The Capital District YMCA has named John Lefner as the new Executive Director of Camp Chingachgook, its regional outdoor education experience and resident camp located on the shores of Lake George.
A senior leader in non-profit organizations with more than 10 years of camp leadership experience, Lefner has been selected to drive Chingachgook’s strategic plan in alignment with the goals of the Capital District YMCA. Chief among those goals are forming strategic partnerships with other organizations and business leaders, developing the Camp into a year-round destination for a variety of activities, and increasing the number of children and families in need who are able to benefit from the unique experiences that Chingachgook offers.
Camp Chingachgook has been a part of the YMCA since it was established in 1913. Since that time, some 350,000 campers, families, and visitors have visited Camp, and millions of dollars have been invested in the camp. Most recently, $280,000 was invested in a new, innovative 3,000 square foot handicap accessible dock, home of the YMCA’s Y-Knot sailing program for people with disabilities.
In assuming his leadership responsibilities at Chingachgook, Lefner leaves the Saratoga Independent School, where he was the Director of Operations responsible for a $1.2 million dollar budget. In his time at the school, Lefner increased enrollment by 40% and increased revenue by 50% in two years.
Prior to his role at school, Lefner was the Assistant Director of Operations at Double H Ranch, a camp dedicated to serving the needs of children with life-threatening illnesses. In his role at camp, Lefner recruited, trained, and supervised more than 100 full-time and seasonal employees, and managed NYSDOH, American Camp Association and Serious Fun Children’s Network accreditation.
Lefner also has YMCA camp experience, with the YMCAs of Greater Providence and North Central Florida, where he served as Program Director and Camp Director.
Among his many achievements, Lefner was a 2011 Mary J. Preston Scholarship Recipient, for excellence in camping.
“John has been selected to lead our strategic efforts at Camp Chingachgook as we embrace the opportunities and challenges that are integral to our success in this, the beginning of Chingachgook’s next 100-year history,” noted Capital District YMCA President and CEO David Brown. “In particular, I’m excited to see Chingachgook benefit from John’s business expertise, and his keen interest in transitioning Chingachgook into a community resource for the Lake George region, the Capital Region, and beyond.”
In response to his new position, Lefner noted, “I’m thrilled to join the Capital District YMCA as the Executive Director for Camp Chingachgook, and look forward to working closely with staff within the association and with the team and board at camp to provide an exceptional camp experience for children and families. In the coming months, I’ll strive to gain a deep understanding of the programs and most importantly, the people served. Camp Chingachgook is a special place and I’m looking forward to stewarding the camp’s mission.”
The Capital District YMCA is one of the 35 largest associations of YMCAs in the country and one of the largest membership-based community service organizations in the Capital Region. John Lefner will be responsible for managing Camp Chingachgook’s operations as well as its Annual Campaign which helps thousands of children, families, and seniors receive much needed help through YMCA programs and services.