Academic journal article Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George: Celebrates Its Centennial

Academic journal article Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George: Celebrates Its Centennial

Article excerpt

Etablished in 1913, YMCA Camp Chingachgook is one of the oldest children's camps in America and is presently celebrating 100 years of operation. Over 350,000 children have participated in Camp Chingachgook programs in the last century.

Started by the Schenectady YMCA as a summer camp for boys, the first campers arrived by steamboat to the Pilot Knob, NY wharf for a few weeks of outdoor education and recreation. The camp served about 90 boys the first summer, with college students serving as counselors and a military-style camp program that was typical during that time period. The boys slept in army tents on cots, with mattresses stuffed with straw, and ate in the large mess tent at the top of the hill. Their day was filled with swimming, boating, archery, hiking, campfires, and chores to keep the camp clean and organized.

In 1922, the Boy Scouts also started using this campground in the summer with the support of the Schenectady Rotary Club. The Scouts stopped using the Camp Chingachgook site during World War II, when it was closed for a few seasons.

Chingachgook wilderness adventure trips were organized, beginning in 1966, to travel to Canada and across the northeast. Today, the adventure trip program serves about 250 teens each summer with kayaking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, sailing, and hiking programs throughout the country, teaching leadership and outdoor living skills. In 1976, Chingachgook became a co-ed program, and today it serves 300 campers each summer session, half boys and half girls. The sessions last one or two weeks.

School outdoor education programs, first offered in 1983, were created in the spring and fall as a service to students and teachers with lessons in ecology, map and compass usage, team building, hiking, and pioneer and colonial history. …

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