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Winter Camp

2019 Winter Camp


Join us for four days of frosty fun at Winter Camp! Our days will be spent exploring the great outdoors and relaxing in Chingachgook’s cozy lodges. Activities include snow tubing, crafts, cooking, snowshoeing, music, games, ice fishing, gaga ball, and time with friends by the fireside.

Winter Camp is the place to be over February break for campers 7 – 15 years old.

Dates and Rates:

February 19-22, 2019

$340 per child includes meals, lodging, and all activities.

YMCA member rate: $330 per child

$25 discount with your 2019 Summer Camp registration.

Check in begins on Tuesday 2/19 at 9:00am

Pick up is on Friday 2/22 between 4:30 – 5:00pm

For more information call 518-656-9462

Register online:

New to Camp Click Here
Returning Campers Click Here

A Gap Year Internship

“I can guarantee you will become a better version of yourself and you will have a blast doing so.”       Noah Rifkin 2018 Gap Year Intern

Noah Rifkin spent six months of his gap-year at YMCA Camp Chingachgook. Here’s a snapshot of his experience in his own words:

For the past six months, I’ve spent my time at Camp Chingachgook, pronounced (CHIN-JA-GOOK) in Lake George, New York. I’ve had an amazing time, and I’ve grown and learned so much. I want to talk a little bit about that process.

I graduated high school in June of 2017, but I knew long before then that I didn’t want to go directly to college. School had worn me out, and I wanted to feel excited to learn. I thought the best way to do that was to take some time off of school before coming back. I had a job at a restaurant in Seattle where I grew up, nothing glamorous but I did enjoy working there. My plan at the time was to continue working there and find an apartment or a place to stay and support myself. I wanted to gain experience in the working world. After a while I found that this wasn’t working, because sustaining myself in Seattle ultimately proved to be much more difficult than I thought. Fortunately, I found an amazing gap year program and I left for two months to live in Australia and New Zealand as a part of an internship program. I came home for the holidays, but quickly left again, this time for Costa Rica as part of a program called Outward Bound, an outdoor leadership and skills training program. This pushed me to my absolute limit, both physically and mentally, and after three months I came home so much stronger and more self reliant than I ever had been previously. I spent just under a week at home before I left once again, this time to come to a place that I’d never heard of at the time, Camp Chingachgook in Lake George, New York.

I was hired as an Outdoor Educator Intern in the spring of 2018. I didn’t really know what to expect when I got here, but I was excited to meet the staff and start working almost immediately. When I heard the word intern, I expected the stereotype of getting coffee and making file copies and stuff like that, but through the phone interview with the head of Outdoor Education, Tricia Biles, I found that my job would consist of a variety of outdoor activities such as canoeing, belaying on the tower and high ropes course, leading team building and ecology based games, and most importantly, working with kids. Basically the way the season works is the staff lives on camp and school groups of different ages come to us to run their choice of activities almost every day. It’s been a fun opportunity to build friendships, grow as a leader and facilitator, and become more responsible for myself.

Right away, I fell in love the camp. First off, it’s an amazing location. Lake George is absolutely stunning, surrounded by mountains and hills and lots of green. It’s a great spot. I also loved how much the camp had to offer, such as a basketball court in my front yard, a tennis court, hiking trails to use, and canoes and kayaks available at any time. Chingachgook seemed like a great fit because it was the perfect opportunity for me to use my physical skill set as well. While I was in Costa Rica, I was trained in a variety of different skills, such as Wilderness First Aid, Whitewater Raft and Rescue, Lifeguarding, SCUBA, and Recreational Rappel. I knew at camp I would get the chance to use several of these skills in everyday life, and looking back I have, using WFA, lifeguarding, rappel, and rafting skills in different activities.

I was eased into the work, as I joined the staff a few weeks into the season and had missed some of the training. I did a lot of shadowing for other groups. After a month or so, I felt ready for more. I went to Trish and asked for more responsibilities. I wanted my own group. That was a big step in my development as a leader. In the past I would always shy away from responsibility, always finding the path of least resistance. What’s the smallest amount of work possible? But with this job, with this opportunity, it was different. It made me excited to take on a bigger role. Excited to take on more responsibilities. I welcomed that challenge. Once I was given my own group every day, I started to build my relationships with the kids. I’ve worked with kids my whole life, and I think one of my biggest strengths is walking the fine line of being their friend some of the time, but also a role model as well as an authority figure when the situation calls for it.

Over the course of my time at camp I’ve learned many skills. I’ve learned how to lead a ropes course or an aquatic learning lab, I’ve learned to be effective in team building and survival classes, and I’ve learned how to manage myself and my time effectively. This job has taught me to be a leader in my community every day. I would recommend the gap year internship program to anybody who was in the same situation as me at that time. It’s a great way to develop personal skills that last a lifetime while developing strong bonds with your co-workers. I can guarantee you will become a better version of yourself and you will have a blast doing so. If anyone reading this has any questions, I would be happy to answer all of them. My email is nrifkin22@gmail.com. Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience.

For more information on Gap year opportunities at YMCA Camp Chingachgook please contact Tricia Biles:

518-656-9462 x 6644   pbiles@cdymca.org

NEATS

1st Annual Northeast Adventure and Trip Symposium (NEATS)

2018 brought with it the Adventure Program’s first ever Fall programming season! Our Adult Trips have already passed, but coming up, we will be hosting the 1st Annual Northeast Adventure and Trip Symposium (NEATS). This is a conference for all established and emerging outdoor adventure and travel industry professionals, students, and vendors to come together and exchange ideas, network, collaborate, and better the industry. This great, new, event will be happening November 9-11. Both full weekend and single day registrations are available. More information can be found here, and you can sign up by calling 518-656-9462.

Our Mission is to understand common practices and analyze emerging trends in off-site program and risk management in the Trip and Travel industry by promoting open dialogue and strategy development between outdoor professionals. 

Our Goals are:

  • To encourage the discussion of individuals’ risk management practices and how those pertain to their organizations’ standards
  • To introduce a lasting, inclusive network of established and emerging industry professionals through a cost-effective and inclusive platform
  • To facilitate planning for the successful implementation of newly introduced resources, in a collaborative environment

For more information on adult adventure programming or NEATS, and to sign up for any of these programs, contact Caitlin Righi, Chingachgook Adventure Program Assistant, at crighi@cdymca.org or (518) 656-9462 ext. 6632. 

This Month in Outdoor Education

A Tale of Two Schools – From Near and Far

Every two years Ancona School’s 7th and 8th graders, with their dedicated team of teachers, board an airplane and travel from Chicago to YMCA Camp Chingachgook for a full week of outdoor education. Their motivation in coming so far is to experience the spectacular Adirondacks. Here they learn about the diverse ecosystems and cultural history of this area. They compare and contrast Lake George with Lake Michigan’s water quality and watershed management efforts, and they connect with each other to build a stronger learning community.


This year, on the heels of Ancona’s trip, neighboring Warrensburg 7th graders also had the opportunity to participate in a Chingachgook outdoor education program. A goal of their three day residential program is to learn more about their own backyard and what makes the Adirondack Park an amazing and complex place to live. They, too, connect with nature and each other to create meaningful and impactful learning experiences.


A unique difference between these schools exists. Warrensburg students are from a rural public school while Ancona students attend private school in an urban setting. Yet, this year both groups of students were in residence in mid-October. They all experienced Buck Mountain aflame with peak foliage and crisp autumn days. Students from each school worked together to overcome obstacles on the challenge course and practiced science at our aquatic learning lab. They applied lessons from home and school in a new environment resulting in social and intellectual growth. These are the universal gifts of facilitated field experiences at YMCA Camp Chingachgook. We are grateful to host such a diverse population of students and contribute to youth development both near and far.

Adventure Trips for Adults

Calling All Adults!

The Chingachgook Adventure Team is gearing up for a new season of ADULT TRIPS! Explore the Adirondack outdoors in all of its autumn glory with experienced guides and a small group of adventurous adults. Our trips this year will take you from the refreshing shores of Lake George Islands all the way up to the bustling adventure sports hub of Lake Placid. Try new adventure sports, meet new people, and experience the crisp Adirondack air in some of the most beautiful places around.

Northeast Adventure and Trip Symposium (NEATS)

November 9th–11th, 2018

Chingachgook is hosting the first annual NEATS, designed by the Northeast Travel and Adventure Affinity Group (TAAG). Our goal is to develop common practices and analyze emerging trends in off-site program management for the Trip and Travel industry by promoting open dialogue and strategy development between outdoor professionals. Admission is currently open to outdoor recreation professionals and students. 

Adult Kayak

June 1st, 2019

Take the day, bring a friend, and meet new people on a great all-day kayaking adventure on Lake George. The program begins at 9:00 a.m. and trained Chingachgook staff will lead the activities. We provide lunch, instruction, and the necessary equipment to have a fun and safe day of adventure. Available to any adult 15 or older.

Cost per Person: $52 Non YMCA Members, $47 YMCA Members

Kayak the Narrow Islands

September 13th – 15th, 2019

Catch the last of the warm water with a paddle to our quiet Lake George island campsite, surrounded by mountains. There is plenty to explore, including a waterfall, cliff ledges, swimming spots, and excellent hiking trails for a variety of ability levels.

Cost per Person: $250, Y member discount available

Spaces: Eight (+ two guides)

Rock & Roll: Bike and Climb Lake Placid

September 27th – 29th, 2019

Spend each day learning the thrill of real rock climbing and mountain biking with professional guides and spend an evening exploring the village boutiques and local restaurants of Lake Placid!

Cost per Person: $360, Y member discount available

Spaces: Six (+ three guides)

Adirondack Multi-Sport

September 6th – 8th, 2019

Try a taste of adventure in the Adirondack Park! Enjoy guided white water rafting, hiking, and rock climbing over three days in some of the most beautiful areas around.

Cost per Person: $360

Spaces: Eight (+ two guides)

High Peaks Backpacking

September 20th – 22nd, 2019

Take a hike with us through the High Peaks! Our group will pack out the necessities to camp in the mountains, while we spend each day hiking and exploring areas surrounding Marcy Dam.

Cost per Person: $250, Y member discount available

Spaces: Six (+ two guides)

Backpack Lake George

October 4th – 6th, 2019

Catch the last of the warm water with a paddle to our quiet Lake George island campsite, surrounded by mountains. There is plenty to explore, including a waterfall, cliff ledges, swimming spots, and excellent hiking trails for a variety of ability levels.

Cost per Person: $250, Y member discount available

Spaces: Six (+ two guides)

For more information on adult adventure programming or NEATS, and to sign up for any of these programs, contact Caitlin Righi, Chingachgook Adventure Program Assistant, at crighi@cdymca.org or (518) 656-9462 ext. 6632.

2019 Camp Registration Info

Thank you for spending your summer with us!

With Labor Day Weekend in the rear view mirror, another amazing summer at Chingachgook has flown by and come to an end. We wanted to take a moment to thank you all for being part of the 105th summer here at Camp and for being part of our Chingachgook family! We feel so lucky to have had the chance to work with over 2,000 amazing campers in our Overnight Camp, Day Camp and Adventure Trip programs! This was my 15th summer at Chingachgook, and yet I still had new experiences, met amazing people, made lasting memories and felt the camp magic every day. The magic we feel at Camp comes from you, from the campers, families, staff and volunteers who add so much passion and excitement to Camp that it creates a welcoming and one-of-a-kind community. Thank you for being part of our summer and we can’t wait to see you back next year!  

2019 Registration Information

While we know you are busy with getting back to school, we wanted to give you some information on registration for 2019, since it’s never too soon to start daydreaming of sunny days by the lake! Registration for 2019 will be open on October 17, 2018 and for the first week will be open exclusively to returning camper families

Due to the 2018-2019 NYS School calendar, we will have a slightly different session schedule for summer 2019. Unfortunately, based on when school gets out in the spring and the schedule of programs we already offer in the Fall, we will have 8 weeks of summer camp instead of 9. Therefore, will only be having 5 overnight camp sessions instead of 6. This change is for this year only and we plan to return to six sessions in 2020. At this time, we are aiming to keep our schedule as consistent as possible, as we know many families make summer plans around their camper’s sessions at Chingachgook. Therefore, we will continue to have three, 2-week sessions but will only be able to offer two, 1-week sessions. We encourage you to sign up during the first week of registration, which is only open to returning families, as we anticipate all sessions to fill even faster than usual. The exact dates are provided here but please feel free to call our office at 518-656-9462 if you wish to discuss which session may be the best fit for your camper next summer!

Any camper who will be 16 years old by June 24, 2019 will be eligible for the CIT program. This leadership development program is a great opportunity for campers to learn more about what it’s like to work at Camp but also to gain volunteer hours and professional development that they can apply to school and jobs at home as well. Last year, we sold out our July CIT spots in the first day of registration opening, so if you are interested in this program we suggest signing up early!

We will email you a reminder in the days leading up to registration opening, as well as on the day it opens. The earlier you sign up and complete your forms, the better chance you have of getting your desired session and skill classes. We will honor 2018 prices until December 1st. We are finalizing our Adventure Trips schedule and those trip dates will be available by the end of the month.

Job Opportunities at Chingachgook

We are excited to share two year-round positions that are now open in our Outdoor Education & Group Service Department. Join the multi-season team at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on spectacular Lake George in the Adirondacks, NY. Using an experiential approach to teaching and program instruction, Outdoor Educators inspire wonder and discovery in students, families, youth, and adult groups through outdoor exploration, Adirondack ecology, and challenge course education. More information on open positions, and instructions on how to apply, is listed below.

 

Group Services Coordinator – Full Time – Daily Rate – Housing included

This position supports the work of the Y, a leading charity committed to strengthening community by coordinating the assigned programs for group services at YMCA Camp Chingachgook with an emphasis on weekend programs, conferences, special events, trainings, and professional retreats. Responsibilities include program design, planning and implementation, scheduling, staff oversight, client and vendor communications, facility preparation, budgeting, management of supplies, and providing exceptional hospitality. To apply, send cover letter and resume to Patricia Biles at pbiles@cdymca.org
 
Outdoor Education and Group Services Assistant – Full Time  – Hourly – Housing not guaranteed


This position supports the work of the Y, a leading charity committed to strengthening community. Essential functions of this role include offering organizational support to the Outdoor Education and Group Services department through phone and digital communications, scheduling, registration, filing, managing supplies, welcoming guests, and promoting programs.  To apply, send cover letter and resume to Patricia Biles at pbiles@cdymca.org 
 

We are also seeking applications for the following seasonal positions. Interested applicants can apply here
  • Waterfront Coordinator – extended season
  • Outdoor Educators
  • Sailing Specialists

Outfit Your Adventure AND Give Back to Camp!

A Great New Partnership with The Mountaineer in Keene Valley


While the Adventure Program awaits the exciting arrival of Adventure Trip Leaders, we are excited to announce our new partnership with the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer is “an iconic outdoor specialty store that has been a purveyor of fine mountaineering and outdoor equipment since 1975.” With hospitable, friendly, and vastly knowledgeable staff, the Mountaineer has already made an impact on the Chingachgook Adventure Program, and Chingachgook has given back by purchasing department gear through this local business. 20% of the proceeds from that gear order has gone to support our Annual Campaign, which provides scholarships for campers to attend adventure trips and camp!

This June, during the immersive staff training in the High Peaks, the Adventure team will spend time connecting with Mountaineer staff. The goal is to develop Chingachgook staff’s comfort and familiarity with the tools that will be available to them all summer. Those who will lead trips near Keene Valley, NY can use the store as a resupply station, as well as the expertise of Mountaineer staff when their gear is broken or inoperative. This offers a stronger foundation for Camp’s risk management, as it provides a local hub of communication and learning for trips that experience distress or are in need of reliable communication. The Adventure team is thrilled by the impacts this partnership has already made, and looks forward to finding more ways to grow together in the future. 

This new partnership has an additional benefit for ALL camp families! Chingachgook campers purchasing gear through this custom website will automatically have 10% of their purchase go towards supporting our Annual Campaign!  The Mountaineer possesses a thorough knowledge of Chingachgook’s’ programs, and serves as reliable source of information for all gear needed to feel comfortable and well prepared during your Adventure trip. We are so appreciative of their support and hope you will choose to outfit all your adventures through this outstanding local business! 

 

2018 Day Camp Weekly Themes

Day Camp at Camp Chingachgook

There is nothing better than spending your summer along the shores of Lake George, in the beautiful Adirondacks! We run 9 weeks of a Monday – Friday Day Camp for campers ages 5-10. Each week has the chance to combine traditional camp activities (like swimming, archery, rock climbing, canoeing and crafts) with a special theme! Check out this year’s themes for each week below. We also offer an optional overnight each Thursday so campers can get ready for Overnight Camp in the future! We currently have spots left in all our day camp weeks, but spaces are filling up quickly so click here to sign up today!

 

  • Week One // June 25 – 29 // Superhero University
    Bring your capes and masks to discover the hero in you through challenges, adventures, and good deeds. Unlock your chance to become like the Incredibles. Campers will enjoy activities that activate their superhero skills and learn how impactful they can be.

  • Week Two // July 2 – 6 // World Camp Cup
    The world cup brings so many countries together to compete in a month long soccer tournament. Come join us for this week long adventure, learn about some of those countries that compete and try all different sports and activities from around the world.

  • Week Three // July 9 – 13 // Seuss on the Loose
    Oh the places you’ll go! Join us as we explore Dr. Seuss’s timeless stories and share the excitement as some of the books come to life at Camp! Campers will explore the forest through the eyes of the Lorax, and swim with “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” in our sparkling lake!

  • Week Four // July 16 – 20 // Color Wars
    Color Wars is an opportunity for children of all ages to compete in classic camp games through friendly competition. Campers will be assigned a color team of Green or Gold and will work as a team to complete challenging games and activities that earn points for their color.

  • Week Five // July 23 – 27 // Imagine Your World! 
    Let your creative side soar this week and think “outside the box” with fun and outrageous projects. This week is all about exploring new ways to design, build, and create! Campers will have the chance to discover new and exciting arts and crafts as well as STEM activities.

  • Week Six // July 30 – August 3 // Journey Through Time 
    Ever wonder what it would be like to travel back in time hundreds of years? What about jumping into the future? Come along for the journey as we travel through time to experience these eras! Campers get the chance hop on a time machine and see how the dinosaurs live or jump ahead and discover space.

  • Week Seven // August 6 – 10 // Bill Nye the Camp Science Guy
    Put on your lab coats and grab your safety goggles as we join in the fun of science with Bill Nye. Challenge yourself as you explore and discover the maddening matters of science and STEM activities during this week long adventure. Test out science experiments and discover how to safely drop a balloon without it popping and how to make slime.

  • Week Eight // August 13 – August 17 // Scales and Tails 
    Dive into the world of animals and discover the variety of friends with fur, fins, and scales that surround us here in the Adirondacks. Campers will have the chance to splash in the stream and venture into the woods to find all sorts of animals and learn cool and interesting facts about them.

  • Week Nine // August 20 – 24 // Mythological Mystery
    Are you good at finding clues? Can you help solve mysteries? Then we need you this week as we channel our imaginations for a mythological adventure! Campers will get to unleash their detective skills as we defeat dragons and earn clues from creatures of all sorts!

April Wilderness Training for Summer Staff

With warm weather on our heels and the start of summer programs beginning to creep closer, the Chingachgook Adventure Program is preparing for the start of wilderness trips with gear maintenance, facility management, logistic updates, and all of the work that goes into making trips safe and enriching. After 105 years in the business, we know that the best way to do that is by training our staff to manage off-site experiences and respond to incidents effectively.

 

Our first wilderness staff training welcomed our Adventure department’s first program of the year. During an unseasonable April snow storm, a group of our 2018 summer camp counselor made their way to Chingachgook for this hands on training. With such wintery weather, the crew stayed close to home, but had a productive four days of immersive training in the field. We will host two more wilderness trainings for overnight camp staff in May and June, alongside our three-week Adventure trip staff training starts up on June 8th and the last Wilderness training on June 12th. The spring is always an exciting time as we see more and more staff head to camp to prepare for the best summer ever! Click here to read more about the updates and improvements we are making to our wilderness and adventure staff training.

 

2018 has brought a number of revisions to our staff trainings. Training groups, previously a mixture of returners and new staff, will be split for the first time into groups by length of employment at Chingachgook. This division will narrow the types of skills and lessons each staff member learns, as incoming staff will work to develop their philosophical understanding of outdoor adventure and build their confidence in outdoor skills. Returners will have an opportunity to fine-tune skills they learned previously, as well as practice facilitating hands-on experiences of these skills with campers. Our most senior staff will train as summer mentors for incoming staff and will work on improving judgement while in the field. Our overall focuses for trainings this year are hard-skills, self-reliance, healthy judgment, and risk management.

 

The past ten years has seen significant advancements in the quality of training for outdoor adventure professionals. Chingachgook consistently updates field and response protocols to maintain an industry standard in risk management. We hope to see another jump in the effectiveness of our staff trainings after Chingachgook hosts the inaugural Northeast Adventure and Trip Symposium in November of 2018, where the year round Adventure team will work with leading industry professional in improving participant and staff experiences in the field by building a more engaging and well-managed environment.