Hudson Valley Summer Camps

Warmer weather may not arrive until a few months from now, but sign-up for summer camp is well underway. Before you pack up the kids, check out these noteworthy Valley camps


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dutchess art campPhotographs courtesy of Mill Street Loft

Dutchess Arts Camp

When artist Carol Wolf moved to the Hudson Valley from New York City in 1972, she was shocked to find the area so lacking in creative summer activities for kids. What she started 10 years later in her Poughkeepsie loft with 19 kids has now grown to be the area’s most comprehensive summer arts program. (The camp later expanded to become the Mill Street Loft, a year-round arts educational center.) This year marks the camp’s 30th summer, and they’re celebrating by collaborating with the environmental group Scenic Hudson to create a scenic arts center on the Beacon waterfront offering year-round sessions.

“This is not an arts and crafts camp — we’re an education program,” states Wolf, the center’s executive director. “Our philosophy is to get the kids involved in a meaningful way, in a noncompetitive environment. We are building self-esteem while learning through the arts.” The program provides kids ages four through 14 a chance to “explore, discover, and create” through visual and literary arts, music, drama, and dance. Kids are grouped according to age into classes of 10 campers. Each group is supervised by a teacher’s assistant — often an art or education major from a local college — who takes them from lesson to lesson.

Classes include filmmaking, drawing, casting, painting, stained-glass making, set design, puppetry, drumming and much more. Each week has a theme, which acts as a springboard for different creative ideas, such as “Arts Around the World.” Wolf says there is a lot of collaboration among teachers, who are all qualified teaching artists. “They are really amazing professionals,” she says.

dutchess day camp

This year Dutchess Arts will offer camps in four locations: the Poughkeepsie Day School; Dutchess Day School in Millbrook; St. Paul’s Church in Red Hook; and the new River Center in Beacon.

Quick Stats:
Schedule: Mon.-Fri., July-August
Session length: One week
Pick-up/drop-off: Full day, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; half day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Ages: 4-14
Staff-to-camper ratio: 1:5
Cost: Full day, $325/week; half day, $200/week (4-5 year olds only). Tuition assistance and scholarships available
Web site:
Contact: 845-471-7477

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