Wednesday, June 2, 2021

4-H Camp Overlook – A Memorable Outdoor Experience

 girl on a zip line  

Would you like to give your child a truly remarkable gift this summer? How about a memorable outdoor experience in an informal and truly unique educational setting; an experience that enhances life-skills, stimulates interest, and challenges his or her abilities through training, education, and play?  

girl standing on a tree on a ropes course

Located south of Malone, in the hamlet of Mountain View, on a peaceful Adirondack mountain setting of 25 acres with frontage on Indian Lake and the channel between Indian and Mountain View Lakes, 4-H Camp Overlook, which is owned and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties, has been providing affordable, wholesome, educational and recreational outdoor experiences for children and adolescents from our local communities, and from neighborhoods all over New York State and the nation, for more than 75 years.


One week (six day; five night) traditional overnight sessions are offered to youth ages 8 – 19. Campers would normally select four courses that they’d like to participate in, from a wide variety of offered programs and classes that includes canoeing and kayaking, fishing and aquatic education, sailing, eco-exploration, adventure programs; levels 1, 2 and 3 (which contains ropes course elements), archery, air gun marksmanship, rocketry, STEM (hands-on science activities), drama and improvisation, and more. This year however, as part of Camp Overlook’s effort to reduce potential camper and staff risk to COVID-19 exposure, rather than selecting just four favorites, every camper will be given the opportunity to participate in all of the corresponding week’s available programming. Those attending will try new, exciting, and challenging activities; all supervised by well-trained role models serving as counselors. Some courses and classes are available only during certain weeks and age restrictions may apply. Cookouts, sporting events, games, and evening programs, including a talent show and a dance, are all part of the weekly activities attended by the entire group.

kids with pompoms on their heads

For younger campers, there’s Cloverbud Camp, a two-night camping experience specifically designed for children ages 6 – 8, with offered classes and activities that have been modified to meet their needs and abilities, while experiencing the independence of overnight camp for the first time. Cloverbud Camp counselors are specially trained to understand the needs of younger campers and nutritious meals are provided by a friendly, caring kitchen staff.

Older campers, ages 14 and up, are encouraged to enroll in the Counselor-In-Training (CIT) programs. CIT 1 is designed to help teens perfect camp living and teaching skills and focuses on camp philosophy, leadership, personal communication skills, and human development. CIT 1 enrollees are given the opportunity to select the class of their choice and assist with teaching. The CIT 2 training program further develops the skills learned in CIT 1.

CIT 3, available to campers age 16 and up, is a mentoring or counselor shadowing program designed to promote and develop leadership skills through first-hand experience. It’s an all-day program for teens interested in becoming employed as counselors at 4-H Camp Overlook. Participating youth assist with teaching classes and directing evening activities and meet with the camp director and assistant director for evaluation and consideration for employment during the following year’s six week summer camp season.

group of hikers

For those with a thirst for excitement and a taste for adventure, 4-H camp Overlook offers the Mountaineer, Alpine Adventurers, and Pathfinder (MAAP) Programs. Pathfinder is an introductory course, offered to campers of all ages, in which they learn the basics of backpacking and camping (packing techniques, orienteering, outdoor cooking, Leave No Trace principles) and then get to apply what they’ve learned as they hike to the summit of nearby Owls Head Mountain, in the town of Bellmont.

Alpine Adventures is offered to campers age 11 and over who are able to hike 3-6 miles a day, while carrying their own backpack (up to 25% of their body weight). Three days are spent at Camp Overlook learning, planning, and preparing for the latter half of the week; a two-night / two-day backpacking trip in the Adirondack High Peaks region, including the opportunity to summit one of the 46 Adirondack high peaks.

The Mountaineer program is limited to campers ages 13 and older who are seeking an enjoyable, challenging 5-day backpacking trek through the high peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains and are able to hike 5-8 miles a day carrying their own backpack.

At 4-H camp Overlook, children experience personal, social, and educational growth within the context of the natural environment. They participate in recreational programs and activities that promote environmental awareness, social development, community, and healthy life skills. And they take home treasured, lasting memories of their experiences at this very special place.

Why not provide your child with a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience and some very special memories of their own? Don’t miss out. Enroll now.
girl holding an archery bowFor more information or to receive a camp application and sign your child up, contact Camp Overlook at 518-483-4769 or online at  

You can also email the camp. The email address is

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Richard Gast is a retired Extension Program Educator and has been contracted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County to continue his informative and thought provoking articles.

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