Summer camp means something different to everyone. Some have fond memories of sleeping in steamy lakeside cabins and annoying counselors with late-night laughter. Others think a morning of water balloon fights or an afternoon of violin study is the way to go. Whatever you have in mind for your kids, it’s clear that some camps are better than others.
What are the best camps in the region? We turned the question to our readers. Here are the favorite camps of some Wee Westchester readers. Can you guess which camp is housed in a sprawling Gatsby-era mansion?
Mount Tom Day Camp, New Rochelle
“It’s fantastic,” one reader tells us. Located at a stunning 19-room estate (shown above), Mount Tom’s beautiful facilities are just one reason to like it. The second is the grounds. There’s an outdoor theater for morning gatherings, three swimming pools, ballfields designed for kids of all ages, even an archery range. A “challenge” course has a zip line, high rock climbing wall and bouldering wall. There’s also a special early childhood program led by teachers from Mount Tom Day School.
AGES: Tailored programs for kids ages 3 to 15
DATES: July 1 to August 23
FEES: On the high side. A full day program for kids ages 3 to 15 ranges from $2,000 for two weeks to $6,400 for 8 weeks. Enrollment for the half day early childhood program is $1,200 for two weeks, $4000 for 8.
Mount Tom Day Camp, 48 Mount Tam Road, New Rochelle; 914-636-8130. firstname.lastname@example.org
Oasis Day Camp @ Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry
Kerri Gristina, a local mom who writes the Raising Three Savvy Ladies blog, only had positive things to say about Oasis: “My girls loved it so much that I paid an early bird rate last August for them to go this year.” Campers have access to all that this small college has to offer: Sprawling grounds, tennis and basketball courts, nature trails, a dance studio, pool and nature trails. Kids can learn everything from visual arts to orienteering. Oasis Day Camp is hosting an upcoming Open House on May 11 at Mercy College Main Hall (555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry). AGES: 4 to 11 years old; children are grouped by age
DATES: Camp runs from June 24 through August 16. Camp begins at 8:30am to 5:30pm, but early drop off and late pick up are offered.
FEES: $1040 for two weeks; $3600 for 8 weeks, with pricing in between
555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry; 800-317-1392
Rye Nature Center Day Camp, Rye
“Totally biased, but I think we offer a great camp program for kids who love to spend time outside,” the Rye Nature Center wrote us. We’d have to agree. Set on 47 acres of forest and trails, the camp is perfect for aspiring adventurers — or even kids who need a nudge to get outside and off their tablets. Pre-school and kindergarten aged children (9am to 12pm) take part in science experiments, gardening, and hiking, all the while adhering to certain weekly themes, while kindergarten through fifth graders (9am to 3pm) do the same as well as cool down on the slip and slide.
AGES: 3.5 to 13 years old
DATES: June 24 to August 9
FEES: $265 for preschool and kindergarten; $390 per week for K through 5
Friends of Rye Nature Center, 873 Boston Post Road, Rye; 914-967-5150 www.ryenaturecenter.org
Future Stars Summer Camp @ SUNY Purchase
“I’ve heard awesome things about this program,” Westchester Toddler told us. Think of Future Stars as a specialty camp. Kids can enroll in tennis camp, baseball camp, soccer camp, circus arts camp, magic camp as well as a variety of academic camps. While the sports camps are mainly for kids ages 6 to 16 and run from 9am to 4pm, Little Stars Camp, also at Purchase, is geared toward 3.5 to 5 year olds. Here, kids will play a variety of intro-level sports, swim, take part in arts and crafts and music; the day runs from 9am to 2pm.
AGES: 3.5 to 16 year old
DATES: Camps run various weeks from 6/10 to 8/16
FEES: Most sports programs run $625 per week, while Little Stars costs $575 per week; discounted weeks depend on how many weeks you enroll.
Future Stars, 546 Bedford Road, Armonk; 914-273-8500
Mohawk Day Camp, White Plains
Several moms wrote in telling us how much they loved Mohawk Day Camp: “Mohawk hands down — Doesn’t get any better,” said one reader. Its central location in White Plains certainly makes it an easy one to get to, but it also has plenty to love: 8 heated pools and 40 acres of gorgeous grounds offering plenty of room for running around. Young campers are introduced to camp life by early childhood specialists while senior campers can customize their day, a mix of performing arts, athletics, nature and swimming. Campers can elect into “camp-within-a-camp” where they can focus on drama, aeronautics or doll-making for one or two weeks. There’s even a sleepaway week for kids who want to try out leaving home for a week.
AGES: 3 to 14 year old
DATES: June 26 to August 16
FEES: Camp fees run between $500 and $650 per week
200 Old Tarrytown Road, White Plains; 914-949-2635. email@example.com
Pocantico Hills Day Camp, Pocantico Hills
“I’m 33 year old and I still get goosebumps talking about this camp,” writes one mom. “It really made lasting memories for a lifetime — the counselors, songs, games, bike and camping trips.” Open to residents of Sleepy Hollow and non-residents, Pocantico Hills Day Camp offers a traditional camp experience plus transportation for two to six weeks each summer. It’s a long day — Campers can come between 8am and 6pm, which is great for working parents. Prices vary *greatly* depending on whether you’re a resident or non-resident.
AGES: 4 to 14
DATES: July 1 to August 9
FEES: $445 for two weeks for residents; $1,266 for two weeks for non-residents
599 Bedford Road, Sleepy Hollow; 914-631-2440. firstname.lastname@example.org
Inchworm Summer Program, Scarsdale
A dear friend of mine raves about this small day camp for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds at Congregational Nursery School in Scarsdale. (Full disclosure: At Wee Westchester, we actually know lots of people who adore this program.) The camp is small — there are only 18 kids in the 4’s program and 18 in the 3’s. Plus, it’s all about summer fun. Running in the sprinkler and water play is a daily event. Music, arts & crafts and gardening. Camp runs for 6 weeks Monday through Thursday from July 1st through August 3rd (9am to 11:30 or 11:45am); a two week commitment is required to sign up.
AGES: 2.5 to 5 years old
DATES: July 1 to August 3
FEES: $190 per week
One Heathcote Road, Scarsdale; 914-723-2440.