Thea Holcomb (far right) and her fellow campers learn all about horses.

Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, YMCA in Utah has valued the outdoors—from setting up camping trips to opening their ultimate summer fun spot, Camp Roger, in the 1940s.

The camp started as a place for boys to swim and build campfires. It became co-ed in the 1960s, and five years ago, buildings were renovated for a new generation of campers. 

One of those campers, Thea Holcombwill be going for her fifth summer this year. Along with the riding horses at camp, the 14-year-old in pigtails found a place in Camp Roger’s Raggers program. As a Ragger, she earns colored rags to wear around her neck by accomplishing goals she sets for herself—like doing one random act of kindness for someone everyday. She’s also clued-in on a secret spot at camp only Raggers know and was part of a secret initiation ceremony. “The ceremony where I got my rag was just beautiful,” she says. “That was one of the highlights of my year.” 

Camp Roger is also known for archery, art, paddling and mountain biking. Young camperscamp for can opt for mini-camp, and teens can enter the Leader or Wrangler in Training programs to  become employees.

“We have staff from around the world,” says Amy Henry, camp director. “Our campers are meeting people from Australia, England and Saudi Arabia.” 

Registration: Now until camps are full, ages 7–17
Dates: Weekly sessions, June 16–Aug. 9
Cost: $500, lower prices based on ability to pay
Location: Uinta Mountains
Contact: 801-839-3384, camproger@ymcautah.org

The great outdoors is calling

Something Wild

Ogden Nature Center has camps for kids who are into wild animals and the great outdoors. Camp with the whole family under the stars, July 26–27. June 10–Aug. 15, $200 (ages 7–14), $20–$95 (ages 4–6), $15–58 (ages 2–3), $40 (single day), $50 (family camp for four), Ogden, 801-621-7595, ogdennaturecenter.org

Show ‘em the ropes

Set in the Manti-LaSal National Forest, Nature High Camp teaches teens hydrology, wildlife biology and forestry. Campfires and a star party included. July 8–13, applications due May 17, ages 16–18, $50, Great Basin Environmental Education Center, near Ephraim, 801-625-5764, naturehighcamp.com

More than cookies

Your Girl Scout will love canoeing and backpacking at Camp Cloud Rim and the ropes course and riding at Trefoil Ranch. June 17–Aug. 10, grades 1–12, $130–$645 (depending on age and activities). Trefoil Ranch (Provo Canyon), Camp Cloud Rim (near Park City), 801-716-5145, gsutah.org

Kumbaya, My Lord

Camp Tuttle is run by the Episcopal Church, but kids of all faiths love it for hiking, the ropes course, rock climbing and yoga. June 15–Aug. 24, grades 5–12, $295–$350, $50 (family camp), Big Cottonwood Canyon, 801-322-4131, camptuttle.org

In the Garden

At Red Butte Garden, green-thumbed kids can plant gardens and learn about bugs in them. Red Butte also has art, music and cooking camps. June 3–Aug. 16, grades K–6, $130 (half day) $250 (full day), SLC, 801-585-0556, redbuttegarden.org

Out in the Open

Its 1,200 acres make Swaner EcoCenter perfect for campers to learn about the environment, and science and robotics. July 1–Aug. 16, grades 1–8, $55–$190, Park City, 435-252-3576, swanerecocenter.org

Sprouting Up

Kids work an urban farm at Wasatch Community Gardens’ City Sprouts camps. June 3–Aug. 23, grades pre-K–5, $135 (half day), $230–$275 (full day partner camps), SLC, 801-359-2658 ext. 14, wasatchgardens.org

Next>>>Click here for camps we couldn't fit in the magazine.

Back>>>Utah Children's Theatre Camp

Back>>>Read other stories in our June 2013 issue.