Usdan Glamping
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Proposed Glamping Program

 

Last Updated: Monday, May 2, 2022

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. 


Please note that on Monday, May 2, 2022, Usdan decided to withdraw its application to amend the special use permit, which would have allowed for 'glamping' within the woods of the campus. The below information was written before Usdan's 'glamping' program application was rescinded. We are leaving up the page for archival purposes. 

Update

May 2, 2022

Dear Community Member,

Today, the community will learn that after much thought and reflection, Usdan has decided to withdraw its application to amend the special use permit, which would have allowed for 'glamping' within the woods of the campus. Ultimately, it is more important for us to continue our relationship with neighboring communities than to move forward with this application.

For nearly 55 years, Usdan’s program has provided an immersive and transformational arts experience for the students who attend each summer. Though we are withdrawing this application, the imminent need for expanded, mission-aligned programming to bring in revenue that supports our growing need for camp scholarships remains.

We look forward to creating a sustainable future for Usdan.

If you have any questions, feel free to write to us at communityoutreach@usdan.org.

Sincerely, 

Lauren Brandt Schloss & Joe Levy

April 8, 2022

Dear Community Member, 

Usdan is a legacy organization that has been in this community for nearly 55 years. We are grateful to our neighbors for coming out and voicing their concerns at last night's zoning board meeting and plan to respond thoroughly and in writing to the board by the end of April.

Sincerely,

Lauren Brandt Schloss & Joe Levy

April 7, 2022

Dear Community Member, 

Thank you to those who attended this week's webinars and to all of you for sharing your perspectives, questions, and concerns.

Based on the feedback from our neighbors and existing camp community, we have made some adjustments to our proposed second arts program, which we plan to bring to the zoning board meeting on Thursday, April 7. We are happy to share the two updates with you below and encourage you to forward to anyone you think may be interested.

First, Usdan will now seek approval for only 25 tents for the first year. At that time, we will reassess based on user’s experience and feedback from the community. 

Second, we will require that anyone staying overnight become a Usdan member via an approval process. Members will need to apply and anyone who applies will be vetted and can be refused. Members will need to agree to general rules and regulations of membership as well as to a code of conduct when on campus. 

We are hearing your concerns and will continue to engage in dialogue with you. In order to do so, we have set up this email – communityoutreach@usdan.org - which we welcome you to use. Through the email, we can schedule a time to speak with you over the phone or invite you for a campus visit to continue the conversation.

Thank you again for being a partner in this process and as a result, making the project stronger.

Sincerely, 

Lauren Brandt Schloss & Joe Levy

March 29, 2022

Dear Community Member,

Usdan is currently seeking approval from the Town of Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals to create a second arts program to complement its primary summer camp arts program for youth.    

Put most simply, the program will be similar to camp, but for families and arts-interested adults. We aim to create a one-of-a-kind overnight arts-focused “glamping” experience, whereby visitors will be able to explore their creativity through classes in art and nature, enjoy the enchanting wooded campus, engage with family and friends, and sleep under the stars in luxury style tents. 

The program’s projected pilot year is 2023, after which Usdan will reassess based on our own experience and feedback from the community. Overnight guests would experience Usdan prior to the opening of our youth camp season, on summer weekends, and after the camp season. Only current summer campers and their families would be allowed to stay overnight on summer camp nights.

The proceeds raised through this new endeavor will be used to fund youth scholarships to the arts summer camp as the need and demand has quickly outpaced our ability to fundraise traditionally. 

Most importantly, Usdan’s mission is central to current and new programming: 

We invite people of all ages to experience the natural beauty of our campus and the transformative power of the arts. Usdan was founded on Jewish values that inspire us to make the world more just and more beautiful. When we welcome the diverse group of passionate young artists here each summer the heart of Usdan comes alive. Our goal is to instill in our community a desire and drive to contribute creatively to the world now and for the rest of their lives.

For as long as we can remember, Usdan’s motto has been, “Lose yourself for a summer; find yourself for a lifetime.” Our vision is to now add, “lose yourself for a weekend, find yourself for a lifetime.” 

Throughout the development of this program, we've focused heavily on planning for the security and the safety of our campers, neighbors, and of the property.

Usdan hosted two virtual community and neighborhood meetings the week of April 4, 2022. If you were unable to attend or have additional questions and concerns, please write to us at communityoutreach@usdan.org. We would be happy to schedule a time to speak or invite you for a campus visit. 

Sincerely, 

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director

 

Joe Levy, CVE, Chief Operating Officer

 

Contact Us

Please reach out to us at communityoutreach@usdan.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Press inquiries: Please contact Kerry Gillick-Goldberg at 516-455-3179 or by emailing kerry.gillick.goldberg@gmail.com.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that the below answers were written before Usdan's 'glamping' program application was rescinded on May 2, 2022. We have kept the below answers for archival purposes. 

If you have questions, we encourage you to reach out to us at communityoutreach@usdan.org.

WHO DO I CONTACT WITH QUESTIONS?

Please contact our Executive Director, Lauren Brandt Schloss, and our Chief Operating Officer, Joe Levy, by emailing communityoutreach@usdan.org

 

PROGRAM

WHY IS USDAN PROPOSING THIS USE?

1) to generate scholarship funds so lower and middle income summer arts camp students can experience transformative summers; 2) while doing so, to give community residents more opportunities to experience the natural beauty of the campus and the transformative power of the arts.

IS THIS A USDAN PROGRAM? HOW WAS THE PROGRAM CONCEIVED, HOW DID IT DEVELOP, AND HOW DOES IT INTEGRATE INTO USDAN’S CURRENT PROGRAMMING?

Usdan’s proposed additional arts program was conceived and developed by Usdan with the support of PKF hotelexperts group, Farrell Fritz, P.C., Trahan Architects, R&M Engineering, and other professionals with expertise in the field. The proposal has been thoroughly researched and vetted. We have assessed the feasibility of the program, pursued entitlements and a zoning change, and created a financial model and operations plan for our hospitality operation. 

We initially started looking into the prospect of utilizing the campgrounds for more than eight weeks per year to help fund additional scholarships. The need for student scholarships has been outpacing our traditional fundraising efforts. This goal is the central driving force of the program. 

Through the years, many Usdan parents, alum, and supporters have stated that they want to attend camp too. For this reason, a program that offers immersive arts experiences, similar to our current summer day camp, felt like a perfect concept and is aligned with Usdan’s current mission. Through this program, we aim to create one-of-a-kind arts-focused experiences, whereby visitors will be able to explore their creativity through classes in art and nature, enjoy the enchanting heavily wooded campus, engage with family and friends, and stay in high-end, “luxury style tents”.

Usdan’s mission remains central to current and new programming:

We invite people of all ages to experience the natural beauty of our campus and the transformative power of the arts. Usdan was founded on Jewish values that inspire us to make the world more just and more beautiful. When we welcome the diverse group of passionate young artists here each summer, the heart of Usdan comes alive. Our goal is to instill in our community a desire and drive to contribute creatively to the world now and for the rest of their lives.

WHAT KINDS OF ARTS AND NATURE PROGRAMMING WILL BE AVAILABLE?

Through this program, a wide range of exciting arts and nature activities will be scheduled and available including:

  • Visual and performing arts, creative writing, and nature and ecology classes
    • ceramics,
    • painting,
    • theater improvisation,
    • gardening,
    • and more!
  • Outdoor recreational activities
    • tennis,
    • basketball,
    • corn hole,
    • swimming and diving,
    • and more!
  • Access to Usdan’s 900-seat amphitheater and additional outdoor theater facilities for cultural experiences, as well as corporate and group gatherings
  • Creative community-building activities
  • And more!

WHEN WILL THIS PROGRAM BEGIN? 

Usdan had proposed a phased approach to the program’s development. In the first year, we would construct 25 tents. At that time, we would redress the construction of additional tents based on our own experience and feedback from the community. 

The program’s projected pilot season would be in 2023. The program would run prior to the opening of our youth summer camp season, on select summer weekends, and after camp ends.

 

SAFETY & SECURITY

HOW ARE YOU ENSURING THE CAMPUS WILL BE SAFE WITH ADDITIONAL VISITORS ON THE PROPERTY? 

Usdan has been part of this community for nearly 55 years. The safety and security of our community has been and will continue to be our top priority. 

We've focused heavily on security concerns throughout the development of this program and have highly experienced security professionals on staff including: 

  • Joe Levy, CVE, who joined Usdan’s team in 2021 as our Chief Operating Officer, brings with him 30 years experience managing cultural arts organizations, overseeing multi-million-dollar operating budgets, extensive physical plants, and safety and security. Levy is chair of International Association of Venue Managers’ (IAVM) Venue Safety and Security Committee serving 7,000+ members worldwide and he received his Certified Venue Executive designation in 2018. Levy is also a guest faculty at the Academy for Venue Safety and Security and received the IAVM Chair's Citation for safety and security contributions for the public assembly industry.
    Levy's experience includes being Executive Vice President of operations at The National September 11 Memorial, Managing Director of Operations at the world-famous Apollo Theater, Director of Operations at Kaufman Center, a renowned concert hall and NYC's largest community arts school - PS 859 for musically gifted students, Director of Operations of the international creative marketing agency Jack Morton Worldwide, and Director of Production and Facilities for The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. Managing and building cultural arts venues has provided Levy with an abundance of experience related to the ever-changing challenges of safety and security for social gatherings and crowded spaces.

All overnight guests will be required to become a member through an approval process. Individuals will apply to be a member through Usdan and anyone who applies can be refused. Members will be vetted and will agree to membership rules and regulations in addition to a a code of conduct once on campus.

Members will be required to produce a legal form of identification to enter the property, check in, and place a credit card on file for fees, deposits, and damages. All members will be required to read, understand, and agree to abide by Usdan's code of conduct terms and conditions. The requirements will be thoughtful, thorough, and cover good community behavior. Our security personnel will actively enforce these rules and regulations. Any overnight guest that does not abide by our code of conduct be removed from the property, barred from returning, and held financially responsible for any damage.

Examples of topics included in a code of conduct could include: 

  • Access and Accessibility
  • Accidents
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Campsite Etiquette
  • Cooking
  • Deliveries
  • Emergency Contact
  • Equipment permitted/not permitted
  • Fire Emergency
  • Fire Safety
  • Fires and Firewood
  • Forestry Responsibility
  • Generators
  • Heaters
  • Hunting (prohibited)
  • Medical Emergency
  • Motorized Vehicles (use of)
  • Noise Levels/ Quiet Time
  • Occupancy
  • Peddling/ No Soliciting
  • Pest Control
  • Pets/Service Animals
  • Protection of Property
  • Reporting of issues
  • Sanitation
  • Security
  • Smoking
  • Swimming Pools
  • Trespassing (onto neighboring properties)
  • Unaccompanied Children
  • Visitors (unregistered)
  • Waste

WHAT TYPE OF SECURITY WILL YOU HAVE? WILL IT BE 24 HOURS?

Usdan will expand our current 24-hour security guard force, install perimeter fencing, and expand our existing network of security cameras with motion detection that will immediately notify the guards on duty of activity in unauthorized areas. Neighbors near campus will be able to call the security manager on duty if they need to report suspicious activity, or any issue that requires immediate attention.

WILL THE GENERAL PUBLIC BE ALLOWED ON CAMPUS DURING THE SUMMER CAMP SEASON?

Usdan members who stay overnight would experience Usdan prior to the opening of our youth camp season, on summer weekends, and after the camp season ends. Only current campers and their families would be allowed to stay overnight on summer camp nights. Currently, the general public is not allowed on campus when the summer camp arts students are present, which will continue should the glamping program be instated.

WILL USDAN ALLOW ALCOHOL TO BE USED ON CAMPUS?

Usdan is not providing alcohol service to the campsites, nor is alcohol available for purchase at the camp.

WILL SMOKING BE ALLOWED?

Just like during our summer day camp program, this is a non-smoking campus.

WILL ADDITIONAL FIRE HYDRANTS BE BUILT?

Usdan is and will continue to be in compliance with all building and fire safety codes.

WHAT MEASURES WILL USDAN HAVE IN PLACE TO PREVENT LOUD NOISE?

Noise and good community etiquette compliance is covered in Usdan's code of conduct. Any noise levels that exceed permissible levels will be actively enforced by our security guards.

 

FACILITIES

ARE NEW BATHROOM FACILITIES BEING BUILT TO ACCOMMODATE THE OVERNIGHT GUESTS? DO YOU HAVE SHOWER AND BATHROOM FACILITIES? IF SO, HOW FAR WILL THESE BE FROM THE CAMPSITES?

Our robust existing bathroom infrastructure has the capacity to accommodate this additional Usdan. Bathrooms would be within a few minutes walk from all of the tents. We would pilot a number of shower facility options including reopening the existing showers on campus and using solar showers, which are a common solution for low impact glamping.

WILL THE CAMPSITES HAVE ELECTRICITY OR RUNNING WATER?

No, they will not be supplied with running water. Energy at the tent sites will be provided by solar energy or by rechargeable power stations. Within a short walk, existing systems for electricity and running water will be available.

ARE CAMP FIRE PITS OR BARBEQUE GRILLING AREAS IN THE WOODS ALLOWED?

There will be no fire pits or barbecuing at the individual campsites. Usdan would pilot a few food and beverage options for overnight guests.

IF NO ELECTRICITY IS PROVIDED AT THE CAMPSITE, HOW WILL THE OVERNIGHT GUESTS KEEP WARM AT NIGHT DURING THE MONTHS OF MARCH, APRIL AND MAY AND OCTOBER THROUGH NOVEMBER 15TH?

As with seasonal glamping, people will dress accordingly and utilize thermal bedding for sleeping during colder weather.

WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE STRUCTURES AND WILL TREES AND WOODS BE REMOVED?

Usdan strives to have zero impact on the forest and natural habitat. There are no plans to clear the woods; only dead trees and invasive species will be removed. The elevated wooden platforms are 20x12. Existing trails will be utilized.

HAS USDAN STUDIED THE IMPACT THE INSTALLATION OF THESE STRUCTURES WILL HAVE ON THE WILDLIFE IN THE WOODS?

Usdan anticipates no adverse impact on the wildlife. 

ARE THE WOODS TICK INFESTED AND HOW WILL USDAN PREVENT THE ACCELERATION OF TICK SPREADING?

The tick population onsite is typical of wooded areas across Long Island. Usdan uses natural cedar oil solutions to control ticks during the summer day camp. Usdan will increase the tick treatment frequency to help protect our glamping guests.

 

Press Coverage

Press inquiries: Please contact Kerry Gillick-Goldberg at 516-455-3179 or by emailing kerry.gillick.goldberg@gmail.com.

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