By Sarah Ellen Berman
S’mores, arts and crafts, splashing in the lake. Camps today incorporate these popular pastimes with those of modernity. Fun is embodied in a wide array of programs ranging from sports and drama to music and academics. Here’s what we learned from our valued sponsors in this issue!
According to director Marjorie Kobrin, Camp Bear Ridge provides a “warm, nurturing environment” for preschoolers. “They can expand their horizons in a safe atmosphere,” she added. Outside, campers hatch butterflies, take nature hikes, and make leaf rubbings. On sunny days, they may partake in the water slide and sprinklers. Music, sports, and arts and crafts programs are held inside. Shabbat is celebrated with blessings and songs. At Camp Discovery, campers–entering second through ninth grade–are at one with nature. They learn to swim, play sports, and to practice the Jewish value of taking care of nature through gardening and planting. Camp Discovery also has its own version of the Maccabe games; replete with team spirit. Each team designs a mascot and composes a cheer. In addition, an act of mitzvot (charity) is performed by attendees and there are cookouts on Shabbat. In the trailblazers group, special needs campers are shadowed by counselors.
At Discover Camp, children do exactly that. They are introduced to new fields and develop skills in ones they are already acquainted with. “Think of it like a mini college,” founder and director Anthony Rich advised. Hiring “good, quality teachers,” is a high priority for Rich. One of the most up-to-date sessions is called “website of the day.” In this course–taught by Mike Corso of Chappaqua–kids create their own blogs. They pick their own topics and learn how to design a site that receives a considerable number of hits. In a new course this year entitled “build your very own pc,” students learn how to assemble, upgrade, and repair pcs. Thanks to the inspiration of Rich’s daughters, offerings also include jewelry making, gymnastics, indoor rock climbing, cooking, and zumba. In the racing academy courses, campers learn how to build and race model cars.
At Future Stars, the plethora of choices runs the gamut from sports programs to academic enrichment. In addition to traditional sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis, and volleyball, there are also contemporary cheerleading and circus arts programs. Campers in the circus arts camp, learn how to perform on the trapeze and high wire. In magic and illusions, children attend “a week long magic show” where they learn tricks and how to work with an audience, according to camp director Jordan Snyder. The academic enrichment part of Future Stars focuses on the fun of reading and writing. A typical session includes listening to a Beatles song, analyzing and writing about it. “This is an opportunity for kids who enjoy reading and still want a camp environment,” Snyder noted.
Music in Chappaqua’s Chappaqua Rocks camps embody director Janet Angier’s philosophy. “I think developing and nurturing music into the lives of youngsters is one of the most enriching things you can do for a child,” she said. At the day camp–which is open to both new and accomplished musicians–campers choose a major and a minor such as guitar and voice. All campers are afforded the opportunity to play in a band. “They get a real rock and roll experience,” Angier said. Each week culminates with a concert for the families. At the sleep away camp, participants benefit from the same music program plus traditional camp features including zip lines, climbing walls, and excursions. News breaking highlight for this summer: Dave Bickler, the lead singer of the famous song, “Eye of the Tiger,” will be mentoring at both camps in addition to performing for the campers.
At Jodi’s Gym, summer camp focuses on gymnastics. Campers practice their moves on the balance beam, bars, vault, and trampoline. Interspersed with these activities are those of art, music, snack, story time, games, and lunch. Owner Jodi Levine described the foundations of her camp, “Our camp is all about healthy, active kids. Our curriculum is based on 29 years of experience in gymnastics and child development.” Children feel completely at home in this environment which was created with them in mind. Schedules are flexible. Children may sign up for weeks, days or a combination of both. Three to five year olds attend all summer long until August 22. Five to seven year olds may attend during the week before Labor Day. All campers are entitled to perks at Jodi’s Gym. They are welcome to attend free additional open play times.
Jeannine Johansen of World Cup is ebullient about the offerings for this summer. In prep camp, mom and me campers come together. “Moms love it. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and other children the same age,” Johansen said. “It lets the children get used to the structure of nursery school,” she added. Campers aged three to six participate in themed weeks including “take me out to the ballgame” and “beach party.” New this year are four weeks of clinics for six to eight year olds. There will be sessions for budding scientists on friction and weather. In the animation clinic, participants will use storyboard to create a movie which will be shown during the World Cup Film Festival.