Program hours are:
Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–12 p.m. & 2–4 p.m.
Participants in the Boys’ and Girls’ Club program are grouped according to the grade they will be entering in the fall (e.g. Group 4 for children entering 4th grade) and gender. Families will select which group, boys or girls their camper is enrolled in during registration. The oldest group at Club is called SAC (Senior Athletic Club, a traditional name dating to the earliest days of the program) and serves those youth entering the 9th and 10th grades. Staffing ratios are aligned to New York State regulations for Licensed Children’s Camps.
Programming consists of a rotation of various activities which is different every day. Activities may include arts & crafts, sailing, nature, swimming, juggling, playground time, field games, music, and many more options.
Some activities (e.g. sailing, swimming) are guided by age and/or skill levels. Older groups (8 and SAC) may choose “electives” in the afternoon. Boys’ and Girls’ Club offers a diverse, recreational, largely outdoor day camp program combining active play, the arts, waterfront sports and special enrichment events. The program stresses the safety and well-being of children and recognizes the value of building friendships.
Chautauqua Institution will communicate with registrants regarding COVID-19 protocols for Youth and Family Programs prior to the Summer Assembly. The protocols will be developed according to industry best practices, the most recent data and applicable regulations, and subject to change throughout the summer if and when those factors change.
The purpose of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club is to provide an opportunity for young people ages 7-15 to actively participate in a safe and supportive recreational day camp on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution. The programs and facilities allow for a diverse set of activities that take full advantage of CHQ’s natural and cultural resources. The Boys’ and Girls’ Club encourages personal growth for participants and professional growth for staff. The enjoyment and appreciation of lifelong skills are emphasized, and the importance of Club as a source of lasting CHQ relationships is recognized and nurtured.
History of Club
The Boys’ and Girls’ Club is considered the oldest day camp in the United States. With most buildings dating from the 1890s and the turn of the century, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club grows out of a Chautauqua tradition of excellence in sports and physical education.
Seaver Gymnasium (1890) was originally built to house a gymnastics school and was one of the first gyms to install a basketball court when that sport was invented over 100 years ago. Club’s newer structures include the Beeson Youth Center (1968), which replaced the venerable Athletic Club Building (1905), and the Sharpe Field grandstand, built in 1993 following a fire on July 5, 1991, which destroyed the previous structure. Extensive renovations to all Club buildings were completed in 2001 as part of the “CHQ 2000” long range plan.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Club is directed by Greg Prechtl. Mr. Prechtl is recently retired as athletic director at the State University of New York at Fredonia. An experienced camp administrator, he has served as director of the Chautauqua Boys’ and Girls’ Club for nearly 40 years.
The staff at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club includes adults (the majority are teachers), college and high school students. Each camper group is staffed with a head counselor and one or two assistant counselors. Boys’ and Girls’ Club enjoys a high rate of returning staff each year.
A youth leadership program provides skill-building and practical experiences for 16-year-olds preparing to become counselors.
Waterfront counselors hold current “CPR for the Professional Rescuer” credentials as well as American Red Cross Lifeguard certification or equivalent.
Many of the specialty areas are directed by experienced adults (music, arts, nature and crafts).
Sailing experiences are provided by the trained staff of Chautauqua’s Sailing Center.
Young people enrolled in the Boys’ and Girls’ Club may make whatever arrangements are most appropriate for their age and family dynamic. They may walk, ride a bicycle with a parent, sibling, babysitter or on their own, or utilize the public bus/tram system that travels the Chautauqua grounds 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily.
If you are driving your child to Club (from outside the grounds), you must enter via the Bryant Gate. Special arrangements have been made to open the Bryant Gate for Club and Group One participants only and following a schedule tied to Club’s hours of operation. The gate will be open daily 8:45–9:15 a.m., 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m., 1:45–2:15 p.m., and 3:45–4:15 p.m.
Drive straight down Bryant to the foot of the hill adjacent to the tennis courts. Youth may be dropped off at that location, and vehicles can exit by returning directly to the Bryant Gate.
If families need to accompany their child (e.g. on the first day of attendance), they may park their car temporarily at the turn-around area at the foot of Bryant. Vehicle traffic and parking are not permitted in any other areas at Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
Will my child go swimming each day at Club?
With a waterfront campus, Boys’ and Girls’ Club places an emphasis on water safety and water-based activities. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and water games are all part of the weekly schedule. Swimming instruction is a daily activity for all but the oldest groups, and is important for maintaining a safe waterfront, building lifetime skills, and supporting the other water-based programs. Please note, water shoes are highly recommended for all waterfront activities.
Land-based activities will be provided for campers who do not wish to participate in waterfront activities.
How are the children sorted into groups?
Youth registered for Boys’ and Girls’ Club will be divided into groups based on gender and the grade and they will enter in the fall.
What happens at Club if it rains?
Each group has a rain schedule in addition to their regular daily schedule. A variety of indoor activities are provided according to this schedule.
What regulations or guidelines impact the operation of Boys’ and Girls’ Club?
The Boys’ and Girls’ Club operates under a day camp permit granted by the New York State Department of Health. Counselor-to-camper ratios, waterfront staff certifications, safety and emergency plans, water quality, and available medical staff support are all requirements of the permit-granting procedure.
May I register my child for single days or half days?
Registration at Club may only be completed for full week sessions. Prorating, partial refunds, or other discounts for less than one week attendance will not be processed.
Will my child need extra money for Boys’ and Girls’ Club?
Children may need a small amount of additional money for specific crafts projects. Off-grounds field trips for the older groups (Darien Lake, Allegheny River Canoe Trip, etc.) are optional and usually require an additional fee.
Do any of the staff babysit during the season?
A list of babysitters from the grounds and surrounding community is compiled by the Education Department. This list may or may not include Club staff. Please email email@example.com to request a copy of the babysitting list.