Camp Colby is a summer camp program for children 11 to 13 years old, operated by the Conservation Department; it is based at Camp Intermission, William Morris's camp on Lake Colby. The camp was purchased by the state in 1961, and opened in 1963 as a boy's conservation education camp, replacing Ray Brook Camp which had operated since 1950. In 1971, Camp Colby became the first co-educational DEC Camp.

There is also a Teen Ecology Camp for 14-17 year-olds.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 21, 1978

Camp Colby

The Department of Environmental Conservation is publicizing its three summer camps for children, one of which is Camp Colby here.

So it seems like a good time to mention, the value of the program and the benefits the area derives from its being here.

Boys and girls, ages 11 to 13, attend Camp Colby for a week at a time. They are given the opportunity to learn about the natural resources upon which everything depends. The continuing aim is to take these youngsters in their formative years and give them a good foundation in conservation principles and the general ethics of sportsmanship.

Under the guidance of college students majoring in conservation and natural resource programs, and with visiting specialists adding to the program, the students do work in the area of soil, water, forests, and wildlife. In addition they take hunter and boat safety training, and have a lot of fun.

For the most part the youngsters attend the camp on scholarships from sportsmen's groups. .Some local groups are among those that sponsor camperships at Colby and the other two camps — Camp Rushford in Allegany County and Camp DeBruce in the Catskills.

Camp Colby, in addition to training a lot of boys and girls in sportsmanship, houses the outdoor session that is now a part of the Saranac Lake Middle School program and it has been opened for meetings of local of local organizations.

Although it is one of many state owned, non-tax producing properties, unlike some of the others it serves the public. It might be wished that even more uses can be found in the future for the entire property including the main building.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 26, 2005

DEC'S Camp Colby about fun and learning

By DAN LEONIDAS, Enterprise Intern

SARANAC LAKE - Camp Colby is dedicated to educating kids about environmental conservation — but that doesn't mean campers spending a week there don't get to have fun.

While learning about ecology and environmental science, children at the camp — which is run by the states Department of Environmental Conservation — get to practice archery go fishing and explore Lake Colby's bog, Children interested in hunting even have the opportunity to take a firearms safety course during their week at camp.

The kids also get to leave the camp's headquarters on the western shore of Lake Colby and explore the Adirondacks by canoeing through Lower Saranac Lake, going on overnight camping trips and climbing Adirondack mountains like St. Regis, Ampersand and Scarface.

'"You can get out here and do anything," said Jordan, 14, a camper from Adams. Archery is his favorite part of camp, he said.

Shaun, also 14, a camper from Schenectady, echoed Jordan's enthusiasm for Camp Colby.

"There's a lot of fun, cool games," he said.

All of those games – indeed, all of the camp's activities – are designed to teach campers about the outdoors and environmental conservation while at the same time encouraging them to enjoy their natural surroundings according to Kirk Mulverhill, the camp's director.

"We always say Camp Colby is a camp with a difference," Mulverhill said.

He explained that, as required by the DEC, all of the camp's eight counselors have at least two years of college under their belts.

According to counselor Jason Brown, working at Camp Colby has been a fun and rewarding way to spend the summer.

He said "night hikes" - in which counselors and campers go into the woods at night, without flashlights - are his favorite part of each week at camp because they show him how' much the campers have come to trust the counselors in a short time

"After three days, they're willing to go in the woods with us, in the dark, and trust that we won't just leave them there or anything," he said. Counselor Erika Snyder said she also loves seeing how campers change overmuch a short time.

"We see the shyest kids at the beginning of the week become the most outgoing at the end of the week," she said "It's an incredible experience for me to watch."

Unlike other summer camps, Camp Colby is owned and operated by the state, not a private family or organization. As a result, Mulverhill said, turning a profit is not a major issue.

"We can afford to pay a high-quality staff a high-quality salary," he said.

Camp Colby can also afford to keep its numbers down. Only about 55 campers attend camp each week in July and August, allowing counselors to give them much individual attention.

The DEC purchased the Camp Colby property from theatrical manager and agent William Morns, who had called the spot Camp Intermission, in 1961. The Morris family had owned the camp since 1914, using it as a summer getaway and often; inviting famous actors to spend time there.

In 1963, Camp Colby opened as a boys' conservation education camp, replacing a camp in Ray Brook that had run since 1950. Camp Colby became the DEC's first coeducational conservation camp in 1971.

The campers at Camp Colby, boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 14, have all expressed an interest in the outdoors, and many of them are sponsored by environmental groups, fish and game clubs, churches and other organizations in their communities that recognize their interest.

The camp's goal is to educate members of the next generation about conserving the environmental resources that bring them joy, according to Mulverhill.

"We're looking to the future," he said.

In that spirit, the DEC is currently-pushing to increase ethnic diversity at conservation education camps like Camp Colby, Mulverhill said. As the minority population grows, he explained, members of minority groups will have a greater say in decisions affecting the environment. The DEC wants future voters to be able to make informed choices about environmental policy.

"What better way to teach kids about the environment and the importance of conservation than in the Adirondacks?" Mulverhill asked With the presence of loons - the call of which kids sometimes mistake for a coyote's howl - ospreys and even a bald eagle, Lake Colby is a great location, he said.

While DEC and Camp Colby staff are looking to the future, they don't intend to forget the past. To illustrate this point, Mulverhill recounted an incident in which a former counselor who was dropping his child off at the camp stopped into the main office. He noticed a snapshot tacked to the wall and told Mulverhill that he had hung it in that exact spot years ago.

"We're not afraid of change at Camp Colby, but we believe in tradition," Mulverhill said, adding that the camp will always be committed to teaching kids about environmental conservation.

"We're a conservation camp, so we're not taking kids out on the wilderness and saying, 'Here are our resources, but let's never touch them,'" he said. "We're saying, 'Let's use our resources in a way that we can make them last forever.'"

External link: Camp Colby