YMCA Camp Onyahsa

Letter From Director

Dear Campers, Parents, Alumni, and Friends:


Jon O'Brian, Camp Onyahsa Director

"What Happens at Camp, Stays..With You!" Child, family and community development is central to what we do. Here we strive for excellence because we know that a positive camp experience can be life-changing. Since its inception well over a century ago, YMCA Camp Onyahsa has been a refuge for youth and families. Then as now, it offers security, authenticity, peace, and exciting fun; as necessary today as ever. In a relaxed, beautiful wooded setting, on the edge of the lake, we don’t only enjoy recreation; we aim to “re-create” in the Great Outdoors.

The Onyahsa mission is to "foster the healthy Spiritual, Intellectual, and Physical wellbeing of Camp Participants from varied backgrounds within a nurturing outdoor environment, while creating a meaningful sense of Community among them through an active- and fun- learning experience." In short, we strive for excellence in childhood, family, and community development. That is why "Onyahsa" means "for fun, for friends, forever."

Here we seek to encourage Spiritual growth- through a non-denominational stress on compassion, social justice, human rights, and the strengthening of faith in a loving Creator; Intellectual growth by fostering self-awareness, and multi-cultural mutual understanding- the foundations of peace; Physical health, an appreciation for the gift of life and a responsibility to nurture it; and the creation of Community- a genuine experience of belonging created by diverse members who share traditional common values including honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility.

The Onyahsa Experience is set in a beautiful, natural outdoor environment, and is nurtured by committed, caring and competent staff members. Our goal is to provide a genuine, fun, and meaningful camp experience for youth and families through life enriching, “back-to-basics” organized summer and year-round camping programs. These experiences, which build social competence, global awareness, and strength of character; are increasingly crucial for our children.

Join us for this opportunity to relax, recharge, and renew. And whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth, Come Home to Camp Onyahsa. Thank you for considering the opportunity to join this rich heritage and meaningful experience. I look forward to sharing this genuine sense of belonging and a safe, healthy, and happy camp experience with you!

Very Sincerely,

Jon O’Brian
Onyahsa Camper 1971- 1978
Onyahsa Counselor 1979 – 1986
Camp Director 1987 -