Since its founding in 1894, Camp Shand has provided an invaluable life experience for thousands of young campers from central Pennsylvania and well beyond! Rooted in the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility and a belief in the transformative power of engaging with the natural world, Camp Shand gets kids moving, thinking, and growing while having a great time!
Our counselors love what they do. Just like our campers, they have different backgrounds and interests, but share a common goal of creating a safe, rewarding and memorable experience for each child who comes to Camp Shand. Prospective staff members are screened through background checks, reference checks and an interview process. After joining our team, counselors receive extensive training with respect to safety, camp programs and activities. Team members are certified in CPR and First Aid, and Lifeguards are certified by either the YMCA or the Red Cross. Our campers benefit from the respect and camaraderie among our team, and find in each counselor a positive role model and mentor. And best of all, teens can participate in our “Counselor in Training” camp program, develop leadership skills and learn what it takes to be a counselor at Camp Shand!
Safety & Accreditation
Camp provides a supervised, positive environment with controlled boundaries to help children grow. Our commitment to safety is demonstrated by our accreditation through the American Camping Association (ACA), the leader in setting and maintaining camping standards. Accreditation is an educational process providing training, guidelines, programs, and publications for camp directors and staff. No environment is risk free; however, ACA camps voluntarily go through a rigorous risk management process to prevent illness or injury to campers – and to have solid crisis plans if an emergency does occur. To learn more, feel free to contact Camp Shand Director, Chris Smith at 717-272-8001.
Camp Shand is the nation’s third oldest organized YMCA camp. Beginning in 1894, the first location was at Schiebly’s Grove, situated then on the Conestoga Creek, a few miles north of Lancaster city. The first campers were 15 boys already active at the Lancaster Y, who spent two weeks together sharing what was then known as a “regular camp schedule.” Several years later, the camp made its move to Mt. Gretna and officially adopted the name of Camp Shand in honor of the late James Shand, an early president of our local YMCA.
Mt. Gretna served as a natural point of interest. With the area adjacent to the camp being used by the Pennsylvania National Guard Encampment, the campers could observe military drills and fine horses on a daily basis. In 1924, as organized camping was gaining national acceptance, Camp Shand relocated to Cold Springs in Dauphin County, where the extra distance from Lancaster could now be bridged by the growing use of automobiles.
Following two decades of use, it was discovered that trees adjacent to bunkhouses at the Cold Springs site had been hit by shells fired from Army guns at the Indiantown Gap Reservation. The Army’s maneuvers were to continue indefinitely, making the area a dangerous place to set up camp. In 1944 the camp was sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. While a new site for the resident camp was determined, the Y established a Day Camp program under the name “Camp Totem,” with activities including crafts, swimming instruction, gymnastics and local “see and learn” tours.
In early 1945, the YMCA took possession of land close to Carlisle known as “The Lindner Estate.” Such structures as an intact mansion house, four cabins, a caretaker’s residence, a small crafts shop and a 9-hole golf course already existed on the property. By the opening in 1946, a pool was installed and the mansion itself was converted to serve several purposes, including a dining hall, office space and staff lodging. Following 36 years of successful camping in Carlisle, the Camp property was sold during a time of financial difficulty.
In 1984, Camp Shand relocated to its current home in Cornwall, on the slope of South Mountain. This beautiful wooded site was once home to Penryn Park, an outdoor recreational resort popular at the turn of the twentieth century. Today, Camp Shand has grown to serve more than 600 campers from the Lancaster community and well beyond each summer. An additional 1,500 school children from across the region participate in environmental education programs at Camp Shand during the academic year. Camping continues to be at the heart of the Y’s core focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility and we look forward to the next rewarding phase of Camp Shand history.