Why would hundreds of students from Syracuse University travel to Croghan, NY to spend their weekends? It’s for the Oswegatchie Educational Center! Long known as the “FFA Camp”, Oswegatchie is set on the shores of Long Pond and has been hosting retreat groups from all over New York. Syracuse University has found Oswegatchie to be the perfect combination of lodging, meals, and educational programs, without the modern day distractions of wifi and cell phones. Syracuse University is an example of the new wave of business that has been filling the property for several weekends each year. Additionally, Clarkson University, Hamilton College, and Cornell University all make annual pilgrimages to Croghan NY to retreat at Oswegatchie.
On 1200 acres, 4 large ponds, and 2 miles inside the Adirondack “Blue Line”, the Oswegatchie Educational Center’s location is both beautiful and refreshing. This summer camp and educational retreat center is in the northeast corner of Lewis County inside the Croghan Township. Its 4 full time staff members live on site and work throughout the year. Oswegatchie is owned and operated by the New York FFA Foundation.
Long term development at Oswegatchie has been steady and pragmatic over the years. Starting with the long anticipated addition of a state of the art shower facility in 2008 and continuing this past year with the addition of a new maintenance building, Oswegatchie has found ways to reinvest in itself without acquiring major debt.
In the past 10 years, major donors have stepped forward to make things happen. Charitable IRA rollovers and Estate planning has allowed large gifts to find their way to Long Pond. More important, Oswegatchie has opened its doors to sponsorships and naming rights for new structures. For 2013, the ground is being broken on a new lodge / infirmary. Naming rights on the structure have started at $50,000.
Oswegatchie is now at a tipping point, and needs the right mix of continued customer support, financial contributions, and collaboration with the industrious people of Lewis County. Our current customer base is very loyal and provides invaluable word of mouth promotion. This has been the cornerstone of our growth. However a little known fact is that 95% of our customers travel from outside of the county to participate in our programs. This presents a great opportunity for economic development for many Lewis County businesses. Many of our customers stop at one of many restaurants, purchase fuel, supplies, and even ice cream cones. Croghan has benefitted greatly from hungry people wanting ice cream, chocolates, and bologna! Lewis County maple syrup is also a valued commodity. Not only is it the best syrup, it is also priced right.
We invite Lewis County residents and businesses to consider planning a retreat at Oswegatchie. Whether for a weekend family reunion, or a staff retreat for your employees, we can plan an event that is unique and unforgettable.
Summer Leadership Camp for youth ages 11 and up continues to be our most popular program. In 2012, the summer program (www.oswegatchiecamp.com ) hit another record attendance with 768 campers during 5 weeks of camp. The Oswegatchie program is packed full of high level programs, including water sports, horseback riding, Zip Lines, climbing towers, and so much more. Summer camp tuition is all inclusive and very affordable. Lewis County youth are encouraged to talk to their FFA Advisor about how they can become a part of the Oswegatchie experience. If your school does not have an FFA Chapter you can visit us individually.
Oswegatchie’s annual AdironDUCK Race (www.adironduckrace.com) has become a fixture in the Lewis County calendar of events not to be missed. With the addition of a new flock in 2012, the opportunity to participate in this event is greater than ever. In 2012 1,700 people attended and enjoyed great food, free entertainment, and beautiful spring weather. We would appreciate your presence on Sunday April 28, 2013 for the 19th Annual Oswegatchie AdironDuck Race.
To learn more about Oswegatchie, go to www.oswegatchie.org. We can be reached by phone at 315-346-1222. We look forward to furthering the discussion about how Oswegatchie can be a big part of the future Lewis County.
This article will run in the Lowville Journal and Republican "Progress Edition" in February 2013.