Our full-day hiking trips take us to places (mostly in Harriman State Park) like mountain tops, Native American rock shelters, old iron mines and hidden ponds. Each hike offers a bit of adventure, exercise, some challenges, plenty of rest stops, a new awareness of our environment and a chance to go places and see things many people do not usually experience. All hikes are geared to the age and ability of the campers in terms of interest, mileage and terrain.
Campers learn practical skills to help them connect more deeply to the earth, and to survive and thrive in the outdoors: fire building and safety, reading the landscape, knife safety, cooking outdoors, water purification techniques, shelter building, and so much more. Practicing minimal impact camping skills and learning how to live lightly on the earth are the essence of this program.
Every day in camp, when not away on a day hike or overnight, campers go down to our “pond” for a 50 minute period of swim instruction and free swim.
Over half of every swim period is devoted to instruction. Our waterfront staff of certified lifeguards and Water Safety Instructors follows the American Red Cross Progression of Swimming Skills. We pride ourselves on helping each individual camper acquire new and improved skills.
From thirty feet in the air on the trunk of a massive oak tree, the world below takes on a new perspective to campers in our climbing program. Harnessed, helmeted, and under the guidance and belaying support of our trained climbing staff, campers make their way up our system of secured climbing holds. Our ‘Monkey Hardware’ allows us to create these ‘climbing trees’ on our campus. Using their bodies and brains, and working through some healthy fear of heights, climbers challenge themselves to ascend as high as they are comfortable going.
At a non-competitive camp? When we let arrows fly we are not looking to keep score, ‘beat’ the person shooting next to us, or garner points for our team. We teach archery skills and in doing so are teaching patience, quiet strength, focus and the ability to be in the moment. It is a most marvelous feeling when you put arrow to bow, take your time at the shooting line, and upon releasing the arrow at just the right time in just the right way, hear a solid ‘thud’ as your arrow enters the target.
Nothing better than being out on the water on a hot summer’s day! Campers learn paddling skills, first on dry land, and then practice on the lake. With practice, campers become proficient in forward and back strokes, prying and drawing, forward and reverse sweeps, and other methods of maneuvering their boats. After a day out on the water, campers enjoy a healthy meal, bond over their day, and fall asleep under the stars.
High Ropes Challenge
This challenge-by-choice activity is enough to make even the most confident climber’s knees shake! A dynamic element that is modified to increase in difficulty each week, the high ropes element allows campers to safely take risks and push themselves to accomplish new feats each time they visit this activity. Requiring focus, determination, strength, and balance, the high ropes element fosters confidence, as well as comradely, as peers and facilitators cheer and encourage the participant from down on the ground.
During Nature Explorations, campers go out into the woods, streams, ponds, and other natural areas on our campus with our camp Naturalist for guided programs. Additionally, campers are scheduled to have free, unstructured time in nature, which is supervised, but not directed by adults. Social interactions, magical moments, and creative play unfold in this open atmosphere.
On-Site overnights are the perfect introduction to sleeping outdoors (in a tent of course!). Sleeping “close to home” pairs the exciting experience of spending the night outdoors with the familiarity of being on our campus. Besides getting to go on night hikes, see fireflies and shooting stars and sing around a campfire, campers will learn outdoor living skills.
This is designed as an introduction to our camping program for our younger campers. The excitement these campers show building up to this event is amazing as if they were setting out on a long expedition! After an evening full of camping skills: setting up tents, eating dinner, building a fire, singing songs, campers are picked up by their caregivers for a night’s sleep in the comfort of their homes.