DEC Announces Summer Camps Registration Opens March 24, 2024

Families encouraged to register early for camps
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that online registration for the 2024 Summer Camps program will open Sunday, March 24, 2024, at 1 p.m. Guardians can register youth for a week of camp, manage their account, and complete required forms and waivers through a link from the DEC Summer Camps webpage. Parents and guardians are encouraged to register early since many weeks fill up quickly and are advised to monitor the webpage for upcoming announcements on 2024 camp forms.
Commissioner Seggos said, “DEC’s summer camps are a great way to introduce kids to the outdoors and everything it offers. DEC’s summer camps provide children and teens with opportunities to experience outdoor activities and environmental stewardship, all while encouraging our next generation of conservationists.”
Now in its 77th year, the DEC Summer Camps program offers week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17. DEC operates four residential camps for kids: 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). Opening of specific camps is dependent on staff availability.
Camp Rushford will offer three weeks of programing for children aged 14 to 17, including an Outdoor Adventure Week, and four weeks for 11 to 13-year-olds. Camp Colby will operate six weeks of camp for 11 to 13-year-olds, and one week for campers aged 14 to 17. Camp DeBruce will offer six weeks for kids ages 11 to 13. Camp Pack Forest will host children ages 11 to 13 for three weeks, and 14 to 17-year-olds for four weeks with one Outdoor Adventure Week. Individual campers will be limited to one week of camp registration. If there are still spots at camps available after May 24, campers will be allowed to sign-up for additional weeks. The complete schedule of camp weeks and ages is available on the Summer Camps website under Camp Weeks and Availability.
At camp, kids will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of outdoor adventures and are encouraged to try new things. Activities may include fishing, birding, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering, and hunter safety education.
One hunter education program of gun, bow, or trapping is offered at each camp during four of the camp weeks. Class size is limited for hunter education programs and campers must sign-up during registration and complete required homework in advance. Registered campers will receive booklets prior to their session at camp.
DEC campers engage in fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration focused on local field, forest, and freshwater aquatic ecological principles. Campers might collect insects in a field, use nets in a stream, investigate soil composition, measure tree sizes, or practice taking field notes and writing in journals. Trips to nearby state lands might include kettle bogs, State parks, fish hatcheries, or nature museums.
Camps Pack Forest and Rushford will offer “Outdoor Adventure Week” during Week 4 (July 21-26). DEC encourages teens ages 14 to 17 who love being outdoors to sign up for this popular program that will help deepen their enjoyment and widen their horizons. During this week, campers will develop hands-on outdoor skills that go above and beyond the traditional camp week. In addition to our typical camp activities, campers may be engaged in team and trust-building activities, forestry, citizen science, conservation science, and more. Guest DEC and natural resource professionals will introduce campers to a variety of career options.
All four camps offer at least six one-week sessions (Sunday to Friday) beginning June 30, 2024; Camp Colby, Rushford, and Pack Forest will operate for seven weeks. One week of camp is $350 per child for 2024, and includes meals, trips, and a camp t-shirt.
In addition to inviting 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 Sponsoring Youth to Camp on DEC’s website.
For more information, please visit the DEC’s website, email [email protected], visit “NYS DEC Summer Camps” on Facebook or write to DEC Camps, 3rd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4501.
—Submitted by New York
State Department of Conservation

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