A Day at Fresh Air: Connecting, Creating and Exploring
What can happen in just one summer day at The Fresh Air Fund? A lot! Children have music workshops in Brooklyn and play soccer at Jackson Heights, families try archery at Family Wellness, students ride a ferry to Governors Island and create an art installation – the opportunities for learning and discovery are endless!
A Fun Morning in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Each morning, brothers, Jesus and David, look forward to their morning walk with their grandmother to Fresh Air Summer Spaces! As they get closer to the check-in desk, David can see the hula-hoops, soccer balls and jump ropes – he knows it’s going to be a great day!
Fresh Air counselor, Kristy, quickly signed Jesus and David in for attendance and checked their temperature before both boys were off to their assigned group ready for their first activity. They started the day working on an art project, Portrait of Summer, answering the question – what’s their favorite part of summer?
After art, the counselors get the kids ready for some fun games! From hula-hoop contests to jumping rope and obstacle courses, kids are staying active through guided and safe supervised play.
David said, “I like coming here because I make new friends and play. I also like that my brother gets to play with me here!”
A Virtual Adventure!
11-year-old Silas from the Bronx woke up excited to log into his Fresh Air Everywhere camp bunk! Once logged in, he was greeted by “Good morning!” and “Have a great day!” messages from his counselors and new friends. After getting settled, Silas jumped into his bunk’s Zoom session where they start the day with an ice breaker: What is your favorite part of summer? What do we have in common?
After a fun round of games, Silas enjoys team-building or arts and crafts activities like goal mapping and vision board creation. Campers had a final project where they learned more about the environment through an art exercise creating a biome, a national park, or a carbon footprint. Silas really enjoys the Creation Parties – when there is time to design and create his final project!
“My favorite part was when we made the projects for the different biomes, and we were able to share it with everyone! We got to see all the different projects and unique styles everyone else did. It was so much fun! I really liked the counselors and other campers. I liked seeing their projects and getting to share mine,” nine-year-old Rimsha shares.
At the end of the Fresh Air Everywhere session, Silas joins his bunk-mates for book club. Together they read and discuss Seedfolks, a children’s novel about a community garden.
Exploring Career Options
As part of The Fresh Air Fund’s virtual Job Readiness Programming, students learn about a range of career fields and the education and professional experience needed to have specific careers.
Teens participated in a workshop about careers in the medical field with a team from NYU Langone Hospital. Students heard advice from several professionals and learned about their careers paths and personal journeys.
The NYU Langone Hospital team highlighted the career of a Physician’s Assistant (PA) and the responsibility that the job requires, as well as problem-solving skills and an ability to adapt to different situations. PAs can spend their career researching diseases and medication, working with patients, assisting physicians with surgeries and diagnostics, and more!
Teens found it especially thought-provoking and interesting when the representatives discussed the need for more diversity in the field. A Fresh Air teen, Aliyah, smartly noted in the chat that the ability to come from and understand different backgrounds “helps us think through more solutions.”
A Ferry Ride to Governors Island
When Fresh Air teens in the Summer Teen Academy Design Studio Program in partnership with PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design were asked about moments or experiences they will always remember from the summer, students repeatedly described welding with blowtorches and masks, creating ceramic molds to create porcelain bells and building a precise topographic model of Governors Island.
Students participate in a hybrid learning model, dividing their time between Governors Island and Zoom. When asked about how the program inspired them, teens described new aspirations of becoming engineers and artists—with an enthusiastic welder as well.
“A regular day on Governors Island is more hands on than a school day with assignments. I think I learn better this way, doing this kind of work. I’m not sure what I want to do, but I think sketching helps me. I could see myself being an artist or architect maybe,” 15-year-old Ryan said.
Each week, the Friendly Towns Connect program welcomes different partner organizations that help kids connect with the outdoors and with each other.
After a week full of fun activities from creating her own rocket to journaling, 10-year-old Naomie from Queens was looking forward to the Flying Deer Nature Center’s virtual visit!
The Flying Deer Nature Center, a non-profit wilderness school based in East Chatham, NY, led a workshop teaching Fresh Air kids how to create their own bird feeder using common household products such as a paper cup, string, peanut butter and bird seeds.
“Being able to learn from your surroundings and be aware of what goes on in nature feels like a superpower! I’m happy to share that power with you all,” Emma tells our Fresh Air kids as she shows them how to create their very own bird feeders.
Family Bonding through a Camping Experience
Meet the Cheung family from Brooklyn. After arriving for their first day at Fresh Air Family Wellness, the Cheung’s were rejuvenated and ready for Day 2!
The Cheung’s started the day with breakfast at 8 am and then they excitedly went to their first scheduled activity for the day. With so many choices, from swimming in the pool, hiking and fishing to visiting the model farm, the Cheung family chose an adventurous day with archery and boating!
At the end of the day, and all summer long, The Fresh Air Fund provides opportunities for learning, growth and fun for NYC kids and families! Stay up to date on all things Fresh Air – follow us on Instagram: @thefreshairfund, Twitter: @FreshAirFund and Facebook: @FreshAirFund!