The six-mile hike is one of the most anticipated activities of the week. It’s a time when campers and counselors alike can build confidence by achieving something many didn’t even know they could do. It includes a three-mile hike on the road up to Garret Chapel, which resides on the top of the Keuka Lake Bluff. After a quick tour, the campers stretch and then walk a ½ mile back down the steepest part of the hill before many join in for a 2 ½ mile run back to camp.
Beach Carnival &Picnic
One of the best parts about the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp is that kids get to relax and have fun. The weekly beach carnivals include water volleyball, sponge toss (usually at the Sheriffs’ deputies!), face painting and many more activities on the shores of Keuka Lake. The campers follow their beach activities by feeding their appetites with BBQ chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers. Other picnics also take place throughout the weeklong camp experience, including the picnic in the woods, complete with hot dogs and marshmallows!
Some of the most special and memorable moments of camp take place each summer at the campfire. At the campfire, campers will sing songs, perform skits and may even get serenaded by special counsel or performances! At the Final Campfire on Friday night, the campers exchange “Y sticks.” These Y-shaped sticks are shaped like Keuka Lake and are used to remind new friends of their wonderful time spent together. Many also exchange hugs as they say good bye to their friends, counselors and volunteers.Special songs by campers and counselors add to the special evening. The campfire finishes with every camper throwing a dedication Y stick into the fire and then each cabin lighting a candle for something special before walking down the path to sing Taps.
The campers have one land class and one water class every morning. On Fridays, they show the rest of the campers what they learned in their land class. The waterfront class demonstrations are recorded and entered into a slideshow that all campers watch on Saturday mornings before they go back home.
Each week, area DJs donate their time and equipment to bring music and lights to the Sheriffs’ Camp for a very fun evening for the campers and staff. The kids get to show off their individual moves as well as participate in a number of group dances–which always end up the highlight of the evening!
Campers work together to make a puzzle and then enjoy foosball, checkers, Twister and many other games. Game night often takes place early on in the week and gives the campers and counselors a good chance to get to know one another.
Should a camper be able and interested, trained life guards and a boat will accompany kids as they attempt to swim the lake. Often campers will set a goal for themselves to swim from one side of Keuka Lake to the other by the end of the week at camp. Achieving something that most haven’t and believing themselves are the major benefits of this activity.
Camaraderie among the campers and counselors in each cabin is encouraged so that kids can learn more about teamwork and sportsmanship. Throughout the week cabins work together to choose activities that make them work together and encourage one another. They also learn the thrill and spirit of competition in popular land activities, such as volleyball and tug-of-war.
Upon arriving at camp on Sunday, campers are asked to unpack and take a swim test. After dinner, they are taken through orientation, which is a time to learn the waterfront safety rules and camp schedule.They also learn about all of the land and water class options and get to sign up for their favorites for the week.
Every week the campers spend one hour making camp a better place by cleaning and picking up around camp or doing another activity that makes it better for the next group of campers. This generate a sense of responsibility, service and community.
When the weather cooperates, the Sheriffs’ Camp hosts a regatta for campers that include all kinds of water races. Campers who have learned sailing, canoeing, kayaking and more through the week work together and compete in timed races, winning confidence (and bragging rights!).
Often on a really hot day, camp counselors and staff like to surprise campers with a really long waterslide down the camp’s front lawn, which is a really big hill. This takes afternoon recreation time to a whole new level and is a huge hit.
Before campers head home on Saturday mornings, there is an Awards Ceremony where Sheriffs’ deputies–dressed in their uniforms for the first time all week–present participation awards to all campers. The kids are often shocked to learn that this person who has become their friend is actually a Sheriffs’ officer. They learn to trust them and it’s often the beginning of a respectful relationship with law enforcement moving forward. Counselors also present their decathlon and camper of the week awards at this time.