Chimney Corners Camp > Why Chimney Corners?
Less than 10% of our nation's children (ages 8-15) attend residential summer camp. Some simply have no idea of just how powerful a quality summer camping experience can be for a child. In the early 20th century, Charles Eliot, then-President of Harvard University, called summer camp, "America's most important contribution to the field of education." In the same treatise, he wrote, "I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work." He saw the many benefits of camping, such as heightened self-esteem, increased self-confidence, skill development, opportunity for socialization and enhanced physical fitness. These are the features that attract families to resident camping today.
These days, the traditional resident camp faces competition from a myriad of other summer opportunities that bill themselves as "camps." There are specialty sports camps, computer camps, dance camps, weight-loss camps and even "prelaw" camps which boast about their ability to give their campers a head start on the LSATs (law school admission tests). Additionally, many longer-session summer camps have given in to the pressure to shorten the length of stay for their campers. Quite a few private camps - traditionally eight-week, full summer experiences - have gone to 3-5 week sessions. Many agency camps (YMCA, 4-H, Scouts) offer one and two week sessions. Shorter sessions tend to be more affordable and allow campers to avail themselves of other educational opportunities in a finite summer. With so many summer options available, a camp must clearly define what makes it special and unique among its competitors. And with only one-in-ten children attending resident camp, it is even more critical that a camp distinguish itself and create its own niche. This brings us to the Chimney Corners Camp philosophy of camping:
Chimney Corners' focus is on the cabin group and building relationships with this group. The majority of the camp day is devoted to forming this bond. The girls participate in cabin activities in the mornings and evenings. These activities can be an activity like silk screening a cabin t-shirt or an activity created and organized by the group. Our afternoons allow campers to choose skill activities based on their individual preferences and abilities. Having the camp day set up in this way allows the cabin group to work on small group dynamics, problem solving and cooperation and experience the family away from home while making lasting friendships.
Chimney Corners Camp provides girls with their own space where what they do and think is valued and where the program is fully focused on their needs and interests. CCC is a place where girls and women are the leaders and make the decisions for the camp, while our campers easily embrace their leadership opportunities. CCC is a place where girls can learn to let their light shine and speak their mind.
At the core of the Chimney Corners experience is the cabin group comprised of 8 or 9 girls and two staff members. Each morning, every meal, and each evening is spent in the context of this group. It is through the give and take of daily life, conflict resolution, sharing daily tasks, planning activities, that the true value of our camp program is realized. With the help and guidance of caring and engaged staff, campers learn valuable life-lessons that help them develop as strong individuals.
We value the partnership between parents and staff and welcome parent involvement in our program. In fact, each session all of the moms are invited to spend an entire weekend at camp. While many camps have visiting day, this weekend allows moms a chance to enter their daughter's world and enjoy camp and her relationship with her daughter free of the distractions of day-to-day life. For families without a mom, a female mentor may spend the weekend with the camper. In addition, dads, siblings and other relatives are invited to spend the Sunday of Moms' Weekend at camp participating in family activities.
Families can also participate in the variety of family programs that are offered at both camps throughout the year.
Current and past parents of CCC campers provide much of the YMCA leadership by participating as members of the Moms' Association and The Board of Trustees.
The presence of Camp Becket, and its exceptional reputation for quality, also makes Chimney Corners Camp attractive. Its proximity to Chimney Corners, its similar values and identical session dates, fees and policies are also quite beneficial. Becket and Chimney Corners allow families to have the best of both worlds: single-gender camping programs with controlled opportunities for co-ed activities.
At CCC taking the first step is as important as where the journey ends. Camp is a great place to take risks in an environment that applauds the effort. A camper can get up in front of 380 campers and staff and sing a song or perform a skit knowing that the group supports the effort regardless of a wavering note or a missed line. Through these daily encouragements and opportunities for challenge our campers effectively build self-confidence and gain the confidence to try new things.
For over three quarters of a century, CCC has been a place where girls have spent their summers learning, laughing and building life-long friendships. Many of the traditions started in 1931 continue on to today. Several of Chimney's songs date far back in our history. Song N Sign and Candlelight are examples of two long standing traditions, anxiously awaited by campers today.
While the cabin group is central to the camp experience, each camper also has the opportunity to explore her own interests through afternoon skill activities. Afternoon activities emphasize the development of new skills and enhanced self-confidence, which often accompanies such development. In addition, the value of teamwork and fair play are encouraged in all activities. Campers will find a wide-variety of activities from which to choose.
In all things at camp, we strive to keep the focus always on the camper's experience. Campers are frequently encouraged to give input into the program. A Camp Council, comprised of camper and staff representatives from all age-groups, advises the Director throughout the camp session. Campers evaluate staff and programs mid-session and at the end of the session and programming improvements and changes are based primarily on the input of campers. Staff are encouraged to include campers in the planning of activities and always to consider the needs of campers in plans.
At CCC the values of Caring, Respect, Responsibility and Honesty are emphasized throughout the camp program. Campers are encouraged to be the best citizens that they can be and to value service to others.
We are proud to offer programs that engage youth, teens and adults through their lifetime. For teens, we offer a variety of challenging, age-appropriate programs that meet their unique needs and widening interests. On-site opportunities include the Construction, Riding and Climbing Cabin programs. Our extensive International Camper Exchange Program (ICEP) coupled with other teen travel options such as YAS and TLS give us a wide range of choices for teens. In addition, our Leadership Program, including the REACH and Aides Programs, is one of the finest leadership development opportunities in the camping world.
Chimney Corners Camp is located in the heart of the Berkshires, an area renowned for its beauty and ideal weather (in the summer!). Located within a three hour drive from New York City and an even shorter distance from Boston, we are ideally situated to serve these communities. We are also within one hour and 15 minutes of two major airports in Albany, NY and Hartford, CT making travel to camp from other states and other countries relatively easy.