Camp kidsmART. Creates Memorable Summers for Local Kids

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 Someday, when things slow down, we’ll compile the databases of campers from every year and have a number of exactly how many Rockaway children have spent their summers at camp kidsmART since 2000. It’s probably more than 2,000, but at this time of year we can be sure of one thing – it’s not going to slow down because we’re preparing for yet another fantastic summer.

Camp kidsmART is best described as a blended palette. We keep the best – the things that work year after year, discard some best laid plans and experiment with new activities and ideas to see what sticks and what falls away. Eventually, we’re left with layer upon layer of things campers love to do.

What works for us and the kids? The kidsmART principles in all their cornball glory – are simply eight words: kindness, imagination, dependability, sensitivity, motivation, acceptance, respect and tolerance. But at camp, those principles are taken to heart and acted out by campers and counselors alike. There’s a pride taken in being good. At camp it’s cool to participate – to take the stage and sing acapella or wear the wackiest clothes on Mismatched Duds Day. The peer pressure enacted is to embody the principles and it creates a lot of happy campers.

The usual camp fun works, too – playing in the sprinklers; the carnival with blow up slides and obstacle courses and a dunk tank where they can dunk Matt, Tristan, Brittany or another one of their favorite counselors; the scavenger hunt with counselors dressed like knights and princesses; Italian ices and watermelon; Minute-to-Win-It games; and pranks played on the first year interns and junior counselors (just because we’re principled doesn’t mean we don’t have fun!).

This year, we’re changing it up for a bit and all for the better. Two of our best Senior Counselors, Kalin Callaghan and Nancy Cusack are going to run a bona fide artists studio for campers in the sTudio 7 gallery. Two days of the week campers will have the opportunity to work with Kalin in the studio to create clay sculptures and the other two days they’ll have the opportunity to work with Nancy painting at the easels. In this new format Kalin and Nancy will be able to give campers more time to develop their techniques and work on projects at their skill level. Time spent in the studio will have a real artist’s vibe!

And T149 is going to get a significant interior facelift. This won’t just be a fresh coat of paint, but a newly designed kitchen and storage space will give campers more room to spread out and work on projects or play games. The main space of the building will also be reconfigured to allow more wall space for hanging the awesome artwork the campers create and to give the room a more open feel.

A great new addition is a partnership with the Education Department at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). For our first-ever camp field trip we’ll take our oldest campers to MoMA in the heart of Manhattan to participate in an art-making workshop and take a tour of MoMA’s awesome collection. Every counselor is going to want to be a chaperone – how will we choose?!

Our final big change for this upcoming season is adding three weeks to our camp schedule. Now, families can opt to come to camp for one week at the end of June, or for the full six-week camp (July 5 – August 11) or for one or two weeks in mid/late August. Or you can sign up for all nine weeks and have a truly camp kidsmART summer!

The most important aspect that is the best of camp is easy to name: Carolyn, Kristina, Nancy, Kalin, Matt, James, Jeremy, Brittany, Sequan, Emily, Tracey, Felicia, Christina, Brandon, Raquel, Tristan, Jenna, Ava, Chris, Samantha, Amanda, Sean, Erin, Lara, Cindy, Matt, Susan, Cathryn, Alphonse, Cindy, Yasmine, Mike, Alison, Mikey, Cara, Lauren, Denisse, Sophia, Gabe, Neil, Lauren, and Jennifer will all be back and probably with some new or blast-from-the-past counselors to make the summer exactly what it should be – full of fun, friendship and memory making moments.

For a full list of camp activities and registration information, please visit Rockaway Artists Alliance’s website at www.rockawayartistsalliance.org or call the office 718-474-0861.

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