Adventure Guides

What is Adventure Guides?
YMCA Adventure Guides is a program designed to provide quality time for a parent and elementary-aged child to spend together.  The program’s goal is to strengthen the bonds between parents and children to help form positive, life-long relationships during the critical (and fleeting!) childhood years.  The second goal of the program is to strengthen the bonds of community and create a space for children and adults to build friendships with other families in their neighborhoods. Click here for a downloadable brochure.

Why is the Adventure Guides program unique?
The goal of the program is togetherness.  Children and adults grow in spirit, mind and body through other enrichment programs, but they oftentimes do so independently.  In Adventure Guides, parent and child share all activities and experiences—allowing these pairs to fortify bonds that will last a lifetime.   

How are the participants organized?
Participant pairs are placed in “circles,” or small communities of other pairs with children of the same age, gender and who perhaps even live in the same neighborhood or attend the same school.  Each circle has 6-8 participant pairs and is led by a “navigator” – a parent volunteer who acts as the organizer for the circle.  If a parent has more than one child of the same gender who are close in age, the parent is welcome to have more than one child participate.  Please remember that parents must accompany children to all events.  A child may not participate unless his or her parent is also in attendance.

What do the circles do?
Each circle will organize a monthly meeting consisting of activities like a game or craft.  Circles also have the option of planning other expeditions throughout the course of the year – circle members may choose to go canoeing together, travel to the Hands-On Museum, attend a ball game, or other activities. Finally, the YMCA will host occasional events that all Adventure Guides members are welcome to attend, such as a swim night at the YMCA, a retreat at Camp Al-Gon-Quian, or a spring picnic.

What is the time commitment?
The time commitment for participant pairs is between 2-4 hours per month.  Navigators should expect to spend an additional 2-4 hours per month in helping to organize events for the circle, communicating with YMCA staff and assisting in federation planning.

How much does the program cost?
The annual dues for the program cover circle meetings, administrative costs, a t-shirt for both parent and child and Adventure Guides activities at the Ann Arbor YMCA (such as the swim night and picnic).  Additional costs to the program depend on circle activities (see attached sample calendar). 
Program Rates for Pairs:
Ann Arbor YMCA Members:   $50 annually
Community Members: $100 annually         
For families with more than one child in the program, add $15 for members and $30 for non-members for each additional child. 

For more information, contact Sarah McKinnon, Camp Al-Gon-Quian Director, at 734-661-8051 or smckinnon[at]