Camp Santa Maria Traditional Discovery


At YMCA Camp Santa Maria, we give campers a wide variety of activity options throughout their camp stay. They can ride local trails, fine-tune their archery skills, build gnome homes, take out a kayak or a SUP, and much much more. They can get creative in our arts and crafts room, star in a skit of their creation at campfire, dance, climb, swim and bond with their new friends. Depending on the program your child signs up for, they may even have the opportunity to nurture their wilderness survival skills during overnight backpacking trips or they may spend their time mentoring younger campers and refining their leadership skills. Basically, camp is their oyster.

Here is a sneak peak of what your camper might enjoy during their stay at Camp Santa Maria. For more details on which activities they will do during their specific camp, please see each camp description for details. 
CSM Camp Santa Maria
  • Paddleboarding
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Swimming (heated pool)
  • Arts and Crafts
  • NASA GLOBE Goes to Camp 
    (STEM programming)
  • Leave No Trace programming
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Climbing and Rappelling 
  • Low Ropes Course
  • Survival Skills
  • Theme-based All-Camp Games 
    and Activities
  • Opening and Closing Campfire

Parent’s Glossary

Your child may return home from camp wielding a whole new vocabulary. Understand their campy language with the help of our glossary.

Breakfast of Champions: A camp tradition. On Friday mornings, the campers who want to are led to the statue and back down to main camp to jump into the lake for a polar plunge!

Smorgasbord: This is a time in the afternoon that we open up many different areas of camp for kids to choose from, so they can experience more than just their skill tracks.

Gnome Homes: At YMCA Camp Santa Maria, we have a booming population of gnomes. They are a nomadic population and can move year to year. Unfortunately, due to the population increase, there is a housing crisis and we need help from everyone at camp to provide shelter for the gnomes! 

Bead Ceremony: At the end of each session, counselors will award campers with beads that recognize their growth in their programming, and will also distribute beads that represent the Y Core Values to campers that best exemplified them throughout the week. 

Gummie: The toothless, vegetarian alligator that often inhabits our lake.

Danger River: The dangerous, off-limits river that runs through camp.

The Icebox: A three-sided stone structure in our upper field that is often used a meeting place.

Embers: Every night, campers are given prompts to help with self-reflection and communication among their cabinmates. Embers most often occurs in a circle in the middle of the cabin but can be experienced outside around a dying fire. Hence the name, Embers.