The following is a list of activities available to summer groups and summer campers. Activities are designed to be run in 1.5 hour blocks for groups of about 15 participants. For groups, please contact the Outdoor Education and Group Coordinator to arrange your trip schedule.
Teambuilding & Adventure
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Living History & Outdoor Skills
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Flag Football||Gaga Ball||Four Square|
|Tetherball||Ultimate Frisbee||Frisbee Golf|
|Scavenger Hunt*||Tug-of-War||Recreation Hall*|
|Fishing (bring your own)||Slip '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
Summer Campers Only
Campers have the option to participate in all of the above activities, either as a "Melee" activity which is a one hour try-it session, or as a "Free Choice" which is a week-long, 1.5 hours per day progressive program. They also have exclusive opportunities to participate in the activities below. All activities help to reinforce the four core values of the YMCA: Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.
Mini Bikes (additional fee)
Minibiking is a unique riding program led by experienced instructors that emphasize safety. Our program introduces campers to the maintenance and operation of minibikes, in addition to proper riding technique. We have a selection of bikes, in a variety of sizes to accommodate different age groups and skill levels. Program will progress from basic riding on the minibike field to exploring the trail system around our 275 acre property. Our instructors proceed carefully with all participants, ensuring their safety and proper use of the equipment. Camp Bernie provides helmets and equipment for use in this program.
Horseback Riding (additional fee)
Horseback riding is available as a component of our summer camp program, or through individual registration. We offer instructional lessons every weekday afternoon as well as trail rides through our property. Lessons include elements or horse management, from grooming to feeding the horses. Program Options include Overnight Camp Horseback Riding, Pony Riding for Day Campers, Horseback Riding Lessons and Trail Rides for Day Campers and the Community. Also available as Melee activity for Shawnee and Nation Campers in 2014!
Campers will learn about the equipment, safety, repair and riding techniques of both Mountain and BMX Biking, including trail rides and beginner jumps. Sessions aim to improve old skills and develop new skills on bikes allowing a participant to feel more comfortable riding.
Recreational and instructional swimming activities are offered in our swimming pool. American Red Cross certified lifeguards oversee all swimming activities. All campers are swim tested for ability and life jackets are available.
Campers design, build, and fire their own rockets. They will be taught skills and proper handling of hobby knives and hot glue under strong supervision.
Campers will be taught the basic element of movement, body, space, effort, and relationship awareness through various dance styles such as Line Dances, Ballroom/Social Dances, Folk Dances, and Contemporary Dances. Campers will be given the opportunity to perform for their peers.
Campers will develop and enhance their own personal performance skills and be given the opportunity to perform in a production for their peers. Skills addressed include improvisation, spatial awareness, memorization, teamwork, and public speaking/facing fears,
Our very own Head Chef teaches campers some of our favorite recipes and leads them through the preparation and cooking process. Campers will make and eat their own culinary creations such as muffins, cookies and calzones.
Camp Aquatics staff teaches Shawnee and Nation campers the skills required to be an American Red Cross lifeguard. This is not a certifying class, but can give a leg-up to campers looking to develop their skills and start a future career in Aquatics.
Slip 'n' Slide
A great Melee or cabin activity, Slip 'n' Slide is camp fun in its purest form! The run is over 50 feet long and leads down the side of steep grassy hill.
A wide variety of activities have been seen over the years in the evenings at camp, including classics like campfires, dances, and campouts with s'mores as well as unique camp favorites like "Messy Goo", "Zap", and reverse scavenger hunts and even some fresh new events like "Zombie Survival" and "Paint Plunder". The creativity and enthusiasm of the staff really comes out at night!
Both Day Camp and Overnight Camp have themed All-Camp Days that are an all-out BLAST! Each session is vastly different and the dedication of staff and campers is what makes it unique. Special events, competitions, skits, costumes, and cheers like you've never seen or heard! These days are what we look forward to all year long.
Overnight campers in 7th grade are given an amazing opportunity to experience this rite of passage. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure is a guided overnight canoe trip along the Delaware River. Campers will pitch tents and cook over an open fire. Experienced and skilled lifeguards lead campers on this trip of growth and bonding. You don't want to miss this!