Skill Classes

Skill Classes at Camp Chingachgook on Lake GeorgeSkill Development at Chingachgook

Skill classes and organized recreation periods form the backbone of each camper’s experience at Chingachgook. Camp life offers a variety of activities for campers, from archery to sailing and from arts & crafts to sports, there is something for every camper to enjoy! Campers get the chance to develop a skill or try something totally new. At the root of all Camp’s activities is our main belief that every day at Chingachgook offers the perfect setting for character development, building confidence & independence, learning life-long skills, making lasting friendships and providing a place for kids to be kids!


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 Mountain Biking.


Swim CheckWaterfront Safety at Camp Chingachgook on Lake George

Under supervision of the waterfront staff, all campers attempt a continuous 440-yard swim check 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 will receive either their 440, 220 or beach badge.


There are places for every swim level to enjoy the water and the swim check is meant to help gauge a camper’s comfort in the water and keep everyone safe at the waterfront. Campers may retake their swim check as many times as they’d like during the session. Campers who get a beach badge will be required to take a YMCA swim class during their session. Certain skill classes on the waterfront require specific swim check level and are noted in the descriptions below.


Waterfront Activities


Rope Swing at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake GeorgeThis class emphasizes personal improvement and campers progress at their own pace. Classes are designed to be fun and exciting. Each skill level has five components: personal safety, swim stroke development, water sports and games, personal growth and rescue. The Y progressive levels are: Polliwog, Guppy, Fish, Flying Fish, Shark, Porpoise and competitive swimming. Waterfront staff evaluate campers’ swimming abilities and assign them to the appropriate swimming class. Campers then progress through the aquatics program during the session. A great class to learn to swim, perfect your strokes OR continue practice for your swim team!


Juniors only. Learn the basic skills of baiting, casting, and fishing techniques from the shores of Lake George. Campers should bring their own fishing pole but bait and other equipment is available at Camp.

Water World

Juniors only. It’s all about water — on it, in it, and under it: water basketball, water volleyball, rope swing competition, sandcastle building and more. This is a great class to simply enjoy being on beautiful Lake George and increase your confidence in and around the water.


Need to pass the 220-yard swim check. Learn paddling basics, explore the lake and play canoe games. Class will utilize aluminum canoes and 9 passenger war canoes.

Sailing – two periods

Need to pass the 440-yard swim check. Learn sailing terms and techniques on Sunfish and 14-foot Capris. Learn basic knots and how to set up the sailboats. Develop confidence in steering our sailboats and work towards solo-sailing the Sunfish and Capris.

Advanced Sailing – two periods

Need to pass the 440-yard swim check. Must have previous sailing experience and be comfortable sailing a Capri 14 and/or sunfish unassisted by staff. Advanced sailors will learn more in depth information about sail trim and points of sail. Campers will get the chance to learn about and practice sail racing by gaining an understanding of regatta rules and racing tactics/techniques.


Need to be at least 12 years old and pass the 440-yard swim check. There is an $80 additional charge per two-week session and $50 per one-week session to offset the costs of gasoline as well as engine, boat, and equipment repair and replacement and is charged after campers complete the swim check. Campers are sorted into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups to work on various skills ranging from getting up on skis to dropping a ski and slalom skiing.




Juniors only. Build wooden projects like bird houses and miniature sailboats while learning to handle and safely use hand tools. Explore your creative side by designing and creating your own project!

Arts & CraftsEnjoying Arts and Crafts at the Chingachgook Family Fall Festival

Explore your creative abilities through crafts including candle making, beading, tie dyeing, modeling clay, nature craft, and more. Bring a white shirt to tie dye!

Maker’s Space: 

Campers have the freedom to explore the basics of science, technology, engineering, design, art and other self-chosen projects in this unique and creative space. Campers will create, invent, learn and share a variety of projects, such as rockets, Legos, egg-craft carriers, tinkering, inventions and more.


Campers learn the basics of painting using water colors and acrylic paints. Still life and nature scenes provide the chance to create a masterpiece! Each class teaches a new painting technique based off the style of a famous artist.

The Newsroom (NEW IN 2018!)

Join the team responsible for reporting the news at Camp Chingachgook! Contribute to the weekly newspaper featuring articles on noteworthy events around camp, comics, poems, essays, drawings, and much more. This class is a great way to explore individual creativity while working as part of a bigger team!



Junior Sport Zone

Juniors only. Develop new skills, practice teamwork and have fun every day with a different sports activity: Chingaball, whiffle ball, kickball, soccer, basketball and more.

SoccerSportsmanship at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George

Practice basic soccer skills and put it all together during scrimmages on Tall Pines Field, our regulation soccer field.


Practice basic softball skills and put it all together during games at Baxter Park, our regulation softball field. Please bring your own glove if you have it, we have extras at Camp if needed.

Basketball (NEW IN 2018!)

Learn basketball basics through drills and scrimmages. Practice teamwork and new skills through daily games on our two basketball courts.


Learn basic tennis skills and rules in both singles and doubles play. Campers may bring their own racquets but Camp will also provide if needed.

Varsity Sports Club (NEW IN 2018!)

Seniors only. Develop new skills, practice teamwork and have fun every day with a different sports activity: Chingaball, whiffle ball, kickball, soccer, basketball and more.

Mountain Biking – two periods

Need to 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 and you will be notified via email prior to opening day if your camper is in this class.


Performing Arts

Improv & Theatre

Find your niche on stage! Explore drama, improv, theatre performances, costumes, and other performing arts. Work on a skit or sketch to perform during the talent show!

DanceGuitar Lessons at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George

In this class you will learn the basic movements of a variety of types of dance, from ballet to hip hop. Campers will also learn choreographed dances to perform at the talent show or during a Camp meal! This class is also a great and fun way to stay fit and active!

Garage Band (NEW IN 2018!)

This class gives campers a chance to showcase their talents while exploring new musical abilities in a group setting. Classes will work on learning a new song to perform featuring an ensemble of instruments. For beginner and experienced musicians. Bring your own instrument (or voice) or use one of ours!


Target Sports

ArcheryRiflery at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George

Structured according to standards of USA Archery. Shoot for fun, to score, and in tournaments using traditional recurve bows.


Need to be at least 12 years old. Learn safe firearm operation under the supervision of a certified instructor. Use Daisy BB Guns and Marlin single-shot .22 caliber rifles while working to improve accuracy in target shooting and learning the importance of responsible gun handling.



High Ropes  – two periodsClimbing at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George

Need to be at least 12 years old. Experience the challenges and thrills of climbing the 14-element course. Safety is maintained by wearing a seat harness, helmet and belay rope. Campers will work from ground level teambuilding challenges up to climbing the high ropes elements. Campers will get a chance to learn teamwork and belay skills during this class.


Rock Climbing  – two periods

Need to 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 teamwork, climbing techniques and belay skills. Campers wear a seat harness, helmet, and belay rope for safety.


Farming at Camp Chingachgook on Lake George

Farm and Garden

Farm and Animal Care

This hands-on class teaches campers the basics of sustainable gardening & permaculture in Camp’s raised-bed garden. Campers also learn about some typical farm animals and how to care for Camp’s bunnies, goats, chickens and pigs.



Forever Wild

Exploring nature is all about the journey, not the destination! Discover the dynamic natural areas of camp —mountain, brook, wetlands, old growth forest and of course Lake George. Learn low-impact camping, stream ecology, shelter building, map and compass, knot craft, outdoor survival skills, safety and more.

Outdoor Skills at Camp Chingachgook on Lake George


Outdoor Cooking

Cooking outside is a fun and essential wilderness survival skill. Learn to safely build, maintain and use an outdoor fire or camp stove for easy to prepare meals. Harvest food from our Camp garden to create a delicious “ADK gourmet” meal!