1885: Frost Valley YMCA, and the entire concept of Y Camping, has its early beginnings. The Boys’ Camping Society is formed by Sumner F. Dudley and George A. Sanford, the Newburgh YMCA Secretary. Dudley leads the first trip in 1885 on Orange Lake near Newburgh, NY – also known as “Camp Baldhead.”
1886: Newburgh YMCA sponsors a teen camping excursion to Lake Wawayanda in Sussex County, New Jersey.
1901: YMCA camp (boys only) at Lake Wawayanda is founded.
1911: Camp Wawayanda hosts training for leaders of the newly established Boy Scouts of America.
1919: Camp Wawayanda moves to Andover, New Jersey.
1954: Urban expansion forced Camp Wawayanda to again make another move. The next three summers Camp Wawayanda was held at an interim site, Steven’s Institute of Technology Camp, while the Board searched for a permanent site.
1956: A Christmas Eve deal transfers Julius Forstmann’s 2,200 acre estate in the heart of the Catskill Mountains to the YMCA.
1957: Frost Valley Association is formed to run the Frost Valley Camp and Conference Center. The Forstmann “Castle” opens to families and conference groups.
1958: First summer camp, for boys only, opens at Frost Valley.
1962: Girls camp, Camp Henry Hird, opens at Frost Valley.
1966: Halbe Brown begins 35-year tenure as Executive Director of Frost Valley.
1968: The Frost Valley Association, the interim governing organization of Y’s using the camp, is dissolved and Frost Valley incorporates as its own independent YMCA.
Summer of 1969: The summer camp season begins with a hurricane that floods main camp, but everyone is safe and all damage is quickly repaired.
Fall/winter of 1969: Frost Valley establishes a year-round Environmental Education Center to introduce young people to the natural world and teach them how to protect it.
1970: Frost Valley coordinates the International Camper Exchange and sends campers to Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Counselors from abroad add to the cultural mix at Frost Valley.
1970: Frost Valley begins encouraging off-season use of the camp.
1975: Halbe Brown oversees the development of the Ruth Gottscho Kidney Dialysis Center at Frost Valley, the first of its kind anywhere.
1978: Another major purchase was made, this time for the 1,600 acre Straus estate adding another 24 beds to the Conference Center.
1979: Halbe Brown brokers a global collaboration between Frost Valley and the Tokyo YMCA, extending a home base and respite in the United States to Japanese families living abroad, and designating Frost Valley as an international YMCA.
1980’s: The Straus Center is renovated and opens as a conference and group retreat facility. Thomas Lodge burns down and in its place many new buildings go up: a new dining hall, several villages and super-lodges: Margetts, Hussey, Scott, Neversink, Snow, Bodman, Day, Kellogg, Hyde & Watson, Quirk and Kresge.
1980: Forest Management Plan and Program begins to maximize the Frost Valley forest for multiple uses, like timber resources, wildlife habitat, water quality protection and recreation.
1982: The first Elderhostel program is held at the Straus Center.
1983: Mainstreaming at Camp, in coordination with YAI, is initiated at Frost Valley, quickly becoming a popular program.
1988: A Forest Management Trail was built, and the Raptor Center and Wildlife Rehabilitation Program was developed.
1990: The Resource Management Center, the first institutional-sized composting center in New York State, opens.
1991: Frost Valley hosts a national task force to set the environmental agenda for the 13-million member YMCA of the USA.
1992: A chapel and memorial garden are built.
1994: Frost Valley serves as the northeastern U.S. training and resource center for the Y’s Earth Service Corps, a leadership training program.
1995: Hayden Observatory opens, providing access to two high-powered telescopes for stargazing.
1998: A Streamside Classroom is developed in association with the U.S. Geological Service.
1998: Frost Valley receives the prestigious Benchmark Award from the USGS for outstanding efforts in environmental education.
1998: Quirk Lodge is opened, with composting toilets, solar-powered lighting, and other energy-efficient and environmentally-conscious innovations.
2000: The Educational Farm in the East Valley hosts campers and guests for the first time.
2001: Halbe Brown retires.
2002: Jerry Huncosky replaces Halbe Brown as Executive Director of Frost Valley.
2007: McLain Lodge undergoes renovations and reopens as Geyer Hall; a fully equipped business center. Also, the new hotel style 24-room Lakeview Lodge opens.
2008: The Guenther Family Wellness Center opens, replacing the old Smith Lodge which served for decades as the camp infirmary.
June 2011: Straus Center is renovated, becoming the new East Valley Lodge, opening for family and group retreats.
August 2011: Hurricane Irene hits the Catskills and devastates the Frost Valley property on the first day of Family Camp, bringing down the beloved Pigeon Lodge.
June 2012: Leadership Lodge, a solar-powered CiT lodge, is built in place of the former Pigeon Lodge.
September 2012: Halbe Brown passes away. A memorial is held in the chapel for the wider Frost Valley community, including many former campers and counselors.
May 2014: Frost Valley YMCA offers the US’s first Bear Grylls Survival Academy wilderness courses for families and adults.
June 2014: Frost Valley’s Healthy Home Teaching Kitchen provides nutrition, cooking, and kitchen safety classes for campers and visiting groups.
2015: Energy-efficient LED and CFL light bulbs are installed throughout camp. An eco-friendly Woody Biomass Heating System is installed, as well.
April 2015: CEO Jerry Huncosky accepts Hospitality Green’s “Green Concierge: Silver Tier” award on behalf of Frost Valley’s commitment to sustainability.
June 2015: The Blum House opens, thanks to the legacy and vision of former FV supporter Eric Blum, as a place for staff to seek respite during downtime.
July 2015: The world’s first Bear Grylls Survival Academy Teen Camp summer camp program begins at Frost Valley.
October 2015: Frost Valley’s Disc Golf Course, created by renowned designer John Houck, opens to the public.
May 2016: The Bud Cox Trip Center, named in honor of a long-time employee and donor, is the starting point and home base for all of our Adventure Trips and year-round hiking outings.
June 2016: Durango Village, a boys horseback riding camp for ages 8-12, opens to the public.