Adventure Guides Logo

What is YMCA Adventure Guides? 

YMCA Adventure Guides is all about strengthening bonds between parents and children through outdoor exploration, personal growth, fun and family bonding!

Enquire now by calling 0115 978 5809 or email

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What it involves

In tightly-knit groups called ‘circles’, you will embark on exciting camping expeditions, sports, arts activities and community funding events. Spending quality time with your child will help build a strong relationship of trust with memories that will last a lifetime.

Whether you are joining an existing circle or setting up your own – Adventure Guides is a programme tailored and led by you. In your circles, you decide on the best events for your members, and YMCA staff are always on-hand to help you organise and run these activities. We will provide you with all the resources that you need, including information on how to organise meetings, projects, day-trips, camping adventures, museum sleepovers, stargazing, sports events and anything else you can think of hosting!

Join a circle 

Watch our video!

When and Where

YMCA Adventure Guides circles meet regularly in areas around Nottinghamshire. Meetings are usually held on a weekday evening, and they are a great way to meet other families, play games, tell stories, relax and make new friends with your child, in addition to planning meet-ups and expeditions.

Circle Locations

Parents are encouraged to set up new circles to help build our Adventure Guides network, but you are also very welcome to join our existing circles in the following locations across Nottinghamshire.

  • Hucknall
  • Killisick estate
  • Arnold
  • Chetwynd Barracks/Chilwell area
  • Aspley
  • Sutton-In-Ashfield
  • Clifton
  • Mansfield
  • The Meadows
  • Newark
  • West Bridgford

How it Works

Adventure Guides is a programme run by parents, carers and families, but we are here every step of the way to guide and help you to create and run your circles. It’s an easy process!

Submit an Enquiry Form on our Join a Circle page and register your interest to join an existing Nottinghamshire YMCA circle, or start a new circle in your area. Any questions, please get in touch on


Become a Member

YMCA Adventure Guides became a membership programme from the end of March 2020. Please see below for a breakdown of the monthly membership fees:

  • Parent(s)/Carer(s) + 1 child £15
  • Parent(s)/Carer(s)+ 2 children £20
  • Parent(s)/Carer(s) + 3 plus children £25

Enquire Now



Join or set up a circle

Our YMCA team will provide you with everything you need to set up or join an Adventure Guides circle. You will then have access to the members’ Circle Pack, which includes all of our exclusive resources, with more downloadable circle resources online. Once you are part of a circle, the fun begins!


Circle Resources


Plan and deliver your activities!

You can play your activities at circle meetings, during coffee mornings, or even over a WhatsApp group. You should aim to organise one activity for each month, but you can deliver as many as you like! Alongside your circle activities, you will get the chance to join in the monthly YMCA run expeditions.


Events Calendar


With a YMCA Adventure Guides membership, you can join our monthly expeditions organised by Nottinghamshire YMCA, which can range from cinema and bowling adventures to theme park day trips and much more!  You can also take part in our three yearly camping weekends, which are our signature expeditions and can include camping, museum sleepovers, adventure weekends, indoor skiing, and trips to the seaside.

Please note there will be an additional £25 fee for families to attend YMCA-run camping weekends. This covers the cost of breakfast and dinner for two days, all activities and camping equipment if required. These are the only planned charges, and any future changes will be communicated to you clearly.

Locations and activities will be communicated and confirmed to members once registration is complete. Details and expedition dates will be available on our website in advance. 

View our calendar

Enquire now

Why join YMCA Adventure Guides?

You will receive dedicated support from our experienced YMCA team to help you create and run your circles. We will assist you at any stage of the process, with booking activities with organising expeditions, with managing payments and admin. As a member of YMCA Adventure Guides, you and your family will have exclusive access to our camping weekends, the Circle Guides Activity Menu (including discounted rates and booking instructions), extra YMCA recourses, and training (e.g. First Aid). You are guaranteed quality time with your children, and becoming part of a community dedicated to health, wellbeing, and happiness.


Buy our Merchandise!

We have a variety of Adventure Guides branded goodies for sale, including everything from t-shirts and water bottles to tote bags so you can feel fully equipped when embarking on your adventures!

Please contact a member of our team by emailing to buy any of these items today.


“I have nothing but praise for the effort YMCA goes to in organising these unique experiences for families across Nottinghamshire. We have been able to enjoy new things and spend quality time together as a family; we have become a stronger unit because of Adventure Guides.”

Parent on Walebsy Forest Camping Expedition Triangle_icon_red_grad
  • YMCA Adventure Guides is all about strengthening bonds


Meet the team

Amy Oakes

YMCA Sports and Family Service Manager

0115 978 5809

Adventure Guides Lead

  • Swimming Instructor(Level 2)
  • Trainer for Approach Training
  • Paediatric First Aid Qualified
  • Safeguarding Children, Young People & Vulnerable Adults Trained
  • FA (Level 1) Qualified
  • Netball UK Level 1 Qualified
  • Disability Awareness Trained
  • BTEC (Level 3) in Management

I’m Nottingham born-and-bred and have always been sporty. In my younger days, I was scouted for England Ladies under 16s, and have now worked for Nottinghamshire YMCA for thirteen years delivering and managing a range of sport and family programmes.

I’m passionate about giving parents opportunities to become even more actively involved in their child’s development. We all know how easy it is to get in to a routine with the stresses and strains of daily life. Sometimes spending meaningful time with the people we love most is harder than it should be.

The Adventure Guides programme really gives parents the chance to try new activities and build stronger bonds with their children. We are creating experiences and memorable moments with that will last a lifetime – and what could be more exciting than that!


Liam Draper

Children and Families Support Officer 

0115 978 58 09

I have worked for Nottinghamshire YMCA for six years. In this time, I have been involved in activities across the children and families programmes – from our Onside programme for young people with disabilities to our YMCA childcare team and Camp Williams adventures, where I have spent most of my time working with children and teaching them new skills.

My role before this was a Sport and Play Leader, so I ran Before and After School Clubs at Edgewood Primary and Nursery School and helped manage the operational side of Camp Williams.

My new role as Children and Families Support Officer is perfect for me as it brings together everything I have learned over the last six years. Working alongside the rest of my team, I help to deliver the brilliant, exciting activities for all the families that take part in Nottinghamshire YMCA services.

The Adventure Guides programme is hugely exciting; it gives us the chance to provide trips and events for families across Nottinghamshire, creating amazing experiences and memories for them. I am so proud to be a part of this life-changing initiative.


Nico Devo

Sports and Families Programme Officer 

0115 978 5809

I have been working with the YMCA for eight years now. As you can see by my name, I have Italian ancestry. I cannot speak or understand it; I just like to say that I have Italian in me!

I started my journey with the YMCA when I was 17, as a camp leader and coach, teaching the children a variety of different skills and running fun activities. Over the years I have been involved in a number of the programmes we offer to children and families, from YMCA Onside (working with young people with disabilities) to Camp Williams, our biggest activity camp that runs every school holiday. I have also delivered many hours of PPA, which involves going into schools around Nottinghamshire teaching P.E. 

My role allows me to pull together all that I have learned in the past eight years to help to deliver the brilliant, exciting YMCA Adventure Guides programme for all the families that continue to join and become a part of the growing community of circles. I am looking forward to meeting new families and helping to organise fun and exciting trips for them to enjoy; let’s make some memories!

YMCA Adventure Guides - high ropes

Become a Volunteer

We are always looking for parent helpers to help cook breakfast and dinner for our hungry Adventure Guides on our Weekend Camping Expeditions!

If you want to get involved and help out at our circle activities and expeditions, please chat to the team by emailing or by calling 0115 978 58 09.



If your question isn’t answered below, please feel welcome to contact our YMCA Adventure Guides team anytime on

  • How do I sign up to the programme?

    Please submit an enquiry form or email us on

  • Do I live in a funded area?

    The National Lottery Community Fund has funded the following areas – Arnold, Killick, Hucknall, Chetwynd, Aspley, Sutton in Ashfield, Mansfield, Meadows, Clifton. 

  • If I don’t live in a funded area can I still join? 

    Yes! There is a joining fee but YMCA will support all families wanting to create a local circle of families to join the programme.

  • Do I have to pay for the programme?

    Yes. Although the programme is funded, the idea is that it lasts and runs indefinitely, so all expeditions and camping weekends are charged to ensure a sustainable YMCA Adventure Guides model. Cost depends on whether or not your area is funded. There is also a monthly subscription charge to the programme to help make it sustainable for you and your children.

  • What’s the age range of children?

    We generally aim for 6 – 13 years old but we are family-based programme so expeditions are open to all. However, some of the activities won’t be accessible for a younger age group.

  • Can I bring a friend? 

    The programme is designed to be a family programme. If friends have families and live within one of the funded areas they they can join the programme but, if not, they are unfortunately unable to join.

  • The programme mentions ‘dads only’ and ‘single parent family (mum)’? 

    The original American programme has run for years with dads and children only. Whilst we support this by delivering the occasional ‘dad and child only’ activities, we are an inclusive programme meaning single parent families can still join and build a stronger relationship with their children.

  • Do other YMCAs run the Adventure Guides programme?

    Nottinghamshire YMCA is the only YMCA in England to offer this special programme. We have dedicated staff who offer support and help manage all aspects of the programme.

YMCA day camps

Did you know…

Nottinghamshire YMCA also delivers a fun and engaging children’s day camps programme during school holidays called Camp Williams? Whether your  child loves skateboarding or science – our week-long camp offer a variety of Skill Clinics ranging from game design and archery to climbing walls and kayaking. There’s something for everyone! 

Learn more