About Us


Tanner Thompson

Director of Camping Services


Tanner has gone from camper to director at YMCA Camp Benson. He is dedicated to giving campers and families the opportunity to experience YMCA Camp Benson and feel the same impact he did when he was a camper.

Tristen "Freight Train" Ritchie

Operations Director


Freight Train has been going to Camp Benson since 2003, and this will be his 21st year at camp and his 9th year on staff. He has held many different positions at camp from Maintenance to Counselor and different leadership roles. He is currently the Operations Director. He was a camper/ SDP for 11 years before joining the staff in 2016. If you have any questions about camp, please feel free to reach out by calling 815-244-8722 or send him an email.



For more than 95 summers, YMCA Camp Benson has provided engaging, positive and life changing overnight summer camp programs for boys and girls ages 6-17. This has been accomplished through innovative, value-based programming supervised by experienced and caring staff members in a wonderful natural setting. Summer camp is what we do and summer camp is who we are.

YMCA Camp Benson’s 113-acre campus has been home to countless friendships, life lessons and summertime memories for generations of campers, earning YCB a reputation as one of the premier overnight summer camps in Illinois.


At YMCA Camp Benson we truly believe in the potential of every child. Our mission is to build stronger campers by creating opportunities in the outdoors for personal growth and character development. YMCA Camp Benson’s summer camp program is designed to help campers discover who they are, who they want to be, and then – with the support of our nurturing staff – build the confidence and character to actually become that person.



Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Dedication and Inclusivenss are the six core values that serve as the foundation of everything we do here at YCB. These are the character values we strive to instill in our campers and staff through intentional programming and relationship building.


Dustin Hollenbach

Give Today, For Tomorrow

Thank you for choosing to donate to YMCA Camp Benson. With your support, we can make sure that everyone who needs the Y has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Together, we have a meaningful and lasting impact on our community, one person at a time.

Together We Can Make a Difference

At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side-by-side with friends like you to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or ability can grow and thrive through Y programs and services.

Make A Positive Impact

You are a partner with the Y in this mission of helping those less fortunate. Rest assured, your investment will reap dividends to help a struggling child or family for the rest of their life. Your gift will make a positive impact to change a life forever.



The physical and emotional safety of our campers is our number one priority at YMCA Camp Benson. Our camper’s safety and well-being is at the forefront of our minds at all time at camp, from hiring staff to designing new programs to planning Staff Training. As an American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited Camp we proudly meet all of the standards set forth by ACA Concerning staff screening, supervision ratios and topics to be covered during Staff Training. To view these standards, click here.


Our summer camp staff are hired based on their strong character and high ideals. Summer camp staff are carefully selected to ensure that we have a diverse group of skilled and responsible staff who care about children. Before campers arrive, all of our summer camp staff are trained in safety, counseling techniques, conflict resolution, child development, bullying prevention and camp policies and procedures. Our staff understand that his or her job is not just to lead activities, but also to help campers develop life skills while always looking out for their well-being.

Our summer camp staff undergo extensive background and reference checks before being hired. All staff are Red Cross First Aid and CPR certified.

One of the first things that we do during a session of camp is gather all of the campers and staff together for an orientation on camp rules and expectations. During this orientation we discuss importance of safety at camp and explain how our camp rules and expectations are in place to keep us all safe. All campers are taught that they should never wonder around camp alone and that they must always travel in a TRUDDIE (aka a group of three). Here we also talk about how it is each camper’s responsibility to look out for the emotional and physical safety of one another.


YMCA Camp Benson has Wellness Center that is staffed by our Camp Nurse 24 hours a day. We also have a Registered Nurse on-site daily who directs and oversees all the actions of our Camp Nurse. Our Camp Nurse takes care of all camper medical needs, including medication management. All camper medication must be checked in with our medical staff during Check-In. The camper Health History Form must be completed two weeks prior to the start of your camper’s session.


YMCA Camp Benson is proud to be an American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camp. The ACA nationally recognizes overnight summer camps that meet the highest standards, focusing on health, safety, and program quality. The accreditation process has over 300 safety and quality standards to which we must adhere.

We do not have to be an ACA Accredited Camp, but we have chosen to be because the safety and well-being of our campers is our top priority. To learn more about the American Camp Association and the value of Accreditation click here.


Come join the YMCA Camp Benson team! Working at YCB offers a rewarding opportunity to make a positive impact on young lives while enjoying the great outdoors. Whether as a camp counselor, activity staff, or support leader, staff can expect a dynamic environment where they’ll foster personal growth, build lasting relationships, and create unforgettable memories for campers. Apply online today to have the best summer ever!