News

Earth Service Awards

YMCA Earth Service Awards

NOTICE : The 2020 Earth Service Awards have been postponed until further notice. 

2019 recipient Sena McLaughlin

If you have questions, please contact, Tricia Biles
Director of Outdoor Education and Group Services
(518) 656-9462 ext. 6604.

Teen Service Camp

Teen Service Camp

Teen Service Camp has been cancelled for 2020 – Consider joining our volunteer work weekend or April 25 and 26 or check back in for Teen Service Camp April 2021

Calling all teens! Spend April break doing something meaningful and fun!

Ages: 13 – 16
Cost: $225/ teen

Winter Camp

2020 Winter Camp


Wondering What to do with the kids for winter break? Send them to WINTER Camp!
Winter Camp is 5 days of frosty fun for children ages 7-14. Campers spend their days making friends and enjoying activities that include, tubing, crafts, snowshoeing, games, gaga ball, stories, campfires, music, and more! Days include a balance of active play, both indoors and out, and relaxation in our cozy heated cabins and lodges.

Sign up today – spaces fill fast.

Dates and Rates:

February 17-21, 2020

$590 per child includes meals, lodging, and all activities.

YMCA member rate: $580 per child

$30 discount for Campers who are registered for Summer camp 2020.

Check in begins on Monday 2/17 at 9:00am and goes to 10:00am

Pick up is on Friday 2/21 between 3:00 – 5:00pm. If you need to make arrangements for a different time you can contact our main office.

For more information call 518-656-9462

Register online:

New to Camp Click Here
Returning Campers Click Here

A Decade of Chingachgook Magic

A Decade of Chingachgook Magic

A Reflection by Jiné Andreozzi, Director of Operations

The new year brings us a time of reflection and goal setting for the year ahead. Here at Camp, we take the time to plan for a new year with new programs and exciting changes – but 2020 also brings the start of a new decade. For 107 years, Chingachgook has been strengthening communities by providing high quality experiences in the outdoors that allow children and adults alike to learn, grow, connect with others and make lasting memories. This January provided me the time to look back at all the ways Chingachgook has grown in the last 10 years and how our campers, staff, students, volunteers, families,  and myself have grown alongside Camp.

A few major items have changed in both my life and at Camp in the past decade and I thought it would be a great way to start 2020 by thinking back and celebrating those accomplishments. In 2010 as we started the decade, I was working on our waterfront team in the summer, teaching swimming and sailing and perfecting my boat docking skills, while spending the rest of the year working towards completing my degree at Ithaca College. What I didn’t know than was when I returned to the waterfront team after graduating IC in 2011, that I would be launching a career path that has moved me from Lake George, to California to Boston and now back to Lake George, working full time at the place I first fell in love with camping! I am pretty sure I had the greatest “office” of my life when I was on the waterfront team from 2010-2012. I loved spending everyday on the docks and even loved the small cabin we used as the home base for one of the busiest program areas at Camp. The biggest facilities project we’ve tackled in the last 10 years happened in 2013 and has drastically changed the landscape at our waterfront for the better! While the old waterfront headquarters holds a special place in my heart, it’s rustic charm was no longer functional for the amount of skill classes and other activities happening at the waterfront.

This decade also marked Chingachgook’s centennial year! It is incredible to think of all the lives that have been impacted over 100 years because of the magic of Chingachgook. At the start of our centennial summer (2013), we celebrated the completion of the Sidford Family Sailing Pavilion, which has increased access for our Y-Knot Sailing participants and bettered all of our waterfront programming for summer camp, adventure trips, school groups and weekend programs! Our centennial celebration lasted all summer long – with on Camp firework displays every session and one of our biggest Alumni Reunions to date. The summer of 2014 welcomed a unique session schedule, with camp offering 7 sessions due to the NYS school calendar. 2014 was also the only summer in this decade that I did not work the full season at Camp, but I did make sure to take a week of vacation from my job in Boston in order to lead a sailing Adventure Trip with Craig Poole as my co-leader! Craig and I are now both working full time at Camp and it is just another example of things coming full-circle here at Chingachgook.

In the late spring of 2015, I enthusiastically moved back to the shores of Lake George full-time after accepting the Summer Camp Director position. It has been my pleasure to help lead our summer camp programs over the last 5 summers. In addition to seeing more and more campers join over the past 5 years, we have also completed some pretty exciting projects! In 2017 we completed renovations on the Old Infirmary, now known as Cedar Lodge, which remains the oldest building on Camp. We added skill classes such as Makerspace, Garage Band & the Newsroom and saw the popularity of our 46er Adventure Trip skyrocket. We removed the old Headquarters building, which was falling into disrepair, and began planning for a new Headquarters/Health Lodge building – which we are excited to say we will be breaking ground on in 2020! And at the close of this decade, we started the Alumni Hall of Fame this past Fall in order to celebrate our history and commemorate those who have gotten us here! When I started at Chingachgook as a camper 16 years ago I would’ve never guessed that this place, and its people, would define not only career but also my character as a person, but I am so grateful it did and I feel so lucky to be a #ChingachgookKid.

Strategic Planning Sessions

Does Your Company Have 2020 Vision?

Enrich your office team in 2020 with a Strategic Planning Session

Bring your staff to YMCA Camp Chingachgook for a strategic planning retreat. Take a step away from the office and start your new year off with intention and direction.

Strategic planning sessions at Chingachgook help you get out of your day to day routine and come together to build a stronger, more creative, and better connected team.

Camp Chingachgook offers many benefits for professional staff retreats:
·         Beautiful Adirondack setting
·         Fireside conference rooms are ideal for small groups and breakout sessions
·         Large retreat halls are available for formal conference space
·         Wi-fi, screens & projectors, easels, and flexible seating are set up for you
·         Food Service option available for catered warm & hearty meals
·         Facilitators are available for energizers, icebreakers, and social activities
·         Affordable rates

Book your staff meeting today & energize your team for 2020!

Contact us at 518-656-9462 or by emailing pbiles@cdymca.org

Online “Pop Up” Holiday Store

Here in Lake George, we welcomed December with several inches of snow but even with fresh snow on the ground, we are looking forward to the warm, sunny days that summer camp brings!

We know that many like to give the gift of Camp to the campers in your life. Weather you are gifting a 2020 Chingachgook summer experience (which registration is open for!) and want to have something in hand for your camper to unwrap, or if you just want to give your campers some new apparel to show off their Camp spirit – we’ve got you covered!

For the first time, we have created a temporary online store for you to do your holiday shopping! PLUS – you can check off the gifts on your list while giving back to others as the proceeds from these apparel items will go directly to our Annual Campaign, which provides scholarships for campers in need. 

Make sure to order ASAP if you need items in time for Christmas! The store will only be open until December 14th and depending on when you order, items will arrive between December 23 – January 1st. Click here and start your shopping today!

We hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and hope to see you at Chingachgook in the new year!

Chingachgook Challenge

Calling all runners – save the date! This year’s Chingachgook Challenge will be held on Sunday, September 8, 2019. Click here for more info or visit www.AREEP.com.

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.