ALBANY — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that online registration for DEC’s 2022 Summer Camps program will open at 1 p.m. March 6, 2022. To celebrate 75 years, DEC’s Summer Camps program will host a series of events and share mementos, including retro logos incorporated into camper shirts, special recognition certificates, and a camp celebration each Saturday during the season. Past campers, families, sponsors, and staff will also have an opportunity to take a literal stroll down memory lane at their favorite camps.
The Summer Camps program offers week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17. DEC operates four residential camps for children: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake (Franklin County); Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor (Sullivan County); Camp Rushford in Caneadea (Allegany County); and Camp Pack Forest in Warrensburg (Warren County).
Parents and guardians should submit applications through the online registration program on the Summer Camps website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html. Interested parents and guardians are encouraged to complete registration forms and register early since many weeks fill up quickly.
In addition to inviting parents and guardians to register children to participate in the DEC environmental education Summer Camps program, sporting clubs, civic groups, and environmental organizations are encouraged to sponsor one or more children for a week at camp. Information about becoming a sponsor and managing sponsor accounts is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/1866.html on DEC’s website.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, DEC is implementing enhanced Centers for Disease Control, New York State Department of Health, and American Camp Association guidelines with current and comprehensive guidance, along with lessons learned from other camps in 2021. DEC’s goal is to ensure that protective measures and changes will not compromise the sense of adventure, fun, and camp spirit that brings campers back year after year. Guidance will be updated as the summer approaches and new information becomes available.
NEW FOR 2022: Capacity at each camp will be reduced and individual campers will be limited to one week of camp. If spots at camps remain available after May 27, campers will have the opportunity to sign up for multiple weeks.
Camps Colby and DeBruce will offer one week of programing for children ages 14-17, and five weeks for children ages 11-13. Camp Pack Forest will host children ages 14-17 for five weeks, and two weeks for children ages 11-13. Camp Rushford will offer two weeks of programming for children ages 14-17, and five weeks of programming for ages 11-13. The complete schedule is available on the Summer Camps website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/education/2013.html.
Campers will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of outdoor adventures and are encouraged to try new things. Activities may include fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering, and hunter safety education.
One hunter education program for firearm, bow, or trapping is offered at each camp during four of the weeks. Class size is limited for hunter education programs and campers must sign up for this program during registration and complete the homework in advance to be eligible. More information about New York’s hunter education program can be found at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.
Along with adventures, DEC campers engage in fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration focused on field, forest, stream, and pond ecological principles. Activities include collecting insects, using nets in a stream, investigating soil composition, measuring trees, or taking field notes and writing in journals. Trips to nearby state lands may include kettle bogs, State Parks, fish hatcheries, and nature museums.
Camp Pack Forest will offer “Outdoor Adventure Week” during Week 4, July 24-29. DEC encourages teens 14 to 17 who love being outdoors to sign up for this popular program at Camp Pack Forest. During this week, campers develop hands-on outdoor skills that go above and beyond the traditional camp week. In addition to typical camp activities, campers engage in team and trust-building activities, forestry, citizen science, conservation science, and more. In addition, visiting DEC and natural resource professionals introduce campers to a variety of career options.
All four camps offer at least six one-week sessions that operated Sunday to Friday beginning July 3, 2022. Pack Forest and Rushford will operate for seven weeks. One week of camp is $350 per child for 2022, and includes meals, trips, and a camp t-shirt.