News

Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries.

At Hi-Rock we partner with the Nature Conservancy, a global environmental non-profit, to maintain our land and lake for all the plants, animals, and campers that live here throughout the year.

In honor of Earth Day, we encourage all Hi-Rockers to get involved! Wear your Hi-Rock apparel, post a photo on Facebook or Instagram, and tag us with the hashtag #hirockershelpout or email your photo to heather@camphirock.org to earn points for your unit through 4/24! Here are some ways to celebrate Earth Day:
Volunteer: Use this link to find an Earth Day event near you! https://www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder/plants

Learn: Take some time to learn about the environment with one of the Nature Conservancy’s virtual field trips! https://www.nature.org/…/youth-engagement/nature-lab/

Plant: Use this tool to learn what plants are native to your area, and who you could attract to your garden! https://www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder/plants

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Did you know that reduce, reuse and recycle are listed in order of importance? Follow these tips to make the most impact:
Compost: Consider composting in your home! Did you know some grocery stores, restaurants, and community gardens accept compost drop-offs? Call local businesses to find a place for your home’s food scraps! Interested in learning more about composting? Check out this useful guide: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

Wilderness First Responder Training Information and Registration

Wilderness First Responder Training Course

Course Dates:

June 5-12, 2021 at YMCA Camp Hi-Rock

Course Description:

Wilderness First Responder is the industry standard in Wilderness Medicine, ideal for anyone working professionally as an outdoor leader or responsible for the care of groups in the backcountry. This course is a 72-hour 8-day event combining classroom learning, hands-on skills training, and practical scenarios. 

Location:

Camp Hi-Rock is nestled among 1,000 acres in the Berkshire’s Southern Taconic Mountain Range, surrounded by conservation forest, and centered around our pristine, private, ninety-acre lake. 

Room & Board:

Room and Board are included in the course cost. Lodging is provided in our wooden camp cabins with separate shared bathroom facilities. Meal service is included and we offer well-balanced, family-friendly meals. Vegetarian meals are available and we can accommodate specific dietary requests with advance notice.

Cost:

$895 per participant. Participants must be 18 years or older.

Questions:

Please email Barbara Nibur at barbie@camphirock.org.

Registration Information:

Register Online:

To register online, please click here to create an account with our online registration system. Once you receive log in details, you will be able to register under the “Group Registration” tab.

Paper Registration:

To print and mail the registration form, please download the WFR Training Registration Form and mail the completed form to:

YMCA Camp Hi-Rock
ATTN: WFR Registration
544 East Street
Mount Washington, MA 01258

 

Virtual Info Session Registration

Please join us for one of our virtual information sessions with our Camp Directors!

If you would like to join one of our info sessions, please register at the link provided below for each info session.

Tuesday, April 27 – 6-7 pm

Register Here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtdeytrz0pGd3dTgHmkrq0gUS_fxIaBxks

Saturday, May 8 – 10:30-11:30 am

Register Here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYoceCrrzkoG9SbtCxxKCTGjmIsDWUwFySe

Monday, May 10 – 8-9 am

Register Here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAkceiuqT4jE9f028Cu3l6kWglN8DtumGmT

Wednesday, May 12 – 5-6 pm

Register Here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvduqoqD0qGtY3uYlTR3Rgj8wod__qX-WM

 

Day Camp 2021 Update – 4/7/2021

Hello, 

 

We are writing today with an update about day camp during summer 2021. Here at camp we have been busy preparing to open camp, hiring staff, talking to new and returning families, and reviewing best practices and research on how to operate camp safely for our staff and campers this summer. We are excited to be able to welcome overnight campers and BOLD & GOLD participants back to Hi-Rock this year. It is with great sadness that we have come to the conclusion that we will not be able to offer our day camp programming during the summer of 2021. We have reviewed and considered all available guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in doing so have determined that the best decision to protect our campers, our staff, their families and our local community will be to limit our programming to our overnight camp this summer.  It will not be feasible for us to offer both programs simultaneously while maintaining recommended safety, sanitizing and distancing standards. This decision has not come lightly and we hope to provide a safe, fun day camp for our local day camper families again in the future.  

 

We understand the impact that this has on our community and hope to encourage our day campers who are ready to experience overnight camp to sign up for an overnight camp session at Hi-Rock this summer. Our overnight camp is open to campers who are 7-16 years old and limited spaces remain in sessions 1, 3 and 4 of our sleepaway camp. We also have opportunities in our BOLD & GOLD wilderness expedition program. Financial aid is available for all of our overnight camp programs. We are hopeful that some of our day campers may feel ready to give one of these overnight programs a try and look forward to opening our day camp program in 2022. If an overnight camp program is not right for your child this year and you would like help identifying other local options, please email daycamp@camphirock.org and we will be happy to help.

 

More information on our overnight camp program, for youth ages 7-16, can be found here http://camphirock.org/camps/overnight-camp/ . Information on our BOLD & GOLD wilderness expeditions open to youth entering grades 7-10 is available here http://camphirock.org/camps/bold-gold-wilderness-adventures/.

 

We are sending big Hi-Rock love to you all!

 

Be well,

 

The Camp Hi-Rock Staff

Summer 2021 Update- 2/18/2021

Dear Hi-Rock Families,

 

This is the letter so many of you have been waiting for.  It is the first step in getting our camp family back where we belong – on top of our favorite mountain, jumping into our favorite lake, hiking along our favorite trails and wishing upon our favorite stars.  Today is the day we are opening registration for overnight summer camp 2021!

Don’t pack your trunk just yet!  There are still many questions to be answered about this summer.  We are awaiting revised guidance from the state which will hopefully allow overnight camps in Massachusetts to open.  We are also continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation and working with camping professionals, medical experts, our local board of health, YMCA leadership and our board of managers to determine how and when we may open safely.  But we are very hopeful and optimistic that there will be a way for us to reunite at our home away from home and we’re putting things in place to make that possible.  Now is the time to reserve your spot and start dreaming about campfires, cabin chats and candlelight ceremonies.

We know some things will be different.  Side hugs will become air hugs.  The dining hall will become a collection of dining tents.  We’ll be spreading out across our 1,000 acres like we have never spread out before.  While things will be rearranged and reimagined, the most important parts will remain.  We’ll be back together making friends, feeling the love of our Hi-Rock family, growing, thinking, laughing and learning together.  And there will be no video screens in sight!

We’ll be keeping in close touch between now and summer to provide updates about what we know and how our plans are shaping up.  As we have all learned, the impact of the coronavirus and measures we need to take to protect our community are ever-changing and hard to predict. We’ve prepared a frequently asked questions section on our website with up to date information about some of the key questions you might have right now.  We’ll also host regularly scheduled family Zoom calls to answer your questions along the way. The first of these calls will be Monday, March 1, at 7:00 PM EST.

We know our camp plans will incorporate risk reduction recommendations from the CDC, the American Camp Association, the Association of Camp Nursing, and Environmental Health and Engineering Associates, along with adhering to guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the MA Department of Public Health, our local board of health and our consulting pediatricians.  These plans will include but not be limited to requiring all campers and staff to wear masks, treating cabin groups as distinct cohorts who will maintain social distance from other groups, adding handwashing and sanitizing stations and increased surface sanitization, daily health screenings, and pre-camp testing.  We are working on fine-tuning details of other plans including testing during camp and pre-camp quarantines and will make those details available to families over the coming weeks.  We anticipate needing to reduce capacity and we are capping registration at 50%, for now.  If we need to limit capacity further, campers will retain their spot on a first come, first served basis.  We do not anticipate providing transportation to or from camp this summer and we have eliminated one-week sessions to limit the frequency with which new campers enter the camp population.

Please note that any campers who experience COVID-related symptoms or who test positive while at camp will be isolated immediately and will need to be picked up and cared for by their parents or guardians until criteria for return to camp are met.  This summer, families must ensure that they will be in a position to pick up their campers at any point in their stay.

As with 2020, there is no financial risk involved in registering for camp at this time given the uncertainties that remain.  All payments and deposits will be refunded in the case that camp does not operate or a camper is withdrawn due to coronavirus concerns.

Please reach out with any questions you may have.  We look forward to working closely with you between now and summer to get our campers back to camp and the outdoors.

Big Hi-Rock love to you all,

The Hi-Rock Team

2021 Summer Camp FAQs

2021 SUMMER CAMP FAQs

Updated 2/16/2021

Will there be camp this summer?

We are looking forward to welcoming campers back to Hi-Rock and are optimistic that camp will be open for the summer of 2021, but recognize that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and state regulations will necessitate changes to our program and potentially program availability. We will update this page and notify enrolled families via email of any changes as information becomes available.

When will you notify families if camp is canceled for 2021?

Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, Massachusetts guidelines for overnight camps may not be released until as late as March 2021, or later. We anticipate delaying formal decisions on the nature and type of programs we will offer until after these guidelines have been released. In addition to state guidelines, we will be closely monitoring recommendations from the CDC, the American Camp Association, the Association of Camp Nursing, and Environmental Health and Engineering Associates, our local board of health, and our consulting pediatricians as we make decisions about summer 2021. The safety of our campers, staff, and volunteers is our top priority. We understand the burden this uncertainty places on families and ask for your continued patience and understanding.

If camp is canceled or a child cannot attend, will families be eligible for refunds?

There is no financial risk to registering for camp now. If new policies, regulations or concerns related to COVID-19 prevent a child from attending camp their family will be eligible for a full refund.

What additional safety measures will be in place this summer in light of COVID-19?

Creating a safe environment for our campers, staff, and volunteers is our top priority.
We are prepared to adjust our operating procedures to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Changes will include but not be limited to requiring all campers and staff to wear masks, treating cabin groups as distinct cohorts who will maintain social distance from other groups, adding handwashing and sanitizing stations and increased surface sanitization, daily health screenings, and pre-camp testing. We currently plan to limit capacity to 50%, we have eliminated one-week sessions to reduce the frequency with which new campers enter the camp population and we do not anticipate providing transportation to or from camp. We are working on fine-tuning details of other plans including testing during camp and pre-camp quarantines and will make those details available to families over the coming weeks.

Hi-Rock Named One of the Best Camps for Teenagers

We are excited to share that we have been named one of the best camps for teenagers in the country by Summer Camp Hub! Check out the article we are featured in here: https://summercamphub.com/best-teen-summer-camps/

An Update from Hi-Rock and a Call for Support

Dear Friends,

 

We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.  We know this pandemic has brought suffering to many and our thoughts are with you. 

 

Right now, we are putting camp to bed for the winter.  In a typical year, we would be fondly remembering thousands of youth, adults and families who joined us on the mountain.  We would be closing cabins where campers and counselors had filled every bunk and shuttering windows from which giggles and whispers had been spilling all summer.  A whole new batch of campers would be calling Hi-Rock their home away from home and countless new friendships would have taken root.  This year has been anything but typical.

 

We are writing today to send an update and to ask for your help.  The pandemic required us to close our doors in March and to make the gut-wrenching decision to cancel youth summer camp.  By late July, we had secured permission to welcome families through a very limited campground model.  It wasn’t our usual Family Camp with gathering for campfires and activities, but it was a chance for families to enjoy the lake, the trails and the stars.
While it couldn’t replace youth summer camp, it was the elixir so many needed – an antidote to months of lockdown.  Campers brought their parents to camp and helped them feel at home.  Parents learned to sail from their children.  Longtime camp friends reunited at a safe distance.  Once we opened the doors, we couldn’t say all was right with the world, but things were certainly a lot better.

 

Again and again, we have heard from families that of all the things taken away by coronavirus, losing summer camp was the greatest loss for their children.  We are learning that pandemic-related restrictions may be taking a great toll on the social-emotional health of youth.  We believe kids will need camp more than ever, once restrictions are loosened.  Our work now is to ensure that we will be ready for them.        

 

Limitations on our operation have placed Hi-Rock under serious financial strain.  We have seen a dramatic reduction in revenue coupled with immovable fixed costs.  The challenge facing our community now is to get through this in a position of strength.  Many of you have already stepped forward to make contributions to help see us through these challenging times and for that we are very grateful.  The gap we need to fill to cover our critical costs remains wide.  We are writing to ask all members of the Hi-Rock community to help us bridge this gap.

 

By supporting us now, you make Camp Hi-Rock possible for the future.  By making camp possible, you give kids power they might not find anywhere else. You give them the power of connection to others, to nature, and to a bigger world. You offer the power of peace by relieving the pressures of their everyday lives. You open a window to powerful new perspectives and make space for creating memories that give strength for a lifetime. You introduce them to counselors whose power to influence and inspire will be unlike that of other adults in their lives.  Your support makes the power of camp a reality for all children and families.

 

Please consider making a donation to the Annual Campaign to ensure Hi-Rock is able to continue to empower campers.  You may click here to give online or mail a check to 544 East Street Mount Washington, MA 01258. We need your support to welcome campers back to camp with a program that meets the highest standards, safe and well-maintained equipment and buildings, and a talented, nurturing, and well-trained staff team.  With your help, we can make sure Hi-Rock is here for all and forever.

 

With gratitude and Hi-Rock love,

An Open Letter to Our Hi-Rock Family

An Open Letter to Our Hi-Rock Family

By a group of Hi-Rock Staff, Board Members, Alumni and Camper Parents

Dear Hi-Rock Family, 

We stand in solidarity with Black members of our community and communities across the country to express our outrage and sadness over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and countless other victims of police brutality and racial injustice. We say unequivocally: Black Lives Matter. 

Our core YMCA values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility compel us to support and engage in the efforts of systemic changemakers to fight for justice and equity.  As we explore what meaningful action looks like for Hi-Rock, we commit to keeping an open dialogue about our role in these efforts and to taking action with our board, staff and community. We reaffirm our commitment to making camp a more inclusive community where campers, staff and all who visit feel safe, valued, included, and welcomed. 

We each have an important role to play in the fight to dismantle systemic racism. Let us not be silent in words or actions as we work to create a more just and fair world built upon dignity and equity.

We love you. We love our community. Hi-Rock is here for you.

Important Update about Camp Hi-Rock Summer 2020

Dear Friends,

I write to you today with a heavy heart to share our plans for summer 2020.  A few months ago, the thought of a summer without camp was unimaginable.  As the reality of the coronavirus pandemic set in, we began searching for answers about how we might give our campers time together at camp this year.  A time that, for many, sustains them from one summer to the next.

Our staff and our Hi-Rock board have been digging deep in consultation with camp leaders around the country, the YMCA of the USA, the Massachusetts Camping Association, the American Camp Association, the Mount Washington Board of Health and local physicians.  We have considered all available guidance from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  We have come to the conclusion that the best decision to protect our campers, our staff, their families, our local community and the communities far and wide from which Hi-Rockers travel, will be to suspend our overnight camp, day camp and BOLD GOLD wilderness trip programs for the summer of 2020.

We are currently exploring the possibility of running family camp for several weeks this summer.  Giving our campers the chance to share Hi-Rock with their families might be a silver lining to otherwise cloudy circumstances.  If we determine that an extended family camp program will be an option, we will be in touch with more details over the coming weeks.  We do plan to run our regularly scheduled Family Camp program from August 24 – 30.

Because this may be difficult news for children who were hoping to attend camp this summer, we will not be publicizing the cancellation of summer camp until tomorrow, May 29.  We hope this will give parents a chance to share the decision directly with their children and allow them time to discuss it as a family.

This is a sad day, but I am comforted by my knowledge that camp friendships are especially strong ones.  We build them with the understanding that geography might work against us.  We have camp friends all around the world and we find ways to stay connected.  Even when we are not connecting often, it helps just to know our camp friends are out there.

The novel coronavirus is presenting great challenges to YMCA Camp Hi-Rock but we have an extraordinary community with a deep passion for and commitment to the work we do, the ways in which we change campers’ lives, and the very special space we have the privilege of calling our home away from home.  We will get through this, together.

Big Hi-Rock love to you all,

Jessica Speer-Holmes

Executive Director