July 14, 2023 Category: Our Programs

Summer Camp is in Session!  

Campers, counselors and staff have begun a summer full of fun and adventure! Check out what a typical week in the life of a camper is like at The Fresh Air Fund’s sleepaway camps!  

Eyanna, a Fresh Air alum, is returning to camp as a counselor! Photo Credit: Katie Borrazzo

Spending time away from home for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience for parents and campers, but from the moment families arrive at the bus departure site they are welcomed by the amazing staff and counselors who make them feel right at home. Eyanna attended Fresh Air Fund sleepaway camps for five years and is coming back for the first time this summer as a counselor! “I’m from New York City myself, so my goal this summer as a counselor is to inspire the kids and motivate them in the ways my counselors did for me. The Fresh Air Fund puts so much dedication towards the kids, they make you feel so at home, the community is just perfect!” said Eyanna.  

While waiting to get on the bus to go to camp, Eyanna and other counselors lead games, songs and cheers so that every child boards the bus with a smile on their face!

The first day is filled with fun games and activities that help campers adjust and meet their new friends! Photo Credit: Marisa Lifrieri

As they arrive, campers are immediately welcomed to their home away from home by the excited counselors who have been awaiting their arrival.  

Camp Activities 

On day two, the activities begin! Swimming is always a favorite activity! Campers also enjoy other lakeside activities such as fishing and boating.  

Swimming is many campers’ favorite activity! Photo Credit: Gaja Brooks

“My counselors help me with everything, they are the best! I really like my swim teacher Phoebe. I am learning how to swim, and it is kind of hard sometimes, but she helps me a lot! I won an award for going in the pool even though I was a little nervous, but I ended up having so much fun! We like to play Ariel the Mermaid with all the girls and our teachers while at the pool” – Aniyah, 9 

Lucas and Owen are learning to fish for the first time this summer! Photo Credit: Gaja Brooks

Exploring New Talents 

Guitar classes are offered at Fresh Air Fund camps in partnership with The ASCAP Foundation. Photo Credit: Katie Borrazzo

Campers also have the opportunity to learn how to play the guitar through a long-time partnership with The ASCAP Foundation. Each camper learns the basics of the strings, frets and chords, eventually building up to learning how to play a full song. The class is hoping to have a bonfire at the end of the session where they will make s’mores and play guitar together!  

Camp Mariah – The Career Awareness Program 

Campers participate in creative writing at Camp Mariah as part of The Fund’s Career Awareness Program. Photo Credit: Lucie Swan

For campers at Camp Mariah, the summer component of The Fresh Air Fund’s Career Awareness Program, creative writing is one of many interactive classes and activities. The specialist, Hannah, begins her class with a game of bingo and the winner of the game receives a prize! Hannah spent her time before camp reading various books before eventually deciding upon the book Patina by Jason Reynolds. Campers spend the first half of class reading out loud together and having a group discussion. Afterwards, the campers draw book covers for their favorite novels or create their own! Before leaving, campers are invited to sign out any of the books on the shelves from the camp library and take them back to their cabins.  

Photo Credit: Alexander Milligan  

Campers also explore their creative side in hands-on interactive film and photography classes! In film class, campers work on short films every week. They work together to assign roles and decide which part they want to have in the process. From being an actor or director, to working on the screenplay or behind the camera, the campers get to choose which position their talents will shine in!  

In photography class, campers learn how to use a camera and adjust the settings and then explore the outdoors in a small group. They also take photos to match a theme for the week. The class is working on creating a portfolio to be displayed focusing on the different colors found around camp. After each group was assigned their color, campers worked together to brainstorm how they wanted to set up their photoshoots. Their photos will be printed and added to a posterboard that matches their assigned color to be displayed at their showcase.  

A Day to Remember 

Photo Credit: Allison Engkvist

Campers also have access to incredibly unique experiences such as Camp ABC’s annual Empowerment Day! This year, they watched The Syncopated Ladies, an all-female tap dance group perform and the campers even learned some tap moves! The founder of The Syncopated Ladies, Emmy Award nominated Chloe Arnold, spoke to the girls about motivation, perseverance and success. She talked about what it means to be an empowered young woman, and shared her story of how she started the tap group that has gotten recognition from Beyonce, Vogue Magazine, Good Morning America and more. A truly unforgettable event!  

A Visit to the Camp Model Farm 

Caption: Campers meet chickens, goats, pigs and a cow at the Camp Model Farm. Photo Credit: Marissa Lifrieri  

The Camp Model Farm is definitely an all-time favorite camp activity! The farm spans over three acres and is the home to many different barn animals such as piglets, goats and chicks. It also has a vibrant garden filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.  

Every visit to the Camp Model Farm includes a stop at the Nutrition Center! Photo Credit: Marisa Lifrieri

The on-site Nutrition Center provides lessons to campers on how to grow, harvest and prepare farm-to-table meals. While visiting the Model Farm, campers get the opportunity to pick the ingredients to later incorporate in a snack or meal they prepare themselves.  

When it is time to board the bus back to New York City, campers return home with more confidence, new skills, new friends and memories that will last a lifetime!