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Camping Anyone?

Don’t want to deal with hassles associated with camping? This YMCA program may be ideal for you

By Tim Fenster

ColinHuth-CAH_5394Most of us say we love to unplug and enjoy the outdoors, but let’s face it, camping is a real hassle. Between stockpiling a seemingly endless list of supplies, finding the right location, the right price and just dealing with the basic inconveniences of roughing it, a weekend camping trip doesn’t always feel like it’s worth the effort.

But local people shouldn’t let all this work and anxiety keep them from enjoying some quality time out in nature. The YMCA of Greater Rochester offers two annual, overnight camping trips for those 55 and older.

Folks who are more novice to camping or looking for something shorter and closer to home, would probably do better joining the Sept. 22 trip to Camp Cory, which lies at the northeastern edge of Keuka Lake, near Penn Yan.

They can either do a day-trip or stay overnight in the cabins. While there they can enjoy a range of activities, including archery, zip-lining, canoeing, kayaking, water-skiing, sailing or trips out on the lake.

“Because we’re on Keuka Lake we really focus a lot of our activities on the water,” said Michele Rowcliffe, vice president of camping services at the YMCA of Greater Rochester.

The camp, which is only about an hour’s drive from downtown Rochester, sits on 30 acres of land and is nearly 95 years old.

What’s more, Rowcliffe says they are able to accommodate people of all ages and those with mobility issues. The cabins — though they lack HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) — have indoor bathrooms and bunk-beds; for the camp they only use the bottom bunks.

“We call it rustic but comfortable,” Rowcliffe said of the lodging.

Feeling adventurous?

Those looking for a bit more adventure may want to sign up for the YMCA’s trip to the Adirondacks at Camp Gorham from Aug. 28 – Aug. 31.

The roughly 50-year-old camp sits on 1,500 acres of land on the shore of Dart Lake. It’s about 13 miles north of the popular Adirondack village of Old Forge, and is a roughly three-and-a-half-hour trip from Rochester.

There seniors can enjoy much of the same activities and amenities offered at Camp Cory but in the rich, mountainous landscape of the North Country. And unlike Camp Cory, options for hiking are plentiful.

“One of the benefits of Camp Gorham is it’s a huge property. So they can do hiking on the property,” Rowcliffe said.

Attendees don’t have to hike or commit to any one particular activity. With a range of recreation options offered every day, campers can cherry pick how they would like to spend their time at the camp.

“We do a full day of activities. They can do as much or as little as they want to,” Rowcliffe said.

Another big draw is the friendships forged by the shores of Dart and Keuka lakes. Rowcliffe said that many campers come back year after year to spend time with friends they made on previous outings.

And it’s also a chance to enjoy activities that most of us don’t regularly get to — things like water-skiing and zip-lining and firing arrows.

Rowcliffe says that when they put a camper 55 to 85 years old onto a zip-line, for instance, the reaction isn’t that much different from aged 5 to 15. The campers hoot and scream in exhilaration.

“It’s wonderful. It’s one of our favorite programs to offer,” Rowcliffe said. “It’s just like taking kids to camp — they just have so much joy.”

For more information on the Rochester YMCA’s camping programs, visit

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