2018 Summer Kamps


Quick Links:

VK’s 2018 Summer Kamp Program is… Beyond Belief!!!–A Powerpoint for Youth Groups & Churches

Free to Be You and Me: An All-Faith Kamp

Uniquely Vanderkamp

Explorer Kamp: Adventure


Youth Leadership Development Programs (LIT I, LIT II, CIT)

Frequently Asked Questions


 Why Summer Kamp?

Youth today need summer kamp more than ever. Kamp gives youth the opportunity to unplug; slow down; relax; and relate to the nature. Many youth today spend more time with technology and in virtual relationships (like the “social networking” sites Snap Chat, Instagram or Facebook) than in direct personal contact with peers and others outside of their immediate family. They need opportunities to interact with others… to feel the sun on their skin… the wind on their faces… it isn’t called “the great outdoors” for nothing.


Today’s youth are typically overscheduled; obsessed, stressed, and anxious about being “good enough” or feeling pressure (real or imagined) to “be the best” in an overly socially-conscious society. Too many youth are diagnosed with anxiety or depression, being placed on prescription medications. Research consistently shows that time spent in nature can reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, and ADHD. However, for these benefits to happen, youth need to be comfortable spending time in nature… and that comes from positive, direct, enjoyable experiences in the company of their friends. Adult staff and volunteers at kamp love spending time in nature and provide opportunities to foster those connections for kampers.

Kamp fosters the healthy development of youth in ways not possible at home or in school; living together in community, developing social, emotional, and relational skills. They have opportunities to exert their autonomy and independence with the guidance of compassionate counselors and other adult staff and volunteers. Youth further develop empathy and compassion for others, spending time living and playing with peers from different backgrounds, home communities, or churches. While strife and division dominate our media and culture, kamp promotes living in peace and harmony.



Why Vanderkamp?

With so many summer camps across New York State, why choose Vanderkamp? The short answer is there are no other kamps. That is, there are none that compare to Vanderkamp’s intentionally designed programs that foster youth’s spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development through innovative child-directed opportunities and experiences based on child development theory and (for our Christian programs) camping ministry best practices. We challenge staff to empower Vanderkampers to take initiative and fully engage in all aspects of kamp life including traditional and some more modern kamp activities and (for our Christian programs) Bible study and worship… in ways that are meaningful to them.

Vanderkampers can stretch and challenge themselves by experiencing and trying out new activities they may not be able to do at home like archery for instance. They can develop deep, meaningful friendships with others they may not otherwise ever have met. Vanderkamp providesan environment that recognizes effort over achievement. Think “life is about the journey not the destination.” Youth are encouraged to play harder, try harder, and aspire higher than they ever dreamed or imagined they could; growing in character, self-confidence, self-esteem, and leadership skills in ways that last a lifetime.

New this year: Youth enrolled in our Free to Be You and Me or Uniquely Vanderkamp sessions can sign up for daily swim lessons. Need a little help or more practice to pass the swim test for the yellow or green sections? We’ve got you covered… at no additional cost.

Vanderkamp is conveniently located near several urban areas in Central New York. Whether exploring our 850 acres of forest, meadows, and fields… or paddling on our private 45 acre lake, kampers feel as though they are further from home than they really are. Unlike many summer camps, Vanderkamp’s location is convenient for parents transporting kampers or forgotten items. Being closer to home can make a first-time kamp experience feel less scary for youth and their parents. Once you become a Vanderkamper, you are forever part of the Vanderkamp family as evidenced each year by the number of returning kampers and staff who transition from kampers to join our kamping ministry team.



   Highlights for 2018:

  • Pricing and Savings for multiple siblings, multiple session, or bring a new friend remain unchanged
  • Age range changes for Uniquely Vanderkamp
  • Themes are back for Uniquely Vanderkamp!
  • Study and Worship Curriculum for our Christian kamp sessions is literally, “Beyond Belief.”
  • Free to Be You and Me: A NEW week of kamp dedicated to celebrating diversity
  • Exclusive First-Week Session dedicated to our Youth Leadership Development Programs
  • Program improvements designed to foster deeper bonds and sense of community as well as sense of connection to creation.
  • Swimming Lessons available at no additional charge

We continually strive to provide the best summer experience possible for our Vanderkampers. This year youth will spend more time with friends in their Cabin Groups. While lodging remains separated by gender, Cabin Groups are co-ed and will choose a “home base” on neutral territory, for example, in one of the rustic cabins where they will meet and gather at points throughout the day. One night during the week, each Cabin Group will kamp out and cook out. Do not worry… There are still plenty of opportunities to interact with others at kamp and to choose from all of a kamper’s favorite activities.

Vanderkamp’s summer kamping experiences are designed to meet the needs and interests of youth as they mature. We recognize that the developmental needs, abilities, even interests of youth vary with age and experience. To better reflect this, we have tweaked  the age ranges for some of our summer programs this year.




Kamp Opportunities for Youth ages 8 – 14:

Click links below for full descriptions of each session.



 NEW Free to Be You and Me: An All-Faith Kamp (July 22 – 27)







Christian Kamp Programs:


Uniquely Vanderkamp:

Ninja Warrior (July 1 -6)

Adventures in Middle Earth (July 15 – 20)

Strangest Things (July 29 – August 3)

 Outrageous (August 5 – 10)


Kamp Opportunities for Youth ages 12 (+):


 Explorer Kamp: Adventure (August 12 – 17)


Kamp Opportunities for Youth ages 15 – 17:


 Outrageous (August 5 – 10)


Youth Leadership Development Programs: (These are two-week sessions.)


 Leadership in Training I/LIT I (June 24 – July 6)

  • For youth ages 15 (+)

Leadership in Training II/LIT II (June 24 – July 6)

  • For youth ages 16 (+)

Counselor in Training/CIT (June 24 – 29 and You Choose 2nd Week!)

  • For youth ages 17(+)


All interested youth and young adults must apply and be accepted into these programs. Acceptance is not guaranteed. Completion of online application and submiission of  3 references who can speak to the youth or young adult’s character and demonstrated leadership capabilities at home, church, school, or in their communities is required.

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