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Sponsoring Youth to Camp

DEC regrets to announce that its in-person summer camps program will not operate in 2021.

The health and safety of our campers and staff have always been the top priority for DEC summer youth camps. Camp staff worked diligently to review guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, American Camp Association, and other residential camps to develop a plan to be able to welcome campers this summer.

After careful consideration we determined there are too many uncertainties beyond our control to ensure our camps could open and operate safely.

While we are sad to make this announcement, we are making plans to create fun virtual opportunities for the summer of 2021 so campers and their families can stay connected to the DEC camp program.

Check out the DEC camps webpage to find out what we're planning and contact us at if you have any topics you'd like to see in our line-up. And mark your calendars-2022 is the 75th anniversary of the camp program and we want you to help us celebrate!

Becoming a Sponsor

Current Sponsor Information


Read the 2020 Sponsor Letter (PDF) for more information.

About Sponsoring

For over 70 years, the Summer Camp 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 in Livingston Manor (Sullivan County); Camp Rushford in Caneadea (Allegany County), and Pack Forest in Warrensburg (Warren County). In 2018, all four camps began offering programing for children ages 11-13 and 14-17. Campers must be the minimum age by December 1 of the current camp year in order to attend camp (IE: 11 years old by December 1st 2020 to attend camp the summer of 2020).

Older campers participate in the DEC Teen Ecology Workshop which includes more in-depth science lessons and guest educators from the DEC and local colleges. Camp includes a wide variety of activities - games, hikes, fishing, swimming, camping, hunter education programs, guest speakers, and of course campfires and s'mores!

Almost 70% of campers at DEC summer camps are sponsored by organizations. These include rod and gun clubs, garden clubs, conservation groups, science clubs, outdoors clubs, and other environmental or social community groups. We thank our sponsors for their ongoing support of the DEC camps program and helping get kids outside.

Any organization may sponsor campers. We encourage recreational organizations, sportsman's clubs, environmental groups, school associations, houses of worship and civic groups to:

  • select a qualified candidate who wants to spend a week at a DEC camp
  • help the camper pay for the camp session
  • invite the camper to a meeting of the organization to recount his or her camp experience.
  • Parents who would like their child to be sponsored should bring the program to the attention of an organization in their area. If a sponsoring group is not available, parents may pay for the child's stay at DEC camp.

Space is limited and fills up quickly during the January opening of registration. We recommend organizations identify potential campers in advance of registration and provide their prospective campers with all the information they need well before the opening of registration.

You can download the complete Sponsor instructions in the Sponsor Handbook using the link at the upper right hand corner of this page. The handbook provides more information and step by step instructions for creating an account, creating codes and monitoring the usage of your sponsorship codes.

For more questions, please visit the FAQ which includes a section for sponsors or you may contact the Camps Administration in Albany Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM by calling 518-402-8014

Becoming a Sponsor

The DEC Summer camps utilize an online registration program which allows sponsors to create accounts, deposit money, and generate codes which they can give to their campers to pay for camp. Sponsors may not register their campers - the camper's parent or guardian must register them due to the medical information required to register for camp.

To become a new sponsor, you must make an account with the online registration system (leaves DEC website). Click the link to create a new account. Please create your sponsor account as a "Corporate/group" account type, and provide contact information for your sponsoring organization as well as the primary contact for the account.

We strongly recommend you download the Sponsor Handbook from the Important Links section at the upper right hand side of this page. The sponsor handbook provides step by step instructions with images for creating a new account, purchasing sponsorship codes, and managing your sponsor account.

Quick Instructions - Purchase a sponsorship code

To Purchase a sponsorship code, log into the online registration system (link leaves DEC's website). Under "Additional options" select "Sponsorship codes." Select "Purchase a sponsorship code to distribute" and then follow the instructions on screen to create the code. You will select the amount the code is for, the amount an individual camper can use, the number of uses a camper can have of the code, and then pay for the code.

The sponsorship code you create, which starts with SC######-SponsornameYear is what you will provide your sponsored campers. Make sure to include the "SC" and the dash "-" when giving them the code. This code will be entered by the camper's parent or guardian at check out. You must give these codes out to the children you are sponsoring BEFORE the camps registration opens. Registration fills quickly and parents must be prepared to complete their registration and pay using the sponsor code the day registration opens.

Current Sponsor Information

Seventh Camper Promotion

Additionally the DEC Summer camps offer a seventh camper free promotion for sponsors. If you pay to send six kids to camp, you are eligible to send a seventh camper for free. To qualify for this promotion you must:
1: Pay for the first six campers in one transaction
2: The six paid-for campers complete their registration for camp
3: Contact the Summer Camps Albany Administrative staff at 518-402-8014 Monday-Friday 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM to receive a code for the free seventh camper. The free seventh camper code is only valid for the year the six campers were paid for. The seventh camper code cannot be refunded if the reservation is cancelled.

Cancellation Procedure

A camper's summer camp registration may be canceled up to 3 weeks (21 calendar days) prior to the day that your child is scheduled to check into camp and receive a refund. To cancel a camp registration, you must call 518-402-8014 between Monday- Friday 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. It must be done over the phone using this main number; do not call the individual camps. You will get a confirmation of the cancellation via email.

Medical Refunds: refunds requested due to medical illness or injury occurring while at camp will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If your child is unable to attend camp due to a medical reason, you may request a full refund at anytime prior to the start of the camp week they are registered for (not after camp has closed for the season) by providing a doctor's note. The doctor's note must state that the child is unable to participate in camp activities due to a medical excuse. It must be signed and dated by the doctor.

Refunds will not be credited to credit or debit cards. A check will be issued by DEC. It may take up to 60 days to receive a refund check.

Sponsors will not receive a refund if a camper does not show up at camp or leaves during the week. If a camper notifies their sponsor that they will not or cannot attend camp prior to 21 days before the start of camp the sponsor should contact the Albany camps administration at 518-402-8014 to modify or cancel the registration and arrange for another camper to attend camp.

Sponsors may substitute a new camper in place of the original camper if they meet the gender and age requirements of the specific reservation. Please call Albany camps administration at 518-402-8014 for substitutions.

Donating to Camps

If you don't want to become a sponsor, but you'd like to help youth get to camp, you can donate online (leaves DEC website) to help support the camps program. Donations may also be made in memory of loved ones. Funds raised for camperships help underwrite the costs for youth that otherwise would be unable to attend.

The camp donations are handled by the Natural Heritage Trust (leaves DEC website). It is a 501 (c) (3) charitable trust created to receive and administer gifts in support of parks, land and water conservation and outdoor recreation in New York State. The Natural Heritage Trust works with DEC to administer and raise private funds for the camp program. Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. You may also donate by check using the instructions below.

The check should be made out to Natural Heritage Trust, with DEC Camps written in the memo section. Please include a note with the name of the person in whose memory you are making the donation and the name of the family member who should receive a letter informing them of your contribution, if the donation is in memorial. Checks should be mailed to: Natural Heritage Trust Camps, c/o Director of Management & Budget Services, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-5010. Natural Heritage Trust will send out acknowledgment letters to donors for tax purposes.

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