News - YMCA of Three Rivers Waterloo Region


 Join Our Camp Team

November 9, 2021

Camp Staff Applications for the Summer of 2022 open December 1 2021.

Camp may be 8 months away, but the YMCA of Three Rivers (YTR) Camping team has had their eye on the summer of 2022 since the day camp ended back at the beginning of September. There is a saying in the camp world that sums up how we approach camp: "10 for 2"; in other words the camp team puts 10 months of hard work into planning a 2-month-long camp season. 

"Camp means everything to us. We are always thinking ahead to ensure that we provide a positive, and memorable experience for campers, and that staff walk away feeling as if they have the best job in the world" says YTR Camps General Manager, Caitie Wright. "The buildup to camp is immense and having staff teams assembled early ensures we have a crucial piece of the puzzle in place." 

Giving Camp Staff the opportunity to secure their summer job early is a huge relief for students who rely on summer employment.

The Camp industry has been hit hard by Covid-19. Unlike other industries who have had the opportunity for a gradual reopening, "we have been grieving the loss of overnight camp for two summers now" says Wright. "It's been devastating. Thank goodness we have been able to offer Day Camps in 2020 and 2021."

After a long two years without our cherished Overnight Camps, We are planning to welcome campers, and staff back in the summer of 2022. 

We invite you to explore the available positions at each of our Overnight and Day Camp locations

YMCA Day CampsYMCA Camp BelwoodYMCA Camp Ki-Wa-YYMCA Camp Wabanaki


Camp Registration

November 9, 2021

Camp Registration Opens Monday January 24, 2022 

Mark your calendars and set your alarm, camp registration opens to the public Monday January 24, bright and early at 7:00am. The following camp programs will open for registration:

  • YMCA Camp Belwood- Overnight Camp, Belwood Days
  • YMCA Camp Ki-Wa-Y- Overnight Camp, K Days
  • YMCA Camp Wabanaki- 1 and 2 weeks of Overnight Camp
  • YMCA Day Camps 
  • YMCA Day Camps LIT Program
  • Please note: Overnight Camp LIT and CIT applications open January 1 and close January 10. 

After a long 2-year hiatus from Overnight Camp due to Covid-19, we couldn't be more excited to welcome campers and staff back to camp. All camp spaces will be available on a first come first serve basis. We had previously given families to option to roll their registration over from 2020 to 2021, however all of these registration fees have since been refunded and there will be a level playing field with all spaces available open to everyone on January 24. 

Here are some tips to make sure you are ready to register! 

  • Login to your registration account BEFORE Jan 24 to ensure all of the information in your account is correct
  • If you forget your password, simply click on “Reset password”
  • If you have a new child from your family coming to Y Camp for the first time, add that child to household
  • Discuss with your camper(s) if they would like to submit an optional “cabin mate request”
  • If you have any questions about camp, email or or call the office at 519-699-5100


We invite you to learn more about Summer Camp 2022 at each of our Overnight and Day Camp locations

YMCA Day CampsYMCA Camp BelwoodYMCA Camp Ki-Wa-YYMCA Camp Wabanaki


Leslie J Cornwell Leadership Award

Sep 20, 2021

Eighteen years ago, twins Andrew and Ryan Paulley were dropped off at Camp Ki-Wa-Y for their first day of two weeks. At pick up, their parents heard their laments. “All we did was walk around, we were bored,” or so goes the story according to Andrew. “But mom signed us up for two weeks – and we had to see it through. At the end, we loved it.”

The YMCA and Y camps were a part of Leslie Cornwell’s life in Winnipeg. She grew up going to Y camps and eventually became a counsellor. She always had a strong connection to the Y, and after moving to Waterloo Region and having her sons, she signed them up for swimming lessons, and eventually camp.

Today, the brothers are still at camp – now as maintenance staff (Ryan) and a site leader (Andrew). For them, summer is camp. “It’s the little things that make it so special,” Andrew continues. “It’s being on the water and the people - other staff and campers.”

In 2020, Leslie passed away from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Due to the realities of COVID-19, both boys were home from university and college just after her diagnosis, and are grateful for their time with their family. Today, Andrew and Ryan want to ensure that her legacy and influence lives on.

 “Everything that we’ve done we can point a hand of power from our mom – swimming lessons to camp, she was there,” Ryan reflects.

This will be the boys last summer at camp – but they know that the connections and relationships they’ve built at Y camps – from Ki-Wa-Y, to Wabanaki and Belwood – will last forever.

“We’re lifers, camp is where our life-long connections and relationships have been made, regardless of where you end up in the world,” says Andrew. And, they know that’s because of their mom. And so, to honour her they’ve established an award for counsellors.

“It’s a job you do because you love it – not necessarily for the money,” explains Andrew. “And so, we want to help offset that. Through the scholarship counsellors don’t have to choose another job because of the money – they can keep working at camp because of their love for it.”

This will be the first year the Leslie J. Cornwell Camp Leadership Award will be awarded. Currently, three $500 awards will be given annually to two staff members at YMCA Camp Ki-Wa-Y and one staff member at Camp Belwood to help support their post-secondary pursuits. Friends, family, and alumni are invited to donate to the fund. More details can be found

Donate to the Leslie J. Cornwell Camp Leadership Fund 



Summer 2021

May 3, 2021

Dear Campers, 

After much consideration and discussion, the YMCA of Three Rivers Camping Team has made the difficult decision to cancel 2021 Overnight Camps at YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki.  

We recognize this is disappointing news to hear. It was not a decision made lightly and we apologize for any impact the cancellation of programs has on families. 

Your YMCA Camping Team has been closely monitoring the pandemic and were hopeful that we could welcome campers and families to overnight camp at YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki this summer. However, we have decided to cancel overnight camps this summer due to the following three reasons: 


1. Provincial Restrictions  

The Province of Ontario and public health authorities still do not permit traditional overnight camping. At the time of writing this update, there has been no indication from the province as to when this restriction will be lifted. 

2. Quality & Standards 

The unique nature of YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki overnight camp programming requires extensive planning and preparation so that we can deliver a safe and enjoyable summer camp experience. Preparation for camp is a year-round job with efforts ramping up in the spring to include staff training, and site and equipment inspections to meet YMCA and Ontario Camps Association standards. The ongoing pandemic has greatly impacted our ability to complete these necessary and important steps. The safety and well-being of our campers and staff is always our top priority, and the YMCA will not operate any camp program unless it is safe to do so. 

3. Why Now?  

The Camping Team knows how much families rely on and look forward to YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki. Although the start of the summer is still a few months away, the uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic has required our team to make a decision now, so that families have as much time as possible to make alternative plans for the summer. 


The many children and families we are fortunate to host each summer are what make YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki the special place that it is. It is truly a place of a million memories, and although we won’t be able to welcome overnight campers this summer, we know that many more memories await in the years ahead. 


Alternative camp options for this summer

We know that the summer camp you have come to love cannot be replaced so easily, however we hope you consider some options for the summer that fall within ministry of health guidelines once stay-at-home orders are lifted:  

Day Camps 

Campers hiking through forest

As of today, we continue to plan for Day Camps. If you are based in Guelph, Stratford, or Waterloo Region, (or anywhere in between) we welcome you to discover our YMCA of Three Rivers Day Camps programs for children aged 4-12 and Day Camps LIT Program for youth aged 13-15. We know it is not the same as the overnight camps you have come to love, but we feel better knowing there is an option for campers to keep engaged, and camper families to feel supported during the summer.  


Cabin Rentals at Camp Wabanaki (Wab) 

Bunk Beds

Throughout thsummer, your family can rent a cabin on beautiful Lake Vernon, in Huntsville ON, and safely getaway from all the worries of life. COVID-19 safety protocols such as physical distancing between family cohorts/bubbles, extensive sanitizing of shared washroom facilities, and staggered mealtimes will be enforced, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We know that this doesn’t replace the traditional camp experience for your camper, yet we hope that having a cabin at Wab to yourselves may be an exciting alternative- a little piece of camp for everyone in the family to enjoy.  

Cabins will be available to book beginning May 10 at 9am. 


2021 LIT Program

Lit Huddle Paddles

We know that the YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki Leader in Training program you had been looking forward to cannot be replaced so easily, however we hope you consider the option to participate in a modified daytime version of the program 

LITs who are currently registered will be offered an opportunity to participate in the 2021 LIT program at YMCA Camp Ki-Wa-Y. Please let us know by May 10 if this opportunity will work for you.  Learn more >


2021 CIT Program


Current CITs will have the opportunity to participate in a modified daytime version of the program at either Camp Ki-Wa-Y or Camp Belwood. CITs are welcome to transfer to the camp of their choice. Regrettably, this opportunity is not offered at Camp Wabanaki at this time.   

Please let us know by May 10 if this is a feasible option for you for the summer and which camp works best. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

When will I receive my refund for payments I made for the 2021 season? 

We are currently working hard to automatically refund everyone as quickly as possible. Refunds will be made using the same method of payment as the one used for registration. However, processing your refund may take a few days. You will receive an email notification once your refund has been processed. We thank you for your patience. 

If you haven’t received your refund by May 8, please email us at or call 519-699-5100 


Can I leave you the deposit I made in 2021 to reserve a spot for my camper for summer 2022? 

Not this year. Although we offered this option last year, we feel refunding all fees is the least complicated and most fair and inclusive process.  


How can I help my Y Camp(s) through this crisis?  

As we navigate these challenging times and the unfortunate cancellation of camp, supporting your camp is more crucial than ever. While our operational expenses will be reduced this summer, we must continue to maintain our facilities and our amazing site so we can welcome campers back next season. Please consider donating monthly or a one-time gift to YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and/or Camp Wabanaki today. Thank you for your generosity! 


This was supposed to be my camper’s last summer at camp. Is there some way they can celebrate that milestone? 

We are fully aware that there will be many missed experiences without camp running this summer, for senior campers and others. We are exploring ways to recognize seniors, including virtual meetups. We will keep you informed. 


Will YMCA Camp Belwood, Ki-Wa-Y, and Wabanaki be having a summer camp program in the summer of 2022? 

We absolutely hope so! Of course, we will have to wait and see how everything progresses with COVID-19, but we are very optimistic about being able to operate next summer. 


If I was supposed to be a CIT this summer, can I apply to be part of the camp team for 2022? 

It is very important to us that we not hold anyone back from making their age-related transitions between camp seasons, so we will absolutely accept applications from anyone that will be of age for those positions in 2022. We are exploring opportunities for both LITs and CITs. 


Further Questions? 

If you have any questions regarding YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki, please email or call 519-699-5100. We also invite you to stay connected with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 


We will miss all the campers and families this summer and look forward to welcoming you back to YMCA Camp Belwood, Camp Ki-Wa-Y, and Camp Wabanaki as soon as it is safe to do so. 


Please stay in touch

Facebook Link Instagram Link Twitter Link