Camp Ernst is ... "One of the best life experiences for my son. A camp that is always improving, with a fun, wholesome, safe program that has been around for generations. Kudos!"
Boys and girls, from ages 6 to 15, are able to enjoy the Camp Ernst experience. YMCA Camp Ernst is just a 25-minute drive from downtown Cincinnati. 75 percent of its counselors were once campers like you at Camp Ernst. Come check out our 365 scenic acres of hardwood forests, playing fields, a horse barn and trails, and a 26-acre spring-fed lake.
Our popular lakefront features the 100 foot waterslide, Blob, water trampoline, banana boat, canoes, kayaks, aqua cycles, and sno kones!
Camp’s two creeks, two swimming pools, Zip Line, Giant Swing, Climbing Wall, Burma Bridge, and Air Walk ensure that every day is full of exciting activities.
Archery, BB ranges, and a dynamic Fine Arts program round out the daily adventure opportunities at Greater Cincinnati’s most popular camp.
Why camp? Check out this article about the benefits of camp written by Michael Brandwein, a camp professional, author, and father.
The following are the themes for each week during summer 2014. These themes are mainly used for our opening campfire and they help add variety to each week. Please feel free to call the office if you have any questions!
Week 1: June 8-14 – Beach Party
Aloha! Put on your favorite Hawaiian shirt and get ready for some fun in the sun!
Week 2: June 15-21 –Birthday Bash
Grab your birthday hat and get ready for one big party this week as we celebrate everyone’s birthday!
Week 3: June 22-28 – Spy Week
Put on your spy gear and join our secret agents as we take on the mission to have the best week ever!
Week 4: June 29-July 5 – 4th of July
Happy Birthday America! Help us celebrate with a parade, fireworks, and much more fun!
Week 5: July 6-12 – International
Sport your favorite country's attire as we take a trip around the world in seven days!
Week 6: July 13-19 – Superheroes
Grab your towel-cape and suit up for a week of adventure! (Tights optional)
Week 7: July 20-26 – Christmas in July
Ho, ho, ho! Let’s deck the halls at YMCA Camp Ernst!
Week 8: July 27-August 2 – Time Travel
Jump into our time machine for an adventure with dinosaurs, princesses, hippies, robots, and more!
Week 9: August 3-9 – Wacky Tacky
Time to get wild and crazy! Show us your best crazy hair or clash outfit!
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Campers are divided into units to meet the needs of each specific age group.
Lakeview Campers (typically grades 1-4)The Lakeview program is specifically designed for our youngest campers. Campers live in Lakeview Lodge which has all the camp amenities under one roof. Lakeview campers get to participate in all of the typical camp activities like the zipline, the banana boat, archery, arts and crafts, sports, and more. Lakeview also has many special traditions which add a lot of fun, wacky twists to each day. They start their week off with Monday night madness, a series of quick games that help campers have fun and make friends. Each morning, a Word of the Day is selected, and campers get to yell as loud as they can anytime they hear a counselor say that word. We cannot forget about the Wheel of Wonder, a large wheel that has different prizes listed on it for silly things the camper will get to do to the counselor– like give them a bug juice shower (pour pitchers of bug juice over them) or serve them a pie in the face!
Valley Campers (typically grades 5-7) The valley camp is divided into red and yellow units (based on grade level) and campers live in traditional summer cabins and eat meals in the historic dining hall. Red and Yellow unit campers build friendships while participating in camp activities such as the ropes course, lakefront, and other traditional camp activities. Campers and Counselors alike take great pride in the valley, where every meal is a party and each day is packed full of fun. Valley campers enjoy traditions like Girls Night Out(side) and Dudes Dogs and Dodgeball, an evening of cookouts, dodgeball, and s’mores.
The Leaders in Training (LITS)The leaders in training program or L.I.T.s, is specifically designed for our oldest campers. Leaders in training live in the Loft and Longhouse, cabins designed specially to foster community. In addition to the traditional camp activities, campers also participate in leadership rotations that are focused around team building, communication, role modeling, and problem solving. They put these skills to practice through service projects and the LIT/Lakeview day, where they are paired with a Lakeview cabin and help guide them through their lake rotations for the afternoon. LITs enjoy other traditions like a Tuesday cookout, Pizza making and dodgeball, and the LIT favorite, the After-Party.