YMCA Camp Jones Gulch
My son has done Camp Jones Gulch many times. He likes it a lot. One year he did the Coastal Camp, which he didn't enjoy quite as much. But he looks forward to going every summer.
I went to Camp Jones Gulch as a child, and loved it! I went three summers in a row, and my brother went until he was a counselor in training. Younger kids get to try a large variety of activities, and the older ones can specialize. It’s a good mix of “indoor” and “outdoor” activities, and I never felt pressured to try something I didn’t like. I always felt well supported by the counselors, and had a blast with the other kids in my cabin.
This was about 20 years ago, so it’s possible things have changed, but I can honestly say I wish I had gone back more as a teen.
Two places my kids have gone are Girl Scout camps (have camps with horses) and YMCA Jones Gulch in the Santa Cruz mountains. You don't have to be in Girl Scouts to do their summer camp. Both are more reasonably priced than some of the private camps and my kids have liked both. YMCA has buses from the Berkeley Y, and Girl Scout camps have buses from either Alameda or San Jose, depending on which site they go to. Skylark, in the Santa Cruz mountains, has lots of horse programs and my daughter liked it a lot.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My 9-year-old boy has requested a sleepover camp this summer and we are looking at Jones Gulch Camp. We would love information about the facilities and activities for the standard summer programs. Do they help the kids make new friends? He is likely to be going on his own and probably won't know anyone else. Thanks! Happy Camper
Hi! While I work for the Berkeley YMCA we are a different association than Jones Gulch. I have two sons who have both thoroughly enjoyed Jones Gulch camp. They go to YMCA Camp Ravencliff as well and the two camps are very different and they love both of them. They are never together because of their age differences, so they definitely have to make friends.
Both camps facilitate group work. The kids feel that they are part of a group adventure and definitely leave feeling that the counselor is their friend. Neither have made lasting friendships - they haven't written or emailed people they met at camp or anything. Of the two camps, Jones Gulch is closer and has all the ''bells and whistles''with horses, climbing towers, a pool, etc. Ravencliff is much more of a traditional outdoorsy experience without all of that, but because of that they do build stronger bonds with one another. Good luck in your choice! The first time my kids went I was lonely myself. Now I look forward to the break. Eden