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At YMCA Camp Sloper, we take pride in our commitment to keeping kids safe and there is no place more important to us than the waterfronts. Both the East Coast and the West Coast have their own waterfronts. Each waterfront has it's own characteristics that appropriately fit the swimming levels of the age groups that use them.

Our waterfronts are lead by two Waterfront Directors who are 21+ year old certified lifeguards accredited by the American Red Cross. Each waterfront is accompanied by a team of certified lifeguards.

YMCA Camp Sloper has multiple safety protocols on the waterfronts that are used everyday, as well as some that are practiced by staff during our 30+ hour required staff training schedule and during each summer session. During each swim period, "Buddy Checks" are called every 6-7 minutes for East Coast campers, and every 9-10 minutes for West Coast Campers. All campers, regardless of what individual camp they signed up for, are swim tested before being allowed to swim in the deep end of our pond. 



Swim Test Example Video

This video provides examples of what our lifeguards are looking for during your camper's swim test. Due to the "dark water" pond that we swim in, we have higher standards and safety measures for swimmers, meaning we are more cautious with swimmers who demonstrate borderline swim skills. If your camper does not pass the swim test, they are still able to swim during their time at camp, it just means that they will be restricted to the shallow end until they pass the swim test on another day. 


Where do the campers swim?

All campers will in our designated swim areas only. Each Coast has it's own waterfront and is sectioned off by a dock system. All swimmers swim inside the dock system, unless they are using a water element (water park, waterslide, or rope swing).

All campers and staff are swim tested each summer to determine if they are deep end eligible. Wanderers, Sloperians, and Navigators are not eligible to be deep end swimmers and are regulated to the shallow end (varies from 0ft-3.5ft).

How deep is the water?

The East Coast waterfront ranges from 6ft-8ft at its deepest and the West Coast waterfront is roughly 8ft at its deepest.

The shallow end on the East Coast is sectioned off by a lane line and is roughly 2.5ft-3ft deep. 

Both waterfronts are zero entry beaches.

Do you have lifeguards?

Yes. Both waterfronts are staffed with lifeguards, including a Waterfront Director, or head lifeguard.

All guards are certified lifeguards.

In addition to lifeguards, all counselors swim during their swim periods with their groups.

Do you swim test campers?

Yes. We swim test all campers and all staff every summer.

Since we swim in "dark water", we take our swim testing very seriously and have higher standards of swimming skills than in a "clear water" source. We test for confidence, endurance, and swimming strength. If you pass the swim test, you are deemed a "deep end swimmer", if not, you are restricted to the shallow end.

We allow retests upon request, but urge campers to work on their endurance and swim skills for awhile before testing again.

Can my camper wear a life jacket while swimming?

Yes, if requested. Any one who goes boating must wear a life jacket, but if a camper would like to wear a life jacket, we will always grant the request.

What are your safety protocols?

We have two main safety protocols we use everyday: swim ratios and buddy checks

Our swimming ratios are smaller than land ratios, meaning we have more staff in ratio at the waterfront. 

Buddy Checks are called every 5-10 minutes, based on age. A buddy check means that all campers and staff must exit the water so that counselors can count all campers in their group. Once all campers are accounted for, they get to go back into the water until the next buddy check.

Additionally, all staff are trained on a drill we call "Lost Bather", where if a child was unaccounted during a buddy check, this protocol would go into place to search for the missing camper. We practice this every session and during our 30+ hour staff training in the pre-season.

Who gets to swim?

All traditional camps have a scheduled swim period each day. Campers can choose to swim or not.

Specialty Camps may have a water element written into their schedule if there is room, but do not have a designated swim period each day. Specialty Camps typically do not swim

Do Wanderers swim?

Yes. Wanderers swim every Monday - Thursday at the East Coast Waterfront. A small section of the beach is sectioned off just for them. The water level barely gets to 2ft deep and a lifeguard is stationed in the water in the deep end. 

Activities at YMCA Camp Sloper

4-Square fishing mountain biking Soccer
9-Square in the air football nature softball
archery fortbuilding Ninja Warrior Course superslide
arts and crafts Frisbee golf obstacle course swimming
Baseball gladiator dodgeball paddle boarding swings
birding gymnastics painting track and field
boating high ropes performing arts tricycle race track
carpentry hiking pillow polo ultimate frisbee
challenge course jewelry playscape volleyball
chess kayaking rock climbing water slide
climbing tower kickball rocket science waterpark
coloring Lacrosse rope swing wiffleball
Crystal mine legos sandcastle building yoga
dance party library skatepark  
field games low ropes Sloper Express