Summer Camps Military Camps

Military Family Camp

The families will be able to participate in all aspects of Pioneer life as family campers. We will provide separate programming for 7-12 year olds, 13-17 year olds, and 18+. Programming can include traditional activities such as: high ropes, low ropes, boating, crafts, biking, tie-dye, devotions, groups games, and more. Specialized activities for this week will include specific programming for military families that will help them grow as a family especially during these difficult times in the military. Please join us for this exciting week at Pioneer for the whole family!

Pioneer is here for every step of life’s journey for military families.

Operation Purple Camp


The National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple® camps are open to military children with a parent or guardian from any service branch. Priority is given to children who have a parent or guardian who incurred service-connected injuries or illness on or after 9/11 or will have a parent or guardian deployed during a 15-month window.

Operation Purple is a time for having fun, making friends, and reminding military kids that they serve too. This summer camp aims to help military kids experience carefree fun, teach them about coping skills to help deal with deployment-related stress, and foster relationships with other children who know exactly what they are going through.

For registration information please visit A $25.00 Hold My Spot registration fee will be given back at Sunday registration

S.T.A.R Family Camp

Pioneer Camp and Retreat Center, Inc. is honored to partner with Western New York Heroes in order to bring about this much needed program for children, from New York and all over the United States, who have lost a loved who was serving in the U.S. Military. Operation S.T.A.R. Camp is being offered to bring surviving children together and to let them know that their Service Member will always be remembered and that they are not alone.

Operation S.T.A.R. Camp attendees will be equipped with long-term and immediate emotional help, hope, and healing that will aid in their grieving of their departed loved one who once served our beloved country. But, best of all, there will also be opportunities to simply have fun! Throughout the course of the week camp attendees will be able to go kayaking & canoeing, tubing, swimming, climb Pioneer’s High Ropes Adventure Course and jump off the zip line, play games with each other, have cookouts, and even sleep out under the golden stars at night.

Please call the office for more information.


Chaplain Alex Knowles, recently retired from the US Army after 28 years of faithful service, is uniquely suited to serve all military families, active, reserve and veterans. As Executive Director at Pioneer Camp and Retreat Center, he continues that passion.

Entering the Army at the age of 17, Alex served as both an enlisted soldier and an officer, rising to the rank of Major before receiving a medical discharge due to injuries received while deployed. Chaplain Knowles served at Ground Zero in NYC, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and also assisted in other Homeland emergencies while servicing as a chaplain in the NY Army National Guard.

Today, Alex and his team continue to develop a comprehensive program that will benefit the military family unit, from the youngest to the oldest and every generation in-between, to provide resources, training and support to strengthen their love for one another. Through his many years serving in the army, Alex saw the direct impact that the rigors of military service have on the family, and the sometimes unfortunate results that can be all too common.

Alex and the team at Pioneer are developing these programs around “mind, body and soul” which help to develop a strong bond among family members. By partnering with other veteran organizations and agencies, Pioneer is becoming a leader in the area of Family and Youth, and with Alex’s experience, especially as it relates to military families.