Our full-day hiking trips take us to places (mostly in Harriman State Park) like mountain tops, Indian 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.
During the regular camp day groups will be scheduled for hands-on activity periods with members of our camping department. Campers learn various outdoor skills that help them during overnights and beyond: how to put up a tent, choosing a camp site, fire building and safety, cooking outdoors, taking care of themselves (drinking enough water, avoiding sunburn, eating well, keeping dry in wet weather, etc.). Practicing minimal impact camping skills and learning how to live lightly on the earth are the essence of this program.
These overnights are a great combination of hiking and camping allowing campers to travel through natural areas, experiencing the woods in a conscious and tangible way. Campers learn how to pack and wear a backpack, how to create a healthy, good-tasting, packable menu for the trip, how to read a map, find firewood, and even start a fire in wet weather. Campers come back from backpacking trips bonded in a way that couldn’t be replicated by other activities even if we tried!
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.
We have two beloved locations, Cedar Pond, a bucolic campsite set out on Lake Tiorati and the Delaware River, the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi! At Cedar Pond campers (ages 10 and up) will learn basic canoeing skills and on our Delaware River trips (ages 14 and up) campers take skills they’ve learned at Cedar Pond and execute them on a moving body of water. After days out on the water, in either location, campers get to enjoy healthy meals, bond over their day and be serenaded to sleep by the sound of water lapping against the land.
Every day in camp, when not away on a day hike or overnight, campers will 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.
During Nature Explorations, campers go out into the woods, streams, 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. Older campers going on more extensive trips later in the summer also participate in an On-Site overnight early in the season to learn some of the ins-and-outs of minimal impact camping.
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.