By Guest Blogger Andrew Plyler, Director of Adventure Guides for YMCA of Northwest North Carolina

Father’s Day is just around the corner and you’re probably starting to think about gifts you can give Dad to show how much he means to you and the kids. In YMCA Adventure Guides and Princesses, a program that “fosters the father/child relationship,” we often say that no gift you give your son or daughter will mean as much as the time you spend with them. That quality time is just as important to Dad!

Trying to figure out what to give Dad on June 17? A year with YMCA Adventure Guides and Princesses is the perfect gift. Here’s what one dad had to say:

“I love Adventure Guides on many levels – the kids love it, we are making memories together, mom gets a break and I hang out with other dads. Each tribe can really shape the experience based on the personalities of the kids and the dads. The forums and the venues are great – meetings and games in family homes, camping in some great places like Camp Hanes and Camp Cheerio … there are few other great ways to get started with the outdoor activities and other small group activities that really build the self-confidence of the child. I have a daughter and a son that both love the program – and I admit that I wouldn’t “naturally” do some of the great stuff we do together if it weren’t for Adventure Guides. Both kids are quick to ask “When is our next Adventure Guides meeting?” and “Dad, when do we go camping again?” They tell me that they enjoy spending time with me and that we don’t get to do it enough. I’m grateful to have this time before they get to be surly teenagers. This is the good stuff.” ~Steven “Blue Fish” White, CIO, Optcapital – member of Piedmont Prancing Ponies and Hilltop Newts

YMCA Adventure Guides (formerly known as Y-Indian Guides and Princesses) is a father/child program opened to dads and their kids beginning in Kindergarten. Started in 1926, Adventure Guides is the oldest parent/child program the YMCA has offered. Dads and their kids form tribes that meet once a month in a member’s home where they sing songs, do crafts, tell stories, and more. In addition to the monthly meetings, participants go to YMCA Camp Hanes in the fall and spring for a weekend of archery, canoeing, Zip Lines, and more!

By focusing on the formative, younger elementary ages, Adventure Guides strengthens the bond between a father and child. One of the key events for the Guides (boys) takes place in early spring when they head over to BB&T Ballpark, home of the Winston-Salem Dash, to enjoy a baseball game. When the last inning is played, the Dads and Guides go to the outfield to spend a night under the stars camping and watching a movie on the Jumbotron. For the Princesses, a special night takes place in the winter when they dress up in their finest party dresses and have a one-on-one date with their father at the Daddy/Daughter Valentine’s Dance. The event is the largest of its kind in the Triad and one of the most fun and memorable events of the year.

Other events throughout the year include:
Fall Outing at YMCA Camp Hanes • Spring Outing at YMCA Camps Thunderbird and/or Cheerio • Halloween Skate Night • Kite Day and Rocket Launch • Yadkin River Trip for the whole family  • Family Movie Nights  • Polar Bear Swim

The memories and bonds formed in Adventure Guides and Princesses truly last a lifetime.

“To this very day, over 30 years later, I still have such fond memories from my time spent as an Indian Princess. From the meetings at my teepee, to the weekend outings at Camp Sea Gull, time that I spent with my dad was one of the most precious gifts that I would ever receive. I believe that the bond we formed between us during those years is the foundation for the friendship that we share today. And now that I am a mother myself, nothing makes me happier than to see my daughter and her dad experiencing the magic of the Adventure Guides Program together. I know that they are making memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.” ~Amy “Little Butterfly” Rabold, Former Y-Indian Princess, Current Adventure Princess mother

The dad and children in your life belong in an Adventure Guides tribe. To learn more about getting started, ask any questions you might have, or get a YMCA Adventure Guides gift certificate in time for Father’s Day, get in touch with Andrew “Salty Dog” Plyler at or Joe Peele at or 336 721 2100. You can also click here for more information.  Visit the Adventure Guides Facebook Page here!

Sponsored by the YMCA of Northwest NC