YMCA Camp Ravencliff

Outside the Bay Area
School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
60 participants
dalpers [at] ymcaeastbay.org
Editors' Notes: 

Located in Redway, CA

YMCA Camp Ravencliff offers a great experience for both new and returning campers. Using age-appropriate activities and challenges, our trained, caring staff encourages campers to make new friends, experience new things and learn new skills. Alongside traditional camp activities like hiking, canoeing, crafts, and sing-alongs, we teach values and skills that will make a positive difference in campers’ lives for years to come.  Camp Ravencliff is located in the town of Redway in southern Humboldt County, and free round-trip charter bus transportation is available from the Bay Area.

Parent Q&A

  • 1st time going to sleep away camp

    (4 replies)

    Hi BPNers!

    Our 9-year old son is interested in attending his first sleep away camp.  Has anyone had any recent experience with the YMCA's Camp Ravencliff?  Any feedback regarding your child's experience regarding the activities offered, counselors, campground, food, etc... is much appreciated.  There is general information on the website but we are seeking firsthand feedback from your camper.


    Soon to have a sleeping away camper mom

    My daughter first went to Ravencliff (the week run by El Cerrito Recreation) when she was 10. She was miserably homesick for the first three days and had really bad airborne allergies and nose bleeds. I was a wreck because I had irrational fears of her accidental demise. Omg I am so glad we got this out of our systems early! Anyway, after her third day of misery the staff let her call home. We both felt much better after that. She had a great time and I calmed down as well. It is hot and dusty, there is a lot of walking, your son may never change his socks or underwear, but my daughter really had a great time and couldn't wait to go back!

    My kids went to Ravencliff last summer as their first sleep-away camp, at ages 8 and 10. We chose Ravencliff based on a recommendation from other families who have kids who have attended. Both kids had a great time and want to go back. Things that I heard from my kids about the camp generally struck me as good. They did an "overnight" where they slept out under the stars. My son mostly did sports for the activity periods where they got to choose. They had chore time every day, where they rotated through various chores through the week, including washing dishes--which I like. I think it's good for kids to learn that they need to contribute to the group. They liked/loved their counselors. My good eater said the food was great; my picky eater ate some new stuff and didn't starve. They sang songs from camp the whole rest of the summer. Only one thing I heard struck me as weird--erring on the side of overly cautious about personal "safety": they had to wear their swim suits when they took their one-time mandatory shower, even though they had individual curtained areas in which to shower! Still, all in all, a great experience, and got my kids love sleep away camp as much as I did growing up!

    Both of my sons started going to Camp Ravencliff(week run by El Cerrito Rec) when they were about 9 or 10.  They absolutely loved it, so much that they eventually became counselors-in-training.  They knew all of the counselors, and most of the other campers through the El Cerrito after-school and summer programs.  They came back filthy, but so happy.

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2016

RE: Summer camp for 12-yr old with cabin camping

This sounds exactly like Camp Ravencliff which is located in Humboldt county. It's a YMCA camp for 5 weeks in the summer and the city of El Cerrito runs a camp for a couple weeks there in August. Campers stay in rustic cabins and swim and canoe in the Eel river. There is hiking, art and crafts, archery, camp fires and all the classic summer camp activities. Both the Y and El Cerrito offer transportation from the east bay as part of the camp fee. We have attended family camp there for the past several years and had an amazing time. Amy

April 2012

I'm looking into sending my 9year old son to his first overnight camp for a week and am wondering if anyone can tell me about Camp Ravenclaw, based out of El Cerrito. It's in Humbolt and my son recently expressed a desire to go back to the redwoods - we camped there briefly last summer. He is a smart, goofy kid who likes to clown to fit in and is willing to try new things, I think he'd do well, but will need some reminding about sunscreen - he's very pale and burns easily. The picture on the brochure shows the whole camp out in the sun looking happy but I don't see many hats... thanks for your input

I think you might be looking for Camp Ravencliff, located in Redway, CA. It is part of the camping group of the YMCA of the East Bay. See their website for more info www.ymcaeastbay.org East Bay Mom

its Ravencliff - and the kids are likely only hatless for the picture. My daughter was a camper from the first summer El Cerrito did the camp and went on to be an Jr Counselor and a Counselor (and is hoping to return this year as well). The camp is very good about reminding kids to use sunscreen and bug spray, wear hats and to drink alot of water (in past years all the campers got water bottles). The camp is wonderful, the kids are incredibly well taken care of, most of the counselors were campers, or have worked within the city of El Cerrito child care programs, and they take up alot of life guards, and a nurse. Most of the campers return year after year. Generally kids go with friends but even if your son doesn't he will come home with friends! mom

Feb 2013

Re: Sleepover camp for third grader?
I highly recommend Camp Ravencliff from the Bay Area YMCA! I signed my 11 year-old up last year for his first sleep-away camp and was a bit nervous. Then I found out that they have a family camp over Memorial Day weekend every year, so I took my three boys there to check it out. Everyone LOVED it so much, that I had to explain to my two younger sons that they can't go there in the summer with their older brother, because you have to be 7 to go.....

My older son had a blast, and so did all the other kids (he was in the oldest group). Most kids go every year, and many of the counselors grew up going to Ravencliff every year as kids.

The location is so beautiful, the food is healthy and yummy, and the staff is super nice, caring and responsible- and my favorite part is: the kids can choose what they want to do every day! I mean, seriously many camps have such a structured schedule that it sounds more like a boot camp than a holiday!

The Ravencliff staff offers a great variety of programs to the kids, but if your child wants to play ball games three days in a row and never tie-dies that white shirt he took to camp... so be it. The kids learn a lot about respect for each other and nature, group behavior and responsibilities- besides a hundred funny jokes, games, songs skits etc.!

And since the YMCA has great swim instructors, they can learn or improve their swimming skills, too! Sign-up has started already, but I believe there is still space in all sessions.
Happy Ravencliff Mom