The Greater Green Bay YMCA Mission
To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
YMCA Core Values
Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Caring. As a YMCA Camp these values are intentionally woven throughout our programs and are practiced daily by all Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya staff.
Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya Purpose
To improve the world through improving people.
The Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya Experience develops leaders with strong character, environmental awareness, and outstanding moral values. Alumni of Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya contribute positively to their communities and function as active role models who exemplify the four core values of the YMCA and seek opportunities to improve the world around them.
Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya strives to provide every camper, student, and guest with the opportunity to develop resilience, environmental awareness, leadership skills, and compassion for all. To meet these goals we design progressive and intentional programming that teaches campers the meaning of these traits as well as applicable skills and practices that allow campers to continue developing them outside of camp.
Diversity and Inclusion
YMCA Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya is made up of people of all ages and from every walk of life working side by side to strengthen communities. Together we work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation has equitable opportunities to benefit from the Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya Experience.
We WALK What We TALK:
How are the purpose, values, and goals put into action at camp? Let us tell you. We believe in transparency and intentionality, your campers will leave Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya as better versions of themselves. Here's how:
At Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya our purpose is more than just words. We eat, sleep, and breath our purpose. Every staff member on camp knows all elements of our purpose, and they don't just know it, they feel it. Every day our purpose is our focus. Improving the World Through Improving People is what we do. And we know that our purpose works best when broken down into smaller practices and steps. Such as, making the purpose visible all over camp, starting every staff meeting with a "purpose moment," challenging staff to reflect on a mistake by relating it to our purpose, or making program decisions with our purpose in mind. The purpose is the foundation on which we build a unique and impactful experience for every camper.
The YMCA's four core values (honesty, respect, caring, and responsibility) are woven into our program in many ways, most predominately however, through our "Thought for the Day" and "TAPS" sessions. These sessions provide campers with time in the morning, and at night to develop close relationships with their cabin mates and counselors through values based discussions guided by our trained staff. Each day of the camp week is dedicated to a value. In the morning counselors usually read a short story or folktale to campers, the group then discusses the story and how it connects to the value of the day. This also allows campers to share their own experiences with that value. After getting ready for bed campers gather together in the cabin and participate in a mellow team builder or conversation starter game that again encourages the group to explore the value of the day and also to learn more about one another. These practices provide staff with great reference points to use throughout the week with campers to reinforce these values. Staff at U-Nah-Li-Ya strive to stop, and point out any positive behaviors they observe that are great examples of the four core values in order to celebrate and reinforce campers. This helps campers identify their actions and how they affect others. Click Here to view a sample of our TFTD and TAPS guide.
Resilience - Campers at U-Nah-Li-Ya build resilience through safe and intentionally challenging experience. Research shows that kids grow the most when challenged, and while we also strongly focus on fun, it is important to encourage growth at camp. Here are a few specific examples of what this looks like.
Every 6-day camper takes part in an overnight experience during their camp week. At the younger ages campers are led step by step through the process of packing, filling water bottles, and setting up camp by their counselors. As campers age through the program counselors gradually release control to campers. Kids get the opportunity to help plan a supply list, and organize packing. At the highest level of this practice, for example, if campers who are preparing for an overnight forget to put a non-essential item on the list, counselors do not interfere - this encourages campers to think flexibly and adjust when they realize something has been forgotten once arriving at their destination, thus building their resilience.
Challenge By Choice
Throughout a camp week campers have the opportunity to try a wide variety of program activities. Many of which may be new to them. Hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, setting up a tent, paddle boarding, or traversing the high ropes course are a few examples. In these scenarios we provide campers with instruction on the concept of "Challenge By Choice." Campers are strongly encourages to try every activity at camp to the best of their own personal ability. We explicitly teach that every person has their own unique comfort zones and that the best way to grow is to push yourself safely outside of those zones without crossing your own limits. In practice this looks like, a counselor encouraging a camper on the climbing wall to take "one more step than you think you can." At which point the counselor and peers celebrate that child's success in pushing themselves regardless of how high on the wall they reached. This develops children and young adults who understand the value in taking on a challenge but also respecting personal limits, and builds their sense of resilience.
Environmental Awareness - As a space that focuses on youth development and connecting with nature, environmentally conscious and sustainable practices is a priority at camp. With small, practical actions throughout the camp week we teach campers not only to care for the environment, but also why it matters.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
At U-Nah-Li-Ya, we encourage all campers to bring and use reusable water bottles and we provide them for kids who might forget. We measure our food waste at meals and campers pride themselves on being a part of the clean plate club. Campers learn to sort their trash into recycle bins and garbage bins all over camp. And finally, we always look for creative ways to reuse materials from the office and the kitchen as supplies for our arts and crafts and STEM projects. Caring for kids means caring for the planet, and at U-Nah-Li-Ya, we do both.
Nature Breaks and Outdoor Education
During their time here, all campers and students are taught about the natural environment here at camp. As they learn how the plants, animals, and natural features are connected they also learn to appreciate the system as a whole. Kids are often guided through quiet moments that encourage them to notice and appreciate the benefits they feel when surrounded by the beautiful simplicity of nature. The more kids connect with nature, the more they will protect it as they grow.
Compassion for All - The YMCA is an organization for all, and as a YMCA Camp, U-Nah-Li-Ya is committed to being a place for all. And we don't stop there, we take an active role in guiding students and campers to be a part of that commitment by treating all beings, including themselves with compassion.
Hug and High 5 Permission
We believe that an important part of having compassion for all means that campers and staff respect themselves and others. We practice asking kids for high fives and side hugs as a way to build an understanding that we all have the right to respectfully choose how we interact with others. If a staff member or camper says "no thanks," that no is accepted with a smile. This practice creates an overall culture of compassion at camp, that very importantly includes compassion and respect for ourselves and our boundaries.
We are all family here. That's the bottom line. We include everyone, we are kind to everyone. No exceptions. Our campers or all ages, identities, abilities and backgrounds thrive in this environment.
Leadership Skills - It is our vision, and we mean it. U-Nah-Li-Ya Alumni will become members of the community that seek ways to improve the world around them and to lead the way in making positive change.
Problem Solvers Philosophy
Everyone at Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya, campers and staff alike, are problem solvers. From the top down we believe that if an individual has the ability to solve a problem themselves, they should. Staff are trained that when a camper approaches them with a problem, we do not simply solve it for them. We ask guiding questions to facilitate the camper discovering their own problem solving abilities. This develops children with independence and conviction which are the building blocks for competent leaders. As camper progress through our programs they are given more opportunities to solve increasingly challenging problems and eventually to even lead younger campers to do the same during our Counselor in Training and Assistant Counselor Programs.