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Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Berkshire Outdoor Center

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GENERAL ACTIVITY LIST - Main Campus

Some activities are not available at our Eisner and Larkum Lake campuses. Please visit campus pages for activity lists for these camps.

Berkshire Outdoor Center works with all group types, and people of all ages, ranging from corporate executive groups, through family groups, college students, school faculty, school students of all ages and kids as young as 5. We work with these groups on a regular basis and are very adept at modifying any of the activities listed below to suit. Except where noted, all activities are open to all group types, all abilities and all ages.

Leadership Development

High Ropes - Ages 6th grade to adult. Berkshire Outdoor Center has the most comprehensive educational challenge course in the North-Eastern United States. We have two Challenge Courses that employ triple-check belaying systems whereby harnessed participants climb to the top of elements constructed on power poles. Activities can focus on individual achievement, building of self-confidence and self-esteem; and/or requiring the entire team to help climbers achieve the goals of the course.

Alpine Tower - Ages 6th grade to adult. The Alpine Tower provides participants with the same challenges as climbing and traditional high ropes elements. Each person will be aided with safety gear and a staff member while they ascend the tower and its obstacles. The Alpine Tower is designed to allow participants to choose their own goals for success, and can be a highly rewarding experience for anyone.

Zip Line - 6th grade to Adult. The zip line is a classic favorite among our challenge course elements. With the assistance of our Lead Challenge Course Instructors, participants fly through the air after taking a step into the unknown.

Giant Swing - Ages 6th grade to adult. Giant Swing allows small groups to put their teamwork and trust into action. Participants are hoisted into the air by their teammates. At the participants discretion, they then get to fly through the air. This activity is great for groups nervous about heights. Chimney Corners campus only.

Low Ropes - This course is designed to provide challenges as an extension of team building. Involving group work, cooperation, and effective communication skills. Certain elements on the low ropes course can be physically challenging. This activity is best run in small groups of 10-15 per element.

Teambuilding - Using a series of trust building activities, physical obstacles and non-physical challenges, the initiative sessions focus on cooperation, effective communication and the development of trust and flexibility of roles between individuals within a group.

Climbing Towers - 2nd Grade to Adult. The climbing tower at our Camp Becket campus allows for students to learn the basic elements of climbing skills, as well as to experience the belay safety system. Our climbing tower is designed to provide a variety of difficulty and skill levels and to challenge each participant.

Indoor Climbing Wall - 2nd Grade to Adult. Our Chimney Corners Campus Dining Hall has an incredible 25 ft climbing wall built inside it! It is perfect for students to learn the basic elements of rock climbing skills, as well as to experience the belay safety system. Our climbing wall is designed to provide a variety of difficulty and skill levels, to challenge each participant.

The Beast - This activity can be taught either as a class or as a large group activity. The students are shown a model of the Beast and asked to duplicate it. However, the student who sees the model is not the student who does the building. The Beast focuses on effective communication and working together.

Alpha Beta -This enlightening, enjoyable activity can be taught as a class or with a large group. The students will play the role of a member of either Alpha-land or Beta-land society, and throughout the game will gain an understanding of cultural differences and learn to break down some cultural barriers.

Leadership Fair (60 - 90 mins.) This is a wonderful introduction to activities for small groups, bonding them while also introducing fun, quick team challenges. Provided with various tasks to accomplish groups, must grade themselves after completion and compare their scores with those of their facilitators, to better understand what is valued in effective group work.

Raft Building (90 mins.) Participants are challenged to build a raft able to complete a relay race. Provided with a goal, supplies, and a time limit groups must put their communication and planning abilities to the test. 6th Grade and Up, May - October only, weather permitting.

Geodesic Dome (90 - 120 mins.) Focusing on planning and teamwork, this fantastic activity allows participants to become architects. Using logs and lashings they will build their very own structure.

Campfire - Campfires are an inspirational place for many. Beginning with a night hike that ends at a quiet and beautiful campfire. It is a powerful place to end your day, take time for self-reflection, and think about what the day has taught you.

Environmental Education

Pond Ecology - Students will learn about animal adaptations to an aquatic habitat, focusing on insect life in the pond. Students will also explore water quality issues and how their actions may affect aquatic habitats.

Beaver Ecology - Students will learn about the American Beaver, its habitat and its adaptations to its habitat, before embarking on a search for evidence of beavers, and the beavers themselves. Several families of beavers live on our ponds here in the Berkshires, so this is a great chance to see beaver dams and lodges up close.

Forest Ecology - Students will learn what it takes for a tree to survive with hands-on exploration of basic concepts of ecology - individuals, populations, habitats, ecosystems. They will learn about trees themselves - how photosynthesis works, how trees survive. In our nature hikes into the back-country, students will learn to identify species of the Central Berkshires, indicative of Northern Broadleaf Forests. They will learn about the layers of the forest and how forest composition impacts the animals found here.

Bog Ecology - Students will hike to our pristine peat bog to see first-hand the special conditions that define a bog. Students will also examine the water quality in the bog and look at plants and animals living in the bog. Camp Becket only

Berkshire Wetlands Study - Combining features of our Pond Ecology and Bog Ecology classes, students will compare and contrast habitats, living conditions, plant and animal life in our ponds, swamps, marshes and bogs. By studying the differences between living conditions, students can draw conclusions about animals that live in these different ecosystems using first-hand experience.

Predator Prey - All things are interdependent in this come-to-life role-play activity where students learn about food chains, predator-prey relationships and the web of life that connects all living things. This is a very active outdoor activity where students interact as predator or prey species. The concepts of bio-accumulation and the trophic pyramid are also discussed.

Night Experience - Students will learn about the ways in which the nocturnal world comes alive through games and experiments involving all of the senses. Sensory awareness, predator-prey relationships and the anatomy of animal eyes and ears are just some of the topics of discussion and activity on this night time excursion.

Adventure Recreation

Zingers - Time management is crucial in this fast-paced, competitive, action-packed game. Students are divided into teams and travel from station to station, with each station consisting of a high energy task. Fun is emphasized in this activity.

Outdoor Living Skills -Fire building, tarp-shelter building, and knots are all topics covered and practiced in Outdoor Living Skills. Students will get the chance to go out into the woods and try their hand at these skills while learning a bit of what it takes to get along in the wilderness as well as learning the basics of staying warm in winter and cool in summer.

Canoeing - Students will learn how to enter and exit a canoe safely, the basic paddle strokes and safe conduct in the boat. After an instructional session, students will put on their life jackets then head out onto the pond to explore and practice their skills. 5th Grade and Up April to November only, weather permitting.

Archery - Students will learn the basic shooting technique along with range safety. Students can then practice marksmanship and play games based on accuracy and technique.

Campfire - Of an evening, nothing could be more suitable than a beautiful campfire in one of our amphitheaters. Our talented staff can get the campfire off to a roaring start with stories, songs and skits that will entertain young and old alike. Camper and teacher skits and songs are also welcome and encouraged.

Orienteering - Students will learn to read a map, take bearings and use a compass in this fun activity. This class will see students in pairs or triples navigate their way across a defined portion of our campus, finding specific clues and tasks, as well as obstacles set to slow them!

Swimming - Breaking up the intensity of learning on a warm summer of fall day, a leisurely swim in the mountain pond can provide a lot of fun and relaxation to anyone. All swimming activities are supervised by American Red Cross lifeguards and are in designated swimming areas.

Cross Country Skiing - Students will learn to ski! Different from downhill skiing, cross-country skiing techniques and skills will be learned on our practice area before heading off through the snow-covered woods on our groomed trails. All students will ski in a group with our staff as a guide. Instructors will give guidance throughout the period, and help ensure a safe, fun ski experience. We will provide the skis, boots and poles for all participants (included in your price). Winter only

Snowshoeing - Students will learn to snowshoe - how to put them on and how to use them. Students will then head out on our snowshoeing trails to explore the forest in the winter. This magical wonderland will give the students opportunities to find evidence of winter residence using basic winter tracking techniques. They will have an opportunity to appreciate the serenity of a forest in the midst of winter. This class may be combined with one of our ecology classes. We will provide the snowshoes (included in your price). Winter only

Tubing - A recreational activity offered during facilitated choice time. A fun way to break up the day - grab a tube and head down the hill. With our new lighted tubing hill, tubing can take place as an evening activity as well. Enjoy the tubing hill as a group or turn the tubing hill into an educational experience with our Tubing Physics class. Winter only

Ice Skating - A recreational activity offered during facilitated choice time. Our outdoor skating rink is perfect for skating, and when the lake is frozen, we can skate on that too! We have plenty of skates, but guests are welcome to bring their own too! Winter only

Broomball (60 mins) This fast paced outdoor activity has students using brooms in place of hockey sticks and a kickball in place of a puck. Broomball is fun and exciting for participants of any age.

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748 Hamilton Road, Becket, MA 01223
Tel: (413) 623-8991 | Fax: (413) 623-5890