With over a century of experience and expertise, we are one of the oldest traditional overnight camps in America.
Since 1916, something special has been happening along the pristine shores of Raquette Lake. For seven extraordinary weeks each summer, campers ages 6 to 15 have made Raquette Lake Girls Camp a special haven for building lifelong memories. The vast majority of girls return, summer after summer, to rekindle old friendships and make new ones. Many are second, third, and even fourth generation campers.
It has a long, prestigious history of excellence held up by its philosophical foundation. The traditions that have defined the camp and embodied its philosophy are still around today... a picture of unity and endurance, past and present.
Raquette Lake Girls Camp was founded by Ray K. Phillips in 1916. She had directed Cedar Island Camp for Girls but was looking for something special, something larger, with a pristine lake. That’s when she found the Antlers Resort on Raquette Lake. Ray K purchased the resort and built the girls camp at the same time her cousin founded Raquette Lake Boys Camp across the lake. Since the start, both camps have operated separately but philosophically as one.
Moving into the Modern Era, improvements such as clay tennis courts, horseback riding, and an upgraded waterfront changed the face of the camp, but not the core; the same traditions and values that started the camp still fueled it.
The decline of the 1900s saw the continued growth of Raquette Lake. The radical changes in American culture made small impression on the staid character of the camp. The landscape changed again as facilities were enlarged, fields were expanded, a ropes course was added, and new buildings were constructed. Generators were brought to camp and additional luxuries were included such as a canteen, staff lounge, and bathrooms in every bunk.
Camp today is camp as it’s always been. Generations of campers come back whose mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers came to Raquette Lake Girls Camp. Modifications to the infrastructure continue, but the commitment to Camp’s unchanging traditions, philosophies, and values remain.
Since their founding, Raquette Lake Camps have operated with completely separate facilities, but with common ownership, philosophy, and values. Both girls and boys enjoy scheduled socials and special events that bring them together in a comfortable, accepting environment. Sisters and brothers from both camps have lunch together weekly.
Team Week is as old as the camp. Since the beginning, campers have divided into two teams — the Blue and the White. For one week, at the end of each summer, campers compete in all activities and events. It’s the purest and healthiest form of competition; each camper is challenged to give all she’s got for her team. Team building and good sportsmanship are the goals of the games.
Beginning at Raquette Lake Girls Camp and ending 80 miles to the north at Saranac Lake, senior girls canoe the wilderness for 4 days. These girls bond as they prepare their own meals, carry their canoes, build their tents, and navigate their way through the lakes and rivers of the Adirondacks.
The girls who choose to make this 2 mile swim to the boys camp train all summer. In the early morning, during the final days of camp, these girls enter the lake at girls camp and swim the distance. They share breakfast with the boys on the other side.
Every summer, each camper is paired with an older or younger “camp sister.” Once a week they have dinner together and participate in a special event such as a scavenger hunt.
Once a week, the entire camp congregates at the campfire site, which overlooks the lake, to hear stories, recognize camper achievements, make S’mores, and sing songs.
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