A Transition at Camp at Any Age Editorial by Emily Sherman
June 14, 2016 Nothing puts a smile on kids faces like the start of summer. While there are a variety of things for kids to do, summer camp is a popular option that provides an environment for children to play, be themselves, make new friends, and become more independent. There are many opportunities for campers not only to have great experiences, but for camp counselors as well. I’ve been lucky enough to have had great camp experiences as both a camper and counselor.
Between the ages of three and nine, you could find me at day camp, counting down the days until the next theme day. In 2008, I boarded a coach bus at the Bloomingdale’s parking lot, and got off in the Poconos where I had found an oasis that would become my second home and favorite place. The six years at sleepaway camp instilled a love of camp in me that I never knew was possible. Years later when it came time to get a summer job, the answer was fairly simple: camp counselor. Camp was what I knew and loved.
When the first day of camp rolled around and 11 three year olds looked to me for instruction, it became apparent that my role at camp had changed. Information from orientation and little tricks shared from returning counselors struck me all of a sudden as everything I was doing became more important. I was no longer the one being entertained and looked after, I was doing the entertaining and looking after.
Breezemont Day Camp is modeled after sleepaway camp, with the aim to help children be comfortable to eventually transition from day camp to sleepaway camp. From themed days to special birthday traditions to day long Olympic competitions, Breezemont has created a tradition and unity often exclusive to sleepaway camp.
While Breezemont strives to help kids transition, new staff are helped through their own transition. The staff is made up of both veteran campers and new faces every year.
As Gordon Josey, owner and director, explains, “sometimes the best camper doesn’t have the skills to be the best counselor.”
In order to ensure returning campers will fit as counselors, there’s an opportunity to experience camp from the new perspective as a Counselor-In-Training (CIT). CIT implies the camper will automatically go on to become a counselor the following season. Acknowledging that returning campers need time to transition and to be trained in an activity, whether arts & crafts, the ropes course, or for the office, Breezemont will change the meaning of CIT to be Camper-In-Transition next summer. Given the time to understand the differences between camper and counselor and new responsibilities, Breezemont and the returning campers as counselors will be able to tell if there is a good fit.
While Breezemont gives children the opportunity to “learn new skills, make new friends, and have fun in a safe and nurturing environment”, Breezemont also gives counselors a smooth transition into a rewarding job filled with both professional experience and fun.
Every year a handful of staff members return to Breezemont. People who simply understand the culture of camp and love the camp definitely make things easy, but someone having the opportunity to see if they fit as a counselor through a CIT program sure doesn’t hurt. I know a deep love of camp that’s been forever instilled in me can be matched by the enthusiasm of other counselors, both new and old, as I return to Breezemont in a few weeks.
Making Summer Memories at Harvey Cavalier Camp
Situated on 125 acres of rolling hills and woods on The Harvey School campus, the Cavalier Camp provides children in grades pre-K through 9 a dynamic summer where they can do the things they want to do for personal exploration and fun. The camp serves families from Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield.
Children can pursue their passion for the performing and/or fine arts, or choose from a wide array of sessions in computers, science, sports, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts and even ice skating. With the construction now complete, six new tennis courts will be available for camper use. Last year's addition of Lego Robotics was a huge hit and should continue to generate great interest.
“Our campers develop the confidence that comes from mastering new pursuits and meeting others with similar interests – all in a nurturing, relaxed and beautiful environment,” said Chris Del Campo, who founded the camp in 1996 and served as its director for 20 years.
With 50 options to choose from, children shape their own summer schedules and enjoy exploring the campus which features hiking trails, expansive athletic fields, an outdoor pool, indoor ice rink, a magnificent arts center and outstanding indoor athletic facilities.
“With so much to offer, the program has the feel of sleep-away camp, but without the sleeping part,” says Del Campo. The Harvey Cavalier Camp has an excellent reputation and is known for the quality and safety of its program.
“Campers return each year because they enjoy following their own schedule, knowing each day is different and making many new friends who share the same interests,” continued Del Campo. “We are proud to say it’s a camp as exceptional as your child."
For more information, call (914) 232-0581 or visit one of the camp’s Saturday open houses on February 6, March 5 or April 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 260 Jay Street, Katonah, NY. For more information visit www.harveyschool.org.
Harvey Cavalier Camp
The 125-acre camp, which features arts, crafts, theater, dance, gymnastics, swimming, sports and ice skating, is a limited enrollment program for children entering Pre-K through ninth grade in September 2016.
The 2016 summer session begins Tuesday July 5, and runs through Friday August 12. For more information, parents should call (914) 232-0581 or visit: www.harveycavaliercamp.org.
Should the event need to be postponed due to bad weather, the open house would be held February 20.
Harvey Cavalier is a private, nonprofit camp for children who live in the counties of Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield, Conn.
Breezemont’s Summer 2016 -- Better than Ever!
February 8, 2016 While the warm weather may seem far off to some, Armonk’s own Breezemont Day Camp is bustling with activity as the staff plans for summer 2016.
In his second summer as owner and director, Gordon Josey put a lot of energy into adding new programs and upgrading the already impressive camp facilities. “If you thought summer 2015 had a lot going on, summer 2016 will surpass your expectations as we continue to reinvest in Breezemont,” says Gordon, assuring families that their favorite things about Breezemont will still be there for summer 2016. The zip line, which passes over the lake, is waiting for kids to take the ride of their life and, based on overwhelming demand, Wacky Science will now be offered as a regular program. Another tradition that the camp will continue is "Breezemont Gives Back" day. Here, campers, their families and staff raised more than $8,000 last summer to contribute to two local charities, Friends of Karen, which supports critically ill children and their families, and Project Morry, which helps develop underserved youth.
Two new programs top Breezemont’s list. A new cooking select class will teach kids how to cook and bake a variety of tasty treats using only the freshest ingredients. But the camp’s biggest announcement is its new sports clinic. "It's our ‘camp within a camp,’ where children will receive specific instruction from an accomplished coach in the sport of their choice," says Gordon. The design lets kids have a focused class for a few days a week to help hone their skills and take their abilities to the next level. "If the sports clinic idea takes off, we are aiming to create clinics for the following summer which would include activities from the arts such as dance, theater or fine art,” says Gordon.
Gordon believes that camp continues a child's education, but it’s education through play. That’s why Breezemont provides an educational-based program that makes learning more fun than it would be in a classroom. Taking advantage of the beautiful 15-acre facility, counselors are able to have more creativity and work space at their disposal. From the purchase of an "Imagination Playground" for the younger kids to the implementation of the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program choice for kids age 6+, Breezemont campers will be exposed to the most current ideas in collaborative learning in a setting that allows them to thrive.
Breezemont Day Camp is located at 62 Cox Avenue in Armonk. To learn more, visit www.Breezemont.com or email the owner directly at Gordon@breezemont.com. If you'd like to arrange a personal tour for you and your family, please call 914-367-1936. Tours are given 7 days a week.