Youth Summer Camp
For ages 9-12
JUNE 28 – JULY 4, 2020 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 5-11 & 12–18, 2020 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 19–25 & JULY 26–AUG 1, 2020 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 2 – 8 & AUG 9 – 15, 2020 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 (The Famous 90-miler Paddle!)
For ages 15-17
JULY 26 – AUG 1, 2020 FEE: $800
A classic challenge of the Adirondacks and the first leg of a 740-mile trip that carries on to Maine, the 90-miler has been paddled for centuries. Starting Monday only 30 miles from camp, this continuous route from Old Forge, takes the Moose River through the Fulton Chain Lakes, to Raquette Lake and the Raquette River to Forked Lake, Long Lake and finally via the Stony Creek Ponds to Upper, Middle, and Lower Saranac lake and ends at Lake Flower. Finally, campers return to camp on Friday to join the rest of camp for banquet dinner and the dance!
Trip Camp Packing List:
- Water bottle
- Day pack, 40 liters or larger
- Hiking Boots
- 3 pairs of socks (wool preferred)
- Clothes appropriate for active days
- Sunscreen (small container)
- Bug Spray (small container)
- Change of clothes for arrival back at camp
- Water shoes or Durable Sandals
- Personal rock climbing gear
- Small Towel
- Camp Philosophy
- Camp & Cabin Life
- Physical Grounds
- Camper Packing List
- Camper Safety
- Gender-Inclusive Cabins
- Arrival and Departure
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.
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!
- 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
- 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
- Cigarettes, Alcohol, Illegal Drugs,
- 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.
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.
Born in the summer of 2014, perhaps the first summer camp in the country, Unirondack began a trial of having a few cabins in our oldest sessions of youth campers designated as gender-inclusive. In 2018, we boldly expanded this option to camper sessions of all age groups.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why offer gender-inclusive cabins?
This is a long answer with many parallel philosophies. In short, to separate children by two genders reinforces a a gender binary that we simply don’t believe in. To do so would guarantee that every summer we host campers who feel like they are in the “wrong cabin.” Additionally, it creates a heteronormative assumption of our campers when we separate youth by gender as an antiquated safeguard against romantic attraction. The idea that we are preventing romantic feelings or sexual behavior by separating campers by boys and girls simply isn’t true. In the end we believe in the maturity of our campers to behave appropriately regardless of the gender identity of their cabin mates and our track record of hundreds of campers who have participated in gender-inclusive cabins without issue is a testament to that.
How do campers sign up for gender-inclusive cabins?
What gender designation a camper is housed in is decided on by the camper’s parents on the camper form. We do not change a camper’s cabin housing option without parental consult and permission. But we do strongly believe in what a gender-inclusive cabin experience can offer campers which is why it is the default housing option. If you wish to house your camper in a single-gender cabin, simply indicate as such on your camper’s registration form. 🙂
Does a camper have to identify as trans, non-binary, gender-fluid, etc…
Nope! Gender-inclusive cabins are just what they sound like. They are open to campers of any gender.
What about staffing?
Gender-inclusive cabins are staffed by two staff of different genders.
What if my camper feels uncomfortable once the week begins?
The answer is the same as it would be for any camper, if a camper isn’t comfortable with their cabin space we will make all efforts to switch them to a cabin they would be more comfortable with. We’ve never run into a scenario in which we were unable to make this happen.
Where do campers change their clothes, shower, etc…
Same as other cabins, campers have access to private spaces to change their clothes and showers are in a separate showerhouse building. Campers are also allowed to change their clothes within appropriate boundaries in the cabins.
How many cabins are gender-inclusive?
This number changes depending on what parents indicate on their registration. We generally have 1 to 3 gender-inclusive cabins out of the 8 or 9 cabins we have on camp. For the younger sessions it is usually around 5% of our camper population, for the oldest sessions, it’s around 35%.
Arrival and Departure Time
Arrival is between 2PM and 4PM on Sunday.
Departure is between 10AM and Noon Saturday.
Please do not arrive early. We don’t mean to be rude but we have so much to do on the morning of camper arrival day and we need every bit of time to get set up. We will have a staff member at the end of camp road to greet you and they will let you know when we are ready for campers and parents to arrive. Please understand our need to get things ready for your arrival!