2021 Alumni Newsletter



2021 NCC Season by Doug Furman and Jen Livingston


The lead-up to the 2021 NCC season was full of excitement and anticipation. Two years is too long between summers at camp and we knew the kids really needed the connection and adventure camp provides. There was no question that the pandemic would create some unique challenges and it was clear that the state of the virus, vaccination efforts and various regulations could change dramatically as we got closer to June. We enlisted the help of several health care professionals in our camp community, as well as long-time staff members, to assemble a plan that would allow camp to operate safely. We are so grateful to all of them for the expertise they provided, which ultimately led to a Covid-free summer!


It was a very different start to the summer, with parents dropping their children off at camp instead of riding the bus.  We implimented rigorous testing protocols and cabin groups went to activities together as cohorts for the first two weeks. We served meals in two shifts to increase the space between cohorts and that meant a different daily schedule. The amazing thing is that while this was not easy, the kids’ spirits were so high! They were incredibly happy to be around friends again and they understood that we needed to do things differently to ensure a safe summer. When the masks came off (in most situations), groups were able to mingle with each other, go on trips together and enjoy mixed activities. Campers and staff celebrated and more importantly, we could all feel relaxed and lose ourselves in the joy of communal outdoor living. Life started to feel normal at Lincoln and Whippoorwill, and normal is pretty terrific!


A group of Cubbies in front of their cabin - the Cub's Den


Children enjoyed all the traditional activities like sailing, field sports, canoeing, horseback riding, shop, archery and ropes course. We ran a full trip program, with lots of day hikes and overnight trips. Several kids at each camp completed their 46er. We had a County Fair, a play, concerts (some outside, some inside), socials and Pioneer Meets. The workgroup built a new cabin at Lincoln which will house campers next year. We sang and commended each other at the council fires and created lifelong memories. There were challenges: regular Covid testing, a cold going around early in the summer, food supply chain disruptions and staffing issues to name a few. But none of that came close to dimming the campers’ enthusiasm. They squeezed all the fun they could out of the summer and ended it in style with rousing final banquets at each camp (“Down by the Bayou” at Lincoln and “Ancient Greece” at Whippoorwill), and tearful yet uplifting final council fires. 


We are happy to have provided such a fun, safe summer for these children which they very much needed. The staff at Whippoorwill and Lincoln deserve a big thank you, with special mention to our amazing nurses. Time will tell what the landscape will look like in 2022, but we’re confident that North Country Camps, with the help of our staff, the board and our alumni community, will meet the summer with a safe plan, a dynamic program and a happy throng of excited campers. 


In fact, future campers are already showing up for our virtual open houses for prospective families. These are helpful events to learn more about NCC and they’ve been well attended, leading to quite a few registrations already. That said, there’s plenty of room at Whippoorwill and Lincoln, so if you know families who are looking at camps for their children, please send them our way! And the same goes for potential counselors!


Whippoorwill campers canoeing on Augur Lake


NCCF Board Update


Over the last year the NCCF Board focused a great deal of attention on assisting NCC’s directors and senior leadership as they planned for the 2021 season. Their extraordinary efforts led to a very successful experience for campers and staff alike. We’re proud of their accomplishment and already feel the energy from last summer propelling us ahead into the 2022 season.


The Board has been working closely with our directors to support their camper recruiting efforts, primarily through enhanced and robust alumni engagement. Likewise, to help with staff recruiting, we’ve been developing an extensive network among teaching and outdoor education programs in colleges around the northeast. That project was very successful in 2021; we had nine new staff members come to us through this effort. We’re very optimistic about this program going forward. 


We have also been focused on the development of new programming. We expect to see the 16 Year Old Leadership Program launch in 2022; we’re working with the directors both on planning as well as infrastructure needs for that project. We’re also assessing expanded opportunities for alumni, and potentially some outside groups, to use camp facilities. 


After the significant challenges and uncertainty we experienced in 2020, things really got back on track in 2021. We’re all feeling very enthusiastic about what’s been accomplished and the direction NCC is heading. Thanks to our entire community for your dedication and support!


Carload of campers with a roof topped with canoes on their way to a camping trip near Lake Placid, NY


Whippoorwill Staff doing the can-can during an all camp event in late 1970s/early 1980s


Lincoln campers using teamwork to climb a greased pole at midseason event in the 1980s


Alumni Committee Update by co-chairs Liz Amler and Ruth B. Needleman


This past year, the Alumni Committee created new opportunities for camp alumni from all over the map to reconnect with the North Country Camps community.


In 2020, camp meet-ups shifted from in-person to online platforms where camp friends could virtually meet and watch slideshows of memories from their summers at camp together. Spanning from the 1940s to the 1990s, each decade had a blast sharing memories and catching up. Each slide show covered a specific decade at camp. You can see them all here: https://www.northcountrycamps.com/additional-info/alumni/


We are excited to invite the North Country Camps Community to join us in Celebrating the next 100 years of North Country Camps. The 100 day kick-off begins June 23, 2022 and concludes October 1st! Join us as we paddle/climb waterways and peaks for 100 days. North Country Camps Alumni can participate in the Adirondacks or in your local community. For those who can make it to the Adirondacks the weekend of October 1, we’ll have a Saturday evening gathering, weather permitting. Stay tuned for more details to come! 


We’re looking forward to seeing you August 19-21 for Alumni Weekend at Camp! If you have any questions about the Alumni Committee or would like more information, please email ruth@northcountrycamps.com or elizabeth.amler@gmail.com. 


Former campers and staff catching up at an Alumni Reunion


Former Camper and staff preparing to go horseback riding during Alumni Reunion


2022 Alumni Weekend and Family Camp


Our 2022 Alumni Weekend is scheduled for August 19-21. Registration will open in the spring. It’s been far too long since alumni gathered at camp and so we’re eagerly looking forward to welcoming you back.


We’re also excited to announce that we’ll be running a mini-Family Camp immediately preceding Alumni Weekend (starting Wednesday evening, August 17 and running through Friday, August 19). This Family Camp will be limited to families with kids who are camp age, or approaching camp age. If you’re interested in learning more about this, please contact Doug and Jen (directors@northcountrycamps.com).   


Lincoln campers summiting a high peak on a blustery summer day


Camper and Staff Recruiting


Our alumni community is one of our best sources for both camper and staff referrals. Nobody knows camp better than you and so we count on our alumni to share that enthusiasm with prospective campers and staff. 


If you know any families who might be interested in NCC, our virtual open houses are an easy, low-key way for prospective families to meet the directors, see a camp slide show and learn all about NCC. A schedule and information about open houses can be found here: https://www.northcountrycamps.com/additional-info/register/North-Country-Camps-Open-House-Schedule/


The wonderful NCC experience we all know and love is really dependent on outstanding staff members. If you know anyone who might like to work at NCC in 2022, please encourage them to visit our webpage where we have specific information about employment at camp: https://www.northcountrycamps.com/jobs/summer-camp-counselor-jobs-new-york/


Campers and staff at the ropes course          

Have You Visited NCC’s Blog?


You can find our Blog here: https://www.northcountrycamps.com/blog/  We post interesting stories and information about NCC and our community. Our most recent post, by camper parent Carolyn Manning, is titled “A New Family’s Perspective on North Country Camps.” A few other recent posts include the following:


·      “Airplane Slide Story” by Alex Olhava and Alice Cannon

·      “Lessons From North Country Camps” by Meg Johnson

·      “The Great Range Traverse” by Danny Hickey


Look for a series of new pieces over the next few months, including a report on the October 2021 Alumni Work Weekend projects! If you’d like to contribute something, please contact Jen and Doug. 


Sunset down at the Lincoln docks


Please Consider Camp in your Planned Giving


We are grateful to our alumni community for your generosity and giving. Thanks to you, North Country Camps will continue to provide the unique community and wilderness experiences that so many of us cherished in our youth.


Please consider extending your support for camp through your estate planning by adding us as a beneficiary of funds or stock. Because the North Country Camps Foundation is a nonprofit organization, you can simply list us in your will or trust as follows:


North Country Camps Foundation

395 Frontage Road

Keeseville, NY 12944

EIN # 37-1862801


If you’d like to discuss your plan for legacy giving, we would welcome the conversation. Simply email Barry Needleman at bneedleman@comcast.net