Sherman Lake YMCA

Integrated Education School Programs

If your school district had its own state-of-the-art outdoor center, then what would you do with it?

Imagine a setting:

  • Where children are encouraged by their peers.
  • Where children create and live by the acceptable behaviors that they establish as a group where everyone feels safe.
  • Where the expectation of all students is that they treat each other, the counselors and the teachers with honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.
  • Where all adults are role models for the children, from counselors...to maintenance staff...to the kitchen staff.

We all want the children to have a positive and successful experience at camp and we would love to talk with you about the unique programs and activities that we offer! Better yet, come visit and see why Sherman Lake is such a magical experience for schools and the students they serve!

For more Information: Please call 269-731-3030 or email Lorrie Syverson at lorries@ymcasl.org!

View our Curriculum and Guidelines

Download School Program Forms

Components of Integrated Education

Character Development:
Teaching and role modeling the four principles of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility, and focusing on building healthy relationships. These four principles are the foundation of everything that we do at the Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center. Modeling and reinforcing these four principles, along with safety, are our highest priorities. The formal name for our school program is Integrated Education, because we "integrate" the best of the YMCA character development program with school curriculum.

Teambuilding and Leadership:
Teaching and providing opportunities to practice the steps to setting and achieving goals for groups and individuals through the use of our climbing wall, climbing tower, indoor high ropes course ("The Rafters"), high ropes elements, initiative course ("The Courage Course"), archery, group initiatives, fire building, nature and other activities. These steps include setting the goal, making a plan, assessing the level of commitment, implementing the plan and overcoming obstacles, and celebrating success!

Create Academic Opportunities:
Would you like to focus on natural science? Reading comprehension? Writing? Math? Social sciences? Critical thinking skills? We will create with you a day long or residential camp experience filled with hands-on, memorable, and fun learning for all. Let us help you build a "Camp to Classroom" experience for your students!

For more Information: Please call 269-731-3030 or email Lorrie Syverson at lorries@ymcasl.org!

Activities for Integrated Education

  • Climbing: Indoor climbing wall or outdoor climbing tower. The focus is on setting and achieving person goals and celebrating success.

  • Teambuilding: Good teamwork is achieved with the use of group games and activities which challenge participants to work together, cooperate, and communicate to complete tasks.

  • Group Initiatives: In our group initiatives we make use of our various low rope elements around camp. We put kids in situations where they have to work together and problem-solve to be successful.

  • Orienteering: Learn the basic fundamentals of using a compass. Hang out in nature and find your way around.

  • Art: We have a great studio with arts and crafts supplies galore! TIE DYE!!! Throw some clay!!! Make a puzzle for your class, learn how to make lanyards, hemp bracelets, or create your own work of art.

  • Archery: Safety is key! Ready! Aim! Fire! Participants will become familiar with the parts of a bow and arrow, the techniques of shooting, and safety at an archery range.

  • Canoeing: Experience the tranquility of Sherman Lake. Instruction on parts of the boat, and how to paddle!

  • Kayaking: When the weather goes bad, kayaking takes place in our indoor pool at the Recreation Center.

  • Swimming: Depending on the time of year, participants swim in either Sherman Lake or our beautiful indoor pool. Of course safety is #1.

  • Fire Bulding/Outdoor Skills: What is needed to build a fire? How do we build the fire? What if it is windy outside? How do we stay safe? These questions are covered, as well as, why the four principles are so important in outdoor activities.

  • Outdoor Cooking: Easy and quick recipes for great treats that are easy to make and ways to stay safe by a fire. You get to eat your yummy results!

  • Group Games: Games that emphasize team work and group goals while using the 4 principles.

  • Nature Curriculum: Explore the vast canvas that is the Sherman Lake YMCA. Our curriculum meets certain educational bench marks for 5th grade students. We create opportunities for students to use observation skills and apply those ideas to form hypotheses.
6th grade and above additional activities:
  • Tree Climb: Up 32 feet, in a mighty oak tree, a platform rests as the ultimate goal for this activitiy. Each participant is challenged to face their fears and achieve new goals as they set out to climb up to the platform using one of four different routes. This is a very challenging, yet rewarding activity.

  • Low Ropes/High Ropes: Indoor and outdoor courses are great for small groups to rotate through and are also constructive for pairs of people. This course is also a great progression for higher functioning groups who have also been through previous sessions of teambuilding. High Ropes is very staff intensive, will be combined with other group initiatives to build a groundwork of success and will have group size restrictions because of safety standards.

  • Giants Swing, Power Pole, Giants Ladder: Great activities for goal setting, perseverance, success and independent decision making. Plus they are a lot of fun!!!
  • Click here to see a slideshow of activities and facilities.


What Differentiates Us From Others?

We believe that if you help a child strengthen their character and make better choices, they will become a better student and ultimately a better person.

We've integrated academics with proven, research based best practices from character education. We focus on character development and building healthy relationships, and have a unique style for facilitating personal growth.

We partner with schools to provide an experience that fits your needs and our mission, so there is flexibility in the programming.

Our facilities are beautiful, each building being construction in 1999 or later. We are able to make year round programming possible by providing a full facility YMCA on site. The Sherman Lake YMCA Recreation Center includes a fitness center, indoor pool, climbing wall, indoor high ropes course, and gymnasium. Our dining hall is gorgeous, filled with delicious food. We also have a chapel, nature center, art studio, leadership lodge, 2 waterfronts, acres of playing fields and 2 villages. Each cabin is carpeted, with radiant floor heating, and has a bathroom for midnight emergencies. All of our facilities are handicap accessible.

For more Information: Please call 269-731-3030 or email Lorrie Syverson at lorries@ymcasl.org!

Quotes from Integrated Education Participants:

  • "WOW!!! Our Sherman Lake experience was so awesome, WOW is the perfect word to describe how we feel about our days with you! You made our kids feel special and showed them how to have a blast working as a team. You stressed and role modeled the four principles with every interaction you had with them and the students followed suit. They demonstrated their honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility more than we have ever seen in the classroom..."
    -- Kalamazoo 5th Grade Teacher

  • "My counselor told us we could make our own rules for the principles, and they always used honesty, caring, respect and responsibility..."
    -- Kalamazoo 5th Grader

  • "I learned that if you plan your goals ahead of time and try hard, you will reach your goal."
    -- Endeavor Charter Academy 6th Grader

  • "I want to thank all of you for making me feel safe and for making camp so fun."
    -- Vicksburg 6th Grader

  • "I learned about how to treat other people and that you can absorb a lot of info in less than 3 days. I also learned a lot about how to use my five senses and about friendship..."
    -- Kalamazoo 5th grader

  • "They (the counselors) want us to grow up to be all 4 principles. That is the kind of people that they are..."
    -- Kalamazoo 5th Grader

  • "My memories I have from camp are when you put my faith back in me..."
    -- Vicksburg 6th Grader

  • "Thank you for teaching me who I really am..."
    -- Portage 5th Grader


Whom Do We Serve?

We serve primarily 5th through 8th grade students. We partner with elementary, middle school, and high school students, as well as teachers to provide a great experience. We will work with you to fit your needs. For example, all students of one grade level or students who are involved in a particular program may come out to camp. Perhaps you need teambuilding for your student senate, a sports team, or some other group. We are also available to work with your school's staff to coordinate part of your professional development days and provide resources for transferring the best of our camp curriculum back to your classroom or school programs.

For more Information: Please call 269-731-3030 or email Lorrie Syverson at lorries@ymcasl.org!



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