Downtown Oakland YMCA Day Camps

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Kinder, School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
125 participants
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Parent Q&A

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  • Oakland YMCA day camps

    (1 reply)

    I'm considering sending my daughter to the Oakland YMCA day camp (Splash camp) this summer. I'm looking for more recent feedback on experiences with either Splash Camp or the regular camp, particularly for children who aren't that into most sports. Thanks.

    Here's an honest review of the YMCA Oakland Day Camp.


    - Cost: It's among the most affordable camps you will find.

    - Kids are safe.

    - Camp counselors I saw were overall nice young folks with a couple of older folks.They aren't education specialists but kind hearted people that genuinely seem to like being around children.

    - Swimming: Splash camp allows your kids to swim everyday. Regular camps allow once a week swimming.

    - Food included: They feed your kid breakfast (bar, fruit and milk) and lunch. 


    - Parking is difficult for pick-up and drop-off. You can park in the garage which makes it easy but it's $1, so factor that into your overall cost. Street parking is hard to find and you have to feed the meter.

    - Before/after care: This should be a pro as there aren't a lot of programs that offer before/after care without charging an additional fee but I was underwhelmed by what I saw for before care. All the kids (age 4 - 11 or so) were held in a small room with little space to move. It was loud. There weren't enough chairs or cubbies for all the kids that signed up for the program. Big kids run the show and adults aren't keeping an eye on all the kids. 

    - No free play time: my kids came home complaining that the YMCA doesn't let you have play time. The whole day must be extremely structured with no free play time. Even schools allow free play...

    - No outdoor space: My kids also commented that they don't let you outside. The kids get plenty of physical activity in the gym but it's mostly indoors. They do go to the park one day and to the fairyland one day but they don't go outside everyday. 

    - Facility: It's not the Claremont Hotel. It's the Y. It's pretty run down but kids don't mind it. This doens't bother me but some adults may find it not up to their standards. 

    Overall, I think the camp is decent for the price. My kids seem to like it ok. They said it's better than school except not being able to play outside part and not having free play time. The fact that they aren't pitching a fight in the morning and I don't have to drag them out tells me that it's a fine place for kids to go. Not the best. Not the worst. And the price is what we can afford at this time. 

Parent Reviews

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This may sound odd, but my daughter LOVED the Lego STEM camp at the Downtown Oakland YMCA. I'm uncertain the leaders have extra skills to support differences, but they are definitely capable of engaging a wide range of learners. My daughter has attention and sensory challenges, yet she was engaged and included with zero reports of issues during the day. It was the one camp she wanted to ensure she could do again this summer, so I planned the whole summer around it. She also went to several of their regular day camps and did well. When there were issues, the counselors communicated with us at drop-off/pick-up to understand how they could better support her to be successful during the day. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Swim camp for 6 year old

April 2013

We've had our 6 year old taking lessons at the Berkeley Y for two years. I'd love to see if there are any camps that have swimming once or even twice a day to really get him swimming and breathing on his own. Any feedback is welcome. Thanks!

The Oakland YMCA has Splash camp. My daughter did it last year. They have a daily swimming lesson and a free swim, along with other typical day camp activities. Carrie

Downtown Oakland YMCA Camp?

Nov 2011

Does anyone have any experience with the downtown Oakland YMCA camp programs? They sound great, but I don't know anyone who has used them. Are the staff kind to the children? Any input appreciated. Thanks! Anonymous

I asked my son your question. He's a big, strong 6 y.o. who has attended several summer day camps & holiday day camps at the Downtown Oakland Y.  But even he said,''those kids are too rough!'' It may be that the counselors have to yell because the kids need it!
Camping elsewhere nowadays

My daughter attended the Oakland YMCA camps in the Summer of 2009 and really liked them. The activities were very varied; often I wished I could take off work and go to camp with her. The staff was extremely kind. I heard no complaints from her about yelling or anything (and I would have if they had) and, within a day or two, at sign-in they welcomed her by name and smiling.

Other ''pluses'' of the camp: (1) the kids and staff are very diverse, (2) the drop off and pick up times are great for working parents, (3) the activities changed from week to week, and (4) the kids were treated well by the counselors and CITs.

My daughter would have been happy to go back the next year, but I changed jobs and it was no longer convenient. Mom of happy camper