Mill Basin Day Camp: Summer Paradise for Kids

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As soon as you enter Mill Basin Day Camp, you know you’re in for a treat.  With four slides connecting to an outdoor pool bigger than most backyards, dozens or colorful rooms where different activities take place, basketball courts and more, it could make any adult jealous of the kids that get to spend their summer days there.

Located just over the Marine Parkway Bridge and behind El Caribe (5945 Strickland Avenue) in Mill Basin, Mill Basin Day Camp is a hidden gem that is a discovered treasure for the more than 1,600 children that attend each summer. With a place so close to home that offers more than 50 activities, introduces children to their undiscovered talents, teaches them new things and keeps them active and entertained, it would be a shame to let a child spend their summer indoors, camped out in front of a television or computer.

“As time passes, we’re asked to do less as human beings as things are done for us electronically or digitally. Kids need to be active and explore, not only their own creativity, but to try new experiences and to not be afraid of trying new experiences,” camp owner Jack Grosbard said. “Parents need to look at their kids and decide ‘what do I want for my son or daughter?’ Do I want them to experience the world or do I want them to see the world only from a screen? Super Mario needs to be more than a game on a personal screen. Why can’t they be Super Mario, running, jumping, swimming and engaging with other children?”

Mill Basin Day Camp offers kids the opportunity to be Super Mario and beyond. At the camp, kids can learn how to swim, play games like kickball and wiffle ball and make arts and crafts. They can discover new skills such as music recording and video editing at the Multimedia center. They can star in their own television shows, which are broadcasted on BCAT TV channel 13. They can learn to be a circus performer with skills like juggling, uni-cycling, clowning or walking on stilts. They can use their wild wild west imagination in Tiny Town, which is a miniature version of an old western town.  Both girls and boys can learn to bake. They can learn to build with floor-to-ceiling Legos in the Lego lab. They can get active on a jungle gym, ropes course, in the gymnastics studio or on a 15,000 square-foot sports center. They can enjoy some screen time with different movies in the 60-seat 3D theater, play games in the video arcade room or learn a new program in the computer lab. Campers can also go on day or overnight trips, which they might not normally get to go on, with parents having busy work schedules. Some trips include museums, aquariums, water parks, baseball games, science centers and more.

Kids can learn hip-hop, modern or jazz dance in one of two dance studios, learn an instrument in a rock band, practice their singing with karaoke, or show off their acting talents in the drama theatre. The camp holds talent shows, where campers can show off their newly-discovered or developed talents, without being judged by fellow campers.

“There are so many things for kids to try outside of what they’re usually shown. We really want to show them that it’s okay to try as much as they like to or as little as they want,” Grosbard said. “We promote creativity and imagination and we feed into what the kids like to do, but maybe they don’t know how to do it. No matter how you do it, it’s fine. The kids are non-judgmental. It’s a nice thing for them. It’s a safe place for them to be themselves and to let others see them as themselves.”

The camp makes the day as fun as possible for the kids and as convenient as possible for the parents. The camp provides round-trip transportation on air-conditioned buses, to bring them between their homes and camp. Grosbard says there are three buses alone that make trips to pick up children on the Rockaway peninsula and they make trips as far as Long Island.

The cost of camp can seem pricey, ranging but $1,800 to $2,900 for the summer depending on the age, number or days and number of weeks a camper registers for, but the costs are a bargain compared to the cost of babysitting. “What’s the alternative? Let’s say you work 40 hours a week and travel an hour back and forth. You’re out of the house 50 hours a week, paying a babysitter $10 an hour. You’re paying for childcare that doesn’t come with food, trips, activities and friends. You multiply that by eight weeks and you’re looking at $4,000 in childcare for the summer,” Grosbard said.

Mill Basin Day Camp is open to children starting as young as two-and-a-half years old and ranging to teens entering 9th grade. The camp season begins Monday, July 5 and continues through Friday, August 26. Campers can register for four to eight weeks and can participate three, four or five days a week, so the camp offers a flexible schedule. Each camper receives a structured scheduled of activities each day.

There will be open houses throughout the months of April, May and June, though the camp is just about filled up.  Private tours can be arranged.  To register for an open house, or for more information about Mill Basin Day Camp, call 718-251-6200 or visit http://www.millbasindaycamp.com/.

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