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Welcome Wanderers to YMCA Camp Sloper! The Wanderers program is a half day program that runs from 9am-1pm throughout the summer. We run the program in one week installments to provide the best intro to camp program. As the newest and youngest campers, Wanderers have a dedicated space that is all their own called the "Big Red Barn" or "Wanderers Barn".

The Wanderers Program is designed to give our Pre-K campers an introduction to a camp experience as well as get them adjusted to extended periods of time away from mom & dad. With a entire new world to explore, our Wanderers will try new things everyday, from arts and crafts projects, group activities, swimming in Sloper Pond, hiking on our trails, going down the Superslide, to riding the Sloper Express and so much more! With smaller group ratios and their own personal base of operations, Wanderers get to grow and thrive in a safe and fun environment. 

We understand that this is a big step for first time campers (and parents!) so if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call the camp office: 860-621-8194.

If you are interested in taking a tour of camp, we offer a few Open House dates (listed in our Dates and Rates page at the bottom) that you can attend or schedule a personal time to visit camp (subject to camp staff availability). 



2023 Wanderers Session Themes

Daily Schedule

Wanderers Typical Daily Schedule

9:00am - Arrival/Center Play

9:30am - Circle Time

9:45am - Activity Period #1

10:15am - Snack time!

10:30am - Activity Period #2

11:00am - Story Time/Centers

11:30am - Lunch

12:00pm - Swim Period

12:45pm - Sloper Express Train Ride

1:00pm - Departure

What's the age range for Wanderers?

All Wanderers must be between 2.9 to 5 years old, as well as be potty trained. Of course we will assist if needed, but do not have the means to do diaper change.

What should my camper bring for camp?

Each day you should pack:

  • a lunch,
  • a separate snack,
  • a bathing suit,
  • a towel,
  • a hat,
  • closed toed shoes,
  • a refillable water bottle

We recommend also bringing: a change of clothes (just in case!), sunscreen (camp does provide sunscreen)

Do Wanderers swim?

Wanderers go swimming every day for approximately 30 minutes. The children swim in a Wanderers only area of the shallowest part of the swimming area, which is roughly 2.5ft at its deepest. The children have the same ratios as before, but a designated lifeguard is stationed in the water with the children at all times.

If your camper does not want to swim that day, no worries. They can play in the sand next to the swimmers with a ton of sand toys.

In addition to the other swimming parameters, every 5-6 minutes, the Waterfront Director calls for a "Buddy Check", where all campers get out of the water to complete a face/head count for each group. This is a safety measure to ensure that all children are accounted for in addition to regular supervision. 

If you are concerned about your child's swimming ability, we also have infant to adult sized life jackets if requested.

Are the kids separated by age or do they all play together?

Well, the answer to that questions is...both! Some parts of the day such as Activity Periods and divided to allow for rotating activities. Some campers might be using the playscape while others are completing an arts & crafts project. Having smaller groups rotate from activity to activity helps provide better interactions and supervision. Other times during the day like Lunch and Swimming (and sometimes special activity periods), campers will be together.

What is the staff to child ratio?

The Wanderers ratio is the lowest of all camp groups at 1 counselor to every 5 campers. We do not allow more than 30 Wanderers in the Barn as well.

My child is entering Kindergarten in the Fall, do I have a choice of what Unit they enroll in?

Good question! Yes, you have a choice between Wanderers (the half day pre-k program) or Sloperians (the full day, Kindergarten only program).

Things to consider when deciding between the two would be:

- Can my child handle a full day schedule (9am-3pm)?

- Is my child emotionally and physically ready for a full day schedule?

- Are you looking for smaller group ratios? (Wanderers = 1:5; Sloperians = 1:8)

Where do I drop-off and pick-up my Wanderer?

Drop off and pick up is at the "Big Red Barn" located on the west side of camp. There are plenty of parking spaces right by the barn. 

There is no busing for Wanderers.

Drop Off is at 9:00am

Pick up is at 1:00pm

The Big Red Barn is located near the Climbing Tower, Jacob Family Pavilion, and the Ninja Warrior Course. When entering the parking lot, continue to the end of the paved road, then head left towards the "West Coast". You can park right behind the round-a-bout.

What qualifications do the staff at your camp have?

The Camp Director, Coast Directors, Unit Directors, and Wanderers Director are all CPR, First-Aide and Administration of Medication certified (including Epi-Pens). All Directors are also trained by our onsite Registered Nurse (RN) who is at camp every day between 8:30am-3:30pm.

In the Big Red Barn, we have a combination of Senior Counselors and Junior Counselors who go through over 30+ hours of staff training prior to working at Sloper. Senior counselors range from Seniors in High School to college graduates. Junior Counselors are staff who are entering their junior year of high school. In addition, there is a designated Wanderers Director who is 20+ and has experience working with Pre-K children. 

During the hiring process, all applicants/staff go through background checks, certification verification, group & one-on-one interviews, and reference checks.

What kind of activities will my Wanderer experience?

The goal of the Wanderers program is to get kids acclimated to the world of outdoor camping (minus the sleeping over) and give them age appropriate camp activities and games to learn and play.

Some activities include:

Superslide, Playscape, Sloper Express, Slip'n'Slide, classic camp games, songs, arts and crafts, story time, hiking, adventure hunts, performing arts, swimming and much more!

Is there Extended Care for Wanderers?

Unfortunately, we do not offer before care or aftercare for Wanderers. 

Drop off is at 9am and pick up is at 1pm.