Frost Valley YMCA
Coordinates: Frost Valley YMCA is a camping, environmental education, and conferencing center located in Claryville, New York, part of the Catskill Mountains. Founded in 1901 as Camp Wawayanda, the camp moved to its present location in 1958.
During the summer, Frost Valley runs a camp for 6–15 year-olds, most of whom are from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Throughout the rest of the year, Frost Valley hosts school groups and other organizations for environmental education and conferencing activities.
The summer camp program at Frost Valley runs for eight weeks (four sessions, 12 days each). Each session starts on a Sunday and ends on a Friday, and nearly 500 campers attend each session. About 250 summer-time staff arrive the week before the first session, many of whom were campers when they were younger. Campers are broken up into villages by age and live together in cabin groups. Each village has a corresponding brother or sister village for the opposite gender of the same age. Camp is separated into two halves, Camp Wawayanda (ages 7–12) and Camp Henry Hird (ages 13–15). During the day, the camp schedule includes Specialties, Waterfront, Sports & Games, Feeling Good and an Evening Program.
The Wellness Philosophy has been a part of camp for several decades. The camp promotes growth in "mind, body, and spirit" and the motto is "Build Strong." Frost Valley focuses on keeping its guests healthy and happy.
The final week of summer is devoted to a Family Camp where family members from all generations come together for a week.
Villages are groupings of cabins or lodges, and most villages accommodate 30–40 campers each. Campers live in cabins or lodges that sleep eight per room. There is a 1-to-4 or 5 counselor to camper ratio, except when a camper has dialysis, in that case, there is a 3:8 counselor to camper ratio.
The villages are:
- Pokey (Pocohontas) and Totem entering 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade
- Susky (Susquehanna) and Forest- entering 5th or 6th grade
- Lakota and Outpost- entering 6th or 7th grade
- Henry Hird
- Sacky (Sacajawea) and Hemlock-entering 8th grade
- Tacoma and Lenape- entering 9th grade
- Windsong and Pac (Quinnipiac)- entering 10th grade
There are also several mixed-gender villages with special focuses: Adventure Village (previously known as Woodwise),and MAC (Mainstreaming at Camp, YAI National Institute for People with Disabilities, for children and young adults with developmental disabilities.
Various other villages have also existed in the history of the camp, including Sequoia, an adventure village, and Phoenix, the precursor to Sycamore. Iscusfa was an arts program that was last ran in Summer 2006.
Established in 1975, over 1000 children and adolescents with kidney disease have attended the resident camp program at Frost Valley YMCA, under the supervision of the Ruth Gottscho Dialysis and Children's Kidney Program. The first program of its kind in the US, today the Frost Valley program is still unique in its efforts to mainstream the children with kidney disease into cabins and programs with other children. Children receiving hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, in chronic renal failure, or post-transplant, are able to participate in a traditional residential camp experience, while gaining confidence and independence, in what may be their first time away from home. Campers are able to meet other children with medical problems similar to their own and are also able to be "teachers" to their counselors and cabin mates. They learn new skills and improve techniques for their own medical management. The children are part of the mainstream camp environment, and participate as fully as possible in all camping activities, meeting other campers from all walks of life, and from around the world. The program is based in a full-service, on-site dialysis unit, equipped for hemodialysis, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), as well as care of the post-transplant and pre-dialysis camper. The unit is staffed by pediatric nephrologists and nephrology nurses, under the supervision of the Children's Hospital at Montefiore. Special attention is given to the individual medical and developmental needs of each child, and treatment schedules are arranged to allow for maximum participation in camp activities.
The Counselor-in-Training (CIT) or Adventure- in- Training (AIT) program is a month-long program for 16-year-olds who have an interest in becoming camp counselors. The program consists of three weeks at camp, training, working, and having an in-cabin experience, and one week hiking. During the in-camp portion, CITs work together to plan and run programs for campers. The out-trip has varied in length from 6 to 10 days and includes backpacking through the Catskill Mountains or Adirondack Mountains .
The Adventure Trip program has been in existence since 1968 when Henry "Bud" Cox took a group of teens on a 2-week backpacking trip throughout the Catskills. Today, Adventure Trips travel around the country and are expanding to international destinations as well. These trips are designed for boys and girls ages 11–17 who are looking for a different experience than the traditional resident camp. Trips vary from traditional backcountry adventures to service learning expeditions focused on giving back to needy communities. Activities available through the trip programs include whitewater rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, surfing, skateboarding, spelunking, volunteer service, biking, sea kayaking, and high ropes. Other offerings are beginning to appear as well including a Spring Break trip to New Orleans to assist Habitat for Humanity.
Frost Valley offers a complete overnight winter camp with activities including snow tubing, snow shoe hikes, cross-country skiing, and its own Winter Olympics program.