Chemung River Friends host youth summer camps


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — The Chemung River Friends are offering a half-day youth summer camp in Elmira. The camp will use two giant canoes on the Chemung River to teach children about paddling, the water cycle, water safety, local river history and more.

The camps are open to kids ages 9-14, and will run from 8 a.m. to noon, every Tuesday in July (dates: 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30). The fee is $45-per-camper, per day. The students can participate in as many of the half-day camps as they please.

Each of the Voyager canoes holds 11 campers and one adult guide. No paddling experience is necessary for the campers. All campers will be given a life vest to wear.

The camp schedule includes;

7:45 a.m.: Campers arrive at the boat launch.

8 a.m.: Introductions, class overview, history lesson about the nearby Civil War prison camp and a safety talk and demonstration by Elmira Fire Department with a river rescue boat.

9 a.m.: Board the canoes and paddle the river, while learning about the history of giant canoes for fur trapping in the 1500’s and 1600’s. Aaron Myers will dress as a 17th century fur trader and provide beaver and muskrat furs for the students to see and feel.

10 a.m.: Stop at shallows behind Pirozzola Park in the Town of Elmira to wade in the water and look under rocks to learn about the crayfish, snails, insects and other tiny invertebrates that live in the river. The campers will learn how and why these creatures reflect the health and cleanliness of the river.

11 a.m.: Back in the canoes to paddle and learn about the Elmira Water Board water intake, the Chase-Hibbard Dam (below the Walnut Street Bridge) pollution threats and what the campers can do to protect our clean water.

Noon: Paddle to Clinton Island to watch and learn about the nesting ospreys while eating lunch. Paddle back to the boat launch for the day’s recap and questions and answers. Campers must provide their own bag lunches. Drinking water will be provided.

The camp will teach the students teamwork, decision-making and basic canoeing skills, while helping them discover a fun and educational means of enjoying fresh-air exercise. The students will learn how and why we need to protect our clean water and natural resources and the role that the students play in protecting our environment, now and in the future.

For more information, contact Chemung River Friends at 607-846-2242 or

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