What is YMCA Kids Go Bush?

YMCA Kids Go Bush runs a variety of programs for children, young people and families at Anglesea Recreation Camp. Our intake includes all ages, starting from newborns.

YMCA Kids Go Bush at Anglesea Recreation Camp started in 2015 with the local kindergarten Bush Kinder program. This has extended and developed into Kinder excursions as a peak Bush Kinder experience, several facilitated playgroups and Kinder groups, and extended to include school holiday events, nature camp, family events, pop-up activities, and teen activity days. 

The passionate team at YMCA Kids Go Bush are keen to work with families and groups to extend these opportunities to more people. We hope to provide more learning opportunities to inspire educators and the opportunity for young people and families to connect together and to the natural world. The team includes outdoor recreation specialists, forrest school teachers and environmental educators.

Our facilitated programs meet at the nature play space within Anglesea Recreation Camp to play, learn, laugh and explore. Only 15 minutes from Torquay, it's a magical place, perfect for adventure. The nature play entrance is along Inverlocky Street at the walk in entrance.

Our programs

We run a range of programs under YMCA Kids Go Bush:

  • Bush Playgroup
  • Bush Kinder
  • Kinder and group excursions
  • Kinder, group, and child care incursions
  • Surfcoast Outdoor Adventure Kids (SOAK)
  • Active Teens Program
  • school holiday day camps
  • additional nature-based events and programs.
  • You can find out more about each of these programs further down the page.

What is nature play?

At Anglesea, we want kids to experience the adventures of the outdoors. We know how important nature play is to children's wellbeing and development. Our nature-based programs are child-led. 

Nature play groups, forest schools and Bush Kinders are worldwide movements based on the results of considerable research into children’s’ increasingly sedentary lives. The research suggests many aspects of childhood development can be affected including, social, physical and mental health. The effects last into adulthood and impact on livelihood and lifestyle.

Outdoor learning provides children with large blocks of time in outdoor settings where they can independently explore and discover the natural world. Being outside in all types of weather, we can explore, learn, investigate and connect to each other and the world around us. It also  builds resilience, preparedness and a positive outlook. Early years children who participate in outdoor programs from an early age, go on to be more prepared for school entry and do better than primary school. In addition, learning about an environment promoted care and a community responsibility to respect and value the environment.

Our mission and aims

YMCA Kids Go Bush gets Surf Coast children, young people and families together to play, learn, laugh and explore in beautiful outdoor place.

The basic aims of the YMCA Kids Go Bush Program across all programs are as follows:

  • to allow young people to access a ‘wild’ space
  • for participants to develop a connection with the natural world and to instil a love of nature
  • research shows that children who have the opportunity to do so, will develop more of an understanding of environmental issues and become stewards for our environment in the future
  • for participants to develop an understanding of safety and preparedness in the bush.

The learning outcomes are as follows:

  • children demonstrate an increasing knowledge of and respect for the natural environment
  • children broaden their understanding of the world and community in which they live
  • children perform gross / fine motor movement, balance and spatial awareness, while moving around their environment confidently and safely
  • children develop a range of skills including fire safety, bush walking safety and basic navigation skills, ecological learning, knots, lashings and rope work, safe use of tools.

Why you should join YMCA Kids Go Bush programs

Our designated nature play site is a safe and interesting area full of indigenous biodiversity and includes fire circles and bush walking tracks. Participants have opportunities to extend with tools and cook on a fire with trained staff and opportunities to connect to education frameworks. 

We provide a safe environment - we carry out risk assessments on all activities facilitated  by our nature program staff. We also have full accreditation through Australian Tourism Accreditation Program. 

Here's why you should  join our  YMCA Kids Go Bush programs:

  • held in a safe and interesting area full of indigenous biodiversity
  • designated nature play site
  • all equipment needed, fire circles,bush walking tracks, access gate
  • opportunity to extend with tools and cook on a fire with trained staff
  • a safe environment with risk assessment carried out on all activities facilitated by experienced nature program staff
  • full accreditation through Australian Tourism Accreditation Program
  • opportunity to connect learning and link to framework, also to extend and connect learning after your experience.

How to book

You can find out more about our current Anglesea camp events or follow YMCA Kids Go Bush on Facebook and Instagram.

If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs, submit a booking enquiry. If you're a returning customer, you can re-book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).

Find out more about each of our programs below.

  • Bush Playgroup
    Come join us in our beautiful natural bush setting. Over the term we will walk, climb crawl, build, explore, discover and imagine. Over time real connections and the love of learning in the natural environment develops as do real life skills. Our term program has weekly themes of discovery and plenty of time for child led play in our nature play space.

    If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs and want to find out more, submit a booking enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).
  • Bush Kinder
    Our parent-supported Bush Kinder sessions are designed for kinder ages children (over three years) to extend and broaden their outdoor learning experience through stimulating and challenging outdoor play.

    During our term based programs the kids will walk further, climb higher and begin a journey with bush-craft tools, progressing through the term / seasons / year.

    When: Fridays 9:30-11am, weekly and during term time
    Cost: $15 per child $10 per participating sibling per session - payable per term in advance. Casual bookings are session dependent.

    If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs and want to find out more, submit a booking enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).

  • Kinder and group excursions
    Our excursions involve a facilitated three hour experience, led by one of our nature program team, in our designated nature play space. Will be tailored as a peak experience for groups already conducting Bush Kinder programs, or as an introduction to child-led bush play. Options include wild bush play, safe stick use, campfire education, tree climbing, bush cooking, hut building. Package includes, portaloo, mat, hi-vis vests, and tarp if required, risk assessments for all programs and YMCA public liability insurance. The adult to child ratio and the transport to site (e.g. via bus or parents) is to be managed by your group.

    When: throughout the year, booked by groups
    Cost: $15 per child, per session

    If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs and want to find out more, submit a booking enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).
  • Kinder, group, and child care incursions
    Our incursions include a facilitated nature play session at your location/ centre, led by one of our nature program team. Groups of 10 to 16 children will participate in 1.5 hour themed nature play sessions. We can coordinate a series of experiences or a single session. Session options include: loose part bushcraft, fire lighting and safety, bush cooking, bush tools and cordage (dependent on age group). Package includes all resources, risk assessments for all programs and YMCA public liability insurance. 

    When: throughout the year
    Cost: $15 per child, per session (additional travel cost may apply depending on location)

    If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs and want to find out more, submit a booking enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).
  • Surfcoast Outdoor Adventure Kids (SOAK)
    Our School Holiday Nature Program, known as Surfcoast Outdoor Adventure Kids (SOAK) is a program where kids join together at Anglesea Recreation Camp every school holiday to try new activities and get outdoors!

    If you would like a copy of the Surfcoast Outdoor Adventure Kids Handbook, please submit an enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).
  • Active Teens Program
    Designed as an extension of our SOAK program we know how important it is for teens and tweens to get outside, active and inspired. The outdoors is known to remove barriers and participation in healthy active recreation is a great option to balance the media driven world our young people live in. Our Tween/Teen Soak Programs have daily themes, examples being; Ropes, paddle, skate.

    Your tween/teen, age 11 to 15, will spend the day immersed in that theme with time frames and options designed and led by the young people. For example, a paddle day could include Canoe games, mini boats, various raft building techniques, and a canoe journey around the estuary and Anglesea River.

    When: 9am to 3:30pm on various days every school holiday (aligned with primary age program)
    Cost: $70 per teen (bring your own lunch, snacks provided)

    If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs and want to find out more, submit a booking enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).

    We also hold stand alone shorter events (enquire now to join our mailing list).
  • School holiday day camps
    Our school holiday programs are based entirely outdoors. Each day, children get to discover a mix of nature play, environmental and adventurous activities run by our trained camp staff. We’ll explore the bush, tap into our imaginations, play games and share stories. We’ll use natural materials to create, weave, draw and paint. We’ll run, climb and swing on the rope swing, make cubbies and do some campfire cooking.

    From exploring the rock pools, playing at the beach and canoeing to mountain biking and skateboarding - your child will have so much fun with our camp activities in the great outdoors! And if they're lucky, they might even spot an echidna or the resident kangaroos!

    Our school holiday program is child led and play based, we meet in the morning and discuss our activity options for the day and see where the adventure takes us.

    When: 9am to 3:30pm, various days every school holiday
    Cost: $70 per child (bring your own lunch, but snacks are provided)

    If you're new to the YMCA Kids Go Bush programs and want to find out more, submit a booking enquiry. Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).
  • Additional nature-based events and programs
    We run family camps, day adventures throughout school holidays and share the love of outdoor learning with families and invite them to understand the benefits of nature based learning and the natural environment while having fun and connecting as a family.

    We also run tailored experiences for educators and staff teams, we can bring experience and skills to your space, whether you are new to bush programs or want to expand to advanced bush skills including knots, pulleys, weaving, bush tools and pocket knives.

    We also facilitate single nature-based experiences from birthday party activities, mothers groups, and community group experiences, where we work with you to theme your nature experience across a single or multiple visits

    We provide risk assessments for all programs and YMCA public liability insurance.

    When: throughout the year
    Cost: please submit an enquiry for cost details or to join our mailing list to receive info on upcoming events. 

    Otherwise, you can book directly (program items will be shown approximately three weeks before the relevant program starts).
  • More info about Early Years Programs
    If you would like more info on our programs, we'd be happy to send you the Parent Information Sheet - simply submit an enquiry.

Learn more about Anglesea