The following is a list of activities available to groups in the Fall and Spring.  Activities are designed to be run in 1.5 hour blocks for groups of about 15 participants.  Contact the Outdoor Education and Group Coordinator to arrange your trip schedule.


Phone: (908) 832-5315
Fax: (908) 832-9078
Email: Click Here

Teambuilding & Adventure


Initiative Games

Also known as pre-ASEs, this session will get the group ready for the ASE Teambuilding Challenges through group-oriented activities geared toward working together. Fun and relatively easy, individuals will learn some of the needed skills required for the more advanced cooperative learning elements. Can be led by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors or indoors.


Teambuilding Challenges (ASEs)

The core of our Teambuilding Challenges presents each group with various obstacles, some more physical in nature than others. Although success is the focus, we determine the group’s success not by whether they complete a challenge or how fast, but by the degree to which they make progress working together as a group. There are various levels of difficulty among the elements. Through creativity and flexibility, we can adapt just about any obstacle to your group’s need. 1.5 - 3 hours, Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors or indoors. 


Low Ropes Course

Low Ropes give individuals direct control over their own success and safety. Team members use encouraging words and physical techniques (spotting) to develop trust, a positive team spirit, and the courage and confidence to overcome mental and physical obstacles together in small groups. We have two low ropes courses to maximize participation! Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors, weather dependent. 


Climbing Tower

A 40-foot climbing and rappelling tower that teaches self-confidence, goal setting and team spirit. Participants are securely anchored to what is known as a dynamic belay system which allows them to face and hopefully overcome their fear of heights and test their self-motivation in a challenging but safe environment.  A team belay is also an option, which gets the team involved in each climber’s experience.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors, weather dependent.



Also taking place at the Climbing Tower, this class teaches a new skill of rappelling down to the ground from the very top.  Participants will climb “staples” and learn how to lower themselves to the ground safely with the guidance and backup safety provided by Camp staff.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors, weather dependent.


Giant Swing

Participants can choose their own challenges in this exhilarating event.  Wearing a harness, a participant is connected to cable in the trees.  A team belay pulls the participant up to his/her desired height, up to 35 feet.  When ready, he/she pulls the ripcord and swings.  This activity helps build trust and cooperation as well as encourages individual challenge.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors, weather dependent.


High Ropes Course

An exciting adventure for participants 5th grade and older, High Ropes is an experience the group will remember for a lifetime! Challenging but rewarding, this session takes place 35 feet above the ground, and is an excellent teambuilding activity. Course includes a Multi-vine, or Heebie-Jeebie, or Floppy 2-Line which spans 40 feet, and a Horizontal Wobbly Bridge which spans 30 feet. Camp Bernie staff required, Early Fall and Late Spring, outdoors, weather dependent.


This exhilarating activity for participants 6th grade and older, the Zipline takes place at 41 feet above the ground, and lets participants soar above the treetops, across the full length of our athletic field (over 300 feet)! This dual zipline even allows two participants to experience the thrill together. Camp Bernie staff required, Early Fall and Late Spring, outdoors, weather dependent.

Raft Building

Build it well or you are likely to get wet!  Promoting teamwork, planning and communication skills, participants work together to build a raft that will be paddled by the team around our pond course. The rafts will be constructed from different components; 55 gallon drums, 1”x6” lumber, and rope. Depending on the size of the class, 2, 3 or 4 rafts will be built, each by a different small group, thus adding an element of friendly competition. The amount of instructor input on design and construction will depend on individual group requests. Camp Bernie staff required (lifeguard on duty), April 15-October 15, outdoors, weather dependent.


Vertical Playpen

New in 2014, this adventure activity combines everything we love about teambuilding: getting everyone involved, stepping out of our comfort zones, and working together to get the team to the top! Up to 4 climbers use their creativity to help each other to the top. It starts with a cargo net, leads on to a giant ladder, and then a choice of a rope ladder, tire tower, or “the caterpillar”. 1.5 hours, Camp Bernie staff, year-round weather dependent.


Environmental Awareness


Point Mountain-Guided Hike

Hike 2.5 miles of trails through Camp Bernie, to the neighboring Hunterdon County Recreational area, and up to Point Mountain.  See four counties at once from the scenic overlook of the Musconetcong River Valley.  May also include the reading of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. Can also be combined with a hike and study of the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.  A great wind-down activity for the last morning at camp. Can be led by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Stream Ecology

Developing an awareness of life within an aquatic ecosystem, participants will have the opportunity to sample plant and animal life in our on-site stream. Different stages of life development are presented, focusing on each organism’s importance and impact on the food chain.  Does a frozen pond or stream still support life? Do fish and other aquatic life head south for the winter? How do they survive? In the winter months, students will explore the frozen environs of the stream to answer these and other questions.  Participants may get wet.  Can be led by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Owls and their Adaptations

What’s an owl pellet…?? Come discover and explore this nocturnal raptor’s important role in the forest food chain. Participants will identify owls, their adaptations and explore their environment, including what they eat. A great hands-on, indoor activity. Can be led by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors or indoors. Additional Cost: $2.50/pellet.


Animals & Their Habitats

Participants become detectives as they try to decipher clues in the woods such as tracks and droppings, and other less conspicuous signs of animals like shelters, territorial marks, and general “behavioral traces.” Venture into the bustling forest community and look closely at the habitats and micro-habitats found there. Participants will learn (and hopefully see evidence of) how animals select, adapt to and protect themselves within their habitats.  In the winter months, explore how animals and plants adapt to the cold. Where does everything go and how does everything survive until spring? Teaches about physical limits, animal adaptation, and includes some interactive surprises.  You will be amazed at what is found!  Can be led by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Predator and Prey

Ever wonder what it was like to be a rabbit? A bear? A mountain lion? This activity assigns animal roles to students as they take on a predator and/or prey positions within the forest environment. Stalk your meal or feel the sometimes frightening reality of the hunt. Learn about animal adaptations, strategies to remain alive and the balance of nature. Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Captivating Critters Animal Show

We teach appreciation for the animals we show by highlighting their unique beauty as well as the vital role they play in nature. By discussing interesting and little-known facts we dispel common misconceptions and provide the kids with a literal hands-on experience. In the end, the concept of bio-diversity and the animals themselves, will be better understood.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, indoors.


Forest and Field

Includes a variety of activities ranging from general awareness activities to basic ecology concepts, all presented in an interactive, fun environment. Promotes awareness and appreciation of the multiple values of forests and how ecosystems interrelate. What happens to the forest in Winter? Participants will learn to view the forest as a whole, becoming aware of how animals, trees, and other organisms cope and survive. Activities may include tree identification, seed pod identification, and looking for evidence of animals including tracks, shelters and feeding sites. Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Living History & Outdoor Skills


Apple Cidering

Participants learn about where apples come from and make actual apple cider using Camp Bernie's cider press. Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors or indoors.


Cemetery Study

“The Headless Rider” and other stories come to life as students hike back in time to the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. They become detectives and answer challenging question about the cemetery’s “residents” as well as life in the 1880’s through a Ghost Hunt of cemetery residents. This activity may be combined with a hike to Pt. Mountain. This activity requires at least 2 hours.  Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


First Aid

Trained and certified staff will teach participants the basics of First Aid and/or CPR, and test their skills.  It never hurts to be prepared!  This is not a certifying course.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors or indoors.


Sensory Trail (BSDAT)

Includes a blindfold rope trail through the woods of Camp Bernie. Designed to explore the environment through the four other senses apart from sight. Heightens awareness of all environs, seen and unseen. Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Wilderness Survival

Deep in the woods of Camp Bernie, participants will construct a one-person shelter out of materials found in nature. Wilderness survival emphasizes teamwork, challenges the senses, and, when completed, gives participants many of the tools needed to “survive” if placed in an unfamiliar environment. Can be combined with fire-building.  Great Winter Activity! Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.


Fire Building

Along with general fire safety practices, participants will learn where and how to build a safe and proper campfire, as well as techniques for lighting and dousing it.  Participants will be tested on the techniques they learn.  Can be combined with Wilderness Survival or Outdoor Cooking.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors or indoors.


Campfire Cooking

Cook delectable treats right over an open flame!  A great activity day or night with a delicious finished product.  Can be combined with Fire Building or evening campfire.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors or indoors.



Have fun learning how to navigate with a compass. Utilizing several courses, participants will put this knowledge to use in the fields and forests of Camp Bernie. A basic course is available for beginners as well as a longer expert course which requires map reading and compass experience. Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.



Added for 2014, this class sends participants on a scavenger hunt through camp using GPS units.  Learn about Latitude and Longitude, as well as GPS navigation skills.  Camp Bernie staff required, Year-round, outdoors.


Arts and Crafts

Arts programs can include crafts from the Pioneer era, the Native American or foreign culture, or those which help to recognize and appreciate the beauty in nature. Candle-dipping and making dream-catchers are popular choices, as well as upcycle creations.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, outdoors or indoors.



Sports & Recreation



Participants learn proper safety and shooting techniques under the close supervision of our trained and certified staff.  We review safety, equipment, posture, and purpose as participants practice and develop their shooting abilities, while exercising their body and mind.  Camp Bernie staff required, year round, outdoors or under cover.



Our trained instructors teach students about the parts of a canoe, safety requirements, proper paddle strokes, maneuvering, and basic rescue techniques.  Canoeing games may be included.  Additionally, participants may learn how to approach and observe wildlife from a new perspective and enjoy the serene tranquility of being on the water. Camp Bernie staff required (lifeguard on duty), April 15-October 15, outdoors, weather dependent.


Bouldering Wall

Great as a shorter activity or during an open sports period, this activity teaches climbing techniques without the fear factor of extreme height. Camp Bernie staff required, year round, outdoors.


New Games

Another great warm-up, these consist of fun, non-competitive large group games.  This activity is good as a  shorter open sports activity, or as an entire class.  Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors or indoors.



In Development

These activities will be added to the standard activity list above shortly, but some developments are still being made (procuring additional supplies, tweaking for perfection, etc.).  These activities are available, but may have some restrictions.


Mountain Biking

This activity is currently able to serve up to 9 participants (we are procuring and repairing additional equipment).  Learn basic mountain bike safety and explore Camp Bernie trails that you’ve never seen!  Bikes and helmets are provided.  Camp Bernie staff required, spring and fall, outdoors, weather dependent.


Service Project

Use your time to give back and rack up some community service hours.  300+ acres is a lot to maintain, and there’s always room for improvements!  Project(s) will be determined by the group leader and Camp Bernie staff well in advance and may include trail maintenance, building, gardening, or kindling collection.  Camp Bernie staff required, year-round, likely outdoors.



Self-Guided Activities

The following is a list of activities that can be run without Camp Bernie staff.  Please note that some of these activities are seasonal and all require supervision from the attending group/school’s staff.

Basketball Bingo Kickball
Fishing (bring your own) Sand Volleyball Hiking
Soccer Recreation Hall* Flag Football
Gaga Ball Four Square Tetherball
Ultimate Frisbee Frisbee Golf Scavenger Hunt*
Tug-of-War Slin 'n' Slide Human Foosball
Giant Kerplunk Cornhole Kan Jam

*Discover Camp Bernie Scavenger Hunt -A fun warm-up activity that teaches students the history and surroundings of Camp Bernie and gets them acclimated to fellow students. 1 -1.5 hours, only school staff needed.                                            

*Indoor Recreation Hall Activities:  Billiards, Air Hockey, Table-top shuffleboard, Foosball, Board Games



Evening Programs


Discover the Night

This is best in complete darkness; no flashlights please!  Experience the night in a whole new way as you explore the forest in complete darkness.  Look at the stars, “talk” to owls and test your senses.  Includes an “electric” finale.  Helps calm fears and heighten awareness. 1-1.5 hours.  Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors.



Great fun!  We supply the equipment and music.  You supply the singers!  Length is variable, equipment must be run by Camp Bernie staff, year-round, indoors.



Enjoy songs, stories, skits and s’mores around a warm inviting fire.  Our camp staff is available to emcee and perform, or we can light it and leave you to it.  We encourage participants to perform. 

Can be run by Camp Bernie or group/school staff, year-round, outdoors or indoors.


Ice Cream Social

A fun way to enjoy your friends and create an ice cream sundae!  Camp Bernie staff required, year round, indoors.  Additional Cost: $2.50/sundae.



Open House Dates

Come visit YMCA Camp Bernie to see where your child can spend their summer!

Click Here for Details

Women’s Wellness Weekend

Date: May 1-3, 2020

Ladies, you deserve a reward for all the hard work you do! It's time to take a break from your hectic, everyday…

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