June 18, 2013


Posted by Joshua Holmes, Sailing Coordinator for Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Over the past week, we were given a great opportunity to improve our sailing skills by attending an US Sailing Instructor Course. It was an intensive four-day learning experience, which pushed us into the challenge zone and we feel we have become stronger because of it.

On our arrival we were warmly welcomed by YMCA Camp Chingachgook, which is situated on the beautiful Lake George, in upstate New York.

The four-day course consisted of lesson planning, learning how to get the best out of our sailors at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, and most importantly how to keep everybody safe.

We would like to say a massive thank you to Chris, Pam and YMCA Camp Chingachgook for an awesome experience.

Our four international sailing instructors had a great time getting to know each other, being pushed to the limit, coming out covered in bruises but evolving into an amazing sailing team. Bring on Summer 2013 at Peconic Dunes!

June 8, 2013


Posted by Pamelyn Beukes, Waterfront Program Director for Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

So this week has been a very busy week! Peconic Dunes officially has 14 newly certified lifeguards as well as 3 newly certified lifeguard instructors and water safety instructors. Lifeguards play a very important role to waterfront safety throughout the summer and will be situated primarily on the Sound for sailing and snorkeling, and on the Great Pond for kayaking and canoeing. This year we will also have certified lifeguards in the STEM, and Trekking departments.

To prepare for the awesome summer ahead, our lifeguards have been working very hard. This is how their week looked…

Despite less than optimal weather conditions on Monday, and a few nervous faces, the lifeguards braved the cold waters and completed a successful swimming test to check for fitness. Tuesday was filled with rescue scenarios and videos to prepare us for anything. After two days of intense training, the lifeguards participated in a practical test, in which they had to save victims that were active, passive, and had spinal injuries.  The lifeguards made Peconic Dunes proud, and I would definitely feel safe knowing they will be on the beach this summer looking after the campers. The week ended with the new instructors presenting a first aid, CPR and AED class, that was followed by a written test taken by the lifeguards.

We are all looking forward to great, and safe summer on and off the water, and cannot wait to see you all at camp!

June 4, 2013


Ryan Charles Frazer, CIT/Leadership Program Director at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Rookie Camp: Year 5 has just come to a close. Friday started as any first day of camp, with parents rolling up in their various modes of transportation, apprehensive to leave their children in the hands of a stranger. On the other hand, wild-eyed children were excited for the infinite potential of camp and enthusiastically greeted the friendly staff of Peconic Dunes. Parents helped their children unload and provide comfort and encouragement to their children, whilst the counselors tried to do the same for the parents who were equally as unsure and concerned for the long weekend ahead. Eventually parents parted ways with their beloved children and set off back to their respective homes, where they would surely eagerly be awaiting the final day of the experience so they could be reunited with their children.

After the parents left the children quickly acclimated to the camp lifestyle and began building new friendships. Friday night, the campers played various group games including Capture the Flag and Park Ranger. Unknown to the kids, these games were a plot by their counselors to help exhaust them and prepare them for a good night sleep, which would be the first night away from home for some. Campers were unfazed and went on to challenge our efforts and in fact push their counselors to the brink of collapse. The campers had plans of their own. The end of the night closed with a ceremonial campfire that introduced campers to various camp songs such as “Rare Bog Rattling Bog", "No Bananas In the Sky", and "Donut Shop.” Campers couldn’t understand the significance of this night as this particular campfire they sat around was a record setter for camp reaching 15 feet in height at its apex!

The next morning we began with the normal regiment of flag raising and breakfast. Following this the campers had the opportunity to live out their dreams and partake in great activities such as archery, kayaking and canoeing. Disillusioned by limited sleep and the infinite energy of this particular group of campers, counselors again tried their luck at getting the campers to rest during siesta, but to no avail. The day would continue on and campers would eat up any opportunity they could to fulfill their goals of trying new things. The night would end with another campfire of which many of the new faces that had now firmly settled themselves in the camp culture would participate in skits and flaunt their respective talents to their new friends and family. After many songs and skits, campers returned to their cabins for their final night at camp. Finally, the counselors had achieved their nightly goal of exhausting the children and in most cases, the children went to sleep with little resistance and slept soundly until the following morning.

Sunday morning came and the campers knew that time was dwindling away. They would begin the day with breakfast and the final activities soon ensued. The counselors began the closing process and helped the children pack up their things knowing full well, no matter how explicit they would be with their instruction, and no matter how many times they reminded the campers not to forget anything, a straggling sandal would probably remain. After lunch the children played some final games and felt the combination of love and disappointment as their parents would again slowly trickle into the camp and pick them up. Tears and smiles littered the faces of the campers as they left camp, but a new spot in their hearts had forever been dedicated to Peconic Dunes.