camps, along with traditional camps that children can advance and progress through each year as they get older.
Keith Crawley, the executive director of the YMCA Triangle Y Ranch, said camp not only gets campers from Tucson and southern Arizona, but campers and counselors alike come from all around the country. In some cases, visistors come from around the world to attend the camp.
“Our program for summer time is a traditional Y camp program, but our biggest emphasis is equestrian – our horse program,” Crawley said.
Within the specialty camps offered, there is the Ranchers camp, for ages 12-17. For one week, campers work as real ranch hands. They spend most of their day working around horses, as well as participating in the other activities the camp has to offer.
Within the one-week progressive camps, children between ages 7 to 9 can attend the Explorer Camp. Kids ages 10-12 can attend the Trailblazers Camp, and those kids ages 13-17 attend the High Adventure Camp. Each camp, which is catered to the campers’ ages, offers activities that help develop skills and confidence as the child grows through camp.
“It emphasizes kids going outside of their comfort zone, overcoming a challenge, and increasing their confidence and self esteem,” Crawley said.
One of those elements at the camp that takes campers outside of their comfort zone is a high ropes challenge course. Campers, who are securely harnessed to a belay rope, take to obstacles and challenges 30 feet off the ground. After campers successfully complete the course, they are rewarded with a 100-foot zip line ride.
Along with those camps, Triangle Y Ranch offers Leadership Camps for both Leadership in Training and for Counselors in Training.
And for those children who are young and want to just get a taste of camp without committing to an entire weeklong camp, there is the Mini Camp for children ages 6 to 9. The Mini Camp is half of a week and designed for first-time campers.
“When the kids come up to camp, all of the programs, and all of the activities are tools that we use to develop the youth for their confidence, their self esteem, their social skills, as well as how they fit into a community and how they can be successful in a community,” Crawley said.
For more information, go to the camps website at www.tucsonymca.org/triangle, or call 884-0987.