Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Family Fun Day at Camp Chingachgook Saturday

For over 100 years Camp Chingachgook has been offering children and families options for enjoying nature on Lake George. Off-season the camp has opened its facility to the public for site- specific activities, but for the first time Camp Chingachgook is hosting a free family fun day, October 26 from 10 am – 4 pm, utilizing the whole camp property.

According to Camp Director Billy Rankin they used to offer various specialty days like High Ropes Day or Climbing Day throughout the season. In an attempt to simplify things and create a more family-friendly atmosphere, they created three seasonal events: Winter Wonderland, Spring Fling and the Fall Family Fun Day.

“This is the first time that we are offering this event for free,” says Rankin. “It has been an evolution. When we made the program change for the Winter Wonderland we saw over 100 people participate and our Spring Fling brought 80 people out, even though it was raining. More people make it more fun for the family.”

For the October 26th free family day, the staff at Camp Chingachgook will be on hand to run organized activities such as archery, arts and crafts and guided hikes. There will be access to soccer, tennis, and basketball as well as other athletic courts and fields. Rankin and his staff will have sporting equipment available for participants. If its chilly there will be a fire in the chiminea on the outside deck and plenty of marshmallows to roast.

“There is a bouldering wall that goes in a circle and doesn’t need a belay system so people can do it on their own,” explains Rankin. “We also have access to the hiking trails from our property so people can come before the 10 o’clock (am) registration and hike to one of the look-outs over Lake George. Some people just come and walk around the property and enjoy the day. It doesn’t have to be all organized.  There is something for everyone. ”

Rankin has been watching the weather and is hopeful that the weather will hold so people can join staff on one of the camp war canoes. The canoes won’t be used if it’s too cold or windy. The staff will take people on a quick 10-minute paddle out to look around the lake and loop back.  For someone interested in the camp program, Rankin will also be giving a tour after lunch.

“These events are great introductory days to see our staff in action,” says Rankin. “Families get to see what a day at camp is like, see what housing is like and have a meal in the dining room. At the end of the day they can ask their children if it’s something they’re interested in.”

Registration is encouraged so the camp can provide lunch for everyone. The lunch buffet consisting of sandwich, soup and salad bar is free to all registered participants. The next family days will be Winter Wonderland on February 15 and 22nd and the Spring Fling on May 10th.

Photo of  the campers on the war canoe courtesy Camp Chingachgook

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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