Apr 27, 2012
By Susan Varghese
Standard Associate Editor
The end of school traditionally marks warm summer days and vacations, but it also leads up to what every parent has been looking forward to all year: sending their stir-crazy kids to learn and play at summer camp.
Summer camp isn’t just dirt-covered paths covered with a few cabins, swimming and a kickball; it’s an institution filled with elaborate field trips and mind-enriching activities. There are different programs for different age groups and interests. Some camps offer art classes and expeditions, while others offer sailing and trapeze classes.
There are also big changes for the local camps this year: Kulanu is opening up camp to non-special needs kids and Lawrence Woodmere Academy has launched their new creative arts center, in addition to their extensive program. While some other camps have stayed close to their traditional course, like Kiddie Academy’s trip based curriculum and the Five Towns Jewish Community Center’s broader inclusions like music, arts, and cooking.
Kulanu has been running a summer camp for the past 11 years for children with special needs, but this year they’re opening up the camp to non-special needs kids, too. “I’ve always wanted to have a camp that would be reflective of the true community, where there’s inclusion,” Jonathan Cooper, Program Director of Inclusion Service, said.
The camp encompasses arts, music, and drama and has programs for three to 15 year olds. Activities include rocketry, sculpture, robotics, theater, video, architecture and culinary classes. “A lot of projects will be group projects,” Cooper explained. “We’re working on pro-social skills.”
Kids over the age of 11 will be traveling four days a week to surrounding areas on different field trips that will entertain and engage kids, Cooper said. The younger group, under the age of 11, will pick activities they want with the help of their parents.
The camp is Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. “We’re a full inclusion camp, we have kids with and without special needs who will hopefully form lifelong friendships and bonds.”
More information is available on campdiscoveryli.com.
The Jewish Community Center of The Five Towns offers three summer camps: a nursery to pre-K day camp, a day camp for grades K through ninth grade, and Camp Friendship for children with special needs.
The Nursery Day Camp runs from July to August and provides swimming, arts and crafts, cooking, music and movement, storytelling, games, and other activities.
The JCC summer day camp has a campsite in Wheatley Heights and offers sports, swimming, arts and crafts, music and trips. Door-to-door bus transportation is provided.
Camp Friendship is held in North Woodmere Park and has a similar curriculum of sports, swimming, arts, and music. Transportation to and from Lawrence Middle School is provided. The program runs six weeks from 12:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Lunch is provided.
For more information, log on to fivetownsjcc.org.
Lawrence Woodmere Academy Day Camp
For the past 35 years, Lawrence Woodmere Academy has been hosting a summer day camp for kids from the age of two to 12. There’s also a “counselor in training” program for teenagers entering eighth to tenth grades.
The program has a 10 acre campus and air-conditioned facility, full athletic fields, red cross swim instruction in two heated pools, aeroball courts, yoga, cooking, science and karate classes, academic and music enrichment, weekly trips, family nights, and special weekly events like Wet and Wild Day and Color War Day.
There are also pilot programs that are an additional cost to the normal tuition, including sailing camp, horseback riding camp, trapeze camp, camp band, and Lego camp.
“The big new thing that is very unique is our center for creative arts,” Barbara Feldman, Camp Director said. “It’s an arts camp within our camp. It’s a full immersion arts program, where kids can major in dramatic art, studio art, or pick minors in arts and they still get to participate in the rest of the camps’ events and programs. It’s perfect for kids who may not want the broad based program that includes all the athletics and arts, they can perform in two big Broadway style shows here or be in the studio all summer. It’s really exciting.”
For more information, log on to lawrencewoodmere.org.
A 10-week program from June through August, Kiddie Academy focuses on trips and excursions to immerse the kids in different areas. Some of the trips include Medieval Times; Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum, and baseball games.
Art and music activities are also done, but are reserved for rainy days when the campers stay in the facility.
They have two age groups, one for ages five to eight and another for nine to twelve. “It’s primarily a travel camp,” explained Vincent Belluccia, the owner. “I think even in our summer program, we continue to try and keep it a learning experience. We have weekly themes that we try and put our trips behind. If it’s a science theme, we’ll try and go to the Hall of Science. There’s usually an educational component. Kiddie Academy’s motto is community. We try and make children feel like they’re part of a community.”
The camp starts at the end of June. For more information log on to KiddieAcademy.com.
Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Center
A day program for two to four year olds, HERJC offers a seven-week program with different themes, like Watermelon Week and Western Week. Some activities include art, science, hands on exploration, sand and water play, and outdoor play in their atrium.
Cheryl Karp, coordinator said, “It’s all run by my staff. It’s a very nurturing camp. It’s just like nursery school. It’s a development appropriate camp for two to four year olds.”
Camp starts July 2nd. For more information, log on to herjc.org.
Get out the dancing shoes – Dance Express’ summer dance camp starts on July 2nd for two year olds to 18-year-olds. This year’s classes include creative movement, ballet, lyrical, Broadway, jazz, tap, popping and locking, hip hop, zumbatomic, belly dancing, and others.
Even if you don’t have much experience, Dance Express encourages students of all skill levels to join. “We welcome dancers of all levels, from beginners to professionals, and we feel no one is ever too young or too old to learn how to dance.”
For more information log on to dancexpressny.com or email Jaime@danceXpressNY.com
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