ALBANY – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that online registration for the 2022 DEC Summer Camp Program will open at 1 p.m. March 6, 2022. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the DEC Summer Camps program will host a series of events. and share memories, including retro logos embedded in camper shirts, special certificates of recognition and a camp celebration every Saturday during the season. Former campers, families, sponsors and staff will also have the opportunity to take a real walk down memory lane at their favorite camps.
“For 75 years, DEC summer camps have been introducing young people to the great outdoors, inspiring children and teens to experience the New York City environment, and helping to train the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Our summer camps provide opportunities for adventure and education as campers hike, fish and spend time in nature as part of their week-long experience.”
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 at Livingston Manor (Sullivan County); Camp Rushford in Caneadea (Allegany County); and Camp Pack Forest in Warrensburg (Warren County).
Parents and guardians should submit their application 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 as many weeks fill up quickly.
In addition to inviting parents and guardians to enroll children to attend DEC’s environmental education summer camp program, sports clubs, civic groups and environmental organizations are encouraged to sponsor one or more children to a week at camp. Information on how to become a sponsor and how to manage referral accounts can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/1866.html on the DEC website.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, DEC is implementing enhanced guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the New York State Department of Health, and the American Camp Association with current and comprehensive guidance, as well as lessons learned from other camps in 2021. DEC’s goal is to ensure that protective measures and changes do not compromise the sense of adventure, fun and camp spirit that brings campers back year after year. The guidelines will be updated as summer approaches and new information will become available.
NEW FOR 2022: The capacity of each camp will be reduced and individual campers will be limited to one week of camp. If places in the camps remain available after May 27, campers will have the opportunity to register for several weeks.
The Colby and DeBruce camps will offer one week of programming for children ages 14-17 and five weeks for children 11-13. Camp Pack Forest will accommodate children aged 14-17 for five weeks and two weeks for children aged 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 full 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, boating, hiking, camping, orienteering and hunter safety education.
A hunter education program for firearms, bow or trapping is offered at each camp for four of the weeks. Class sizes are limited for hunter education programs and campers must enroll in this program during registration and complete assignments in advance to be eligible. For more information on the New York Hunter Education Program, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.
In addition to adventures, DEC campers engage in fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration focused on the ecological principles of fields, forests, streams and ponds. Activities include collecting insects, using nets in a stream, studying soil composition, measuring trees or taking notes in the field, and writing journals. Trips to nearby state lands can include bogs, state parks, fish hatcheries, and nature museums.
Camp Pack Forest will be offering an “Outdoor Adventure Week” during Week 4, July 24-29. DEC encourages teens ages 14 to 17 who enjoy being outdoors to enroll in this popular program at Camp Pack Forest. During this week, campers develop practical outdoor skills that go beyond the traditional camp week. In addition to typical camp activities, campers participate in team and confidence-building activities, forestry, citizen science, conservation science, and more. Additionally, DEC visitors and natural resource professionals introduce campers to a variety of career options.
All four camps offer at least six week-long sessions which ran Sunday to Friday from July 3, 2022. Pack Forest and Rushford will run for seven weeks. A week of camp is $350 per child for 2022 and includes meals, travel, and a camp t-shirt.