This Was Summer Camp 2019

SGHY is so grateful to recognize the record breaking contributions to our Summer Camp program from our 2019 sponsors, the Dr. David M. Milch Foundation, the Fr. Louis Gigante Foundation, the David Richenthal Foundation, George Olsen, Esq., Henry Bulh, the United Federation of Teachers, and the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators , and hundreds of individual donors for 2019.

Their support gave over 100 middle school students from our school-year programs in under-served districts in the South Bronx and Lower East Side access to a week long, ex-urban, total immersion curriculum and program filled with healthy fun, focused on mental and physical health, scientific inquiry, inclusion and substantive accomplishment. There is no substitute for these kinds of experiences for young people entering their teen years anbnd all the modern-day challenges that entails. For most of these kids, it was their only week this past summer away from their concrete neighborhoods. It was a week which will last them a lifetime.

We were fortunate in partnering with Camp Zeke, in the Pocono Mountains, Directors Isaac Mamaysky, Laurie Epstein, and their staff of nurturing, attentive counselors.  They brought a comprehensive program that yielded visible (and tangible) results, boosting and providing skills, self-esteem, an appreciation of nature, new friendship, and sheer joy. Their camp mottos, “Be Kind” and “Faster, fitter, stronger” set the stage from our campers arrival. Enjoy our slide show…it’s inspiring.

For other students who could benefit from a more specialized camp program, perhaps leading to a college scholarship, we partnered with Hoop Group.  Director George Kennedy, recognized as the leading basketball camp in the nation, and with the National Dance Institute, founded by Jacques D’Amboiose, which provides the best dance instruction available during the summer. For students or student failies who preferred a sports day camp experience, SGHY partnered with the best day camp in the City of New York, Kids of Summer, directed by Mike Handell, including a special volleyball program supported by Manhattan Youth, Bob Townley, Director.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the importance of camp and after school enrichment comes from the words of the kids themselves. In a written survey we gave to our campers at the end of the past Camp Zeke season we asked, ” how did you benefit or what did you learn from camp?” Here is a sampling of their responses:

I learned to be healthier and eat food that I’m not used too.
I learned how to cook, play instruments, and about astronomy.
I learned how to bake, do a hand stand. I liked astronomy because I saw Jupiter.
I learned how to swim.
I learned how to play more Volleyball and get better at it.
I learned how to play gaga, how to play tennis and how to swim.
The more things you can try instead of being inside. Try new experience instead of being on your phone.
I learned how not to be able to use my phone for a long time. I also learned how to use the things I have.
learned how you can have fun without tech – nature is great.
Teamwork and new things are fun.
To have fun don’t judge people who like different things.
I learned you could make friends even if your scared.
I  learned that if you talk to other people you will gain their  respect.

 One girl wrote to us to say “thank you for not forgetting about kids like us.” A young man described his summer camp experience as “a dream come true.”

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