An Adirondack summer camp gets a little national attention, but…

An online story by Business Insider calls Raquette Lake Camp (for 6-16 year olds) “exclusive and expensive.”

According to the website, it’s $11,400 for a few weeks of sleep-away camp and only 10-12 non-legacy kids have a chance at getting in. If this is accurate, that description’s fair.

But is that how Adirondack summer camps want to be known? If the reach of the online article was limited to the 5,000 or so people who saw it on Business Insider, it wouldn’t merit too much attention. But Yahoo News picked it up and put the story in front of lots more eyeballs.

Summer camps – as an industry – are still a good fit in our neck of the woods. They’re long-lasting, family-run businesses. They employ lots of people and are often good environmental stewards. But, perhaps most importantly, these camps bring thousands of people to the Adirondacks – many of them when they’re young and impressionable. Just in terms of marketing, that’s gold.

So what will it mean if parents start to associate kids’ sleep-away camps in the Adirondacks with “exclusive and expensive?”

Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe this is how our patch of New York builds a little buzz.

But the vast majority of summer camps in this area aren’t that costly and don’t promise elite elbow rubbing. How do these camps appeal to parents’ growing concern about “right tracking” their kids?

Yeah, these other Adirondack sleep-away camps could raise prices and as school-age campers become adults they might come back here as tourists or vacation-home buyers.

But is this the path we want to take to a higher national profile? Maybe this is the path we’ve always been on. Maybe this is just how it goes.

But does it seem right to you? Does this fit with your idea of the Adirondacks? Does it fit with the way you value this place?

I think we better decide, sooner rather than later.

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3 Responses to “An Adirondack summer camp gets a little national attention, but…”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    We? Brian, what part of private camps don’t you get?
    What private businesses charge for anything is their business. We have nothing to do with their prices.
    Now if the state wanted to start charging prices such as the above at state campsites, then I think “We” should get involved.

  2. Mark, Saranac Lake says:

    I’m not sure Jonathan (not Brian) was suggesting that we become involved in setting camp fees but rather the concern for the publicity that Adirondack camps are “exclusive and expensive” and perhaps the indirect economic impact that may have. Yes, some are exclusive and expensive and there is nothing wrong with that but there are many camps that are quite affordable, private camps as well as camps run by youth organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, YM/WCA, 4-H, as well as religious based camps. These more affordable alternatives to “exclusive and expensive” are quite valued and worth tooting our collective horns about. Those experiences are truly lifetime and more often than not have a significant impact on a kid’s life in one way or another. The resulting economic impact of both types of camps is significant, not only in the direct impact of the camp today but they are also grooming kids as future visitors, residents and maybe even entrepreneurial “investors” of the Adirondacks. To limit ourselves to “exclusive and expensive” limits the kind of people that will come to the Adirondacks – I think it is the social and cultural cross section of our society (in other words, everyone) that we want to appeal to and the Adirondacks seems to have that in spades…”exclusive and expensive” and “cheap and fun”.

  3. Paul says:

    It is good press either way. All the other camps should just start making some brochures that describe how you don’t need to spend 11K to give your kids the same Adirondack camp experience as people crazy enough to drop that kind of coin on that camp.