NATURE CAMP IN THE PARK Nature Camp In The Park is an ACA accredited, non-competitive nature day camp for children ages 6-15, located directly on the shores of Lake Tiorati with over 500 acres of forests and wetlands in Harriman State Park, Rockland County, New York.nature5 We include door-to-door transportation for all campers in an air conditioned minibus anywhere in Manhattan, Rockland, most of lower Westchester, northern Bergen, and south Orange county. Nature Camp In The Park also has the natural advantage of being located directly next to the Appalachian Trail. The space in our special camp is extremely limited to ensure the small camp setting and quality of Nature Camp In The Park. We believe in not only having a top quality staff that is led by certified teachers, but also in making sure our campers receive the personal attention that is part of the experience and magic of Nature Camp In The Park. A typical day at Nature Camp In The Park is built around the great outdoors. Campers learn how to camp and hike as we are located right on the Appalachian Trail! They can study local wildlife up close, such as turtles, frogs, salamanders, fish, toads, snakes, and more! Campers can also learn the skills necessary to navigate a variety of boats, including canoes, kayaks, and rowboats; we even have marine expeditions to explore the 4 mile coastline of Lake Tiorati. There are plenty of skills for campers to master where they can attain a special skills based boating badge. Nature Camp In The Park - Skill Badges Archery, Athletics, Art, Camping, Canoeing, Chess, Climbing, Fire Making, Fishing, Gymnastics, Hiking, Kayaking, Knot Tying, Martial Arts, Music, Nature, Pottery, Rowing, Swimming, Theater, Wilderness Survival, Wildlife, Woodworking, DCITP Badge Activities (during a typical camp day)nature-day
  • Archery – A fully equipped shooting range with multiple targets and distances
  • Camping Skills – Campers learn how to pitch a tent, make a campfire, tie knots, use a compass, and more!
  • Wildlife – Nature Camp In The Park has its own local population of various frogs, turtles, fish, salamanders
  • Climbing – A full climbing wall with rope, harness, and belaying system with 4 different difficulty levelsnature3
  • Cooking – Campers learn to cook over a campfire, including hot dogs, s’mores, beans, and other camping favorites!
  • Drama/Theater – Drama program available for all campers who wish to participate in a camp play or just participate in our Improv Program.
  • Nature Art – including Colored Sand Art, Rock Sculptures, Sand Castles.
  • Woodworking – Campers can make advanced walking sticks, bird houses, frames, stools, and more all from natural locally gathered branches and materials
  • Farming – Natural local berries for identification and harvest including edible (and delicious) raspberries and blueberries
  • Games – Campers have the opportunity to play a variety of games including, soccer, basketball or capture the flag, or Intelligence based games such as Chess or human-sized Jenga, and of course Nature based games such as campfire building races, fishing competitions and frog and turtle catching competitions.nature1
  • Hiking – Multiple hikes for different ages and ability levels to mines, geological formations, waterfalls, and more right on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Music – Music Program available for traditional campfire sing-a-longs, or instrumental instruction.
  • Nature Explorations – Whether it’s hunting for frogs or turtles, our rare DEC permit to collect and exhibit local animals allows us to handle the local wildlife.
  • Swimming – Full Instructional Swim available in our in ground heated pool or on crystal clear Lake Tiorati, and an afternoon of swim is available in our amazing Waterpark!
  • Island Overnights – This activity will be the pinnacle and culmination of the Nature Camp In The Park experience. Campers will sleep on an island on Lake Tiorati where they will camp for 2 nights, using the skills they’ve learned to cook their own dinner over a campfire, set up their tents, and enjoy a night under the stars on their very own island! Tom Sawyer would be jealous!!
  • Backpacking – Whether hiking with a loaded backpack or just out for a quick stroll of the forest, campers have opportunities to explore the state park and Appalachian Trail every day!
  • Boating – Campers will be able to go on marine expeditions on Lake Tiorati, with 4 miles of coastline to explore in their choice of canoes, kayaks, rowboats, bicycle boats, paddle boats and more!nature4
  NON-COMPETITIVE Nature Camp In The Park always has non-competitive options for our campers where they can simply enjoy games for fun without worrying about who wins or loses. Our philosophy is that everyone learns  skills at different rates and speeds, and that we all can improve more comfortably at our own pace and level. We encourage campers with advanced skills to help their peers.  Many times camper’s peers are the most successful at teaching each other how to reach their goals! We believe self esteem and sense of pride is developed through the mastering of these types of skills. Nature Camp In The Park is full of activities that focus on teamwork and cooperation. Our philosophy is based on giving our campers options. Rather than only having non-competitive activities, we give our campers the opportunity to have fun learning and playing traditional team sports like soccer, tennis or basketball. We also encourage our campers to participate in non-athletic team building activities that involve campers facing a challenge together and working together to solve it.  We also feel it’s important for campers to get physical activity and enjoy the basic skills of soccer, basketball, or tennis even in a fun, non-competitive setting. Children need to be well physically and emotionally. To get the most from life, one must be both mentally and physically fit. A commitment to physical wellness has been reflected in Nature Camp In The Park’s programming such as hiking, camping, swimming, climbing, and boating. We want campers to try new things, build self-confidence, learn basic skills, and promote teamwork. Nature Camp In The Park aims to provide youth with a sense that they are important as individuals. It is communicated to them that those in our camp family care about what happens to them, regardless of whether a game is won or lost. It is essential to note that is why we only employ certified teachers and or experienced personnel to work with our children. When you join the Nature Camp In The Park, it is like an extension of your family: We safeguard the overall care and well-being of your child, and we’re always there for you. Youth experience dramatic physical and emotional growth through our experienced, nurturing staff. Nature Camp In The Park offers campers opportunities to channel much of that change into productive endeavors. Nature Camp In The Park provides each camper with an opportunity to explore, to try out new ideas, and to embark on adventures that sometimes have no design other than to have a good time with good people. The safety of our children while at Nature Camp In The Park is the #1 number one priority of all of our staff. People need to learn skills throughout their lives. We live in a society that rewards continual acquisition of skills and knowledge. Nature Camp In The Park provides structured settings where young people can learn new skills and develop habits of continual learning that will help them succeed. NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER And Our Rationale For Nature Camp In The Park Nature deficit disorder refers to the phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods” that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems.  Nature-deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world. The causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the digital screen. Sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally "scared children straight out of the woods and fields", while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors "safe" regimented sports over imaginative play. In recognizing these trends, some people argue that humans have an instinctive liking for nature and take steps to spend more time outdoors; we believe we need to spend more time in outdoor education, and sending young children under the tutelage of experienced personnel to experience forest life, even starting in kindergarten! Studies by other researchers throughout the world suggest physical activity and exposure to nature are important to good health, report positive impacts upon mental health and wellbeing associated with natural environments, and can reduce sadness and negative emotions. Parents are keeping children indoors in an attempt to keep them safe from danger. However, we may be protecting children to such an extent that it has become a problem and disrupts the child's ability to connect to nature. The parent’s growing fear of "stranger danger" that is heavily fueled by the media, keeps children indoors and on the computer rather than outdoors exploring. Many parks and nature preserves have restricted access and "do not walk off the trail" signs. Environmentalists and educators add to the restriction telling children "look, don't touch". With the advent of the computer, video games, and television children have more and more reasons to stay inside - the average American child spends over 44 hours a week with electronic media. The effect is that children have limited respect for their immediate natural surroundings. An increasing pace in the last three decades, approximately, of a rapid disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature has profound implications for the health of future generations.  Attention disorders and depression may develop. It's a problem because kids who don't get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit problems. Just going outside and being in the quiet and calm can help greatly. According to a University of Illinois study, interaction with nature has proven to reduce symptoms of ADD in children. According to research, "Overall, our findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children". Following the development of ADD and mood disorders, lower grades in school also seem to be related to Nature Deficit Disorder. Studies of students’ nationwide show that schools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of experiential education produce significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math".