YMCA Camp Benson

16355 Scenic Palisades Rd.
Mount Carroll
(815) 244-8722

For more than 80 years, boys and girls have been given the opportunity to create a very special community focused on acceptance, friendship, self-discovery and independence at YMCA Camp Benson. YMCA Camp Benson is an overnight summer camp located in the rolling hills of northwestern Illinois, a short 2.5 hour drive from Chicago. YCB’s mission can be summed up in two words, BUILD STRONG. We strive to build stronger campers and help them become the best version of themselves.

Ask our campers for the #1 reason they come back to camp each year. They won’t say that it’s because of the zip line or the cave or the swimming pool. They will most certainly tell you they are returning to YMCA Camp Benson to see their old friends and to make new ones. This is because friendship is at the very heart of our camp community. From the moment campers step foot on camp, our counselors and activity staff concentrate on helping them build friendships and improve their social skills. Activities become much more fun when done with friends.

Each day campers have the freedom to choose which activities they want to do. Through the varied activities and the daily routine at YMCA Camp Benson, campers develop a sense of accomplishment and belonging during their stay. Learning new skills and self-reliance builds confidence and promotes a healthy lifestyle for the future.

YMCA Camp Benson Activities:
Zip Line
LARPing (Live Action Role Playing)
Atlatl Throwing
Mountain Biking
Rock Climbing
High Ropes Course
Gaga Ball
Nature Hikes
Creative Arts
Flying Squirrel
Hatchet Throwing
Evening Campfires
Twilight Zone (200 foot tube slide)
Vertical Playpen

YCB offers a number of overnight summer camp programs that are perfect for campers of all ages.

  • EXPLORER Camp is a 4-day, 3-night camping experience designed to introduce our youngest campers, Grades 1-3, to overnight camp.
  • ADVENTURE Camp is a 7-day, 6-night camp for kids in 3rd-8th grade. This is easily our most popular camp.
  • MEGA Camp is our 2-week overnight camp, complete with a special Saturday night stayover.
  • TEEN Camp, a weeklong camp specifically for teenagers ages 12-17. This week of camp is designed to meet the needs and interests of teenagers, revolving around teamwork and community.
YMCA Camp Benson is so much more than the activities campers partake in during summer camp. It’s a place where kids unplug from technology and have the chance to connect with other kids and the natural world around them. Campers make new friends, learn new skills and grow as individuals in a safe, fun, well-supervised, and bully-free environment. We hope that you will consider allowing your children to join the YMCA Camp Benson family this summer.


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