Camp Themes

Welcome to Nature Adventures Camp 2021

From the Camp Leadership Team

Welcome to the South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center’s Nature Adventures Camp, a place where your child will explore and discover the wonders of the outdoors while instilling a sense of respect and appreciation for the natural world.

Summer is a time to enjoy the warm weather, hang out with friends, and play outside.  At camp the possibilities are endless. Nature Adventures Camp provides a balance of structured and free play with environmental exploration, the use of scientific tools, and age-appropriate learning activities. These experiences encourage children’s natural curiosity of the outdoors while building social and life skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and self-confidence.

We seek to foster an appreciation for and love of nature by inviting campers to explore the world around them through hands-on, outdoor, experiential learning. By doing this, we hope to inspire your children to become environmentally responsible and conscientious citizens of tomorrow, to spark a lifelong love of learning, and to develop a deep and enduring connection with the natural world.

Our camp team is excited to offer fun, creative and enriching hands-on nature-inspired STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) adventures for our campers and we hope your children join us!

2021 Camp Themes

Our exciting nature-based weekly themes emphasize fun, hands-on experiences for campers to discover the natural world around them through age-appropriate activities. Campers at each age level develop skills and knowledge which encourage confidence, cooperation, curiosity, and compassion for the natural world. Each week we feature a different camp-wide theme.

Registration begins mid-February 2021

Week 1:  Beneath the Surface (June 21-25)

Do you ever wonder what is happening underground? Are you curious about what hides beneath the surface of a pond?  Who lives in the depths of the deep blue sea?  From investigating soil samples and subterraneous animal homes to exploring water habitats and ocean life, we will dig in and make a splash!

Week 2:  Digging for Dinosaurs (June 28-July 2)

We have discoveries to be made! The world of dinosaurs will come to life through fossil hunts, mock digs, and engaging, hands-on activities.  We will explore the lives of dinosaurs and the evidence that scientists use to learn about these prehistoric creatures!

Week 3: Sharks, Dolphins & Whales (July 5-9)

Explore the extraordinary world of sharks, dolphins, and whales with hands-on activities and discovery.  Become a marine biologist to uncover the incredible adaptations that make ocean megafauna and their relatives unique and help them survive in their ocean habitats.

Week 4:  STEMsational Superstars (July 12-16)

What does it take to become a Food Chemist? Wildlife Biologist?  Volcanologist?  Epidemiologist?  We will explore the world of STEM careers, “meet” some famous scientists, and conduct a wide variety of experiments. In addition, campers will learn how they can become Citizen Science Superstars!

Week 4: Fascinating Forensics (July 12-16) Grades 5-8

Do you have what it takes to discover “whodunnit”? Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and pull out your magnifying glass. We will explore the ins and outs of forensic science through investigation, observation, and examination. Using our creative thinking and analytical skills, we will work together to solve a series of mock crime scenes.

Week 5:  Slither and Slime (July 19-23)

Do you enjoy searching for snakes, salamanders, turtles, frogs, and toads? Join us as we visit aquatic and terrestrial habitats in search of our amphibian friends, as well as sunny spots where reptiles may be found. Meet the resident reptiles and amphibians that call South Shore Natural Science Center home and learn about the unique adaptations that enable them to survive.

Week 5: Vet School Camp (July 19-23) Grades 5-8

Join educators from SSNSC to learn basic animal care skills and explore the world of veterinary science. Campers will interact with the Science Center’s live animals to learn about anatomy, gain important observational skills using scientific tools, and work collaboratively to solve veterinary mysteries.

Week 6: Wonders of Water (July 26-30)

Water is the thread that connects us all! Explore the ecology of Jacobs Pond, lowland forests, and the soggy wetlands that are home to many birds and animals. Come and experiment with sand and water, investigate the physical attributes of H2O, and discover how plants and animals depend on the water for survival.

Week 6: Adventure Skills (July 26-30) Grades 5-8

Could you survive in the wild? What skills do you need to spend a night in the outdoors without the conveniences of home? Join us as we learn how nature can provide everything we need, from fire building and orienteering to water collection techniques and shelter creation.  Ready yourself for your next adventure!

Week 7:  Thingamajig – Forces of Nature (August 2-6)

Join us as we explore the fabulous world of physics! Through hands-on experiments and exploration, we will learn about electricity, astronomy, motion, waves, sound, and light and the inventions scientists used to help study these forces!  In addition, we will participate in “Thingamajig”, our own invention convention, by using our imaginations to create and build some new and exciting prototypes.

Week 8: Galactic Blast-Off (August 9-13)

Blast off into space! Come explore the solar system with us as we discover the mysteries of the universe! What causes an eclipse? Why is Pluto no longer a planet? Why is a year on Mercury only 88 days? We will uncover the answers to these and other space curiosities that have mystified humans for years.

Week 8:  Marine Biology (August 9-13) Grades 5-8


Week 9:  Things with Wings (August 16-20)

Take flight and explore the many plants (yes – plants!) and animals with wings! Find out why owls are silent flyers, why dragonflies can hover, and why seeds can travel long distances!  Experiment with how wings work, make flying crafts and discover how high and far your creativity can go.  Finally, investigate how nature has inspired modern inventions such as helicopters, planes, and gliders.

Week 10:  Colors of Nature (August 23-27)

Join us to create beautiful pieces of eco-art inspired by the many colors, textures, and patterns found in nature. Using a variety of natural mediums, we will explore many forms of art including sculpture, architecture, painting, and sketching.  In addition, we will study the works of nature artists such as Richard Long, Andy Goldsworthy, and Walter Mason.  We will round out the week with natural tie-dyeing.


We are excited to announce the new Leader-In-Training (LIT) program at Nature Adventures Camp is back for 2021! This is an excellent opportunity for youth ages 12 to 15 to develop leadership skills while becoming role models for young campers in a fun and engaging atmosphere. They will be supervised, coached, and evaluated by the Leadership-in-Training Coordinator.  LITs will build their confidence, independence, and self-esteem through problem-solving, taking initiative, and being solutionaries. LITs will use these newly acquired skills to develop and lead camp activities alongside experienced counselors.

2 week sessions:

  • Session 1:  July 5-9, July 12-16
  • Session 2: July 19-23, July 26-30
  • Session 3: August 2-6, August 9-13

Louise Beaudry, Director of Environmental Education & Camping, lbeaudry@ssymca.orgCWeek 4: Vet School Camp (July 16-20) Grades 5-8

Join educators from SSNSC to learn basic animal care skills and explore the world of veterinary science. Campers will interact with the Science Center’s reptiles and amphibians to learn about animal anatomy, gain important observational skills using tools such as microscopes and stethoscopes, help prepare food for the Science Center animals and work collaboratively to solve veterinary mysteries. Includes an off-site field trip

Register for Nature Adventures Camp at South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center

Open enrollment for summer camp begins each February. Find your camper's next adventure at the South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center and register online!