Camp Wood YMCA


Since 1916, Camp Wood YMCA has provided high-quality camping programs in a caring family environment tucked within the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas. 

Gaining new skills, increasing self-respect and developing a sense of independence are trademarks of our program. Campers participate in life-changing, outdoor experiences that foster healthy decision-making, lasting friendships, skill development, and strengthened values in a safe, friendly environment. 

Safety is our top priority. We are accredited by the American Camp Association – a process that has over 300 safety and quality standards to which we must adhere. Our dedicated staff are carefully screened, trained and certified (by such organizations as the Red Cross and the Certified Horsemanship Association) to serve as positive role models and help with your child’s skill development and growth. There is also a nurse on site while camp is in session and our camp doctor is local and on call, should we ever need him. 

Our camp has a one-of-a-kind view, too. Sitting atop the Cottonwood River Valley with the Flint Hills as its backdrop, Camp Wood YMCA features 630 acres of Kansas Tallgrass Prairie and is the only YMCA camp in the United States located in this unique ecosystem. 

Become a part of the Camp Wood YMCA family and start making the friendships and memories you’ll cherish forever.


Ken Wold - Executive Director - Camp Wood YMCA - KansasKen Wold ( Executive Director

“The Camp Wood YMCA outdoor experience is essential to living in a world that’s grown small. It allows youth the experience of being a part of a whole and learning where they fit. They become comfortable with themselves, their environment, and with others that come from a variety of settings.  I love the smiles and noise that comes from a dining hall filled with 200 campers and staff … and the setting of the Tallgrass Prairie is breathtaking.”

Cheri-in-the-sunCheri Shaver (  – Senior Program Director

Cheri re-joined the Camp Wood YMCA family in December of 2013.  A native Nebraskan, Cheri lived in Kansas and worked at Camp Wood years previous, she has lived in Asia and Africa and has returned to us as the Senior Program Director twelve years later. Cheri has worked world wide building character in youth and brings all of her experience and training to us in the flint hills. Cheri’s  “5 favorite things to do” are running,  bicycling,  painting,  hanging out with youth, and  having great chats over a cup of coffee!



GenevaGeneva Benton ( – Events and Education Director

Geneva is a Kansas girl who began her career in camping in 2001 as a Summer Camp Counselor right here at Camp Wood YMCA. She worked almost every summer camp position possible with us before completing her degree in Communications from Sterling College in 2008. After her last summer here Geneva moved on to take the position of Team-building director for Frost Valley YMCA in New York, where she earned her Challenge Course Management certification. She later became the Retreat and Conference Center Director for Vacamas Programs for Youth. She loves theatre and music but most importantly she is ecstatic to be back at her home camp and looks forward to many years of sunsets in the Flint Hills. She brings her dogs Rory and Romo with her, who love the running around and playing in the wide open spaces.


Joe Murphy ( Summer and Family Camp Director

Originally from Fenton, Missouri, near St. Louis, Joe came to Camp Wood YMCA in the fall of 2014. Joe spent six years in Auburn, New York as Camp Director at YMCA Camp Y-Owasco.  He grew up camping with the Boy Scouts, eventually earning his Eagle Scout.  Joe’s YMCA camping career began at YMCA Camp Lakewood in the southeast Missouri Ozarks. At Lakewood, Joe started as a Cabin Counselor, and eventually ran leadership programs and taught Outdoor Education. Joe attended Lindenwood University for Speech & Theatre Education. Once upon a time, Joe was a speech and drama teacher for grades 7-12 before he realized that he’d much rather be at camp than in the classroom. Joe is thrilled to return to his Midwestern roots and join the Camp Wood YMCA family, where he can continue his passion of teaching kids life skills at camp. He enjoys running, hiking, Ultimate Frisbee, disc golf, theatre, writing, and reading.

Nancy Scott - Office Manager - Camp Wood YMCA - KansasNancy Scott ( – Office Manager

“I enjoy watching the campers come through the office to do service projects and being able to offer encouragement and a thank you.” Nancy takes care of all of summer camp registration and payment needs. Just give her a call if you want to register or make a payment.



Jeri Stout - Book Keeper - Camp Wood YMCA - KansasJeri Stout ( – Book Keeper

“The staff always intrigues me. By the middle of the summer they become more than a name on a paycheck. Getting to know them is always a positive experience.” Jeri takes care of the accounting side of camp (she in not involved with outstanding balances).



Mark Davis ( Maintenance Director

Mark Davis joined the Camp Wood YMCA team in the fall on 2010.  A man of many trades, Mark is also the Fire Chief of Chase County, a father of four, and proud grandfather. Being an avid hunter and fisher, working in the outdoors is an ideal setting.  Having the opportunity to watch the campers enjoy the work he does, like the two gaga pits he crafted, is just an added bonus. 


holiday mealCheryl Simonis ( – Head of Housekeeping and Dining

Cheryl began work at Camp Wood YMCA in the summer of 2003.  She worked every summer until joining us full-time in August 18, 2014.  Prior to becoming the full time Head of Housekeeping and Dining, she worked for the Council Grove schools as a cook.  She grew up in the Flint Hills thus Camp Wood became like a second home.

Cheryl graduated from Kansas State University with dual degrees in Social Work and Family and Child Development. After graduation she worked for the Junction City Department of Social and Rehab Services.  Cheryl is the mother of 3 sons and 1 grandson and has lived in Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas and Germany before returning to Council Grove to live.

“Camp Wood is such a beautiful place to work. I am totally enjoying being here and enjoy seeing the campers and staff every summer. One staff member when I first started at Camp many years ago told me his stomach was very important, thus the kitchen needed to feed him well.  It has been my goal to make sure all are fed well and enjoy their stay at Camp.”