The Adventure Guides program provides opportunities for families to engage in activities that promote nature, family, fun, and community. Join a father/daughter or father/son program today!

Program Overview

Event dates and venues are subject to change.

Fullerton / Yorba Linda-Placentia

California Wild – father/daughter expedition
Huya Big Sky – father/son expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Huntington Beach

Great Coastal Pacific – father/son expedition
Great Hunting Valley – father/daughter expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition

Laguna Niguel

Mighty Wilderness – father/daughter expedition
Sunshine – father/daughter expedition
Great Coastal Pacific – father/son expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Mission Viejo

Big Thunder Spirit – father/daughter expedition
Broken Arrow – father/son expedition
Friendly Shining Spirit – father/daughter expedition
Rainbow Sky – father/daughter expedition
Rising Son – father/son expedition
Soaring Spirit – father/daughter expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Newport Beach

Great Hunting Valley – father/daughter expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Great Coastal Pacific – father/son expedition

San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, & Dana Point

Doheny – father/daughter expedition
San Clemente – father/son expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

The Adventure Guides program:

  • Fosters companionship and understanding and sets a foundation for positive, lifelong relationships between parent and child.
  • Builds a sense of self-esteem and personal worth.
  • Expands awareness of spirit, mind, and body.
  • Provides the framework to meet a mutual need of spending enjoyable, constructive, and quality time together.
  • Enhances the quality of family time.
  • Emphasizes the vital role that parents play in the growth and development of their children.
  • Offers an important and unique opportunity to develop and enjoy volunteer leadership skills.

The Compass provides direction for the Friends Forever program.

  • The Family is True North – the focal point of the program
  • Nature and the camping experience are an integral part of the program teaching respect for nature and oneself
  • The spirit of the program is experienced through belonging to a small community of “circles”
  • Fun is the magic of the program

The Y’s core values (Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility) provide directions as parents guide children on their journey.  Along the way adults should model, teach and demonstrate these values as well as give children many opportunities to practice and celebrate them. Initially, these four values provide guidance in helping children select activities, make decisions, and choose appropriate courses of action both in the program and in their lives.

The Adventure Guide Program has four different layers of structure
that help to organize and facilitate the program.

  • Guide & Explorer – These are the names for parents and children. Each person (dad & child) chooses an Adventure Guide name when joining the program. Coming up with an Adventure Guide name is one of the strongest memories of the program for parents and children. It may even take several months to come up with something appropriate and meaningful. Names should try to stay with the adventure or nature themes. Good examples of names include: Little Snow Bear, Shooting Star, Big Thunder Cloud, Mighty Oak or Little Running Bunny.


  • Circles – Circles are a group of Guides & Explorers. Typically Circles are made up of 5-12 families within a school or neighborhood, but not necessarily. Circle groups come up with a name that connects to nature, adventure or their larger Expedition. Good examples of names include: Wolfpack, Rangers, Mud Marlins, Mighty Mariposa or Daughters of Triton. Circles meet regularly, usually monthly, at homes or community locations to complete meeting items and work on the Adventure Guide Curriculum.


  • Expeditions – Expeditions are groups of Circles organized by gender (i.e. dad/daughter). Typically an Expedition is made up of 4-10 Circles. Expeditions have names also with the adventure or nature theme. Good examples of names include: Mighty Wilderness Expedition, California Wild Expedition, or Great Pacific Expedition. Expeditions host regular events, usually monthly, bringing all Circles together.


  • Federation– Federations are a group of Expeditions within a region. Expedition Navigators meet quarterly as a Federation to work on joint causes, collaborations, and to share new ideas and best practices. The following is a list of Expeditions that comprise the Orange County AG Federation:
    • Mission Viejo: Big Thunder Spirit, Broken Arrow, Rainbow Sky, Rising Son, Friendly Shining Spirit, Soaring Spirit
    • Laguna Niguel/Beach Cities: Mighty Wilderness, Great Pacific, Sunshine, Doheny, San Clemente
    • Fullerton & Yorba Linda: California Wild, Huya Big Sky
    • Newport-Mesa & Huntington Beach: Great Coastal, Great Hunting Valley, Pacific Wild Wahines

Junior Guides

The Junior Guides program is geared toward youth 3-5 years of age. Throughout the program families will engage in activities that promote nature, family, fun and community.

The Junior Guides program runs from September-June. Each month will bring the opportunity to attend a daytime event or one night sleepover lead by YMCA staff. Examples of events include pool parties, strawberry picking, dances, and sleeping over at a baseball stadium. Families are able to select which events will work in their schedule.

Each child who registers will receive a backpack and patches at each event that follow the Junior Guides Star Journey.



The Islanders program is geared towards youth age 12 and up or those who have graduated from the Adventure Guides. Formerly known as the Trailmates or Trailblazers, The Islanders offers an opportunity for dads and their children to continue to engage in activities together with less of a time commitment and events tailored to the older ages. Events might include indoor skydiving, comedy night, go-kart racing, hiking, beach camping and more.

  • Great Hunting Valley
  • Great Coastal Pacific
  • Islanders
  • Junior Guides


The Family Guides Program offers adventures for the entire family!

  • Mom + Dad + Child(ren)
  • Mom + Child(ren)
  • Dad + Child(ren)
  • Caregiver/Guardian + Child(ren)

For more information click here.

Adventure Guides and Junior Guides are expanding throughout Orange County. If you would like to start an Adventure Guides Program in your community, please send an email request to aginfo@ymcaoc.org.

50% Off Fitness Facility Membership
Active Adventure Guides program participants receive 50% off a family membership. That’s only $46/month for the whole family!
Discount must be requested at the branch or child care site after Adventure guides program enrollment. Discounts are not retroactive to previous months of service or membership at the time being requested.

*Offer not valid for Junior Guides and Islanders programs.

Find an Adventure Near You!

Find your community on the map and then click the Adventure Guides Groups/Calendars tab for details about expeditions in your area!

Adventure Guides Videos

Participant Testimonials

Our girls have enjoyed the YMCA Adventure Guide Program for many years now. We have made many new friends and grown closer to our community at large as a result of the program. The girls have developed a love for camping, hiking, and adventure because of the program. Adventure Guides has helped them develop as young girls and build confidence, character, a sense of leadership, and many other positive attributes.

After being reduced to a single income family, we learned what a ‘difficult choice’ actually is. Sacrifice time with my daughter not going to events, or cut back all expenses and hope to not fall behind on the mortgage. Without campaign assistance, it quite simply would not be possible to attend as many events as we are able to. We only have so much time, and so many events we can share with our little ones and that makes each one important to forge memories and strengthen relationships. These events literally are changing our lives.

I wanted to take a moment to applaud and thank [Adventure Guides] for an amazing weekend. You guys REALLY don’t mess around. I’m grateful. Because of you and your team, I am/will be a better daddy.

AG Members Tell Their Y!

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