Frost Valley YMCA is home to the world’s first Bear Grylls Survival Academy Summer Camp for teens! Set in the Catskill Mountains of New York, campers learn valuable outdoor skills, including foraging for food, building a fire for cooking and warmth, creating a shelter in nature, and rappelling down rock faces, all led by the Bear Grylls Survival Academy Program Director, Jeff Williams and his team of trained instructors. Learn more about the adventure enthusiast below!

Where are you from?  

Okawville, a really small farming community in Southern Illinois

Where did you attend college and what was your major?  

Eastern Illinois University with a major in Parks Administration and Outdoor Adventure Recreation

When did you start working at Frost Valley?

July 2007

How did you get involved with Bear Grylls Survival Academy and when?  

They approached Frost Valley about a partnership to expand their program into the United States in November of 2013.  I immediately showed interested in heading this program as it is the perfect combination of my program director experience with my love for the outdoors, adventure, and education.

What was your first impression of the Survival Camp?

I had the opportunity to assist with one of Bear Grylls Survival Academy’s courses in the Highlands of Scotland.  It was an amazing for me to experience Scotland for the first time. The terrain was rugged, yet the ground was soft.  The clients were energetic, and completely drained.  And, of course, I loved meeting and instructing with my coworkers from over the pond.

What is your favorite part about the Bear Grylls Survival Academy Summer Camp?  

Watching the information get absorbed by the campers through the exciting activities that we do.  It’s awesome, because the campers often don’t even realize that it is happening to them.  They are learning and having fun at the same time.

What is one thing people wouldn’t expect from Bear Grylls Survival Academy Summer Camp and what else it has to offer it’s participants? 

The increased feelings of respect and responsibility for oneself and for everything around them (environment, family, friends, luxuries, etc…).

What is something that we would be surprised to learn about you?  

I am a NY state firefighter and an Assistant Chief in our local Fire Dept.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?  


Learn more about the Bear Grylls Summer Camp today!

Frost Valley YMCA

About the Author

Frost Valley YMCA

Frost Valley YMCA is a 5,500-acre, year-round camp - There's something for everyone here in the Valley. From group and family retreats to sleepaway camps to horse camps to teambuilding, we've got you covered. School groups love taking a three-night field trip to explore the natural world and learn about the environment and their classmates. Family weekends are the perfect getaway for the young and the young at heart. Teambuilding retreats afford corporate, collegiate, religious, and other groups the opportunity to challenge themselves and effectively work toward common goals. In the summertime we're where kids and teens gain independence, explore the world, and make lifelong friends through various camps such as traditional sleepaway camp, farm camp, horse camp, adventure trips, Bear Grylls Survival camp, and day camp. Call (845)985-2291 or email to learn more today!

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