Join us on the Mountain for a Morning of Spring Family Fun!!!

South Mountain YMCA Camps to host 4th Annual Egg-Stravaganza Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast


Saturday April 19th, 2014 

Egg-Stravaganza Egg Hunt Saturday April 19th 10:00am

Egg Hunts by age group, spring crafts, face painting and a visit from the Easter Bunny!!! This community event is free and open to all. Kids of all ages can wear their silliest “Easter Bonnet” for a chance to win a prize. This event, in collaboration with the Greater Reading and Berks County Kiwanis Club, and the support of the Key Clubs at Conrad Weiser, Wilson, Reading and Exeter High Schools, will be held rain or shine. To RSVP please call the camp office at 610-670-2267. 

Pancake Breakfast Saturday April 19th 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

All proceeds from this event benefit the 9th Operation Purple Camp at YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser in June of 2014. This special week of summer camp is for the children of deployed military men and women, as well as those who have recently returned. The cost for the breakfast is $6 for adults and $4 for kids 12 and under. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, and beverages. The breakfast will be held at the Bynden Wood Lodge as part of the Egg-Stravaganza festivities. For more information call camp at 610-670-2267.


This program recognizes that “Kids Serve Too”. In partnership with the National Military Family Association, the Operation Purple Camp is a week for having fun, making friends, and reminding military children that they are our nation’s youngest heroes. Operation Purple Camp:

  • Helps provide 100 campers from active duty military families with 1 week of fun at summer camp in 2014.
  • Provides an opportunity for the “kids who serve” to experience horseback riding, archery, zip lines, and much more.
  • Connects the children of military families with their peers.
  • Provides a Military Life/Family Counselor (MFLAC) as support.
  • Helps provide a connection with military personnel from all branches of the armed forces.
  • Allows a week of respite for the military spouse who is at home during a long deployment.
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The South Mountain YMCA Camps are excited to announce the launch of SOUTH MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES:  Climbing, Zip Lining, Trap Shooting, Zorbing and more for families, youth groups and businesses.  Check it out today (!  We hope to see you on the mountain.  Gives us a call at 610-670-2267 if you have any questions.

Adventure Pic

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Camper Exchange Program to Russia in 2014!

ICEP Trip to Russa Information1

For more than 50 years, the South Mountain YMCA Camps have participated in the International Camper Exchange Program (ICEP).  We have welcomed summer campers from all over the world to share in our Fire of Friendship – and we have sent our young people on ICEP trips to Germany, Russia, Spain, and other destinations in Europe, as well as Canada and Mexico.

In 2014, we are returning to Russia to participate in a special International Camp in the Ivanovo region.  This program is for 15-17 year-olds.  Our YMCA partners in Russia have planned an incredible month which includes:

  • International Camp at Camp Chayka from July 15-29 with teens from Russia, Germany, USA, Spain, England, Gerorgia and Armenia (Camp is conducted in English).
  • A host family stay with a local YMCA family from July 29-August 4.
  • A week of travel to Yaroslavl, St. Petersburg and Moscow from August 4-10.

We have spaces available for this program.  We do not require ICEP Campers to be YMCA members, but we do require an application and interview.  Call Sue Williams for information and registration at 610-670-2267, or email her at

ICEP Trip to Russa Information2

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Keeping Camp Affordable: Camp for You. Camp for All.

Smiling Guys

Over the past 5 years, I have frequently been asked this question:  “Why are your Camp Programs cheaper than comparable programs in the region?”

It’s a reasonable question.  YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser and Bynden Wood Day Camp share some incredible facilities, program opportunities and staff.  We have 600 acres, 98 rooftops, and program facilities that allow us to offer our campers:

  • Horseback Riding:  English Riding (Lessons and Camps), Trail Rides & Pony Rides
  • Ropes Courses:  A Climbing Tower, A Zip Line longer than a football field & High and Low Ropes Courses
  • Target Sports:  Trap Shooting (Shotguns and Clay Pigeons), Rifles, Archery, BB Guns & Sling Shots
  • Adventure Programs:  Zorb Balls, Mountain Bikes & Mountain Boards
  • Creative Arts:  Guitars, Drumming, Wood Burning, A Radio Station, Digital Photography & Tons of Camp Crafts
  • Theme Programs
  • Nature Programs:  Outdoor Living Skills, Natural World Programs, Hiking & Fishing
  • Sports:  Sports, Ultimate Frisbee, Flag Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Tennis and much more
  • Waterfront Programs:  Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing & Swimming in our outdoor pool
  • International Trips to Germany, Spain and Russia

The simple answer to the question posed in the opening paragraph is this:  “We have donors and endowments that have allowed us to keep the price of summer camp artificially low.”

In the case of YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser, we priced our program $250-$400 less than the actual per-camper-cost to offer the program.  We did this because we wanted to make camp available to everyone.  But it hurt us.  People enjoyed the lower rates and we grew by double-digit percentages over the past 3 years.  As more children were able to attend Camp, our costs went up, but the fees weren’t there to meet our expenses.  So, this winter we went back to the drawing board.

Our Goal:  Keep Camp Affordable and Available to All (and try not to lose money doing it).  Simple, right?

In 2014, we are offering a new pricing structure.  This “Tier Pricing Structure”*** has been implemented at camps all over the country to address the very concerns I posed earlier in this post.  This approach begins by explaining what Camp actually costs:  $815 per camper, per week.  But we realize that families have different abilities to pay.  The true cost of camp, $815, is only one of four pricing options for a family to choose from.  We believe that the voluntary, 4-Tier pricing program will make Camp Conrad Weiser available to more families.

Keeping Camp Affordable pic

This is strictly an honor system program.  When you register your camper for Camp Conrad Weiser in 2014, simply select the fee you feel is appropriate for your family.  This program is voluntary and in no way influences the experience children receive.  Our policy is to turn no child away due to inability to pay our camp tuition.  If you require more assistance, please select Tier 4 and apply for our traditional Financial Aid Program.

As you begin the summer camp registration process, please do not hesitate to call us with any questions (610-670-2267).  We sincerely hope that this new pricing structure benefits your family.  We can’t wait to see you at Camp!

Nathan Brant, CEO

South Mountain YMCA Camps

***  This Tier Pricing Program does not impact:  Bynden Wood Day Camp, Camp Conrad Weiser’s “Explorer” program for 7 & 8 year-olds, Speciality Camps (i.e. Riding, LIT and CIT programs), and the ICEP international trip programs.


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The Mountain by Moonlight: The Return of the Haunted Hayride to the South Mountain YMCA Camps

The staff and volunteers of the South Mountain YMCA Camps are excited to revive the Halloween tradition of offering a Haunted Hayride to the community this year.  After a 10 year hiatus, we will be bringing back the Haunted Hayride (PG), a non-haunted Fall Harvest Hayride, and a number of carnival games.  This 4-night event is designed as a family-friendly alternative to other Halloween attractions.  It is geared to pre-K, elementary and middle-school students and will run on October 18, 19, 25 and 26.  Each night runs from 6pm – 10pm. Programs may include:

  • Family Night Hikes and Nature Programs (6-10pm)
  • Pony Rides by Moonlight (6-10pm)
  • Carnival Games (6-10pm)
  • Glow-Zorbing (giant, 12′ by 12′ balls participants ride in)
  • Glow Stick Zip-Lining (6-10pm)
  • Fall Harvest Hayride (6-9pm)
  • Haunted Hayride (7-10pm)
  • And much more.

Each program will cost a certain number of tickets (i.e. 1 Ticket for Carnival Games or 8 Tickets to take the Haunted Hayride).  Tickets will be on sale at the event:

  • $1 per Ticket
  • $10 for 12 Tickets
  • $20 for 25 Tickets

Call 610-670-2267 or visit our website at for more information or to volunteer.

Don’t forget to LIKE our “The Mountain by Moonlight” Facebook Page.

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The Cushion Peak Hero’s Challenge: Providing for the children of our actively deployed military men and women.

The Cushion Peak Hero’s Challenge is a 5k Trail Run, or 1 Mile Walk, to support our local Operation Purple Camp on October 20th at 1pm.  Operation Purple Camp is a free week of summer camp for the children of actively deployed military men and women.

The South Mountain YMCA Camps are offering the Cushion Peak Hero’s Challenge as a challenging and rewarding fundraiser to support Operation Purple.  The 5k Trail Run travels some beautiful trails and fire roads on the South Mountain.  You can enjoy the fall foliage, get your workout in, and raise money for a great cause.  There is also a 1 Mile Fun Walk.  Details on the event are below.

Operation Purple Camp is offered each year at the South Mountain YMCA Camps.  This program recognizes that “Kids Serve Too”. In partnership with the National Military Family Association, the Operation Purple Camp is a week for having fun, making friends, and reminding military children that they are our nation’s youngest  heroes. We provide camping experiences that serve children from every branch of the military and it is truly an amazing week for both campers and staff. For more info please contact, Sue Williams, Associate Executive Director, at 610-670-2267 or by email at

LOCATION/REGISTRATION:  Starts at the South Mountain YMCA Camps (GPS: 201 Cushion Peak Road, Reinholds); Registration/number pickup at Bynden Wood Lodge starting at Noon,  5K starts at 1:00 PM.  This is a mass start.  Online Registration is not available for this event. Registration Forms can be found on the Cushion Peak Hero’s Challenge event page.

COURSE:  The course is wheel-measured, features 400ft of elevation, rocky trails,  and is not for the faint of heart.

AMENITIES:  T-shirt to all pre-registrants of 5K with refreshments for finishers, indoor toilet facilities & showers, loads of parking, time clock at finish and instant results. The Camp will open the Climbing Tower and Zip Line for all interested participants at 2pm.  Held rain or shine.  No refunds or mailed awards.  Results on the South Mountain YMCA Camps FACEBOOK Page in 72 hours.

AWARDS:  Awards for the male & female winners and runner-ups plus:  18 & Under: 3M, 3F;  19 – 29: 3M, 3F;  30-39: 3M, 3F;  40-49: 3M, 3F;  50-59: 3M, 3F;  60+: 3M, 3F.

ENTRY:  $20 for 5k, $5 for walkers, if postmarked by October 15, 2013.  Afterwards, including race day, $25 for 5k and $10 for walkers.    Shirts available while they last.  Registration Forms are available online.

GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR ALL:  Take 422 from Reading towards Lebanon  In Sinking Spring, turn left onto Columbia Avenue.  Columbia Avenue becomes Fritztown Road.  Turn right onto East Galen Hall Road.  Turn right onto Cushion Peak Road.  The entrance for the South Mountain YMCA Camps will be at the top of the mountain on your left.  For GPS Directions, use 201 Cushion Peak Road, Reinholds, PA.

Contact Michele Reinert at 610-670-2267 or for more information.

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Celebrating our History: The 65th Anniversary of YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser & the 30th Anniversary of the South Mountain YMCA Camps.

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For 65 years, we have welcomed you to the mountain.  We’ve invited you to share in our Fire of Friendship, determined in our belief that every person shares the potential to grow in wisdom, to discover their unique and independent voice, to nurture others and to engage their communities.  The fun and challenging programs we have offered have fostered communication, trust, problem-solving and deeper spiritual connections, while preparing young people to lead and be led.  The South Mountain YMCA Camps have been more than a series of camping and retreat programs on the mountaintop, they have been a way of life – a philosophy – that has proved exciting to explore and easy to embrace for generations.  This summer, we hope you continue to Keep the Fires Burning and join us on the mountaintop for Alumni Day on July 27th!

In the summer of 2013, we’ll be celebrating the 65th year of continuous operation for YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser, as well as the 30th year the South Mountain YMCA has operated as an independent YMCA Camp and Conference Center.  In addition to being a great opportunity to reconnect with your camp family, it’s also a great time to remember our founders and those individuals who have built this camp through their time, talents and treasure.

We hope to see you back on the mountain this year!

Nathan Brant, CEO
South Mountain YMCA Camps

To get involved with the Alumni Day Planning Committee, contact Nathan Brant at 610-670-2267 or

Alumni Day details can found at:

Bring your family and friends to Camp for our Alumni Homecoming Event on Saturday, July 27th (3-8pm). Activities have been designed for both the young and the young-at-heart.   Swimming in the Pool, Climbing the Tower, Riding the Zip Line, Shooting some Archery or Trap, and Hiking to the Peak are just some of the activities we have planned.   The day will end with dinner in the dining hall, chapel, and a campfire at the Council Ring complete with cedar chips.

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Fundraising for Operation Purple Camp 2013 is underway!!!

opcOPC Campers, Military Personnel and the Iron Horse Helpers

This summer YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser will partner with the National Military Family Association to host the 8th season Operation Purple Camp® (OPC). The mission of OPC is to empower military children to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships, using the healing and holistic aspects of the natural world. This program recognizes that “kids serve too” and that they are our nation’s greatest heroes. Over 100 children from military families that have a parent currently deployed or recently returned will experience a week of camp with their peers at no cost to the families.


South Mountain YMCA Camps hosts 2nd Annual Pancake Breakfast
The staff at South Mountain YMCA Camps is getting ready for the 2nd annual Pancake Breakfast in support of Operation Purple Camp® Join us on Sunday April 7th at the Wernersville Fire House/Social Hall between 8 am and 1 pm for a warm and delicious start to your day. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage and beverages, $6 for adults and $4 for kids under 12. For additional information please visit the events page on our website at

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thirty-one Bingo
The South Mountain YMCA Camps are pleased to announce that we will be hosting our first ever  thirty-one bingo fundraiser on Saturday April 20th from noon until 4:00 pm at the beautifully renovated historic Bynden Wood Lodge. SMYMCA is thrilled to partner with Gretchen Manmiller and The Silver Bells Team to present an afternoon of fun and prizes from thirty-one’s 2013 spring line. Tickets are $20.00 each and can be purchased several ways. Stop by the camp office Monday – Friday between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, call the camp office at 610-670-2267 to pay by credit card or mail a check payable to South Mountain YMCA, noting thirty-one bingo in the memo section to PO Box 147 Wernersville, PA 19565 and we will mail the tickets to you. For additional information please visit the events page on our website at

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Kiwanis Egg-Stravaganza at the South Mountain YMCA Camps

Kiwanis Timeline Logo

The South Mountain YMCA Camps are pleased to host our 3rd Annual Egg-Stravaganza and Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30th, from 10am – 11:30 am.  Each year on the Saturday before Easter, the staff and volunteers of the SMYMCA Camps team up with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Reading and Berks County to offer this special event to our community’s children.

This free event features a massive egg hunt with more than 4000 eggs!  Children and teens are divideed by age group for the event:  ages 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, and 13+.  With generous donations from our community and the hard work of our local Key Clubs, eggs are stuffed with coins, candy, stickers, and other prizes.

In addition to the hunt, festivities will include spring crafts, face painting, and a visit from the Easter Bunny!  Kids of all ages can wear their silliest ‘Easter Bonnet’ for a chance to win a door prize!

While the event is free, we do hope folks will RSVP to or at 610-670-2267.  We’ll see you at Camp!

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