Regional Groups Experience Camp Overlook’s Winter Offerings

Seeking a scenic place to convene and enjoy all the greatness that is winter in the Adirondacks, groups from St. Lawrence, Franklin counties and beyond have begun to take notice of a wonderfully affordable opportunity right in their own backyard.  That is, Camp Overlook.  Many know Overlook as the long-standing summer camp that has been providing area kids a s’more-making, song-singing, Polar Bear-swimming escape into the mountains each July and August.  Some aren’t even aware of this and even fewer have heard that the place is now a year-round facility available for rental and educational programming.  Two different organizations however, 4H and the Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country, recently took in all that Camp Overlook had to offer in the snowy months.

On Saturday, February 16th, 4H’ers from various North Country counties descended on Overlook for a day of bread-making and snowshoeing.  Led by Cornell Cooperative Extension educator Pat Banker, children learned alongside their parents some basic, but delicious bread recipes.  Beginning with simple ingredients (flour, water, oil, yeast) and employing the many cooking utensils and expansive kitchen area of camp’s Great Hall, the crew created several varieties of breads, rolls, and even pizzas by adding a “pinch here” and a “handful there” of additives of their choosing.  Perhaps the greatest lesson of the day, which came to fruition in a tableful of mouthwatering breads, was Banker’s theory that no bread should be made exactly the same.  She encouraged the bakers to experiment with measurements and not try to be too perfect in any of their efforts.  The delectable results spoke to her method.

As the bread rose and cooled, the bread-makers exchanged their aprons for snowshoes and hit the trails for a cold but energized hike around camp.  Exploring the nature trails, waterfronts, and cabin areas of Camp Overlook, the group soaked in some frosty rays and burned off some steam in preparation of their journey down the mountain.  Before packing up and heading out, each member sampled the wares of everyone else’s hard work in the kitchen.  Even those who were self-avowed “non-bakers” were amazed at how well each different creation tasted and marveled at how easy it was to create such a feast.

Just three days later, another group arrived at camp, for a very different purpose.  Led by Colton resident Jim Williams, men and women of all ages from the Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country came ready and excited to take on camp’s Adventure Course despite the cold and snow.  Anyone who has visited camp will likely tell you of the scream-inducing high ropes elements Camp Overlook loves to challenge its occupants with.  Even having heard the tales, much of the crew from CPNC showed no fear and made it their goal to take on whatever was available to them.  In preparation for the high elements, the group snowshoed around the Course and participated in a series of teambuilding and trust-developing exercises which encouraged them to problem-solve together and encourage each other’s efforts.  Once on the high ropes, these skills proved extremely useful as the cold and height of the elements themselves proved impediments to success.  The cheers from the ground and the incredible stick-to-itiveness displayed by all participants, though, made for a very accomplished day, including some high-flying stunts from some very daring individuals.

Camp Overlook is open to any and all parties interested in using the facility and it’s staff for a half day, whole, day or even a week.  Through the great efforts of Cornell Cooperative Extension staff from both Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, Overlook is pleased to cater to all desires and needs no matter what time of year.  For more information regarding renting the facility or investigating educational opportunities at the camp, contact Program Director Nate Campbell at nwc27@cornell.edu or 518-483-7403.

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