Whether your child is a first-time camper or a returning camper, arrival at camp can be a time of excitement, apprehension, and wonder. As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is get him/her settled in his/her bunk, kiss your camper goodbye, and let the counselors take it from there. A quick goodbye makes it easier for your camper to transition to his/her new environment.

Camper Drop Off

Parent Drop-Off Check-In:

Upon arrival, you will be greeted and directed to the check-in area. Check-in takes place between 3:30 –
4 p.m. Sunday. Camp Nissokone is approximately a 3 to 3½ hour drive from the Detroit Metropolitan area.
Please call the Camp Office at (989)739-2801 if you are running late. Please no early arrivals!

Bus Transportation Check-In:

Takes place at the Livonia Family YMCA at 10:30 a.m. and the Birmingham Family YMCA at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
Please no late arrivals. Be sure to feed your child lunch prior to your arrival for the bus, as the first meal at camp is dinner on Sunday. All sessions begin on Sunday and end on Saturday.

Camper Pick Up

Parent or other adult will be required to show identification. Campers will be released only to adults authorized on the Parent Consent Form. Please put all authorized parties in addition to yourself on the consent form (e.g. mom, dad, uncle, sister, friends, etc.). Your child will not be released to anyone not authorized on the form or without ID.

Parent Pick-Up at Camp:

We encourage families to come pick up campers from camp to attend our closing ceremony at 10 a.m. to hear all about the week at camp. Parents should be at Camp Nissokone between 9:45-10 a.m. on Saturday after the session’s end.

Saturday Parent Pick-Up Schedule:

10 a.m.—10:30 a.m. Closing Ceremony (optional but encouraged for parents)
10:30 a.m.—11 a.m. Checkout continues at office (adults picking up must be on consent form and show photo ID)

Bus Pick-Up:

Busses will be at the Birmingham Family YMCA between 1-1:30 p.m. and Livonia Family YMCA between 2:15-2:45 p.m. for all sessions. Nissokone will confirm times with families as well as the YMCA branch.

Preparing for Camp


Please pack in a soft-sided suitcase, duffle bag or back pack. Trunks cannot be accommodated on the bus. Clearly mark all belongings with Camper’s Name. The YMCA and Camp Nissokone are not responsible for lost or damaged personal items. Please leave valuables at home. If you lose an item, call us right away. We will try our best to locate it! Any items left behind session will be donated to charity two weeks after that session.

Packing List:

  • Bedding, sheets, blanket and pillow
  • Sleeping bag for tent campout night
  • Water bottle
  • Pajamas or sweats
  • Underwear ( x # of days at camp plus 1)
  • Socks (x # of days at camp plus 1)
  • Long pants (required for horseback rides)
  • Shorts (4 pairs)
  • Shirts (x # of days at camp plus 2)
  • At least one long sleeved shirt
  • 2 pair of shoes: one for hiking, one pair sneakers or sandals w/ backstrap (no flip flops)
  • Light jacket or sweatshirt
  • Rain gear
  • Camera (disposable or digital for photography specialty)
  • Note paper, envelopes and stamps
  • Bathing suit (one piece only)
  • Beach Towel for swimming
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent (non-aerosol preferred)
  • Laundry bag
  • Towels for showers, wash cloth
  • Inhalers, epiPen, medicine (checked in with nurse upon arrival)
  • Books, card games or comics for rest periods
  • Toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, female hygiene
  • Day pack to carry gear for the day
  • Themed Costumes or props (optional)

Additional Packing for Special Camps:

Ranch Campers:
  • Long pants (3)
  • Riding Boots (with heel)
  • Riding Helmet, if you already own one
Trekkers and LIT:
  • Hiking boots (broken in) – (Trekkers/Adventure Bound)
  • Backpack (Good size is 3500-5000 cubic inches)
  • Pack Cover (to protect from rain)
  • Wool or wool blend socks
  • Hiking liner socks (lighter weight)
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Watershoes (LIT)
  • 2 water bottles
  • Sleeping pad or yoga mat for tent

Additional Information for Overnight Trips:

Trekkers, LIT and Adventure Bound feature off-site trips. During these trips campers will experience nature like never before.

  • Trekkers: Hike 3-4 miles per day
  • Adventure Bound: Hike 5-8 miles per day
  • LIT: Paddling 15-18 miles per day

Items Not Permitted at Camp:

Cell phones, TVs, CD players, MP3 players, iPods, laser pointers, video games, electronics, food items, chewing gum, fireworks, aerosol spray cans, alcohol, tobacco products, illegal substances, knives or weapons of any kind. Leave paintball markers home. These items will be confiscated during your camper’s stay and returned upon leaving camp. Flip flops are only allowed inside the cabin. All sandals must have a back strap while traveling around camp.

Appropriate dress:

The Camp Dress Code mirrors the policies of most schools. No spaghetti straps, tube tops, two-piece swimsuits, short shorts, shirts that reveal the midriff or flip-flops. Also included is clothing that portrays inappropriate behavior, logos or language that could be offensive.

Laundry service:

Is not available for campers unless spending more than one consecutive session and attending the “weekend stayover” or in the case of emergency or accident.

While at Camp

Camper Health Care:

Medical staff are at camp 24 hours and public health care facilities are less than 10 minutes away. Parents will be notified in the event that a camper is in the Health Center for more than 3 hours (fever, tummy ache, etc.) or if the camper requires any treatment outside of camp. In the event your child needs medical treatment and/or prescriptions, the family’s insurance will be billed. Parents will be notified of any accident or illness that requires treatment. A copy of an insurance card must accompany camper to camp. Please keep campers home if any communicable condition exists.

Medication at Camp:

All prescription medication must be in the original prescription bottle and must be dispensed by state law according to the directions on the label. If the doctor has changed the dosage or directions for administration, submit a signed letter from your physician with the new directions. This letter must include camper’s full name, dosage amount, delivery time(s), and any limitations. DO NOT repackage drugs or submit another person’s medication. This is prohibited by Michigan law. Medications must be turned into the Camp Nurse at check-in at the camp or to the bus monitor at the bus pick up site.

Contacting Your Camper:

We do not allow the use of cell phones at camp, as they are a negative influence in the camp environment and don’t help the adjustment period. We have a variety of alternatives so you can stay tuned on your camper’s adventures. We typically upload photos from camp each evening, which are free to view and download. Our camp photographers do their best to get to every group’s activities daily, but we cannot guarantee every camper will be pictured. One-way emails can be sent to campers as well, free of charge, and are delivered daily after lunch.

Receiving mail and/or packages is a highlight for many campers, but it is a good idea to send packages and mail a few days prior to the start of the session so your child receives correspondence in time. Please do not send candy or snacks, as they are not permitted because they attract critters and bugs in the cabins.

Our postal address for letters and packages is:
(Camper’s name)
YMCA Camp Nissokone
6836 F-41
Oscoda, MI 48750

Note: The above address is for camper letters & packages only. Other forms & payments must be sent to: YMCA Camping Services, 7300 Hickory Ridge Road, Holly, MI 48442

Phone Policy:

The camp phones are for business and emergencies only. Due to the number of campers at each of our sites, it is impossible to make the phones available for calls home from the campers. Of course, in an emergency or to help with your camper’s social adjustment, the camp staff will be in contact with you.

Visiting Your Camper:

There are no visiting days during overnight camp sessions. Drop-in visits can disrupt programs, divert staff from their jobs, and sometimes set off homesickness in your own or other campers. We do encourage parents to come to camp at the end of the week to pick up your camper, let your camper give you a tour, and hear about the activities and friendships at our closing ceremony Saturday at 10 a.m. If you have any questions or concerns , please feel free to contact the Camp Director.

Safety at Camp

Camper Safety:

We take every safety precaution into consideration when planning and conducting our activities and have extensive staff training so that we can avoid accidents, injuries or dangerous situations. All of our staff has been trained in first aid and CPR. In addition, we have a full-time Nurse or Health Officer on site. Emergency services are only minutes from each camp should the need arise. All of our policies, procedures and rules are developed with the safety of your camper in mind. Parents must remember to bring a photo ID when picking their camper up from camp. No camper will be released to anyone that is not listed on the “Authorization of custody” form.

Site Safety:

Camp staff are identified with a name tag and staff shirt. Any visitor must check in at the camp office and be escorted by a camp staff member. We practice fire drills and other emergency procedures weekly with campers. We receive regular visits from the local police department that patrols the area.

Camp Accreditation

YMCA Camp Nissokone is accredited by the American Camp Association, which holds camps to the highest standards and best practices at camps around the country. It’s a trusted sign of a safe camp, with more than 50 years of parent’s trust behind it. It’s assurance that we meet over 300 health, safety and program quality standards and it speaks towards our accountability, credibility and commitment to continually improve. The ACA standards are created with input from experts in many fields including: The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Red Cross, and many more to stay at the forefront of creating safe camping experiences for children. The YMCA has a rich tradition in aquatic safety, and is something we’re committed to every day maintaining the highest levels of water safety at Nissokone. We partner with Ellis & Associates as a consulting agency to safely monitor our waterfront with continual training, evaluation and monthly audits for all of our lifeguards and aquatics personnel. The aquatics staff at Nissokone have been recognized and awarded top marks for their vigilance and professionalism in maintaining the highest standards in water safety.