West Essex YMCA

Pioneer Trails Camp


Pre-K – entering 8th Grade

CIT Program for young teens entering 9th and 10th grade

Pioneer Trails Day Camp offers campers an opportunity to discover new interests and gain a sense of achievement through progressive, age-appropriate activities and experiences. Teamwork, problem solving, curiosity, self-confidence and the Y values of caring, respect, honesty and responsibility are emphasized throughout our camp program.

Summer Camp Registration Form


Camp Groups: Campers are grouped together by the grade that they will enter in September. All camp groups follow a daily schedule packed with specialty activities that takes them from the Flag Salute at morning line-up to the end of the camp day.

Cougars (Pre-K and Kindergarten campers)

Y’s (campers entering 1st – 4th grade): Y1, Y2, Y3 and Y4

M’s (campers entering 5th and 6th grade)

O’s (campers entering 7th and 8th grade)

CIT’s (campers entering 9th and 10th grade) – application required. (click here)

The Cougars have their own dedicated Den on campus, which serves as a home base as they enjoy all of the activities of the older campers scaled down to size.

Camp Activities and Clubs: Each week of camp has a special theme along with corresponding activities for the week. Our Specialists provide age appropriate instruction in Arts and Crafts, Archery, Performing Arts, STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, Engineering and Math), Indoor and Outdoor Sports, Tennis, Computers and Group Swim Lessons.                  

Club Time gives our campers from Y1 – O’s the opportunity to choose an activity to explore for the week. Clubs offerings change from week to week. Club Time activities include: Art Club, Sports Club and special interests such as Creative Writing, Music or Science based clubs.

M’s and O’s enjoy Extended Clubs in weeks 2 and 4 of camp, an opportunity to dive deeper into an area of interest. Previous options have included Lego Engineers club, Gym and Swim and Abstract Art Club.

Special Events/Trips: Every week of camp includes a special event such as an on-site educational or instructive program or a field trip to keep camp fresh throughout the summer. Parents receive advance notification through the camp calendar and weekly emails about upcoming camp events.

Previous special events include Corey the Dribbler, the Frisbee Guy, Circus Workshops and field trips to Sky Zone, Jumpnasium and Lewis Morris State Park.

Traditions: Pioneer Trails brings back many traditions year after year to the delight of our campers and staff. Highlights include the Camp Olympics (week 3), the Talent Show (week 5) and the end of Camp Carnival. The trip to Florham Park Roller Rink remains a rite of passage for our youngest campers!

Camp Dates:       June 24 – August 9, 2019 (no camp on July 4th)

Camp Hours:       9:00am - 4:00pm

Before and After Camp Care is available on campus from 7:45am - 9:00am and 4:00pm - 6:00pm at no additional charge. Registration required. 

Camp Location:   Caldwell University, 120 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell, NJ

Includes air-conditioned indoor facilities, including a full size college gym and locker rooms, classrooms and a computer lab, along with tennis courts, outdoor fields and our own outdoor pool staffed by our certified lifeguards.

Camper –to- Staff Ratio: Pre-K: 5 to 1; Grades K – 5: 8 to 1; Grades 6 – 8: 10 to 1.

Bus Transportation provided from the surrounding school districts including Livingston, West Orange and the Caldwells. Pick up at Peanut Shell ECLC requires prior approval by Director.

Camp Registrar: Kathie Amato, 973-992-7500, ext. 113 kamato@metroymcas.org

Camp Director: Joanne Browne, 973-992-7500, ext. 115 jbrowne@metroymcas.org

Joanne Browne has over 15 years experience with the Metro YMCA of the Oranges and is looking forward to her sixth year guiding the PTDC team.

Joanne’s first experience at camp was as a counselor at a Girl Scout camp in Texas after graduating from college. There she learned camp songs, tried s’mores for the first time and experienced camp as a place where you are encouraged to be your true self.  

At Pioneer Trails, Joanne  is passionate about camp as a place that provides a break from school but is full of endless opportunities for ‘disguised learning’ - from STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering , Art and Math) to Drama, Archery to Art, Sports to Swimming, campers are challenged to learn and grow through hands on activities that are both educational and fun.

How to Register

Download the Registration Form, return completed pages to the West Essex YMCA.  A doctor's note is not needed for the immunization dates - just the date of the child's last tetanus shot. A non-refundable deposit of $50 per week PLUS a current YMCA membership throughout the length of camp participation is required at the time of registration. The balance for all camp is due in full by May 15, 2019, or your child's spot in camp may be opened up to the wait list and your deposit will be forfeited.  Any changes made within 30 days of the start of camp will incur a $50 charge. Any Camp registration within 30 days of Camp is required to be Paid in Full at the time of Registration