Summer

Our summer camp program is the point of departure of all of our work with youth. Every summer, we offer four twelve-day, single-sex sessions to underserved teens from New York City. 

Most of our campers have never attended a residential camp before, and, at home, confront complex challenges attendant to living in poverty. Camp broadens their realm of experience. It also gives them the chance to develop socioemotional, leadership, and life skills critical for success as students and citizens.

To address the importance of physical health, socioemotional wellbeing, and academic success, our programming is grounded in our three fundamental principles of Healthy Body, Healthy Heart, and Healthy Mind.

See the full logic model for our summer program HERE.

Program area

Healthy Body

Campers will...

  • Understand balanced nutrition and eat healthfully
  • Be motivated to get activate and stay active
  • Develop awareness of food justice and food systems

Activities

  • Farm and Food Systems workshop series
  • Daily recreation and sports activities, including archery, hiking, and more

Healthy Heart

  • Develop their social skills, particularly their abilities to communicate and collaborate
  • Explore their identities and build a positive sense of self
  • Build positive relationships with peers, staff, and others
  • Develop leadership skills and a commitment to community
  • Big Picture Workshop, including daily dialogue groups
  • Team-based challenges and activities, including trust falls, ropes course activities and ecology/survival challenges
  • Community-building time, including town hall meetings and public reflection times

Healthy Mind

  • Improve academic confidence
  • Set concrete short- and long-term goals and develop a plan for following up on them
  • Increase independence and ability to persevere through challenges
  • Town Hall Meeting
  • "60 Day Do It" Goal-Setting Program
  • Big Picture Workshops

Leadership Development: From Second Summers to CIT to Staff

Each summer experience is supported by weekend and after-school programming, as well as multi-day trainings, that help campers transition from one phase of leadership to the next.

Most campers come to camp for the first time in the summer before their 9th or 10th grade year. The following year, they are able to apply to return for a "Second Summer." As returning campers, they are expected to embody the camp values and support first-year campers as they navigate a new experience.

After a Second Summer, campers in 11th and 12th grade can apply to return to camp as a Counselor in Training. CITs are paid, and participate in professional development before the summer begins.

After graduating from high school, campers who served as a CIT are eligible to apply to return to camp as a Counselor.

From their first year, campers are aware of this leadership trajectory and eager to develop as leaders so they can earn the opportunity to serve on the camp staff!