Skill Development at Chingachgook
Skill classes and organized recreation periods form the backbone of each camper’s experience at Chingachgook. Skill classes give campers the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them while at camp, focusing on individual progression rather than competition.
Each camper selects their top ten preferred skill classes while registering for camp and will receive their schedule during Opening Day of their session. Campers will be contacted if they are signed up for a class that requires bringing special equipment, such as Tennis & Mountain Biking.
Under supervision of the waterfront staff, all campers attempt a continuous 220-yard (which equals 1/8 mile or nine 75-foot lengths) swim test on Opening Day. Campers must demonstrate two lengths each of front crawl and back crawl, one length breast stroke and may swim at whatever pace is comfortable.
Campers that don’t complete this stroke test will be enrolled in a YMCA Progressive Swimming skill class. Enrollment in some water-based classes (see descriptions below) is also dependent on completing a swim test of either 220 or 440 yards.
Questions? Give us a call! (518) 656-9462
Waterfront staff evaluate campers’ swimming abilities and assign them to the appropriate swimming class. These classes emphasize personal improvement and campers progress at their own pace. The classes are designed to be fun and exciting. Each skill level has five components: personal safety, stroke development, water sports and games, personal growth, and rescue. The YMCA progressive levels are: Polliwog, Guppy, Fish, Flying Fish, Shark, and Porpoise.
Juniors only. Learn the basic skills of baiting, casting, and fishing techniques from the shores of Lake George. Campers must bring their own fishing pole.
Juniors only. It’s all about water—on it, in it, and under it: snorkeling, paddling a war canoe, water basketball, water volleyball, rope swing competition, and more.
Must pass the 220 yard swim test. Learn the basics, explore the lake, and play canoe games.
Sailing – two periods
Must pass the 440-yard swim test. Learn sailing terms and techniques on Sunfish and 14-foot Capris. More advanced sailors will develop solo skills and techniques.
Must be at least 12 years old and pass the 440-yard swim test. There is a $77 additional fee per two-week session and $44 per one-week session to offset the costs of gasoline and extra staff as well as engine, boat, and equipment repair and replacement. This fee is paid upon arrival at Camp.
Juniors only. Create great wooden projects like bird houses and miniature sailboats while learning to handle and safely use hand tools.
Arts & Crafts
Explore your creative abilities through crafts including painting, candle making, beading, tie dyeing, nature craft, and more. Bring a white shirt to tie dye!
Explore the world of sketches, story boarding, comics, and more. This class will teach basic skills and allow campers to explore their creative side.
Campers learn the basics of painting using water colors paints. Still-life and nature scenes provide the chance to create a masterpiece!
Junior Sport Zone
Juniors only. Develop new skills and have fun every day with a different activity: Lacrosse, whiffle ball, kickball, soccer, basketball and more.
Practice basic soccer skills and put it all together during scrimmages on Oliver Field, our regulation soccer field.
Practice basic softball skills and put it all together during games on Baxter Park, our regulation softball field.
Bring your racquet or borrow one of ours. Learn basic tennis skills and rules in both singles and doubles play.
Mountain Biking – two periods
Must be at least 12 years old and bring your own bike, helmet, bike lock, and inner tube patch kit. Learn riding and tune-up/maintenance skills. Explore camp roads and trails. Campers are responsible for locking their bikes. Only campers scheduled for this class may bring a bike to Camp.
Improv & Theatre
Find your niche on stage! Explore drama, theatre performances, costumes, and other performing arts.
A great and fun way to stay fit. Learn different types of dance and choreography.
There’s nothing like a guitar playing at camp. Learn the basics or practice advanced techniques. For beginner and experienced guitarists. Bring your own acoustic guitar, or use one of ours!
Must be at least 12 years old. Relax and meditate while learning yoga basics, including introductory poses, breathing techniques, and theories. Bring your own mat if you have one, but Camp will provide as needed.
Structured according to standards of the National Archery Development Association. Shoot for fun, to score, and in tournaments using traditional, recurve bows.
Must be at least 12 years old. Learn safe firearm operation under the supervision of an instructor certified by the National Rifle Association. Use Daisy BB Guns and Marlin single-shot .22 caliber rifles.
Must be at least 12 years old. Experience the challenges and thrills of negotiating the
14-element course. Safety is maintained by wearing a seat harness, helmet, and belay rope
Must be at least 12 years old. Experience the challenges and thrills of rock climbing on
Chingachgook’s climbing tower and on rock faces on our property. Learn to climb and belay. Campers wear a seat harness, helmet, and belay rope for safety.
Farm and Garden
Farm and Animal Care
This hands-on class teaches campers the basics of gardening in Camp’s raised-bed garden. Campers also learn about some typical farm animals while working with Camp’s goats, pigs, rabbits and chickens.
Outdoor Living Skills
Explore the dynamic natural areas of camp— mountain, brook, wetlands, old growth forest, and of course Lake George. Learn about interrelationships, habitats, adaptations, and conservation principles. Learn low-impact camping, map and compass, knot craft, outdoor safety, and cooking.
Cooking outside is fun and an essential wilderness survival skill. Learn to safely build,
maintain, and use an outdoor fire or camp stove for easy-to-prepare meals.