It may not feel like it, but summer will eventually get here. And when it does, the place for youngsters to grow, explore and just have fun in the sun (and shade) is at the Shames JCC Summer Camps. Whether it’s at the J’S state of the art campus in Tarrytown or the expansive outdoor campgrounds in Rockland County, kids and teens from 2 to 17 will have an experience of a lifetime.
For children aged 2 to 6, River Friends Day Camp offers all the adventure and excitement of a “big kids” camp, but is geared to the “little ones.” Located at the Shames JCC’s Tarrytown campus, River Friends’ staff of early childhood educators packs the day with hands-on age appropriate activities including sports, arts and crafts, music, dance, nature, gymnastics and karate. There is also swimming in the J’s training pool where older children will get swimming lessons. For more information on River Friends go to www.shamesjcc.org/summercamps. Special note to working parents: River Friends provides options for early drop off and late pick-up.
New this year, 5 and 6 year olds can choose to attend Camp Twelve Trails for a more “traditional” day camp experience in the newly designed, expansive Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Pearl River, Rockland County. There they will have the same staff to camper ratio and age appropriate activities with a more outdoor experience.
For kids and teens up to 7th grade, Camp Twelve Trails combines a traditional and specialty day camp for youngsters who want it all. Along with swimming and sing-alongs, kids choose what they are interested in from rocketry to theatre; from sports to cooking, from high ropes to crafts. The kids decide.
For teens in grades 7-10, their camping experience goes to the next level with overnight trips to out- of- the- way destinations, day trips like white water rafting or working with local farmers, to learning how to succeed from mentors in sports or theatre.
One of the J’s most successful camping experiences is Twelve Trails Inclusion Programs for campers with mild to moderate developmental and autism spectrum disorders. Grouped by age and staffed by special education professionals, the director is Steven Fondacaro, a special Education teacher in the New York City School System.
For older teens who want to be counselors in training, Twelve Trails offers specialized CIT programs.
And for teens who want to be certified life guards, there’s a program in the aquatics center. For more information about all Twelve Trails camps, go to www.twelvetrails.org
The Shames JCC on the Hudson is known for the quality of its early childhood and camping programs. It is a non-profit community center, with Jewish values, that embraces children and teens from all backgrounds, with different abilities. For more information, to speak to a camp director or to get a camp brochure, contact the Shames JCC at 914-366-7898 or log onto www.shamesjcc.org