Unique New Partnership Offers Free Summer Learning Experience for Kids at  Camp Zerbe Nature Park

OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Youth Bureau, in partnership with the Central New York/Oswego County Teacher Center, is hosting camps with a twist this summer.

At Camp Zerbe in Williamstown, 32 children ages 6 to 12 recently participated in team building, crafts, and fun activities in a great outdoor environment planned by the Oswego County Parks and Recreation Staff. In addition, the children worked with teachers to experience 12 hours of hands-on, science learning experiments aligned with NYS Next Generation Learning Standards.

“Our teacher participants, representing eight different school districts, have worked hard to learn and prepare for changes in the way science is taught in New York State,” said Tammy Anderson, Director of the CNY/Oswego County Teacher Center. “This partnership enables us to provide a low-stakes summer learning environment for teachers to practice, reflect on, and refine new lessons and instructional skills in preparation for the start of school in September. It is important that teachers have the opportunity to build both the skill and the confidence necessary to artfully implement the change.”

Oswego County Legislators Michael Yerdon (District 1, Redfield, Sandy Creek and Boylston) and Herbert Yerdon (District 2, Richland, Albion, Orwell and Williamstown) welcomed the students on their arrival at Camp Zerbe.

The science themes included Bugging Out, Rainbow Day, Radical Reactions, and Phenomenal Physics.  “After a long hard year of hands-off, distance learning, both teachers and students are reminded of the joy of learning through science!” said Anderson.

Brian Chetney, Executive Director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, said the county is excited at the possibilities this new partnership brings to the community. Camp Zerbe, located on Route 104 in Williamstown, serves as the perfect outdoor classroom. 

“The County Youth Bureau is excited at the possibilities this new partnership brings to the community,” said Chetney. “The large open spaces, acres of forested land, beautiful view of Lake Lorraine and modern facilities offer something for everyone. The addition of the science instruction catches the attention of both parents and kids and helps increase participation.” 

Chetney said the program has been well-received and the county plans to expand the use of Camp Zerbe over the next few years.

For information on the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe visit https://youthbureau.oswegocounty.com/parks_recreation/camp_zerbe/index.php or call the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 315-349-3451. The park is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Facilities may be reserved for special events.

Camp Zerbe kids

Students at the Camp Zerbe science camp examine pond matter pulled from Lake Lorraine to see which organisms they can identify under a microscope. From left are Steven Wheeler, Ryker O’Hara, Jaxon Zender, and Naomi Middleton.

Zerbe science camp
The Oswego County Teacher Center and County Youth Bureau partnered this summer to hold a weeklong science camp at the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe in Williamstown. Legislators Herbert and Michael Yerdon, whose districts cover the northeastern section of Oswego County, welcomed the students to the park. From left are Legislator Herbert Yerdon, Tammy Anderson, director of the CNY/Oswego County Teacher Center; County Youth Bureau Director Brian Chetney; and Legislator Michael Yerdon.