Camp Becket for Boys was established in 1903, and has remained a leader in the field of resident camping. Henry and Ina Gibson, early directors at Camp Becket, helped to establish Chimney Corners Camp for Girls in 1931. The Gibsons ran Chimney Corners Camp for the first ten years, until the camp was purchased by Howard and Evelyn Smith, who operated Chimney Corners as a private camp until its acquisition by the YMCA in 1972. Since their founding, these camps have offered rustic four week resident camp programs that teach leadership and develop strong character in young people.
In 1966 the BCCYMCA established the International Camper Exchange Program (ICEP), sending teenagers to Partner YMCAs, to promote world understanding and an appreciation for other cultures. ICEP programs are currently offered in Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, New Zealand, Sweden, Russia, Japan, and Vietnam. In addition, the following domestic travel and service programs have been added; Reaching, Educating, and Caring for Humanity (REACH), a cultural learning program with the Lakota Native Americans in South Dakota, Teen Leadership and Service (TLS), a biking program through New York and Vermont, and Yellowstone Adventure and Service (YAS), an environmental learning program out west. The scope of the Teen Leadership Programs sets BCCYMCA apart from other YMCAs in the USA.
The Berkshire Outdoor Center, serves an additional 11,000 participants each year. In 1991, when the Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA moved their administrative offices from Framingham, MA to our site in Becket, MA, a commitment was made to expand our services on a year-round basis. A business plan for the Berkshire Outdoor Center was completed in 2007, with a focus on increasing the number of leadership development programs, family camps, and retreats. Over the past three years, the Outdoor Center has been growing, and has the greatest potential to expand in the future. In addition to the programs that are offered during the school year, the Berkshire Outdoor Center offers a Summer Day Camp Program for families in the local community. The Day Camp has been growing each year to meet a need for local families.