Youth Summer Camp

You are here: Home / Youth Summer Camp

Harper Mini-Camp

For ages 6-8

JULY 14- 17, 2019 FEE: $400

Harper Mini-Camp is designed to give our youngest campers a first look into what it’s like to spend a session at camp. We hire special staff for Harper who are prepared to meet the needs of our young Unirondackers. This session takes place concurrently with Channing 2 but campers are given a completely separate experience in program while sharing meals with the entire camp community!



For ages 9-12

JUNE 30 – JULY 6, 2019 FEE: $825

(includes $25 non-refundable Camp Store credit)

Barton is our youngest full week session. It’s a great introduction for camp and our staff make the most of measures to address homesickness and make sure campers at this age are well taken care of. We begin learning what it means to build a camp community together and begin lessons for future years. We know that this age can be tough for kids to be away from their parents and encourage parents of Barton campers to reach out with any needs you may have!


Channing 1 & 2

For ages 12-14

JULY 7-13 & 14–20, 2019 FEE: $825

(includes $25 non-refundable Camp Store credit)

Channing is a special week, combining the energies and perspectives of campers of both elementary school and middle school ages. By breaking through the presumed age barrier between elementary and middle school, campers will develop new understanding and respect for each other. Through the facilitation of our professionally trained staff of caring young adults, campers work closely with each other to develop a close-knit community capable of making decisions together and working as a team.


Parker 1 & 2

For ages 14-16

JULY 21–27 & JULY 28–AUG 3, 2019 FEE: $825

(includes $25 non-refundable Camp Store credit) Parker gives both junior and senior high school age campers the chance to explore the common threads that run through young adulthood. Our trained staff of caring young adults work with campers to develop a close-knit community capable of making decisions together about their camp experience. All aspects of both our Channing and Ballou sessions are incorporated. A carefully cultivated atmosphere of trust and caring produces the safety that allows campers to explore themselves and try new things. Like our Ballou sessions, Parker 1 & 2 focuses on discussions of issues that are important to teens, outdoor activities, and creative expression in many forms.


Ballou 1 & 2

For ages 16-18

AUG 4 – 10 & AUG 11 – 17, 2019 FEE: $825

(includes $25 non-refundable Camp Store credit)

Ballou campers quickly develop a close-knit community. Campers have a substantial voice in creating their camp experience, and through skilled facilitation, they learn to accept and value the unique contribution of each individual. A carefully cultivated atmosphere of trust and caring produces the safety that allows campers to explore themselves and try new things. This session focuses on discussions of issues that are important to teens, outdoor activities, and creative expression in many forms. Our extraordinary, professionally trained staff helps campers develop the tools they need to make good decisions independently. We provide an excellent staff-to-camper ratio that allows significant individual attention for each camper.


Trip Camp

For ages 15-17

JULY 28 – AUG 3, 2019 FEE: $800

Wilderness Adventures are an exciting extension of the Unirondack experience — allowing campers to spend time with a small group of peers and counselors in the forever-wild Adirondacks. The western Adirondacks are filled with gentle landscapes of hills, lakes, wetlands, ponds and streams. Campers canoe and/or hike each day through spectacular scenery, and camp out each night. Your adventure will start and end at Unirondack, where campers prepare for the trip on Sunday and take a welcome hot shower on Friday before joining our Parker 2 campers for our end-of-week banquet, campfire and dance.


Camp Philosophy

Following the philosophy and values of Unitarian Universalism, Unirondack strives to be a place that is open and welcoming to all individuals regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, economic standing, sexual orientation, gender presentation, physical ability, and religion. Of course, we are not perfect. But goals are what we strive for, not what we have already achieved. Daily conversations as a staff and with our camp community regarding policies, decisions, and activities we offer try to keep these beliefs at the center of our decision making process as much as possible. We put our campers and their experience at the center of this decision making process as much as possible. While we are not evangelical in our promotion of the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism, they do provide helpful clarification in a conversation about camp’s goals. They are as follows:

  • Belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
  • Support of justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
  • The right of conscience and use of the democratic process in camp and in society at large.
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unirondack is constantly searching for ways to be more effective at being responsible citizens of our global world. Our food is as locally sourced as we can afford, our staff are trained to listen to camper’s troubles with an open mind, our programs work to upend the constant pressure that our patriarchal world put on our young people, and we challenge heteronormative and cisnormative social structures daily. We push our campers to question their own beliefs and the beliefs that we have in our camp and invite a peaceful and productive dialogue about them.

Finally, we cannot overstate the importance of silliness and fun in the creation of an educational setting. We do believe that camp is a place where opinions can grow and develop and dreams can be realized but it is within an environment that is safe, creative, and wildly rampant with imaginative fun. We believe that immersing humor and levity in all areas of camp and always aim to assume best intentions in our neighbors in the camp community.


Our staff is recruited through word of mouth within our community as well as job postings in national camp publications. We staff a kitchen, a maintenance staff, support staff, and a large program staff. All staff, regardless of their position at camp are interviewed about their educational philosophy and are expected to be active in the larger camp community with campers. Our program staff is comprised of 20+ counselors and program specialists which gives us a counselor to camper ratio of 1:4 and a staff to camper ratio of 1:2. Our counselors are 18 years old or older and our leadership staff are at least 21 years old.

Before camp begins our staff attends a rigorous 7-10 day orientation depending on their position in the camp. During staff week we cover all state-mandated health and safety policies and procedures, emergency protocols, program planning, event management, sanitation and cleanliness, camp traditions, activity facilitation, and obviously our social and philosophical goals.


Unirondack food is not your typical camp food. To think that conscious food creation is not an essential part to building an intentional community runs counter to any successful camp world we know. Unirondack creates as many dishes as possible from whole ingredients and thinks about the nutritional diversity of dishes each day and week. Meals like spaghetti and macaroni and cheese are camp classics but we also pride ourselves in more diverse dishes such as peanut soup, Thai-style stir fry with pad Thai, spanakopita, sushi, and jerk chicken and tofu.

We are exceptionally adept at accommodating vegetarian and vegan diets that are not just removing meat but providing tasty replacements using tempeh, tofu, seitan, and vegetables and are always happy to accommodate our dairy-free and gluten-free campers. We are seasoned in meeting the needs of those with allergies of all kinds and are happy to work with your camper directly to create a food plan that meets their needs including those of campers struggling with eating disorders.

Additionally, we know that ingredients matter. All of our meats are locally sourced, we do not use high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils in any dish, and we use as much pesticide-free and organic ingredients as possible.

Camp and Cabin Life:

Our cabins are rustic wooden cabins with bunk beds and range in size from 6 beds to 16 beds. All our summer cabins have toilet facilities and campers utilize a central showerhouse. In contrast to many summer camps, Unirondack allows parents to sign their campers up for a gender-inclusive housing option for all summer sessions. Cabins are staffed with 2 or 3 counselors per cabin who sleep in staff bunks in each cabin.

During camp activities we require a minimum of 1:10 staff to camper supervision which changes to 1:8 during swimming and boating activities with a minimum of two staff members. Our meals are communal and family-style with all staff and campers joining to break bread together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Each day campers pick their afternoon activities and we offer a diverse program offering each day to provide a balance between active programs, intellectual programs, and pure fun and silliness. In general, we try to offer campers as much flexibility over their camp experience as possible.

Physical Grounds

Unirondack is located on a 9-acre plot of land on a small peninsula on Beaver Lake in the Western Adirondack Park in Upstate New York on land once occupied by the Haudenosauneega Confederacy, specifically the Mohawk and Oneida Nations. The camp is comprised of nine cabins in five buildings, a large presentation/theater space, a small recording studio, a field for large group activities or sports, a gaga pit, a swingset and small basketball court, a large Adirondack-style lodge, a large heated dormitory-style building, a dining hall which can seat 120 people, and has a lakeside artshop. We have a boathouse which has 14 canoes, 10 kayaks, and 2 sunfish sailboats as well as a small beachfront with a dock and swimming area.

During the summer the average temperature is about 68 degrees in summer with 3.5 inches of rain per month in July and August. We are a remote camp, located 30 miles from the nearest town of Lowville. This provides us a breathtaking night sky as well as a feeling of true oneness with nature that we feel is essential to our camp experience.

Camper Packing List

Ready to go?? Before you do, check our camper packing list and let’s make sure you’re all set to arrive! Pro Tip: Mark all items with your name so we can identify them!

Essential Items

  • Bedding: A warm blanket with sheets or a sleeping bag
  • Clothes: A variety of clothes for movement activities, water, warmth, and chilly nights
  • Sneakers or sturdy shoes appropriate for walking or running on camp grounds
  • Underwear, socks and sleep wear
  • Rainwear (poncho or rain jacket)
  • Swimsuit, towel and water shoes or sandals
  • Sun hat and/or sunglasses
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush and comb)
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Water Bottle

Optional Items

  • Musical instruments (for music workshops and campfire sharing)
  • Journal, stationery, envelopes, stamps or a book to read
  • Readings, poetry, music for campfire
  • Fun, funky, or dress-up clothes for banquet and dance
  • Camera (labeled clearly with your name)
  • White T-shirt or other white clothing items for Tye-Dying

What Not To Bring

  • Pocketknives or Blades of any kind
  • Fireworks
  • Cigarettes, Alcohol, Illegal Drugs,
  • Firestarters
  • Laser pointers
  • Cell Phones/Electronics

A Note About Lost Items:

It is important to label all of your items and to keep track of your belongings while at camp. We are unable to return clothing that is left at camp. Clothing that is left at camp is washed and donated to our local thrift store. In the rare event that we can locate a valuable item like a lost camera, you must pay the shipping costs to have the item mailed back to you. Please expect a delay of 3-6 weeks for shipping. Mailing items out from camp is difficult to do and is not a priority for our staff. We strongly recommend that you clearly label items of value or those that may easily go missing.

Camper Safety

Any summer camp will tell you that at the top of their list of priorities is camper safety. At Unirondack we operate under the standards and requirements of the New York State Department of Health and our rigorous Health & Safety Plan. Below, for your viewing, are the NYS DOH standards as well as our Health & Safety Plan.