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Lumberjack lessons at Adk Woodsmen's School

PAUL SMITHS - When most young people talk about target practice at summer camp, They're usually referring to archery.

Not at Paul Smith's College, where campers throw axes instead.

The new Adirondack Woodsmen's School, hosted by Paul Smith's College, takes typical summertime fare such as campfires and sleeping under the stars and mixes them with a thorough grounding in lumberjack sports.

The camp, sponsored by outdoor power equipment manufacturer Stihl Inc. and work clothing maker Carhartt, is aimed at high school and college students looking to train with some of the best woodsmen in the business and learn about the rugged traditions at the heart of the sport.

"This summer school takes lumberjack sports off TV and puts the axe in your hand," said Brett McLeod, director of the Adirondack Woodsmen's School and head coach of the Paul Smith's College woodsmen's team. "If you're interested in the sport, you'll get hands-on experience from your first day, and if you're already a collegiate competitor, you'll sharpen your skills with some of the best in the business."

Participants can actually earn four college credits in two weeks, as they learn skills such as log rolling, speed chopping, crosscut sawing, canoe building and axe sharpening. They'll train at a student-built cabin on Paul Smith's lakeside campus.

Paul Smith's is a perennial contender among the nation's best collegiate woodsmen's teams. It has fielded a team since 1948 and holds the record for most consecutive victories in the annual Spring Meet, the biggest college event in the sport.

This year, the college will host the northeast regional competition of the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Series in April, which will be broadcast at a later date on ESPNU.

Campers will have the opportunity to learn from instructors from the Paul Smith's woodsmen's team and the Stihl Timbersports professional ranks. In the meantime, they will experience authentic camp life, learning the history of Adirondack woodsmen, orienteering, and even how to skid logs using a team of draft horses. When they're not sleeping in residence halls, they'll hit the hay under the stars.

Camp will be held in two sessions. The first, from July 11-17, is aimed at beginners and intermediates; the next session, from July 18-24, is for more advanced lumberjacks and -jills. A single session costs $1,095, while two weeks cost $1,995.

For more information, including how to register, visit www.paulsmiths.edu/woodsmenschool or call 1-800-421-2605.

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