YMCA Camp Benson

Traditional Camp

Overnight Camp

Camp Address
16355 Scenic Palisades Rd.
Mount Carroll, Illinois 61053
(815) 2448722

Off-Season Address
16355 Scenic Palisades Rd.
Mount Carroll, Illinois 61053
(815) 244-8722

For more than 90 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-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)
Kayakingv Atlatl Throwing
Mountain Biking
Sportsv Rock Climbing
High Ropes Course
Gaga Ball
Nature Hikes
Arts and Crafts
Flying Squirrel
Hatchet Throwing
Evening Campfires
Twilight Zone (200 foot tube slide)
Vertical Playpen
Outdoor Cooking

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.
MINI Camp is new, condensed version of Adventure Camp perfect for returning or new campers. This camp session is 4 days long and is for campers in Grades 1-8.
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.

"My children have been attending YMCA Camp Benson for the last five years and it's simply the best experience of their lives. The lessons learned, fears overcome and friendships they have created are absolutely unmatched by any other activity or sport they are involved in.” – YCB Parent

“After Camp my son seems more confident overall in his abilities and socializing with peers. He is also less "obsessed" with video games, and more resilient in the outdoors.” - Camper Parent

REGISTER NOW at www.ymcacampbenson.org

YMCA Camp Benson Camp Picture
YMCA Camp Benson Camp Picture

Camp Video

Camp Facilities

YMCA Camp Benson is proud to offer modern and comfortable camping facilities. All 12 of the camper cabins at YMCA Camp Benson were built in 2012 and are air-conditioned. Girl's Side and Guy's Side of camp have separate bathhouses that were remodeled in 2018. Camp Benson's Dining Hall was build in 2006 and was expanded in 2014. 

Camp Staff

Camp Director: Eli Rolli. You can contact Eli at eli@ymcacampbenson.org

Director of Operations: Gwyn Bemis. You can contact Gwyn at gwyn@ymcacampbenson.org

Retreats Director: Etzna Rolli. You can contact Etzna at etzna@ymcacampbenson.org

Camp FAQs

Do you offer Financial Assistance?
Yes. YMCA Camp Benson offers Financial Assistance for all of its summer camp programs. The Financial Assistance Application will be made available in mid-April.

What time is check in and check out?
Check in for our week long camp is always on Sunday from 3:00-4:00 PM. Check out for these sessions is from 9:00-10:00 AM on Saturdays.

How many campers are there in a cabin?
Typical cabin sizes range from 8-11 campers. Each cabin has two staff members in it along with one Teen Leader.

Tell me a bit about your staff hiring process.
Finding and developing the right staff is one of our top priorities. Our summer camp staff are carefully selected to ensure that we have a diverse group of skilled and responsible staff who care about children. Before campers arrive, all of our summer camp staff are trained in safety, counseling techniques, conflict resolution, child development, bullying prevention and camp policies and procedures. Our staff understand that his or her job is not just to lead activities, but also to help campers develop life skills. Our summer camp staff undergo extensive background and reference checks before being hired. All staff are Red Cross First Aid and CPR certified.

Camp Sessions

Camp Season: June 9, 2019 to July 27, 2019
Multiple camper discounts available
Financial assistance available

  • SessionDates# CampersTuition
  • Adventure Camp
    6/9/2019 to 7/27/2019132 Campers$495.00
    • Adventure Camp is a week-long overnight camp for boys and girls focused on skill building and character development. This is our most popular summer camp program.
  • Explorer Camp
    6/16/2019 to 7/20/2019132 Campers$295.00
    • Explorer Camp is a 4-day, 3-night camping experience designed to introduce our youngest campers to overnight camp and to allow parents to adjust to the idea of their camper being away from home. Our focus is to create a safe, comfortable and fun camping experience for our Explorer campers. Each Explorer cabin is made up of 9 campers and 2 staff members. We place a very strong emphasis on cabin unity and comradery.
  • MINI Camp
    6/30/2019 to 7/3/2019132 Campers$295.00
    • MINI Camp is a condensed version of our most popular session, Adventure Camp. During this action packed 4-day camp our campers will participate in a wide range of traditional camp activities focused on skill building. This camp session is perfect for both returning and first-time campers. Fun and memory making are maximized in MINI Camp.
  • MEGA Camp
    6/23/2019 to 7/3/2019132 Campers$775.00
    • MEGA Camp is a 11-day overnight camp that allows our campers to more fully immerse themselves in the YMCA Camp Benson experience. Campers get the chance to try more activities, participate in the special weekend stay over and get to know their counselors and fellow MEGA campers much better. MEGA campers will leave with a greater sense of independence, belonging and accomplishment.
  • TEEN Camp
    7/7/2019 to 7/13/2019132 Campers$495.00
    • Smack dab in the middle of the summer is a week of camp just for teenagers. This week of camp is specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of teens. TEEN Week is all about forging friendships and helping teenagers discover who they really are while giving them more freedom to choose what they actually want to do at camp.

Camp Location

Click "Camp" marker on map to get driving directions to YMCA Camp Benson.