For more than 90 years, boys and girls have been given the opportunity to create a very special community focused on acceptance, friendship, self-discovery and independence at YMCA Camp Benson. YMCA Camp Benson is an overnight summer camp located in the rolling hills of northwestern Illinois, a short 2-hour drive from Chicago. YCB’s mission can be summed up in two words, BUILD STRONG. We strive to build stronger campers and help them become the best version of themselves.
Ask our campers for the #1 reason they come back to camp each year. They won’t say that it’s because of the zip line or the cave or the swimming pool. They will most certainly tell you they are returning to YMCA Camp Benson to see their old friends and to make new ones. This is because friendship is at the very heart of our camp community. From the moment campers step foot on camp, our counselors and activity staff concentrate on helping them build friendships and improve their social skills. Activities become much more fun when done with friends.
Each day campers have the freedom to choose which activities they want to do. Through the varied activities and the daily routine at YMCA Camp Benson, campers develop a sense of accomplishment and belonging during their stay. Learning new skills and self-reliance builds confidence and promotes a healthy lifestyle for the future.
YMCA Camp Benson Activities:
Arts and Crafts
Camping in Tents
Skits & Songs
9 Square In The Air
Outdoor Survival Skills
FOR AGES 12+ ONLY
YCB offers a number of overnight summer camp programs that are perfect for campers of all ages.
EXPLORER Camp is a 4-day, 3-night camping experience designed to introduce our youngest campers, Grades 1-3, to overnight camp.
ADVENTURE Camp is a 7-day, 6-night camp for kids in 3rd-8th grade. This is easily our most popular camp.
MEGA Camp is our 2-week overnight camp, complete with a special Saturday night stayover.
MINI Camp is new, condensed version of Adventure Camp perfect for returning or new campers. This camp session is 4 days long and is for campers in Grades 1-8.
TEEN Camp, a weeklong camp specifically for teenagers ages 12-17. This week of camp is designed to meet the needs and interests of teenagers, revolving around teamwork and community.
"My children have been attending YMCA Camp Benson for the last five years and it's simply the best experience of their lives. The lessons learned, fears overcome and friendships they have created are absolutely unmatched by any other activity or sport they are involved in.” – YCB Parent
“After Camp my son seems more confident overall in his abilities and socializing with peers. He is also less "obsessed" with video games, and more resilient in the outdoors.” - Camper Parent