Camp Kern/Overnight Camps


YMCA Camp Kern is owned and operated by the YMCA of Greater Dayton, and is located on 485 beautiful acres in the Little Miami River Valley of Southwestern Ohio. A year-round facility offering: Outdoor Education, Conference and Retreats, Team Building, Summer Camp, Family Camp, Equestrian center and the Ozone Zipline Adventures. 35,000 Guests a year enjoy a tradition of excellence at YMCA Camp Kern.




YMCA Camp Kern is proud to be accredited by the American Camp Association. Developed exclusively for camps, this nationally recognized association focuses on program quality, and health and safety issues. ACA requires us to review every facet of our operation. Camp Kern has voluntarily submitted to this independent appraisal done by camp experts and has earned its mark of distinction.


Summer Camp at YMCA Camp Kern is the most adventurous fun kids can have during a week in the summer!  With a focus on friendships, campers spend the week participating in activities they choose, with amazing counselors from all over the world.  Each program is designed with specific age groups in mind, and counselors are trained to not only build campers up, but to encourage and empower them to become more.


Campers can spend as little as one week, and as long as eight weeks at Camp Kern each summer.  There are programs for campers ages 5 to 16 years old, filled to the brim with activity and programming specifically designed for them.  Camp Kern is known for a dedication to Kids First programming, and for innovative and engaging camps which truly make each week unique. 


Along with our many specialty programs, Camp Kern offers four main “Core” programs:

  • Main Camp – The oldest and most traditional program at camp.  Main Camp is made up of four different Villages (Frontier, Explorer, Adventure and Pioneer).  Campers choose their own activities from a long list of options, including Swimming, Nature, Digital Photo, Archery, Rock Climbing, Waterfront, Radio, Riflery, Arts and Crafts, Drama and more!  This program also features the “Big Game”, a themed all-camp game on Wednesday evening which truly embodies the word “magical”. 


  • Taste of Kern and First Camp – Technically two programs, but these two introduction-to-camp programs are the best option for your young first-time camper.  Learn about YMCA values with a specially chosen staff who works to build friendships and confidence in new campers.  Day camp days are followed by overnight experiences, and every day is filled with great age-appropriate activities.  Arts and Crafts, Swimming, Sports, Nature Hikes and more fill all day long.


  • Teen Programs – The opportunity for Teens at Camp Kern is unlimited!  Kern Challenge is filled with canoe trips, lazer kraze and Ozone Zipline Adventures.  Ultimate Survivor is tribes squaring off in all-day challenges in search of a victory at Tribal Council.  The Leaders in Training and Counselors in Training programs prepare campers to step up into roles of leadership both at camp and in real world.


  • Horse Camp – Whether you are an accomplished rider, or you are just interested in starting out in the Equestrian world, Ranch Camp is the place to be!  Spend all week riding in various formats and programs, doing ring riding and lessons along with long trail rides all over Camp Kern’s 485 acres.  Get to know your one assigned horse, and learn how to ride on many others!


So take a look through the program options on Camp Kern's Full Website to get you started. If you have any questions, we would love to talk with you at 513-932-3756 or to meet you at one of our Open House dates each spring.