Schools

Enhancing the Classroom Experience

Through Outdoor Education

 

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YMCA Camp Chingachgook welcomes over 6,000 students annually to the shores of Lake George for experiential outdoor education programs. Schools attend from New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and Illinois for single day and multi-day field experiences. Dynamic outdoor educators lead students of all ages in valuable life-long learning through instruction on building and maintaining a positive community and teaching individuals to be stewards of the natural world. All programs are customized to meet state education standards and the needs of each school group. Our three part curriculum includes:

 

Exploration:

Through our exploration programming, students experience the joys of the outdoors. Whether they are on the lake paddling a voyager canoe or hiking to a view on Buck Mountain, students connect with nature and learn healthy life-long pursuits. All outings are designed to match students’ physical abilities.

 

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  • Canoeing 

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    Lake George has a long history of water travel. Paddle in the wake of the earliest inhabitants of this area by canoe or kayak. Our specialty  voyager canoes hold 10 people.

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  • Nature Hikes 

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    Located at the foot of Buck and Pilot Knob Mountains, YMCA camp Chingachgook’s trail system allows us to tie up our boots and head out to expansive state land. From a comfortable stroll in the woods to more strenuous day hikes, with campsites on the mountains that allow for extended backpacking trips, we have lots of options. 

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  • Sailing 

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    With the wind in your sail, the mountains rising in the distance, and the cool clear waters of Lake George lapping against your boat, you can experience a blissful sense of adventure while learning new skills and applying the principles of physics. 

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  • Orienteering 

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    Using maps, compasses, and environmental navigation, students explore the fields and forests of Chingachgook where we learn and practice wayfinding skills. 

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Challenge:

Watch your students grow confidence, build resilience, and develop interpersonal skills through our challenge education program. Students re empowered to choose their own challenge by assessing risks, stepping outside their comfort zones, and building supportive communities where all students strive to be their best selves. Through teambuilding initiatives and climbing challenges, our trained facilitators lead students in safety monitoring, problem solving, and goal setting. All classes are customized to meet the needs of your students and match character education goals identified by your school.

 

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  • Teambuilding 

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    Students engage in a sequence from ice-breakers to progressively more complex problem solving challenges on the ground level. Concepts of communication, leadership, community, and inclusion are explored in-depth. 

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  • Low Ropes 

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    Description coming soon!

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  • Climbing Tower 

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    Standing at 65 feet, our climbing tower provides an opportunity for students to set their own goals, challenge themselves and provide support for peers. Trained climbing facilitators ensure physical and emotional safety while helping students learn more about themselves and connect their climbing tower experience to challenges faced in everyday life.

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  • High Ropes

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    With structures that range from 15-50 feet in the air, students have plenty of choices and roles to play as they face fears, support friends and literally “learn the ropes.” Trained high ropes facilitators ensure physical and emotional safety while helping students achieve their goals. Culminating debriefs help students connect their high ropes experience to challenges they face in everyday life. 

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Discovery:

Nowhere else on earth can you find a recovered ecosystem like that of the New York State’s Adirondack Park. Once over harvested, the Adirondacks tell an environmental story of success, where citizen action has resulted in state protection of 6.1 million acres- making Adirondack Park the largest park in the U.S. where people and nature thrive together. Chingachgook is an ideal location to study the Adirondacks. Our campus, at the foothills of Buck and Pilot Knob Mountains and on the shore of spectacular Lake George, is home to an abundance of wildlife within woodlands, wetlands, fields, lake, and streams. Study the Adirondack ecosystem through a lens of wonder, scientific inquiry, and hands-on exploration. All classes are customized to match school academic standards and reinforce classroom lessons.

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  • Eco Hike  

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     Using a sensory approach to exploration, we compare and contrast a variety of ecosystems. The wonder of the world comes alive as we immerse ourselves in nature and discover examples of such scientific concepts as decomposition, erosion, biodiversity, and adaptation.

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  • Survival 

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    Students engage in forest exploration, fire building, shelter building, and animal adaptation study. Connections are made between primitive survival skills and modern day survival making this class an excellent combination study of natural and cultural history. 

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  • Adirondack Ecosystems 

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    In this class, we study the interconnectedness of land and water in the Adirondacks. Forest ecology, conservation, and watershed science are all major themes.

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  • Adirondack Aquatics

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     Butternut Brook rambles through campus into a wetland that filters the pristine waters of Lake George, offering the ideal field site for hands-on discovery. We catch critters, conduct experiments at our lakeside Aquatic Learning Lab , and record and evaluate data . 

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Classes run from 2-3 hours to allow ample time for
students to explore the natural environment,
challenge themselves in new ways, and discover
science and history first hand.

 

 

 

Evening Programs:

Fun and learning continue after dinner with an evening activity to close out the day. Evening programs run for 1.5-2 hours and include:

 

 

  • Night Hikes 

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    The moon and stars provide the guiding light as we investigate our campus after dark. Students learn how our eyes adjust to the night and search for signs of nocturnal life. 

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  • Town Hall 

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    Environmental controversy has never been this much fun as students discover new perspective and debate issue that impact society. 

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  • Campfire 

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    Description Coming Soon! 

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  • Critter Hunt 

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    Description Coming Soon! 

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Curriculum Progression

At Chingachgook we have something for every grade level and can customize a series of experiences that match school-wide needs and reinforce learning. For example, elementary students participate in a day of sensory exploration of our ecosystems, middle school students attend a three day residential experience, and high school students embark on a multi -day wilderness excursion.

 

Outdoor Education in Residence- Three Days

Our signature program for school groups combines the elements of meaningful field experiences with community development and social growth. Students develop a deeper respect for the natural world and their role in it.

The Adirondack Experience- Five Days

We welcome schools from across the country and internationally for an immersive experience in the Adirondacks. Opportunities abound to study the natural and cultural history of this spectacular region.

Field Experience- One Day

More than your average field trip, a Chingachgook field experience is an extension of a science unit, a day to work on goal setting and interpersonal skills, and an adventure in the great outdoors.

 

 

Life at Chingachgook

The student residential experience is one where we see tremendous social growth. Staying at Chingachgook allows children to live close to nature and practice personal independence with guidance from their school leaders and experienced outdoor educators.

 

Dining

Meals are an integral part of the Chingachgook experience.Our chefs prepare food that is delicious, wholesome and plentiful.  Each meal includes rituals that promote gratitude, awareness or natural resources, and community.

Cabins

Chingachgook cabins are rustic and comfortable. Each cabin has a large room for 10-12 students and a small room for 2 chaperones. A modern bathhouse facility is a few steps away. Click here to view our cabins.

Choice Time

The hour before dinner time is a favorite with our participants. This is the time when they get to choose their activity, such as  archery, basketball, teatherball, gaga, bouldering wall, farm, swimming, hikes and volleyball.

 

 

 

Discover how YMCA Camp Chingachgook can be the highlight
of your student’s school year, and take learning to the next level.
Contact our Outdoor Education Director, Tricia Biles at pbiles@cdymca.org or 
518-656-9462 ext. 6644 for a customized program proposal.