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Adventure Guide, Indian & Princess Guides

Father/Son and Father/Daughter programs provide a fun and rewarding way to develop life-long bonds while camping, hiking, fishing, volunteering in the community, or attending a Daddy – Daughter Dance. These unique programs serve families throughout the Orange County area and helps nurture strong relationships and memories between fathers and their children.

There are three non-profit organizations in Orange County that offer these unique programs: YMCA Adventure Guide, Adventure Guides & Indian Princess, Native Sons and Daughters.

Below is more information on each program including where groups are located and how to signup.

Adventure Guide, Indian & Princess Guides

YMCA Adventure Guide

The Adventure Guides program was developed to help strengthen family relationships. Spending quality one-on-one time with a child will help build a strong bond of trust and memories that will last a lifetime.

The program enables parent and child to share new adventures, explore nature, and create lifelong memories. They offer father/daughter expeditions and father/son expeditions. Events may include: Catalina Island, camp outs, bowling, Angels games, Joshua Tree, hiking, pinewood derby, fishing, service learning projects, monthly gatherings and much more!

Junior Guides (ages 3-5)
Adventure Guides (ages 5-12)
Islanders (ages12+)
Family Guides (Mom + Dad + Child(ren), Mom + Child(ren), Dad + Child(ren), Caregiver/Guardian + Child(ren)

There are currently Adventure Guide Groups in Fullerton/Yorba Linda/Placentia, Huntington Beach, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach and San Clemente/San Juan Capistrano/Dana Point. Adventure Guides Programs can also be formed in your community.

Fullerton / Yorba Linda-Placentia
California Wild – father/daughter expedition
Huya Big Sky – father/son expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Huntington Beach
Great Coastal – father/son expedition
Great Hunting Valley – father/daughter expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition

Laguna Niguel
Mighty Wilderness – father/daughter expedition
Sunshine – father/daughter expedition
Great Pacific – father/son expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Mission Viejo
Big Thunder Spirit – father/daughter expedition
Broken Arrow – father/son expedition
Friendly Shining Spirit – father/daughter expedition
Rainbow Sky – father/daughter expedition
Rising Son – father/son expedition
Soaring Spirit – father/daughter expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Newport Beach
Pacific Wild Wahines – father/daughter expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, & Dana Point
Doheny – father/daughter expedition
San Clemente – father/son expedition
Islanders – father/child graduate expedition
Junior Guides – parent/child expedition

Official Link: YMCA Adventure Guide of Orange County Program

Adventure Guides & Indian Princess

The Indian Guides / Indian Princess program is designed to keep the kids (and dads) interested and having fun. Events are planned throughout the school year from September to June. There are over 1,400 members comprised of dads and their sons/daughters over 30 different tribes in Orange County.

The program serves families in Orange County with three programs:

Indian Guides (Father/Son) – Kindergarten – 6
Indian Princesses (Father/Daughter) – Kindergarten – 6
Trailblazers (Guides/Princesses graduates) – 7+

There are typically one to two events planned a month. The biggest events are the camping trips with one each typically planned in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Camping spots include designated group campgrounds (typically at State Parks, National Forests or YMCA campgrounds/facilities). Past campouts have been at Catalina Island, Angel Stadium, Yucaipa Regional Park, Camp Surf, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and many other places throughout Southern California.

Examples of Other Events: Kick-off fall pool party, Pinewood Derby race, haunted house, father/daughter “Sweetheart dance,” sleepover at a museum, indoor rock climbing, laser tag, fishing, rocket launching, sporting games, turkey shoot, holiday gift exchange, volunteering and much more.

Both fathers and daughters/sons have fun in the program and lasting bonds are formed.

Contact the Orange Skies Longhouse of Orange County to inquire about joining a tribe in your area.

Official Link: Orange Skies Longhouse

Apache (Red Hill), Apache (River), Arapaho, Blackfoot (Mountain Eagle), Blackfoot (Valley), Cherokee, Choctaw (Valley), Chumash (Sequoia), Chumash (Sun), Comanche (Red Hill), Hopi (Star), Hupa, Inca, Kiowa, Kootenai, Macatawa, Meskwaki (Star), Mohawk (Foothill), Mohawk (Mountain Eagle), Mohican, Natchez, Navajo, Pioneer Princesses, Powhatan, Seminole (Red Hill), Serrano, Shawnee (Sun), Shoshone (Foothill), Sioux (Sequoia), Trailblazers

Princess Nations: Sequoia, Sky, Sun, Star
Guides Nations: Foothill, Mountain Eagle, Red Hill, River, Valley

Native Sons and Daughters (National Longhouse)

These programs enable “one on one” interaction with a parent and child. The parent shares in the participation of meetings, activities, and outings. Having this type of direct interaction strengthens parent-child bonds, and does so independently of the remaining family structure. Making sure a child has his or her own special time with mom or dad is important in developing the skills needed to build one-on-one relationships later on in adult life.

Activities include camping, kayaking, hiking, skits, swimming, archery, sledding, campfires, and (s’)more(s).

Contact the National Longhouse to inquire about joining a program or starting one up in your area.

Here are the Orange County Longhouse affiliate programs.

The Orange Spirit Nation is a Dads and Daughters group of 7 Tribes in the Irvine & Tustin Area

Official Link: National Longhouse

Things to Consider Before Joining

Choosing an Organization: All are great organizations but have different costs, commitments, traditions and practices. Research the organizations and be sure they are a fit for you and your child.

Choosing a Tribe: There may only be one tribe in your area making the decision easy. Other areas have many choices. Often times the school your child is attending will have a subset of parents all in the same tribe. Inquiring with other parents at the school is a great way to start. Both the parent and the child will spend years with this group and it’s a great way to meet new friends even if you don’t know anyone.

Dues/Costs: Costs will vary across programs so be sure to inquire about annual dues, tribe dues (separate) and activity costs. Many activities will be fully covered by the organization (your dues) or only partially or not at all. Campouts may have additional costs. There also might be costs for items such as a vest for both the dad and child. In general, the activities are considerably cheaper than done on your own and good chance activities you would have never done otherwise.

Activity Gear: For most activities there is no need to have your own gear but a big part of these programs is camping and for that you’ll need your own camping gear, including a tent. Some campouts have lodging but over the years you should expect a mix of many types of campouts.

Requirements & Time Commitment: Each organization and tribe have different practices but generally the requirements are low and the time commitment is flexible. There are one to two activities a month and about three campouts where you’re gone from Friday to Sunday. Dads will be encouraged to help out by leading the group, planning some of the activities, tracking the finances, etc. Like many things, what you put into these programs, is what you’ll get out of it, and it can be a very rewarding experience.

Boy/Girl Scouts vs Adventure/Indian Guides: Many times, scouting is a “drop off” program. A dad’s involvement with their child in scouting is optional and likely rare with girls. Dad and child share in events, games, crafts, outings, and campouts. The father observes their child’s relationship in the group and the child observes the father interacting with other dads and kids.

Attending guide activities is more flexible and there are no weekly meetings. Guides and Princesses badges are more easily earned and do not have requirements they need to meet in order to advance. Alternatively, the experience and lessons learned will not be as formative than joining the Scouts. Many kids do both! Also, there is also no selling or door-to-door fundraising.

The roots of these programs can all be traced back to when the first tribe was organized in Richmond Heights, Missouri in 1926. Harold Keltner was a local YMCA director who started the program to strengthen father-son bonds by enjoying the outdoors together. Father-daughter tribes were introduced in the 1950s. While these are separate non-profit organizations, their origins began from the same source, and the traditions and practices are very similar.

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Monique McArthur
Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.