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Our History


over 50 years of camping funCamp Cheerio began as a dream to create a summer resident camp where children could participate in camp activities and build lasting friendships in a positive environment. The original 50 acres were purchased in 1956 by the YMCA of High Point, NC for $100 an acre. Over the next few years the infrastructure for camp was constructed with both volunteer labor and financial assistance from many local civic clubs including the Y's Men, Rotary, and Kiwanis Clubs of High Point. Without the vision and dedication of those individuals, Camp Cheerio as we know it would not exist today.

Cheerio officially opened for business for business in 1960, serving a total of 252 campers. Since then we have grown to now host nearly 3,000 children every summer, but we still have the same goal of providing our campers with a safe and supportive environment where they can develop their full potential.

Since the very beginning, Christian spirit has been at the heart of Cheerio. We strive to help our campers grow in their relationship with God while they grow in their relationships with their peers, counselors and parents. We welcome children of all backgrounds to take part in the excitement and adventure Cheerio has to offer.

horseback ridingThe name "Cheerio" pays homage to former High Point YMCA General Secretary Edgar Hartley, whose favorite expression when greeting his friends was "cheerio." It was under Mr. Hartley's leadership that the YMCA first began exploring options for a summer resident camp.

Cheerio Traditions

Traditions are a special part of life at camp. The songs, ceremonies, and presentations, some of which have been around since our very first summer, combine to make the Cheerio experience special and unique. From starting each morning with Flag Raising, to ending each night with Vespers, the daily schedule at Cheerio has remained largely unchanged for over 55 summers. Countless numbers of campers have sung the same songs, played the same games, given thanks with the same blessings, and built the same meaningful friendships at their beautiful mountaintop home. Our traditions lead to a shared experience that tie all generations of Cheerio campers and counselors together. Everyone who has spent part of their summer at Cheerio is part of the same camp family. Read on to learn more about some of our favorite Camp Cheerio Traditions.

Cabin Cleanup

After breakfast each morning campers work together to clean their cabin before activities get started. Cabins are inspected during the first activity period, and the dining hall is rarely louder than when the scores are announced at lunch.


No day at camp is complete without a few good songs. We begin each breakfast with Oh What a Beautiful Morning, end each day at Vespers with Surely The Presence, with plenty time for singing in between. From camp classics like A Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe to contemporary favorites such as Louise! everyone is sure to come home with a few new favorites.

Evening Programs

After dinner each night all of camp comes together for our Evening Program. These games and events bring the whole camp together as one community, and are often a favorite part of camp for many of our campers.


After expending every last ounce of energy during the evening program, everyone returns to the gym to recuperate and enjoy a snack together. Whether sharing stories from their day of activities, dancing along with the music, or throwing a Frisbee in the field, Store is a great place for cabins to spend some quality time together.


Courage. Responsibility. Enthusiasm. Worth. CREW is a leadership class for our oldest campers, and gives them the chance to delve a little more deeply into the more meaningful side of camp life. They learn to be stewards of our traditions, leaders among their peers, and role models to the younger campers.

Milestone Club

Any camper or counselor who has been at Cheerio for at least 5 summers is eligible to join the Milestone Club. New members are inducted each session in a special secret ceremony.

Friendship Vespers

On the second to last night of each session all of our campers who will too old to return the following summer present Friendship Vespers. They each have a few minutes to share some of their favorite camp memories, and tell the rest of us what their time at Cheerio has meant to them.


At the end of the first session all new campers are given a Tapestry to commemorate their time at Cheerio. Campers are encouraged to bring their Tapestry back each summer, and will be able to update it with patches for each cabin and beads for all their activities.

Closing Ceremony

Each session at Cheerio ends down at the lake with our Closing Ceremony. We start with a story about the history of camp, and then the senior counselors speak about the values that we strive live by at Cheerio. The ceremony is also a time where we recognize some special people, including an honor camper from each cabin, all campers who are at Cheerio for the first time, everyone who joined the Milestone Club that session, and all of the last-year campers who will too old to return the next summer. Those graduating campers are given a candle and led out of the ceremony grounds first, symbolizing their leaving camp and sharing the light of what they have learned during their years at Cheerio with the outside world.

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