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Frost Valley YMCA campers expand wilderness skills in 2-week Bear Grylls Survival Camp

Young adventurers who have gotten a taste of survival in the wilderness of the Catskills: Get ready to push yourself even further.

This summer, Frost Valley YMCA is again offering its signature Bear Grylls Survival Camp for campers age 11 to 17. This year, however, Frost Valley is excited to announce a NEW two-week program that will be more advanced and challenging for campers looking to improve their survival skills. The new program is open exclusively to campers who have taken the six-day course already offered at Frost Valley. Frost Valley still has openings in both the six-day and two-week courses — but they will fill fast!

For the two-week course, which takes place July 16 to 28, participants will live in rustic shelters — some that they build — rappel down a waterfall, forage and trap their own food, and learn how to cook on fires that they start themselves. Along the way, they will learn “dynamic self-rescue” techniques developed by internationally known survivalist Bear Grylls, the star of nature survival reality shows including Man vs. Wild, Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls, and Running Wild.


While testing themselves in the unspoiled wilderness, they will be led and supervised by guides who put safety first. They have been specially trained by Bear Grylls’ academy, which offers adventures in Great Britain, Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.

With its 5,500 scenic acres in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Frost Valley is already host to the only six-day Bear Grylls program in North America, and is one of only three sites in the country for the 24-hour adult and family programs. All of the programs teach participants grit, resilience, and the skills people need to survive and rescue themselves if they ever find themselves stuck alone in the woods.

The new program — also the only one of its kind on the continent — pushes the envelope like never before.

The campers will be divided into two age groups — 11- to 13-year-olds and 14- to 17-year-olds. Participants will be outfitted with official BG equipment including knives, backpacks, and sleeping bags as they head out into Frost Valley’s backcountry.


As they make their way across waterways and rough terrain, they also will be learning the intangible skills of teamwork and camaraderie.

“The young adventurers who join us will learn all the ‘hard skills’ they need, such as how to take care of a knife and how to set a trap, but they’ll also learn much more,” says Jeff Williams, director of Bear Grylls Survival Academy programs at Frost Valley. “They will develop self-confidence while honing skills in leadership and team-building.”

The program is designed to instill in them Frost Valley’s eight core values: caring, community, diversity, honesty, inclusiveness, respect, responsibility, and stewardship.

“Our two-week course takes them away from their computer screens and cell phones for a while and gets them back to nature, where they experience adventures they would never find by staying home,” Williams says. “And while they’re making new friends and having a great time, they’ll be learning values and life skills that they can carry into any situation life brings them.”

Frost Valley YMCA
2000 Frost Valley Rd
Claryville, NY

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