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Information for Camp Attendees

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Parent & Camper Handbook

Camp staff created a handbook you can download (PDF) that answers many of the questions parents and campers have about DEC summer camp. Please review it and contact Summer Camp Staff if you have additional questions. After registering your camper for this season, you will receive a copy of the handbook with your registration confirmation email.

Looking for images into camp life? Check out the DEC Summer Camps Facebook page. (leaves DEC website)

Check-in & Pick-up

  • Check-in: Sunday, 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM
  • Pick-up and closing ceremony: Friday, 4:30 PM

Note: DEC Summer Camps is not responsible for camper's transportation to & from camp

Leaving Camp Early: If your child needs to leave camp early for any reason, please discuss this with the camp director at check-in so the details are confirmed. This will ensure they are ready on time. The guardian must sign the child out at the time of pick-up. Only the adults listed in the online registration system will be allowed to pick up the child. The names can be updated in the system by the parent/guardian.

Arriving Late: While we understand this happens, it is very important to arrive on Sunday as close to the check-in time as possible. After check-in, there are critical camp-building activities and meeting the staff, and during check-in parents and campers can talk with directors about specific needs like allergies and medications.

Alternative Adults Picking Up Campers

If the parent/guardian cannot pick up their camper, or if one adult is picking up multiple campers on Friday, the alternative adult must be listed in the online registration system. Parents/Guardians can update the list of approved adults to pick up their children in the online registration system or they can call and talk to the camp director during the week. It is highly encouraged to make the update in the online registration due to business of camp staff during the week.

Health & Safety of Campers


While the health director can accommodate medications while at camp, all medication must be in the original container and properly marked. At check-in, the parent/guardian must speak with the health director to provide the medications and any instructions. Each camp has an EMT or nurse on staff at all times.

Campers receive medications at each meal and at bedtime, when the health director holds "Med Calls".

Food Allergies

Cooks at camp can easily accommodate vegetarian and nut-free diets, but the parent/guardian must notify the camp at least two (2) weeks prior to the child's arrival at camp to ensure the necessary food is at camp. During check-in, the camper and parent/guardian should meet with the Camp Cook to confirm dietary restrictions and needs. For other diets, please contact the Sumer Camps Administrator to discuss your child's needs, the Camps Administrator can be reached at 518-402-8014, Monday-Friday between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM.

Emergencies: Illness or Injury at Camp

On-duty staff carry radios on them, both in the field and at camp. The radios link to the camp's directors and/or directly to the regional radio system, which can summon help immediately. All off-site trips have been approved by the DEC Summer Camps Administrator and the NYS Department of Health.

DEC camp counselors have at least two years of college and have required DEC training and training in first aid, AED, CPR, 15-passenger van safety and fire extinguisher use. They also have training in working with youth, firearm safety, child abuse reporting, bloodborne pathogens, hazard awareness, waterfront safety and preventing sexual harassment. In addition, all camp staff are run through the NYS Sex Offender Registry and Unified Court System for background checks.

Homesickness: Calling Home

Normally no, we don't have campers call home. Staff try to help the child work through homesickness by encouraging involvement in camp activities. If there is concern that a child might become homesick while at camp, the parent/guardian should talk to the health director during check in on Sunday. Knowing the parent's/guardian's wishes regarding a child's camp experience will help us if homesickness occurs.

Staying at Camp

Money, Electronics, and Laundry:

  1. No, spending money is NOT needed at camp. There is no place to spend it. Money and all valuables should remain at home
  2. No, electronics (including cell phones and digital games) are NOT allowed at camp. These will be confiscated and returned to the camper during check-out. They are easily damaged and broken and there is limited to no cell signal at the camps.
  3. No, there is NO laundry service at camp. Campers should bring enough clothing for the entire week for a range of temperatures and weather conditions. Note: there is a washer and dryer for emergencies.

Sharing Cabins with One Friend

Yes, friends can attend camp the same week. Two friends can even request to share a cabin, but BOTH friends must request the other on their application and understand that if camp staff have concerns or issues, they can be separated. Only one cabin mate request per camper is allowed.

Cabins at Camp

Cabins are rustic and have bunk beds. Approximately ten (10) people sleep in each cabin, including a counselor and possibly a camp volunteer or second counselor. A general bath house is located within 200 feet of each cabin. Cabin size and style varies from camp to camp.

Food at Camp

Meals consist of wholesome foods prepared by experienced cooks. There are plenty of options for everyone, but if your youth has allergies, please see the section on allergies in the "Health & Safety of Campers" section on this page.

Meals might include things like:

  • Dinner: Taco night with rice and beans, a cookout with burgers (including veggie burgers), baked ziti, stir fry, BBQ chicken and vegetable sides
  • Lunch: build your own sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, pasta salad, quesadillas, and mac and cheese
  • Breakfast: breakfast burritos, tofu scramble, build your parfait bar, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and granola

Sample Schedules

Each day is a little different, and each camp is a little different. Generally, campers get up at 7:00 AM and have an early bird activity like a polar bear swim or fishing, and then it's off to breakfast. After breakfast, there are activities until lunch. These may include playing environmental games, participating in an environmental lesson, hiking or using sampling equipment to study insects. For example, one popular environmental lesson and game is "Oh Deer!" in which students participate in a game while learning about population biology.

After lunch, there are more activities, such as hiking, canoeing, archery or field trips. Preparations for an overnight hike or hunter education classes are other possibilities. The afternoon session is followed by dinner. A guest speaker such as a wildlife biologist, forest ranger, or conservation officer may visit during the afternoon or evening to talk with campers. In addition, taking a night walk, star gazing, playing games or listening to stories around a campfire might round out the day.

COVID-19 Update

There will be COVID-19 proceedures that you and your child will need to comply with to safely participate in camps this summer. We will highlight several of them here and follow up with detailed protocols prior to the camp week. Please be aware that the specific details of how camp may operate are subject to change based on the guidance from the New York State Department of Health and Governor's Office.

To attend a session, DEC requires that all campers use a rapid antigen test upon arrival at camp for camp check-in. (If the test is positive, they will need to return home and will be refunded the cost of camp).In accordance with the New York State Department of Health's Camp Safety Advisory Council Summer Camp Guidelines, DEC Summer Camps strongly encourages that campers be up to date with an approved COVID-19 vaccine.Vaccination information is available at the New York State COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Adolescents page.

Campers and staff will be given the option to wear masks when indoors or outdoors. DEC will provide masks but individuals may provide their own mask if the mask fits snugly over their nose, mouth, and chin.

Please contact DEC Camps staff via email at with questions or for clarification. Staff will return your email as soon as possible.

More about Information for Camp Attendees:

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  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8014.
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    Albany, NY 12233-5256
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