With summer camp around the corner, there is a buzz of excitement in the air at the best place on Earth, YMCA Camp Chingachgook! Our year-round team has been busy preparing for summer and are ready to have another unforgettable season along the shores of Lake George!
Much of our summer is spent just as you remember: learning in skill glasses, jumping in the refreshing lake at free swim with your best friends, running all over camp during an evening program and singing the final round of taps during closing campfire at Chapel. While we hold strong to the traditions that make Chingachgook such a magical place to spend a summer, we’re excited to announce some exciting infrastructure and program updates!
This year we’ve put a lot of focus on expanding our year-round programming. We have been able to serve over 50 school districts and host weekend retreats for women, families, girl scouts, weddings, parties and more!
On the summer camp side, we have given the Counselor-In-Training Program (CIT, formally known as Aides) an innovative new twist. These emerging leaders will have an enhanced pre-camp training, which happens in the first 3 days of their experience. This will give CITs the chance to bond with their group as well as begin to prepare for their new role at Camp. Training topics include, but are not limited to, CIT expectations, teambuilding/ice breaker games, how to deal with homesick campers and recognizing and preventing bullying. The overall curriculum for the CIT program will be based on the following core competencies:
To best deliver lessons on the above skills, we will utilize a mixture of in-camp CIT classes (similar to previous summers) and an off camp wilderness trip (new this year!) Wilderness Excursions are the cornerstone of Chingachgook’s history and an integral part of our focus at Camp. They help provide a unique environment to develop effective leadership and management of small groups. We are so excited to launch this new program with the 2016 CIT class! We still have some space open for 16-17 year olds to join the program, expand their own leadership skills and gain valuable professional development. Contact Jiné Andreozzi, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like more information or to sign up.
If you walk around Camp today you may not even notice one of the biggest projects we’ve been working on all year. In partnership with the Property Committee, Camp was able to put a plan in place to begin work burying the electrical lines across the property. This not only will help prevent power outages, but it also makes the views at Camp even prettier! It’s amazing to be able to look across Baxter Park and not see any wires! Burying of all the Camp electrical lines in the SBU and Center Green area wrapped up this spring. Our last phase is to bury the electrical wires in the SGU and staff row areas.
In December of 2015, we bid a fond farewell to our Headquarters building. Many of you who were staff members fondly remember working in the Headquarters building facing the center green. As campers we may have stood in line for “store”. After over 50 years of service it was unfortunately clear that HQ was not salvageable. As you know may know, it has been slowly collapsing into the swampy area upon which it was built. While this was a difficult decision for Camp, the deconstruction was done with great care. Many artifacts and parts of the building (actually three separate structures) were preserved for historic and archival use. A plan is being developed for a new and improved Headquarters slightly to the east and off of the swampy area which has been mitigated and set to drain properly. More to come about this new and much more functional workspace, storage and communications hub to support our programs.
The oldest building on the property is Cedar Lodge, known far and wide as the camp infirmary has undergone the first steps towards restoration. The back room which had been added decades after the initial construction has been removed and soon the front porch which is rotted and unsafe will also be removed. Camp and the Alumni Committee are committed to restoring as much of the original building as possible and will be exploring options after this summer season to preserve this beloved spot.
On April 21st, Camp Chingachgook and the Capital District YMCA was proud to honor long time alum, volunteer and Alumni Committee Chair, Deb Katz, with the 2016 President’s Award. This award recognizes one dedicated and passionate volunteer from each YMCA branch. Congrats Deb and thanks to the many alums who attended the event and/or supported Deb and the alumni with your generous contributions! Check out a highlight video of Deb’s commitment to Camp here.
This summer we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of girls at Camp! Our Girls Units have come a long way since 1976 when the first ever female counselors and handful of campers arrived at 1972 Pilot Knob Rd. The 1976 yearbook shows a full memoir written by those girls which passed on some helpful knowledge for our current staff team, “Unlike the boys, we did not use kerosene to start the fire, even though the wood was wet.”
We have a handful of upcoming events that we would love to see you at! Our Annual Summer Alumni Reunion is happening at Chingachgook on July 23, 2016. A schedule for that day and more information will be sent out as we get closer to that day, but please save the date and plan to join us for a fun Camp day! Our Alumni Weekend will happen this year over Columbus Day Weekend, from October 7th – 9th, 2016. This weekend is a great time for alumni of any age and their families to enjoy fall in the Adirondacks, partake in camp activities like sailing, hikes and high ropes and spend time relaxing and catching up with old friends! You can call the Camp office at 518-656-9462 for more info on these programs or to RSVP.
The Alumni Committee works tirelessly to Support Camp Chingachgook’s growth and progress, preserve its history, maintain its traditional values and provide opportunities for alumni and friends to stay in touch with each other and with Camp Chingachgook.