Our Mission

As a branch of the Ridgewood Y, Camp Bernie offers programs and community connections that positively impact lives through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, building spirit, mind and body for all.

The Ridgewood Y is a nonprofit charitable organization that serves youth, adults, and families founded on Christian principles and committed to strengthening our Northern New Jersey and Camp Bernie communities since 1902, as part of a worldwide YMCA.

Our Vision

As a leader and partner in our ever-changing community, the Ridgewood Y seeks to be a preeminent community hub, offering multifaceted programs which enhance individual and family well-being. By 2030, we seek to double our impact and serve 60,000 children, teens and adults, welcoming all throughout our communities.

A group of campers poking at a campfire with sticks.

Our Values

Caring   Honesty   Respect   Responsibility

Camp Bernie creates an environment where young people are constructively occupied in cooperative settings, led by the young role models we have chosen to exemplify these positive traits. In our wholesome outdoor locale, campers are engaged in activities that promote our values, and playout in a pristine, natural surroundings.


YMCA Camp Bernie began as a working farm in 1872. In 1956, 248 acres were purchased by the Ridgewood YMCA. The property was then renamed YMCA Camp Bernie after Bernard Forster due to his endless work for the people of his community and their children.

The Dining Hall was originally a barn, with the basement area being utilized as the stables and carriage area. The back chapel section was originally the chicken coop, with the recreation hall as the hayloft. In 1957, the barn was made into YMCA Camp Bernie’s Dining Hall with a fully equipped kitchen.

The Main house located in the center of YMCA Camp Bernie was a colonial style farmhouse built in 1865 and first used as the Administrative Office in 1956. Today it is utilized as staff housing for employees.

The rustic area of YMCA Camp Bernie, now known as “The Nation,” was constructed in 1961. Originally it consisted of wooden platforms that were used to pitch tents. In 1964 the area’s bathhouse was constructed by the Ridgewood YMCA’s Men’s Club.

The Branch Director’s house was built in 1967 as a “Gold Medallion” house, meaning it was one of the first “all electric” homes built in the state.

Other structures have been added since:

  1976- Turrell Lodge
  1977- Lenape Lodge   now called Laurel
  1986- Lower Pavilion
  1990- Low Ropes Course 1
  1999- Administrative Office
  2002- Jaqua Lodge
  2005- Horse Barn   now a summer camp space
  2006- Low Ropes Course 2
  2007- Climbing Tower
  2017- Pool Bathrooms
  2019- Barbarito Family Pavilion
  2020- Low Ropes Course 3

Four girls hugging and posing.


Whether you were a camper or counselor at YMCA Camp Bernie for summer camp, a student or teacher at camp for an Outdoor Education field trip, a Girl Scout or parent at camp for a camporee, or even a one-time participant in one of our year-round special event weekends, you’re part of our camp family!  

We’d love to keep you involved in camp, and the best opportunity is through our Alumni program.  For more information on how to get involved or reconnect with your camp friends, contact us at info@campbernieymca.org.  

Our Memorial Day Family Camp is an excellent opportunity to continue your relationship with camp and share the magical experience with your friends and family.  Find out more in our Upcoming Events section.