The Oswegatchie Team
While Oswegatchie has not had problems or concerns with Measles, the New York State Department of Health has released the following information in response to recent outbreaks.
In New York, all oversight of summer camps is accomplished by the NYS DOH. For more information about summer camps and all things health related, you can visit https://www.health.ny.gov/
Update Post - Summer 2019 : Oswegatchie had no measles reported onsite.
Shea Booster, Western Region VP will attend the first week of FFA Summer Camp at Oswegatchie. Week 1 is June 30th - July 5th.
To learn about Shea Booster and each his fellow national officers, look for the officer pages at FFA. This is the direct link to the National Officer Team.
We look forward to seeing all of you this summer at Oswegatchie.
To: High School Agricultural Educators
Re: The Most Excellent FFA Camp in the Northeast!
The Oswegatchie FFA Summer Camp has been putting together a Tool Box that teachers can use to get more students to Oswegatchie this summer. Much of our success depends on the excitement of teachers and the enrollment of campers. We are here to support you and everything you do. The NY FFA not only has a legacy of great students, but we also have a great place in the Adirondacks!
… We are the only FFA Camp in New York and New England!
… We are excellent for younger students and its a great way to get them excited about the FFA.
… Oswegatchie is a great introduction to your agricultural program and the FFA.
… Non-FFA students from your school can have the FFA price when they go to camp.
… Recruit outside your ag classes.
… Oswegatchie is a great way to get students in your classes. If they want to be in the FFA, they need to be enrolled in your ag classes.
… Oswegatchie is an excellent gateway to the larger FFA leadership spectrum.
… We do a great job of blending leadership training, environmental education, and outdoor recreation.
Inside the Tool Box
Summer Camp Video (online and hard copy)
Our 20 minute long video is made to show campers the inside scoop and behind the scenes operations of the camp. Its available online and digitally.
Xpedition Outdoors TV Show (online and hard copy)
PBS made a show starring Oswegatchie!
Our Summer Camp Website
To learn how our summer camp is a great option for your students and you, look at www.oswegatchiecamp.com . Besides a ton of pictures, we have anything a camper, parent, or teacher would need to get to camp and understand what we do. FAQ, blog, etc!
Our Teacher’s Page
This page has 3 tutorials and a warm fuzzy “why” FFA Advisors bring kids to camp. If you are new to the Oswegatchie Nation, I suggest checking this out.
Our Main Website
To learn about everything that we do at Oswegatchie, go to www.oswegatchie.org.
We have a ridiculous amount of content on our page @ https://www.facebook.com/Oswegatchie/
Youtube has over 100 Oswegatchie videos…
Our physical brochure is a great way to share the possibilities of Oswegatchie with your students. 16 pages of camp content help get them interested. I can send you brochures at anytime. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a care package ASAP.
Our summer camp brochure is available digitally as a PDF.
Full Color Flyers
Use our printed flyers to promote outside your Ag classes. Email me and I can drop them in the mail to you.
These PDFs are easily printed and used to cover the large groups. These are different then our nice print flyers. http://www.oswegatchiecamp.com/in-school-flyers.html
In closing, I would enjoy talking to any teacher about getting kids to camp. If you are new to teaching, Oswegatchie can be an intimidating step. Trust me, It will make the rest of your teaching experience better.
We just found this video made by Camp Tecumseh in Indiana. It was so good I immediately wished we had made it.
The nice thing about the camping industry is that enlightened summer camp professionals know that there are enough campers out there for us all to be successful. In turn, if one of creates something this good. Its ok to share as long as you give credit back. So thanks Tecumseh!
Getting to the Point: Summer camp employment is not for everyone. You need to have patience, endurance, imagination, and be ready to help other people. Watch this video and if it doesn't move you to want to work at a camp, then do not apply.
Lets say you want to work at a camp, Camps are special for both our campers and staff. Be prepared for what could be a fundamentally life changing experience. Additionally, its the perfect place to test yourself, take the lessons learned, and apply them to other opportunities.
The most important step in working at a summer camp is applying...
If you are interested in applying at Oswegatchie for a summer job, following the link below. Let it be known that applications are due in early February. If you do miss the deadline, a phone call can determine if any opportunities still exist.
A few times every year, I talk to a past camper and they will say "Hey Bill, I don't think I will be at camp this summer". Of course my heart skips a beat for a second and then I ask what they plan on doing with their summer. Its commonly 4 different responses which include, summer jobs, summer school, sports camps, or graduating from high school. Oddly enough, I don't hear family vacations.
So in my most wise and thoughtful voice, I have at least 4 responses:
Lastly, Oswegatchie is a Life Long Experience! Since this is a year round facility, its highly conceivable that you could return to Oswegatchie as a staff member, an FFA Advisor, a teacher, a parent, a grand parent, or a guest. We have past campers that have been back to Oswegatchie every year of their life since 1962.
For more info, check out our main website at www.oswegatchie.org . If you were once a camper, there is still time for you to still be a part of the Oswegatchie experience. If you are a camper now, we look forward to having you back. We also look forward to finding out what you do next!
Summer Camp Director
1. Cell phones and wifi do not work here. Unplug at camp!
I warn campers every year about how the camp environment is hard on electronics. With all the sand and water, electronics do not last long. I suggest it shutting down, putting in your luggage and don't worry about it till Friday! That way you have it on the way home!
2. It will be too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too sunny, too dark, too much, too little, too many people, too little people! You’re outdoors, its perfect!
Its not as easy as it is at home, but that is a big reason why camp is so important! Learning to deal with new people and places will make you more successful in life! True Story!
3. Talk to the staff, we are here to help you!
Yes, they are dorks, but they want to make sure you are having a great camp experience!
4. You are going to live more life in 5 days than you will all summer!
When you get to camp on Sunday, it will seem a little slow. We are getting all of the organization stuff accomplished while waiting for everyone to arrive. By the time you head out to your campsite, things will go by in a flash! When you leave on Friday, you will wonder where the week went. We basically will be busy from the minute you get up to the minute you get ready for bed. Its about living life!
5. You will meet people from all over New York!
We have campers from NYC, Clymer, Plattsburgh, and all points in-between! Some years we also get Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Georgia!
6. The FFA is a youth leadership organization! Learn more at www.ffa.org or www.newyorkffa.org !
7. You will help clean Oswegatchie twice everyday!
Oswegatchie is a big place and every camper helps pick up around camp each day. Right after getting up in the morning, your campsite group cleans up their campsite. It takes 5 minutes and it just sweeping and organizing your gear! After breakfast, every campsite group also cleans up a part of the main camp area. It is more sweeping, picking up, taking out the trash, and looking for litter. Its so easy, but you just need to know it happens!
8. You keep your own gear organized!
As simple as it gets. You as a camper will be responsible for picking your own bags, your own gear, and taking care of your bedding and wet towels. Since the origin of Oswegatchie, taking personal responsibility to look out for yourself has been the biggest growing point of camp.
9. You will do a lot of walking, but you will also do a lot of pedaling, paddling, riding, swimming, laughing, and living your life!
10.Its Outside 90% of the time! .......and that is a good thing!
Hey Mom and Dad!
Right now, i have 2 little boys. They are little and don't much to be happy, but I look at them and I think of every little difficult moment of my own youth and freak out a little. I have had a great life, but for every high point, there was that awkward / painful moment. I think as parents we want to protect them from all of that, but its impossible, it all comes up eventually.
With that said, now that I am a dad, I see the face of my kids in the face of every young person that comes through the camp. I just want you to know that if you send your child to our camp, we will look out for them as if they were our own kids.
But for now, in order to better prepare you for sending your kid to camp, here are 10 things parents should know about camp!
Camp Director, 2000 to Present
P.S. I apologize for any grammar and spelling errors. Writing is hard!
1. As soon as your kid graduates high school, all these things that adults do for kids,disappear!
So get those kids out there while opportunities are plentiful! This is one of those lines I use on kids all the time to get them thinking about seizing opportunities. Summer camp is a prime example of an opportunity that is only available to you when you are young!
2. Your kid is going to be fine, relax and enjoy the week, your kid will come back a better person.
Trust me! Camp is actually one of the safest places on earth for experiencing new things.
3. Staff members are not perfect, but they are here to help!
Many camps employ staff that came up through the program. They love the place and remember everything past staff did for them. Many of them are sacrificing more lucrative opportunities in order to be at camp for the summer. While nobody is perfect, it takes a special person to want to work at camp. They do want what is best for everybody, even if they are still learning what that might be themselves.
4. Campers do need to be speak up if they need something.
We want to help campers have the best week possible. Sometimes we need kids to speak up and help us help them. Even if we eventually say "No" to a request, we want kids to learn to speak up for themselves!
5. Parents worry too much in the last minutes, do your research up front and trust in the camp.
Parental angst is normal, but its easy to combat! Just take time to learn as much about a camp before you send your kid. If that fails, take some deep breathes, calm yourself, and think clearly about what questions you truly need answered.
6. Even if someone else endorses the camp, make sure you understand what its about!
Every camp is different and operates in its own way. Many times the camp even has a mission that is special for that camp or that week. Make sure the camp is the right camp for your kid!
7. Complete the health form properly, both sides, and add a note if your child has special medical or food needs that need clarifying.
If your child has "special needs" or needs special things, let us know about it. The health form is the best tool for informing the camp about what your child needs. We want to deliver the best experience! The health form is important for making that happen! If they are allergic to black beans, we need to know. However, remember what are priorities, not preferences.
8. Got questions about the camp, call us! I really want to tell you all about our camp!
9. Want to see the place? Come and visit us! I really want to show you our camp!
10. If you are afraid you will miss your kids, its OK, that means you just got a big heart!
Every so often,I get a call from a parent that is seriously missing their kid. That is great, but remember what we tell our homesick kids. "Camp is only 5 days long, it will be over before you know it!" I technically have tons of wisdom that I share with homesick campers, but this is all you need for now. My advice to you is don't call, just keep yourself busy, and when they see you on Friday, its going to be great!
The 2014 summer season was excellent!
It usually takes me a few months after summer camp to fully reflect on what just happened. People think summer camp is this easy thing that just happens. You just get together and have a bunch of fun and hang out in the woods, right? I wish!
With 700 campers, 30 staff, 40 advisors plus families, parents, wildlife, vendors, program areas, and budgets to consider simultaneously, it keeps your head spinning. I typically have at least 6 things on my mind at the same time, and half of those are things in the moment! There is a ton of work!
Luckily, Oswegatchie has great staff, campers, and advisors that all do a part of the work. Working together, we have created a system that divides up the responsibilities and allows for a routine that gets many things accomplished simultaneously.
I would like to thank the many FFA advisors that give a week of their life to get kids here and then spend time improving the camp. They are often doing work that nobody would ever volunteer for on a hot summer day. Everything from chainsaw work, roofing, and sheet rock can be on the volunteer list. The FFA Advisors do work that helps keep our costs low and make major improvements at the same time. Thank you for making the difference!
Next I would like to thank the staff that work tirelessly to get the job done. Long hours, little sleep, and challenges all creep into each day to make the work tough, but your love for Oswegatchie and making a difference in camper lives is essential part of our success. I hope that each and everyone of you learn something daily that will make you better people in all of your future endeavors!
Lastly, thank you to all our campers and parents that take part in our summer camp program. Every year we are so lucky to have fantastic campers. You folks "get it". You understand the"Why" of summer camp.
One of the big things I noticed this summer was the "richness in laughter" we had in the dining hall. Between the cascading songs that would overlap in competition with each other, to throwing bread rolls into the crowd, to chicken pit volunteers at the last minute, I was blown away by how organic the good nature was in the dining hall. This summer, the laughter was a sound that you felt inside your heart!
You know camp was good when you can feel it!
Oswegatchie has a health form that is required for each camper. On that form, it includes all pertinent content for contacting parents, emergency info, and sending out information later in the year. Then the form dives into details like immunizations, physical exam , individualized standing orders for medication, and an acknowledgement of risk. Most of what is on this document is recommended or required by the NYS Department of Health. The NYS DOH is the oversight agency for summer camps in NY, and we consider them our partner in making camps safe.
2 parts to highlight: the immunization record and listing of medical conditions
The immunization record is important “if” there is exposure to an illness like measles or chicken pox. Most youth today have up to date immunizations, but by listing what a child has, we can respond quicker to those who are not immunized. This is a detail that has not been a problem for us, but we prepare for it anyways.
The medical condition listing is your first line of protection for your child when you can not be there to communicate for them. Something simple like sleep walking is kind of a big deal in the woods. Other things like convulsions, eating disorders, or skin problems can be responded to better, when we have the information.
In addition, if your child has medical conditions or allergies beyond what most other kids have, a legible written or typed note is helpful for articulating the issue. This additional piece of paper goes a long way to “red flagging” issues and helping us find these details faster. Contact us in advance if it helps!
If your child has food allergies, feel free to contact us before you child arrives at camp. Depending on the severity, this changes our menu to provide great meals or an alternative to what is being served.
Thank you for your help, in making Oswegatchie a great place to spend time.
Chance Favors the Prepared Mind!
This blog is intended to share the important details that only experienced campers know. Everything from cell phones, swimsuits, and horses will be covered!