Our Programs

Here at Big Cove YMCA Camp, we believe that the overnight camping experience is an important part of each child’s development. With our rich history as Canada’s oldest overnight camp and 133 years of tradition and growth, Big Cove YMCA Camp has a proud commitment of serving camper-families in Nova Scotia. Our exciting programs truly are the pinnacle of the Big Cove YMCA Camp experience.

At Camp, we ensure each camper receives the supervision, support and attention they need. In addition to offering low camper to counselor ratios, we also ensure all staff are:

  • Strong in leadership skills
  • Ready to be friends, teachers, and role-models for all
  • Trained and certified in First Aid, CPR, and Lifesaving practices

With programs offered for all ages and abilities, click here for all Registration Info

Little Big Cove (6 to 11 years)

The perfect start for your first-time camper!

Every year, parents have children that are just a bit too young for our 6 or 13 day camp programs. But we have sessions at Big Cove YMCA Camp which are especially suited for your younger and first-time campers! Our three-night Little Big Cove programs have been specifically designed to give younger children a taste of the camp experience.

Little Big Cove offers your little camper:

  • A shorter stay, geared towards first-time campers
  • An incredible 3:1 camper to counselor ratio
  • Specialized programming that focuses on elementary-school aged campers aged 6 to 11

Little Big Cove has become a deeply beloved program. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity. Register today! 

Junior Program (7 to 11 yrs) 

A place to learn new skills, make friends, and discover what Big Cove YMCA Camp is really all about – developing self-confidence and a deep appreciation for nature.

For many of our Juniors, this will be their first time away from home, and special care will be given to each child to ensure that they are in a supportive environment.

There is always something exciting happening at Camp! Each week, Junior campers will participate in a:

  • One to two-night canoeing or hiking trip at a nearby campsite
  • Outdoor-based activities ranging from our low ropes course, to climbing our climbing tree
  • Archery
  • Canoeing
  • Arts and crafts

Camping options for our Junior campers:

  • Explorers (6 days)
  • Adventurers (13 days)

Senior Program (12+ yrs)

Big Cove YMCA Camp’s Senior program is designed to provide campers with challenging opportunities in a safe and accepting environment. Senior campers will be given the opportunity to develop new skills, enhance their self-esteem, and foster cooperation among their peers.

Each week Seniors will participate in:

  • An action-packed one to three-night canoeing or hiking trip
  • High ropes course and ziplining
  • Camping under the stars
  • Games

Camping options for our Senior campers:

  • Explorers (6 days)
  • Adventurers (13 days)

Leadership I (15 to 16 yrs) 

Leadership I is the first phase of the Leadership Development Program. This program is an exciting and intensive 27-day camping experience that is offered twice each summer in July and August. Leadership 1 campers will get to experience 10 days of canoe tripping. Traditionally this trip has taken them to Cape Breton Island.

Leadership 1 is designed to teach campers new skills, enhance their self-confidence, and promote team work between campers.

Leadership 1 campers focus on:

  • Building new skills and expanding upon existing skills
  • Enhancing their self-confidence
  • Promoting team work
  • Living in one of four tipis
  • Canoeing
  • Orienteering
  • High ropes
  • A challenging and rewarding canoe outtrip along the shores of the Northumberland Strait
  • The option of doing the second phase – Leadership 2 – the following summer

Leadership 1 is unlike any other program offered at Big Cove YMCA Camp. It’s perfect for those seeking new challenges, adventure, and fun!

Leadership II – (16+ yrs)

Leadership II is the second phase of the Leadership Development Program. Leadership 2 is a 27-day leadership training program designed for successful graduates of the Leadership 1 program, or those with prior leadership experience. Like the Leadership 1 program, Leadership 2 is only offered once each summer.

Participants will have the opportunity to work directly with groups of campers under the supervision of experienced camp staff, and experience a 10 days of canoe tripping. Traditionally the L2’s have paddled to Prince Edward Island. Leadership 2 campers will be sleeping in one of four tipis while they are on Camp grounds.

The Leadership 2 program focuses on the development of:

  • Camp-counselling
  • Teaching
  • Programming
  • Communication skills

Many of our Leadership 2 graduates are able to use skills learned during Leadership 2 to become Big Cove YMCA Camp staff. The Leadership 2 program is application based. After completing registration, participants will receive an application which they must complete in order to finalize their registration.

13 Day Leadership – (15+ yrs)

Our 13 Day Leadership Program is a condensed version of our Leadership I and II Programs. Participants will experience portions of both the Leadership I and Leadership II programs and will be primarily based on site. The goal of this program is to see participants who cannot commit to month long programs continue to develop their leadership skills on their way to becoming Big Cove Staff.

Participants in this program will have the opportunity to practice their teaching skills, counselling skills, outtripping skills and so much more. Although primarily based on site, campers will get to experience a 4 day canoe trip to hone their tripping skills.

Participants will have the chance to shadow a cabin group while learning from our experienced camp staff what it means to be a Big Cove Staff.