April 20, 2022 Category: What's New? Our Programs Partnerships

Countdown to Summer 2022!

We are officially counting down to our first day of Fresh Air Summer 2022! Last year, families explored nature together at Family Wellness, NYC kids created obstacle courses at Summer Spaces and teens participated in job training and credentialing programs! This summer, The Fresh Air Fund will continue bringing the joy of Fresh Air to NYC kids – giving them a summer full of adventures, discovery and friendships.    

In 2020 and 2021, The Fresh Air Fund was not able to operate its traditional Camp or Friendly Towns programs and developed new in-person, virtual and hybrid summer programs to support youth in New York City. With creativity, a network of incredible partners and the generosity of supporters, we ensured that despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, New York City children would have access to free, enriching and fun opportunities.  

In 2022, we will operate our traditional Friendly Towns and Camping programs on a limited basis, with critical safety protocols in place, while continuing the best of the new summer programs. 

Camp

We can’t wait for campers to return to our sleepaway camps! Our camps are located on Sharpe Reservation, a more than 2,000 acre property just two hours from New York City and Camp Junior, in memory of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, is located at Harriman State Park.  

We can already hear the camp cheers at the dining hall and sounds of kids splashing as they swim in the lake. Campers explore the outdoors, gain confidence on the ropes course and make new friends. Activities include sports, swimming lessons, art, music, as well as activities that focus on leadership development, STEM and more. 

“I loved the workshops at camp – they taught me about communications skills, and I also love 
the dance classes. Camp has taught me that I like to help people put their best foot forward – it 
really puts a smile on my face,” Fresh Air camp alum, Shanna Curry.  

Friendly Towns 

The Friendly Towns Program gives NYC children an opportunity to stay with a volunteer host family and have new experiences like making s’mores, catching fireflies, riding bicycles and going to the beach! Children make new friends and gain a new perspective. Every host family goes through a rigorous screening process including a home visit, interview, references and a background check. 

For Summer 2022, youth, ages 10 – 18, who have previously visited a host family through The Fresh Air Fund will be able to visit the same host family this summer. The program will be in limited geographic areas. 

“I used to be so quiet and keep to myself but when I started making friends at Friendly Towns, I started to talk and open up more. Now I’m more outgoing! The Fresh Air Fund means having somebody by your side. You build a bond and they become family. They are always there for you,” Fresh Air alum, Karla said.  

Summer Spaces  

Last year, we ran races, broke our own hula-hoop records, and even decorated and flew our own kites at Fresh Air Summer Spaces! Created in summer 2020 with the very generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation and The JPB Foundation, Summer Spaces provide fun, free and safe outdoor play spaces with supervised activities for children ages 5-12 at neighborhood-based locations.  

The program is supported through incredible partnerships with the American Ballet Theatre, the ASCAP Foundation, BioBus, and the Queens and Brooklyn Public Library, among others. 

“I tell all my friends to join Summer Spaces because it’s super fun. We do activities, play games, and if you want to do arts and crafts, we can do that here,” Marilyn, 7, shared.  

Summer Teen Academy 

The Summer Teen Academy offers specialized programs for teens to earn credentials, have internships and gain critical work experience. Workshops include developing leadership skills, career exploration, college readiness and more.  

“The Fresh Air Teen Academy’s Entrepreneurship Program with Youthful Savings challenged us to start our own business. We reviewed marketing growth, building a network, tracking customer data, executing plans and a whole new world of finance opened up. My two new businesses are e-tutoring services for elementary and middle school students to improve their academic performance and a clothing business,” Ralph, 16, shares.  

Enrichment Programs  

Teens across all of our programs will participate in our Youth Enrichment Programs including our new Circle of Brotherhood and the Girls Empowerment Series.  

Circle of Brotherhood provides young men with a safe and supportive space to deepen friendships and discuss issues related to healthy manhood.  

The Girls Empowerment Series creates a community space for young women to be with their peers and  learn from special guest speakers about their professional and personal journeys.  

Family Wellness  

Launched in 2020 in response to the pandemic, families enjoy 3-day/2-night trips to explore nature, spend time together and participate in camp activities like swimming, hiking, fishing, arts & crafts and boating at The Fund’s camps in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley. 

“My favorite memory had to have been the farm. It was nice to see what was being grown. We also went fishing and hiking. Everything the camp offered was an amazing experience, ” Fresh Air parent, Waleska Morales, said.