For the entirety of my secondary education, I attended summer camp at Oswegatchie. I went there from sixth grade until my junior year of high school as a camper, then worked there the following three years after that. Two as a State Officer for the New York FFA Association, and one as a camp employee.

Located in Croghan, NY, the Oswegatchie Education Center operates as a youth camp during the summer months and is open throughout the year as an educational and recreational retreat center. Owned and operated by the New York FFA Foundation, Oswegatchie serves as a way for students, and adults to dive into leadership training, environmental education, and outdoor recreation.

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Students from several school districts around Central New York have been to Oswegatchie. In 2019, Oswegatchie had the highest number of campers on record, and 2020 season would have been the 75th anniversary of the summer camp. Sadly, students won't be able to make the camp experience part of their summer.

Due to coronavirus, Oswegatchie's staff came to the conclusion that the 2020 summer camp season would be cancelled. Despite this, they wanted to come up with an experience that campers could get at home.

"One of the ways we decided to extend the camp experience was sending camp out in a “Camp in a Box," said Oswegatchie's Program Director Bill Waite. "We have 3 options. Pick 1, 2, or 3 boxes that we will send out once a month. Pick a “Grown Up” Box that will ship in August. Or “Give a Box” to a camper that would appreciate it!"

The idea of "Camp in a Box" has many students, teachers, parents and past campers/staff captivated. Waite says the question that people are asking most is "What comes in the box?"

Since we want it to be an experience, we are filling it with things you can touch, taste, smell, and hear. Each box will have a shirt or other wearable, something to taste (like our own maple syrup,) simple camp crafts and new items not yet seen at Oswegatchie! The boxes will also include “tickets” to zoom sessions with Oswegatchie staff. About three per box.  Part of the fun is the mystery, so we can not tell you everything. We are putting things in these boxes that we would also want!

For the adults, maybe teachers, parents or past campers/staffers, Oswegatchie has the "Grown Up" box. The box only ships in August and is a higher value, being aimed more at the adult age bracket. It includes a special order hooded sweatshirt and a limited edition t-shirt and will also be filled with other items.

Waite says there's also the option to "Give A Box" to some students who may not be able to get the boxes for themselves.

If you have $100 to spare and you want to surprise a camper out there who would not be able to afford one of our boxes, you can pick as many boxes as you want and we will use of our network of FFA Advisors to make sure they go to an appreciative camper.

You can purchase the "Camp In A Box" experience at Oswegatchie's online store.