Family Camp - Activities With Risk

Most campers participate in activities at Camp that have some inherent risk such as waterskiing, ropes course, white water canoeing, mountain man challenge, archery, swimming, woodsman, and Flag Trip. All of our staff members are well trained in their activity areas and are taught to use caution and wisdom in all situations. In addition, our Camps are accredited by the American Camping Association, which holds us to a very high standard in training, safety, and oversight. Please see below for more detail on these activities at Camp. Do not hesitate to call the Executive Director if you have any further questions about any of these or other activities at Camp.


All staff members who drive any camp powerboat have been trained in waterfront and boating safety and have passed a written and practical test on boating and safety procedures. Staff members who drive the waterski boats have had additional training in both the driving of the boats and the teaching of the campers. Safety is always the top priority. As many of our programs practice level progressions, a camper will not be able to attempt an advanced move on the water before completing and mastering foundational movements on the water (for example two ski mastery is requisite before attempting to drop a ski and ski on one ski). All waterskiers always wear a lifejacket when skiing or in the boat.

Ropes Course and Rock Wall

All Rocks and Ropes instructors have been trained by a professional climbing organization in both safety and best practices teaching techniques. Our Ropes Course has been recently upgraded to include more campers at one time while maintaining a ‘fail-safe’ environment by utilizing the newest state-of-the-art equipment.

White Water Canoeing

The campers in the senior division (ages 13 and up) will have the opportunity to qualify for an experience canoeing on white water (rushing water over submerged rocks). Basic levels of canoeing must be demonstrated and mastered before a camper can experience the technical sport of white water canoeing. The first step in this process after demonstrating the requisite skills on the lake is to travel to the Androscoggin River to practice on a controlled mile stretch of river that that campers may run over and over to perfect their skills. Once this level has been passed the camper may qualify to participate in longer wilderness trips on the Allagash, St. Croix, or Penobscot Rivers (all containing levels of white water). All campers in all canoeing (and all boating activities) always wear a life jacket.

Windsurfing, Sailing, Canoeing, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding

All these activities take place under close supervision by staff members trained in their boating area and in Lifeguard Training. Staff members are either in nearby kayaks, on nearby paddleboards or windsurfers, or (for sailing) in a nearby motorboat. All campers and counselors always wear life jackets in or on any boat. If any weather situation were to arise, all campers and counselors are immediately cleared from the water. If a boat is farther out on the lake, a motorboat will clear the campers from the water onto land. Camp sailors have the option of participating in weekly regattas on Long Lake. Advanced kayakers have the option of working toward an ocean kayaking trip; skills are taught including the use of ocean radios and marine maps. Only campers who have successfully gone through advanced kayak training would be allowed to participate in such a trip.


Every archery instructor at Camp Newfound and Camp Owatonna have been certified to teach the best practices for archery while providing a safe and controlled environment. As in many of our activities, Archery is based on learning progression. As the archer/camper progresses, he or she will be able to take on greater challenges. No archer is allowed to shoot any arrows unless all campers and staff members are behind the safe shooting line. Before any camper can retrieve his or her arrows from the targets, all bows have been put down, as instructed by specific commands.


Every camper will be required to participate in swimming lessons, until they successfully pass out of all of the swimming levels. The swimming program is broken down into age appropriate levels of skills that each camper must master before moving onto the next level. All swimming instructors as certified trained lifeguards(LGT) and many of the instructors are certified Water Safety Instructors (WSI).

Cherry Island and Harrison Swims

Campers who have passed their Big Float Test and have shown the ability to swim ¼ mile in the lanes at the camp H-docks, are offered the chance to participate in the Newfound Cherry Island Swim. Kayaks and canoes staffed with LGT certified counselors accompany the swimmers. The distance from Newfound’s kayak beach to Cherry Island is approximately ¼ mile (1/2 mile total there and back). More advanced swimmers are offered the chance to participate in the Harrison Swim, a 2 mile swim from the local town center of Harrison back to Camp. Swimmers must successfully complete the Newfound Cherry Island Swim before attempting the Harrison Swim. Both the Cherry Island Swim and the Harrison Swim take place early in the morning, before many boats are on the lake. Swimmers stay close to shore in the Harrison Swim and are accompanied by LGT certified counselors in kayaks, canoes, and motor boats. Any camper who needs or wants to board a boat at any time is welcomed and encouraged to do so.

Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts Studios at both Camps are staffed with responsible adults. Campers are never allowed to be in the Art Studios nor use the Art Studio equipment without permission and oversight by a counselor. Wood burners and glue guns are used for some projects, under close supervision by the staff member on duty.