Double H Ranch brings Health & Happiness to children with serious medical conditions

Two days prior to Double H Ranch’s first camp of the summer, Camp Inspiration, members of the EDC team were welcomed to the Lake Luzerne site for an extensive grounds tour by CEO and Executive Director Max Yurenda and Director of Development and Communications Eileen Nash.  

Double H ranch hosts camps throughout the summer for children with serious medical conditions. Campers spend their six-day camp sessions enjoying various activities, like boating, swimming, archery, horseback riding and more.  

There’s a barn filled with animals including bunnies, goats and horses. There’s even an adaptive ropes course that’s accessible all campers, regardless of any traditional medical restrictions.  

All programs are offered free of charge; Double H raises at least $4.6 million annually to continually offer free programs. Campers are generally recruited through hospital outreach programs and word of mouth. 

Despite staffing shortages in 2021, the ranch is fully staffed for the summer of 2022.  

“We were able to recruit a beautiful team,” Max said. “The team is the strongest that any organization could ever hope for.” 

“We have a lot of great volunteers, awesome staff…we’re really grateful,” Eileen added. 

Max estimated the ranch has a 2:1 camper to staff ratio. Including volunteers, he said that ratio is nearly 1:1. 

The ranch has a strong connection with Albany Medical Center. Doctors from the center live on-site for the duration of each camp in order to provide around-the-clock medical care and ensure the safety of all campers.  

“They [Doctors] say coming to camp reinforces why they got into the medical field in the first place,” Max said. 

The ranch remains active throughout the winter months, as the home to the only privatized ski resort in the U.S. that is strictly for children with special needs. The slopes operate on volunteerism.  

Max says the camp’s expenses are much higher due to inflation and pandemic-related facility modifications, which he estimates cost about $35,000 in total. One of these changes: campers now eat all meals under an outdoor circus tent in place of the traditional indoor dining room. Staff now use that space.

Two cabins are being demolished and rebuilt this fall. They’ll be renovated into a 10,000 square-foot facility for staff and volunteers to use year-round. The goal for the space is to encourage retention of volunteers throughout the year.  

Despite any facility alterations, Double H Ranch will undoubtedly continue to provide a comfortable and fun experience for campers for years to come.  

A small portion of the extensive Double H Ranch ropes course, which includes an accessible zipline.

The arts and crafts building, that converts into a ski lodge during the winter months.

Part of the accessible ski slopes, designed for children of all abilities.

The Double H – Health and Happiness – can be spotted all throughout the camp!

The theater space for campers; the walls are adorned with artwork from each year of the camp’s operation shows the story of the ranch’s development.

A couple of the Double H bunnies! They get their own air-conditioned room in the barn.

For more on the Double H Ranch, see their website: Camp For Children With Serious Illnesses In The Adirondacks – Double H Ranch