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Sponsoring Youth to Camp

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Becoming a Sponsor

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

  • select qualified candidates who want to spend a week at a DEC camp,
  • help the campers pay for the camp session, and
  • invite the campers to a meeting of the organization to recount their camp experience.

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

The DEC Summer camps utilize an online registration program which allows sponsors to create accounts and purchase codes which they can give to their campers to pay for camp. Think of these codes as gift cards you give to campers to pay for their week at camp. Sponsors cannot register their campers: the camper's guardian or grown-up must register them due to the medical information and other private information required to register for camp.

To become a new sponsor, you must make an account with the online registration system (leaves DEC website). 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 instruction sheet (PDF). The sponsor instruction sheet provides step-by-step instructions for creating a new account, purchasing sponsorship codes, and managing your sponsor account.

If you have questions not found on the Summer Camps web pages, you may contact camps administration in Albany during 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday, by calling 518-402-8014 or emailing [email protected].

Quick Instructions for Purchasing a Sponsorship Code

** NEW Instructions for 2023 **

All sponsorship codes expire at the end of each camp season. New codes need to be created each year.

In an effort to help sponsors and the DEC Camps Administrative Team accurately track funding and sponsored campers, please email [email protected] with the following information to create codes:

  1. Your organization's name.
  2. How many codes you would like to create.
  3. What you would like the code name to be (e.g. DECsponsor2023).
  4. What payment method you would like to use to create the code. Do not send payment information via email. Payment methods should be saved to your organization's online registration account only.

You will be emailed a confirmation that the transaction was successful and that the codes are ready to be used. The emailed sponsorship code is what you will provide your sponsored campers. This code will be entered by the camper's parent or guardian at registration 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 sponsorship code the day registration opens.

Current Sponsor Information

Quick Questions to Sponsoring Campers

  • What if we have less campers than codes, where does the extra money go? The extra money will remain in the sponsoring organization's account for the next year. A sponsoring organization can request a refund of that money by contacting Albany Camps Administration Office at 518-402-8014, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.
  • Is there a limit to the number of campers sponsored by one organization? No, as long as the sponsor is financially able, the organization can sponsor as many campers as they wish.
  • Can an organization sponsor campers for only a partial amount of the cost of camp? Yes, organizations can sponsor partial amounts.
  • When does the organization add the money into the account for the next camp year? Your organization will need to check that the payment method listed in the online registration system is correct each fall. Sponsors do not need to add money, purchasing the codes will either be a transaction with a payment method or deduct from an existing balance on the account.
  • When does the money get taken out of my bank account? When a sponsorship code is created that purchase is a transaction. The transaction will show up on your bank account/credit card statement within a few business days.
  • Why does my online registration account list a balance? If you have created a sponsorship code that has not been used yet, those funds show as a balance. That funds will remain until a code is created with it and used to register a camper or your organization requests a refund.
  • If I want to sponsor a specific camper, can I do it through a donation to the Camps program? No, donations to the camps program cannot be given out to specific campers. If you want to help a specific child without becoming a sponsor, you will have to work that out privately with the camper's family.

Notification When Code Is Used

Yes, sponsors are notified via email from the online registration system and you can log into the system to check. We strongly encourage sponsors to build relationships with the campers and their families they are sponsoring. The camper's family should be in touch with you to confirm they are attending camp.

Once logged in, click on the menu icon in the top left corner of the screen then follow the below instructions.

  1. Select 'Sponsorships'
  2. Select 'View claims made against my codes'.
  3. Click on the code to see which campers have used the code.

Seventh Camper Promotion

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:

  • Pay for the first six campers in one transaction.
  • The six paid-for campers complete their registration for camp.
  • Contact the camps administrative staff by emailing [email protected] 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 canceled.

Cancellation Procedure

A camper's summer camp registration may be canceled up to three weeks (23 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, Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 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 any time 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 23 calendar days before the start of camp, the sponsor should contact the Albany Camps Administration Office at 518-402-8014, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, 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, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, for substitutions.

About The Camps

For over 75 years, the DEC Summer Camp program has offered week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17. DEC operates four residential camps for youth: 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 (example: 11 years old by December 1, 2022 to attend camp the summer of 2022).

Almost 50% 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.

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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