New York Kids
Julliard Summer Dance Intensive
60 Lincoln Center Plz., Upper West Side
For three weeks in the heat of a New York City summer, young dancers can gain a glimpse of life at one of the finest dance institutes in the world. This program is not for the novice. For teens studying ballet for years, Julliard can take their craft to the next level. There are some limitations on who can apply—at least one year of high school under the belt, and no high school graduates—leaving a range of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds for a mini-college experience, complete with optional on-campus housing. Students meet in one of Juilliard's six dance studios for classes that combine classic ballet technique and pointe, with training in yoga and improvisation. Camp wraps with a final performance choreographed by Julliard faculty and renowned guest artists. Outside of the studio, there’s plenty of time to explore New York City—an intensive summer experience all on its own.
Point O’ Pines Camp
7201 State Rte. 8, Brant Lake
With an ethos of fun over winning, Point O’Pines Camp in the Adirondack Mountains pushes girls to play big. Campers can build on their favorite hobbies—whether that’s volleyball or photography—or pick up something new, like waterskiing or dance. But where PoP really shines is the food: high-quality ingredients, fresh fruit, homemade scones, and an organic garden where campers learn to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables. If there were an adult version, we’d be there in a heartbeat. Don’t worry if your daughter is on the shy side: The camp’s big sister program pairs first-timers with veterans to make sure everyone is properly oriented. There is an undeniable kindness here. With a 90 percent return rate—highly unusual, even among the best camps—Point O’Pines offers the chance to make bonds that last a lifetime. Those seven weeks tend to fly by.
15 Stagedoor Dr., Loch Sheldrake
Stagedoor Manor offers total theater immersion for the aspiring young actor, turning out an impressive fourteen shows each summer. These are full-scale productions: costuming, lighting, set design—the works. It all begins with a (painless) audition process in the first week. Once campers receive their summer billing, it’s time to get to work. But be advised, Stagedoor is not for the faint of heart. This is where Jon Cryer, Mandy Moore, Natalie Portman, and more gave their best. In addition to rehearsals, every student enrolls in six drama classes during their tenure. Acting, musical theater, vocal training, movement, dance—there’s even a class for stage combat. Past productions include everything from The Crucible to Little Shop of Horrors. It moves fast—but in those three weeks, friendship, creativity and self-expression intertwine for the perfect explosion of summer madness.
Long Lake Camp for the Arts
83 Long Lake Camp Way, Long Lake
Long Lake is another arts camp with a terrific reputation. Founded in 1969, it's located on 600 acres in the Adirondacks in New York State, and the current owners have been leading the charge for more than thirty-five years. They host 250 campers between the ages of eight and sixteen every summer, for three or six weeks, and the campers live in either houses or more traditional bunks, which are all outfitted with handcrafted beds made of southern yellow pine and cedar-lined bathrooms that are pretty charming. In addition to all the expected arts (i.e., drama, film, photography), campers can also take improv and circus classes. There are athletic activities for campers to engage in, too, but if your family is split between artist and athletic kiddos, you might also consider checking out the next-door sister camp: Long Lake Camp Adventures, which has a sportier bent.
199 Bouchoux Brook Rd., Hancock
A performing arts camp located on a private lake in New York's Catskill Mountains, French Woods lets campers choose their own majors and minors. Which isn't an easy task considering there is a lot of good stuff to choose from. The camp boasts a 12,000-square-foot circus pavilion (awesome), and campers can also get into tech theater (sound, lighting, costumes), video editing, script writing, or special effects, or they can, you know, join a band. There are five different sessions at French Woods, so you can essentially customize your kid's stay. Also great: They have a mini trial option, so kids can test out sleepaway camp for just the weekend. Ages: seven to seventeen.
126 Dudley Rd., Westport
Located on a gorgeous, verdant site on Lake Champlain in New York, Camp Dudley is actually the country's longest continually running summer camp (it was started as a YMCA camp in 1885). Alumni are astonishingly loyal, as evidenced by men well into their retirement years who can recall their camper numbers (which everyone is assigned at their first check-in). The general vibe and programming are predictably classic—every day starts with a blast of the cannon and a reveille, and it's hard not to love the long-time motto, "The other fellow first." Dudley's sports-focused programming makes this an exceptionally good choice for the sports-obsessed, as boys will spend most of the summer in motion, playing soccer, baseball, lacrosse, flag football, sailing, fishing, ultimate frisbee, and more. Beyond that, every camper, no matter their age, participates in a camping trip to one of Dudley's lean-to camping sites, learning outdoor skills and enjoying the area's gorgeous Adirondack trails. Camp Kiniya, across the lake on the Vermont side, is the program's girls-only arm.
605 Hudson St., West Village
This West Village staple—in business since 2002—offers an artful-meets-streamlined aesthetic, meaning that there’s enough exuberance in the clothing picks to appeal to most kids, while the shapes and silhouettes make parents happy. Whether it’s an Imps & Elfs onesie or a Tutu du Monde swan queen tutu, there’s plenty of cuteness to go around, as well as bedding, toys, and furniture. In fact, owner Cristina Villegas offers design services for kids rooms, opening up her rolodex of unique suppliers from around the world.
173 Ave. A, East Village
In the last few years, Westvilles have popped up all over Manhattan, which is probably a good thing since the original West Village outpost was way too tiny. You’ll find every variation of comfort food, from mac and cheese to the hot dogs that made them famous. Beyond myriad toppings and preparations, they offer vegan dogs, too. There's also an outpost that's very close to the Children’s Museum of the Arts, as well as locations in Chelsea and the West Village.
333 Hudson St., West Village
In the last few years, Westvilles have popped up all over Manhattan, which is probably a good thing since the original West Village outpost was way too tiny. You’ll find every variation of comfort food, from mac and cheese to the hot dogs that made them famous. Beyond myriad toppings and preparations, they offer vegan dogs, too. This outpost is very close to the Children’s Museum of the Arts, while there are also locations in Chelsea and the East and West Villages.
246 W. 18th St., Chelsea
In the last few years, Westvilles have popped up all over Manhattan, which is probably a good thing since the original West Village outpost was way too tiny. You’ll find every variation of comfort food, from mac and cheese to the hot dogs that made them famous. Beyond myriad toppings and preparations, they offer vegan dogs, too. The South Village outpost is very close to the Children’s Museum of the Arts, and there are also locations in the East and West Villages.
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