Christian Heights Camp is a non-denominational camp in New York State located on a hill top near the Cattaraugus County seat, Little Valley. The camp operates on about 150 acres of woods, meadows and ponds. Two-thirds of the property is on the north side of Dutch Hill Road and the remaining acreage is on the south side of the road.
Christian Heights’ programs include a summer youth camp and a family Memorial Day Work Weekend. Each year the camp operates its youth camp program for two weeks in July. The staff is comprised of volunteers who are followers of Jesus. The camp’s chapel time, Bible classes, devotionals, campfires and other activities are centered around a theme based on scripture. Some campers have a solid grounding from family and church in the Christian faith; others come with little or no such commitment. It is the constant goal of CHC to provide an environment where the Good News of God’s love is evident in the actions of the staff. Kids are encouraged to grow their trust in God and the staff views its mission as that of a sower who plants seeds of truth in love.
Camp typically begins the day with a bugle call to get up, though many rise at the crack of dawn. After breakfast and clean-up, morning activities include chapel, Bible study and a large group sports activity. Following lunch, different age groups rotate through swimming, arts and crafts, sports and shower/rest periods. A favorite time is snack time at the Canteen. After supper, a short activity period precedes campfire time with ‘fun songs’ and praise songs. At least once a week camp goes on an overnight sleep out in the woods, weather permitting, with girls at one campsite and boys at another.
Because camping is a time of group activities and reflecting on God’s goodness, campers are encouraged to leave their electronic gadgets at home. No campers are allowed to have in their possession cell phones, computers, iPods, radios, CD players, etc. If they bring such to camp, the device will be kept locked in a secure place and may be used only in Shepherd’s Staff during camper rest period. All campers and their parents will sign a behavior agreement at the time of registration.
The Draper Memorial Building is used for recreation, cooking and dining, arts and crafts, classes and chapel. Shepherd’s Staff is the nurse’s quarter, infirmary, isolation room, registration and meeting room on the upper level with showers, toilets and utilities on the lower level. A newly constructed staff sleeping area is named the Stable. There are three boys’ bunkhouses on the hill: the Tallman, Varney and Clarke cabins with a sleeping capacity of 13 each. The three girls’ cabins, the Montgomery, Brown and Hewitt, can hold a total of 51. Currently, camp can accept a maximum of 33 boys and 43 girls.
Camp has an in-ground swimming pool, a paved basketball court and a ball field. A playground area has been constructed above the ballfield with swings and teeter-totters. An obstacle course has been developed in the woods and an archery range made against a hillside. Several hiking trails wind their way through the woods..
In addition to CHC’s own programs, Christian Youth Enterprises conducts Camp Agape on the premises later in the summer. Later still in the summer, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Lewiston, NY, holds its family camp on the property.