The Williams Outing Club will offer a summer camp for area children for the first time this summer.
The WOC does a lot more than just trying to get us outsideâ€”and they proved it again by the new summer camp whose organization is under way. The Outing Club Intern and director of the new camp, Deb Zucker ‘97, responded willingly to our request to learn more and gave us all the details about Berkshire Horizons, the first ever outdoor adventure day camp opportunity offered to teenagers with limited financial resources in Berkshire County.
“The purpose of the camp”, Zucker said, “is to challenge participants both physically and mentally, provide them with a supportive and safe group environment, instill greater self-confidence and empowerment, encourage new perspectives and foster personal growth and leadership skills. In doing so, the club hopes to be filling a much needed niche of service to the Berkshire region.”
Zucker pointed out there is presently a great need for educational and recreational activities for teenagers from less affluent families in the region. Providing affordable programs for area children and teenagers is one of the main purpose of Youth Services, since it is well known that child neglect and child abuse in Berkshire County are among the highest in the state.
Zucker said, the new camp will aim to provide a recreational opportunity to the vast majority of the teenage population who would otherwise find themselves without any viable and rewarding options during the summer.
WOC plans to offer two 2-week sessions with equivalent programs for ten girls and ten boys, ages 13-16, from low income families in the area to take part in each session. The first week will involve day activities such as initiative games and a ropes course, a climbing wall session, hikes, swimming, and a canoe trip. The second week will include a trip preparation day, then a five-day backpacking trip in the Berkshire region.
One male counselor selected from the Williams College student body through an application and interview process will help Zuckerdevelop, prmote and direct the camp. Outing Club director, Scott Lewis, will serve as a supervisor for the camp.
Thanks to the infrastructural support from Williams College, the total expense budget for the camp is extremely low. Money has been solicited from local community organizations and tuition support has been received from the Berkshire Prevention Alliance and the Northern Berkshire Community Action Council, allowing all campers to attend for a nominal fee. Two other grand proposals are still pending. “Berkshire Horizons is being created on the assumption that it will continue every year, expanding in size as it becomes more established”, Zucker said.
Questions and suggestions about Berkshire Horizons should be directed to Deb Zucker: c/o Williams Outing Club, SU Box 1004. Students are also welcome to stop by the WOC to offer comments. Members of the board are on duty everyday to answer questions, check out equipment and sell memberships and merchandise. The WOC executive board meets every Monday at 7 p..m. in the reading room, right next door to the equipment room, to report and plan trips, special events and discuss ideas for the present and future. Any member is encouraged to come by during members’ open time starting at 7:45 p.m.