YMCA Camp Wapsie

Founded in 1918, YMCA Camp Wapsie is the Camp of the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas. Wapsie’s coed summer camp programs serve boys and girls ages 6-18 in our summer resident and day camp program. We serve campers of all ages through our year-round retreats and group programming, youth and family programs.

Camp Wapsie is the place to help young people build the character values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.  With our deep tradition in camping, we strive to instill these underlying principles into each camper during their time at camp. Here at YMCA Camp Wapsie, we are: For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, and For Social Development.

YMCA Camp Wapsie is an Accredited camp of the ACA, (American Camp Association). ACA camps participate in a voluntary and rigorous review of 300 unique national standards, designed to ensure a well-supervised, positive environment with controlled boundaries and organized programs. So kids can safely grow and thrive. Learn more by visiting the ACA website.

Donate to Camp


Through June 15th, order from a selection of unique designs of Camp Wapsie gear online!   BONUS!  A portion of the net proceeds from items sold is donated to camp programming as we work through these difficult times.  Be sure to place your order online soon as these items are only available for a limited time!


YMCA, Camp Wapsie and volunteer leadership has made the very difficult decision to suspend the first four weeks of summer camp. There are too many safety concerns associated with holding camp programming to be able to prepare and operate camp during the month of June. Camp Wapsie hopes to resume operations beginning July 5th.

Past COVID-19 Camp Updates

Hello Wapsie Community,

At YMCA Camp Wapsie, we’ve always recognized and taken seriously the sacred duty of taking care of your kids. Our programs are designed around providing an environment for young people to grow friendships, social and life skills, while building lifelong memories at camp. With school closures and new protocols being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), I want to personally update you on camp and some of the steps we are taking to ensure your families health and safety at our camp.

In addition to our longstanding and rigorous safety procedures and staff training protocols, we are implementing new preventative measures and enhancing our current procedures. This includes enhanced health screenings upon arrival at camp with temperature checks and health screening questions. Wapsie is planning enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices; additional options like hand washing/sanitization stations, adjusting activities with enhanced social distancing and minimizing physical contact between individuals.

We are reviewing and updating our policies to help ensure your child’s safety and quality experience with guidelines and recommendations provided by the Center for Disease Control, the Linn County and Iowa Public Health Department, the American Camping Association and medical professionals.

YMCA Camp Wapsie has been closed to the public since mid-March, and is currently required to continue to be closed through April 30th. This means many of our schools, churches and other organizations have not been able to help their participants learn, grow and build relationships with each other and the outdoors through Wapsie programs. Nearly two months of program closure and new practices to help address COVID 19 have had a significant financial impact on camp and the Cedar Rapids Y. While we are working to reschedule many of these retreat and corporate groups in the fall or next year, there are many people who will miss out on participating in the valuable opportunities Wapsie provides this spring.

Wapsie is still planning to run summer camp for the summer of 2020. While things are still evolving we do not feel a decision to cancel or delay the start of summer camp is prudent at this time. We do take health and safety seriously and understand that new information could adjust the start date or parts of our programming. YMCA and Camp Wapsie leadership continue to monitor and learn more about COVID-19 and recommendations from health professionals. We are anxiously waiting for additional updates from government and health officials, including guidelines from the Center for Disease Control specific for camps in the next week or so. This should give us more information to help determine any next steps. Should state and federal requirements force a change in our operation, we will take necessary steps to ensure that the best possible decisions are made. As always, we will be transparent in communicating with you in a timely fashion regarding any updates.

For information on COVID-19 please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

We will continue to communicate with you regularly in the coming weeks with additional updates. In the meantime, we kindly ask for your patience before making any adjustments to your Wapsie summer plans. Thank you for your continued trust in YMCA Camp Wapsie. We remain honored to serve your family and be a part of your summer tradition. Stay safe and be well.

Sincerely in Camping,

Paul Denowski
Executive Director
YMCA Camp Wapsie


May 7th, 2020 Update:

Hello Wapsie Families,

We hope you are all doing well, practicing social distancing and staying healthy. COVID-19 has caused many changes in our everyday lives. With the evolving situation we understand that you may have some concerns. Our Camp and YMCA Staff, have been hard at work learning and preparing for new best practices for camp. The safety and well being of campers is always our focus.

In response to current circumstances, YMCA Camp Wapsie will be delaying the due date and the deduction of payments from your account for this summer to a later date as we continue to watch if health and governmental guidelines will affect our ability to start camp on time.

We have the campers best interest at heart and want to run camp as normal as possible, with the understanding that the current “normal” is very different. We are waiting for the CDC to release recommendations specifically for summer camps. They are expected out in the next few days. The American Camp Association and Y-USA are expected to release additional resources for camps shortly after. Once we receive and review these guidelines and any additional updates from the governor, we will be in a better position to decide any adjustments we need to make to the camp schedule and program to follow the recommendations and provide a quality camp experience.

We appreciate your patience as we await the guidance we need from authorized sources. We want to ensure our decision reflects the updated guidelines and can best serve the entire camp community. We will keep you up to date as we learn more.

Thinking of you all,

Camp Wapsie Staff

Upcoming Camp Calendar - What to Expect Throughout the Year

Date Event
July 5th, 2020 Summer Camp Begins (Weeks 5-9)
August – May Group Programming Available
Sept. 5th – 7th, 2020 Labor Day Family Camp
Late September LIT and CIT Applications Open
Oct. 24th – 25th, 2020 Halloween Camp
Late November Staff Applications Open
Dec. 28th – 30th, 2020 Winter Camp

Camp grows stronger with people who care!

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Share a talent like marketing, plumbing, carpentry, organizing, statistics, etc.
  • Share your time, help with leaf raking, painting, landscaping, and more.
  • Help raise funds for scholarships and special projects.
  • Serve on our Advisory Committee or a project committee.
  • Serve as a Candy Sale host or Camp Nurse.
  • Help out with special events (Open house, Easter Egg Hunt, etc.)


Collecting history, connecting with Alumni

Part of Wapsie’s rich history was lost in an office fire at camp in the 1980’s.  We are reaching out to our community to see who might have contacts for camp alumni.  We are also looking for pictures or artifacts that we can copy or include on our history display.  If you have items or names to share please reach out to camp at camp@crmetroymca.org or call 319.435.2577.

Camp Is For All
Wapsie Inclusion Statement

Camp Wapsie is an inclusive community. We work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, cultural background, faith, gender identity, income, origin, race, or sexual orientation has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential with dignity. Our diverse camper community reflects our larger community’s demographics. Campers and staff can look forward to interacting and living within this diverse and supportive environment.


Situated on 172 acres of scenic woodlands and wetlands with an oxbow lake off the Wapsipinicon River in northern Linn County, Iowa, YMCA Camp Wapsie is owned and operated by the YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area. The warm and relaxed atmosphere of Camp Wapsie with its natural beauty provides an ideal setting to experience the outdoors and enhance the self-esteem of all people.

2174 Wapsie Y Rd – Coggon, IA  52218


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Utilize the natural camp environment to provide fun, safe, unique camping and retreat experiences that promote the YMCA core values of: Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.


  • Enhance participants’ self-esteem.
  • Provide positive influences and role models.
  • Provide trained leadership, a variety of educational and recreational activities, and specialized programs to give participants the tools for success.
  • Expose participants to the natural world.

It is with great difficulty that Camp Wapsie has decided to suspend summer camp for weeks 1 - 4.  

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