Youth programs will be offered online for the 2020 season for kids as young as 3 years old through 12th grade. Our counselors have prepared nine weeks of crafts, STEM activities, athletic sessions, and more for our campers.

To join the fun, register at

Chautauqua’s online youth program is sponsored by the Elise M. Besthoff Charitable Foundation, Inc.


Club Plus joins the traditional day camp experience with an interdisciplinary curriculum in the arts and sciences to inspire and bolster the talents of youth with academic curiosity. After spending the morning at Club or Group One, campers will participate in afternoon classes and activities that combine STEM education, literary arts, visual arts and more. Afternoon classes will be led by certified teachers and industry experts. Early registration is strongly recommended. Available Weeks One through Seven.

Club Plus groups will engage in different activities each week, and campers will be combined in the afternoon in the following ages groups with a maximum of 20 campers per group per week:

  • 1st and 2nd graders
  • 3rd and 4th graders
  • 5th and 6th graders
  • 7th through 9th graders

If you have questions that are not answered below, please email or or review the Coach Handbook.


Coaches and Teams

Coaches and Teams

Who can be a coach?

Any adult over 18 years of age, such as a parent, volunteer, older sibling, scout leader, or teacher may be a coach. An individual may only coach one team. A team may opt to have an assistant coach as a stand-in, in case the coach is unable to perform their mentoring duties the night of the battle. Both the primary and assistant coach may participate in the opening processional; however, only one coach is allowed on the floor with the team. Without an adult coach on the floor, the team will be disqualified. Following the processional, the assistant coach must move off the floor and sit in the stands. The coach or another designated adult MUST attend ONE of the mandatory coaches meetings held in December prior to the event. The coach or other designated adult must also attend ONE of the Battle’s logistics meetings in the spring.

Who can participate?

Teams of Chautauqua County fifth-graders who attend the same school.

What constitutes a team?

A team is comprised of five students and an adult coach (at least 18 years old). When registering, the online form requires the registration of five students and will not be accepted with less than five initial team members. If a team loses a member before the actual Battle, remaining members may still participate; however, teams must have at least three members to participate on the day of the Battle.

Will special accommodations be made for visually challenged team members?

If any type of special accommodations are needed, let us know by March 23, 2020. During the Battle all questions are spoken. If a team member has trouble writing the answer within the allotted 30 seconds, another team member may write the answer.

My notes from the initial coaches meeting and the logistics meeting show that we need to check in at 12 p.m. However, I just noticed that the materials say 1:45 p.m. for the check-in deadline for the students. Please confirm?

Check-in begins for coaches at 12 p.m.; student check-in begins at 1 p.m. (If students arrive with coach, they can check in at 12 p.m.) The deadline for students is 1:45 p.m. Anyone who arrives after 1:45 p.m. becomes an audience member and cannot participate. As long as a team has at least three registered team members by 1:45 p.m., the team will participate.

 2020 Battle of the Books: Saturday, May 2, 2020


Battle of the Books gets Chautauqua County fifth-graders excited about reading. A lively academic competition, Battle of the Books improves reading comprehension, builds vocabulary, and teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Teams of five students and one adult coach each read the same 12 pre-assigned books over five months. Selected in conjunction with Chautauqua Institution’s CLSC Young Readers Program, titles include a wide range of reading levels and subjects. Thanks to generous donors, all teams receive a set of books. In addition to reading the books, teams choose a team name then dress accordingly.

During the “battle,” a moderator asks approximately 50 trivia questions that relate to one of the following: a direct quote from one of the book characters; a statement about something that happens in the book; a passage taken directly from the book; details about an illustration or picture. Winning teams receive prizes.


2020 Book List

2020 Book List

All questions will come from the specific editions referenced here.

Battle of the Books BookList 

Check-in Procedures

  1. A team consists of five students. Each student must turn in a signed participation form and photo release form to compete.

  2. Each team must have at least three students checked-in at the Battle location by 15 minutes prior to the event start. If at least three students are not present at this time, the team will be disqualified. After this time, no other team members will be allowed to participate.

  3. Each team must have an adult coach present at the Battle. In case of an emergency which prevents a coach from being present, another adult must take the coach's place or the team will be disqualified.

  4. Coaches or their designees check in and receive their information packets and certificates starting at 12 p.m. on May 2. Coaches then proceed to the designated staging area to await the arrival of their students.

  5. A packet of pencils, answer sheets, and other supplies will be available on their chair at the grid.

  6. If accompanying their coach, students will be allowed to check in early. Otherwise, student check-in begins at 1 p.m.

  7. Once students have checked in, they will be accompanied to the designated staging area for team pictures and to line up for the procession into the Battle venue.

  8. No cell phones, electronic devices, or other reading materials will be allowed on the floor by coaches or students.


How the Battle is Played

  1. Team members sit together on a mat in a grid on the floor. A chair will be provided for each coach. No blankets, pillows, or sit-upons will be permitted on the floor. For safety reasons, no items may extend beyond team grid spaces. Items in the aisles will be removed. Team signs must be placed under the mats during the Battle.

  2. While coaches march in with their teams, they do not sit with their team during the Battle. Coaches accompany their teams to their team’s assigned grid, then will be instructed by the emcee during welcoming remarks when to move to sit with another team that they are expected to moderate and encourage during the Battle.

  3. The moderator asks questions about the books. The moderator will read the question number, which the scribe should record on their answer sheet. The moderator reads each question only two times.

  4. The Battle includes at least one question about each book.

  5. Four different types of questions may be asked (see p. 11 of Coach Handbook).

  6. Teams have 30 seconds to quietly discuss and record their answers. The scribe circles the number of the correct title and the letter of the correct author on an answer sheet.

  7. When the 30 seconds are up, time is called, all pencils must be put down, and the answer sheets must be held up by the scribe to be collected by a volunteer. Even if the team did not record an answer, the blank answer sheet will still be collected.

  8. After the answer sheets are collected and delivered to the scorekeeper's table, the moderator announces the correct title and author to the audience.

  9. A coach must make any allegations of cheating to a staff member before the start of the next round. The matter will be taken to the head judge for a ruling.


Answering and Scoring

  1. All scores are based on answer sheets only. Answer sheets will feature numbers associated with book titles and letters associated with authors that students are to circle. Teams will be given a reference sheet listing titles and authors with their information packet at the start of the Battle. The student chosen as scribe will circle the number of the correct book title and letter for the correct author for each question to score points.

  2. Each question is worth two points. Each round will contain one bonus Battle question worth double points (four total).

  3. Each team has the potential to earn one point for the correct title AND one point for the correct author. However, BOTH title AND author must be correct to earn the points. No points are awarded if either the title or author is incorrect. In other words, the only way to receive two points is to circle the correct title AND the correct author on the answer sheet.

  4. The correct title will be counted as one point if no author is circled. Points will not be awarded if the title is blank and the correct author is circled. Therefore, if a team is sure of a title, but does not know the author, it is to the team's advantage to circle the title and not circle any author.

  5. Please refer to the 2020 Battle of the Books book list for the list of titles and authors. All competition questions will come from the specific editions given to teams by Battle staff. All parts of these books will be considered fair game.

  6. The Battle of the Books head judge is the final authority on correct or incorrect answers.

  7. The team with the most points at the end of the final round will be the winner. In the event of a tie, those teams will participate in a "tiebreaker" round.

    1. First- to third-place tied teams will be invited to come to the front of the grid and answer five questions, each with a 15-second time limit.

    2. After scores for those questions are tallied, the moderator will announce the first place and second place winners. However, if teams are still tied, the Battle goes into sudden death.

      1. Sudden death consists of an additional set of five questions, each with a 15-second time limit.

      2. After each question is read, the teams submit their answer and the moderator will announce whether teams are still tied or if one is the winner.

      3. Based on the Standard Competition Ranking, if teams are still tied after the fifth sudden death question, those teams will be awarded first place. The next highest scoring team will be awarded third place (i.e., two first place teams and one third place team). If three or more teams are tied for first place, there will be no further ranking.

  8. Overall winners and category winners will be posted on the Chautauqua Institution website following the Battle.

  9. Scores will not be posted. Coaches will receive their team score approximately seven (7) business days after the event. All scores are final.



  • Each member of the top-scoring team (first place) will receive a complete set of the 2020 CLSC Young Readers book selections approximately two weeks after the event.

  • Members of the three top-scoring teams will receive medals, which will be awarded at the close of the event.

  • The schools of the three top-scoring teams receive trophies, to be delivered to the school approximately two weeks after the event.

  • Certificates will be awarded at the event to teams for Best Costume, Best Team Name, Best Team Spirit, and Best Sportsmanship.

  • All students receive a Certificate of Participation.

In addition to the plethora of activities young people will find within the framework of the Boys' & Girls' Club, Children's School and Group One, there are a variety of other activities for them to enjoy—from tennis and golf to swimming and sailing and more.

Youth Sailing

The Chautauqua Sailing Department presents a summer-long curriculum of sailing courses for youth ages 8 and up, including Beginner Optimist Sailing, 420 Sailing, Intermediate Sailing, and Saturday morning races. Registration is through the Special Studies program. Early registration is strongly recommended. Private lessons may also be arranged. All Sailing Department programs are conducted from the John R. Turney Sailing Center.

Youth Tennis 

Located directly behind the Turner Community Center, the Chautauqua Tennis Center provides an outstanding junior development program offering group instruction for ages 4–18 and all skill levels. Details and schedules are available at the tennis pro shop. Racquets may be borrowed at no charge during the junior programs. Private lessons and junior memberships are also available.

Youth Golf

The Chautauqua Golf Club offers a variety of junior golf camps and clinics for ages 4-17. Class size is limited and early registration is strongly encouraged. 


There are four public swimming beaches within the grounds. The Children's Beach, located near the Miller Bell Tower, provides a shallow swimming area and beach for youth and their families to play and picnic. Pier Beach, adjacent to Children's Beach, is an adult, deep-water swimming area. Heinz Beach, located on South Lake Drive, offers bathhouse facilities, as does University Beach on North Lake Drive. Lifeguards are on duty daily at CHQ's beaches during posted swimming hours. The pool at the Turner Community Center will also be open daily throughout the summer for lap swimming, open family swims and classes or special events.