Nature
summer-nature-program

Our Summer Nature Program

Usdan’s magnificent forest, nature center, and organic garden provide a vast outdoor laboratory for teaching and learning.

 

In our hands-on nature program, students study the art of planting, growing and cultivating food by caring for Usdan’s own fruit and vegetable gardens, and learn to prepare simple dishes from the produce they grow.  Exploring the flora and fauna in Usdan’s idyllic woodland forest allows students to understand the delicate relationships at the heart of Long Island’s vibrant local ecosystem.  In an innovative course on sustainable art, students are challenged to combine art, science and empathy to identify creative and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students also care for the Nature Department's pet snakes, lizards, and tortoise.

 

 

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

2018 Majors

*Please note: 2019 Majors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Nature, Ecology & Design; Organic Gardening & Simple Cooking; Sustainable Design

2018 Minors

*Please note: 2019 Minors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Nature, Ecology & Design; Organic Gardening & Simple Cooking; Sustainable Design

2018 Faculty

Lead Teacher - Organic Gardening

Dawn Cleary

Lead Teacher - Sustainable Art

Andre Feliciano

Lead Teacher - Nature, Ecology & Design

Steve Finkelstein

Steve Finkelstein has been teaching biology and AP environmental science at the Wheatley School in Old Westbury for the last 30 years. In that role, he participated in the Environmental Action Committee where he lead students to collect and send 3000 bicycles to Africa for sustainable transportation, among other socially conscious activities. He concurrently has been working as freelance percussionist for the last 25 years, earning over 25 album credits, as well as performing nationally and internationally including with touring with Mariah Carey, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Grammy award-winning Latin jazz flute player Dave Vallentine, Selena, and many others He is the Lead Music Ambassador for the Friends of the Coltrane Home and a founding member of the Funk Filharmonik.  His career includes working for a dozen years as a national park ranger, resident naturalist, environmental education and interpretive design consultant, and environmental arts education specialist   
 
What are you proudest of in your career? 

Helping learners see the connections between their lives and the lives of the rest of the people, and we’re going to since we share the plan with, mixing art and science, Inspiring learners to use their heads, hearts, and hands to explore the natural world and take action to make a positive difference.
 

Departments

Art

Art

Chess

Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Dance

Dance

music-summer-program

Music

Nature

Nature

summer-arts-camps-for-kids

Discovery

recreational-arts

Recreational Arts

summer-theater-program

Theater

Art

 

Campers love Usdan’s summer art programs because our diverse class offerings allow for both deep engagement and exploration.   Students learn from working artists specializing in their field of focus, from classic disciplines such as painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture to new-media fields like video-game design and photography and video for social media.  

Seventy open-air studios dot the forested campus and create a sense of flow and community among artists.  Each studio is tailored to its medium with materials, equipment and software. Studios feature large skylights, as well as courtyards that take advantage of natural light and the inspiration of nature, which is a distinguishing feature of Usdan’s summer art programs. Throughout the summer, campers can visit the campus art gallery which mounts student, faculty, and visiting-artist exhibitions.

2018 MAJORS

*Please note: 2019 Majors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Animation; Animation & Comic Art; Architecture; Art Adventure; Ceramics; Comic Art; Cosplay & Soft Sculpture; Design Your World in 3D; Filmmaking; Metalsmithing; Open Studio for 2D Art; Pinting & Drawing; Painting Exploration; Painting & Drawing Exploration; Photography; Puppet Kitchen; Sculpture; Sewing & Fashion Design; Video Game Art & Design.

2018 MINORS

*Please note: 2019 Minors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Bookmaking; Comic Art; Lego Design; Life Drawing; Mobile Photography & Video; Mobile Photography & Video for Social Media; Painting & Drawing; Photography; Photography - Intermediate; Photography: In Studio; Photography: Out & About; Sculpture that Moves; 

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Chess

Usdan’s chess summer camp program follows the principles of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation and is uniquely designed to meet the needs of each student, whether they are new to chess or are experienced competitors. The Usdan Chess Ladder groups students in varying levels, from absolute novices to advanced tournament players. New players learn rules, notation, and the opening, middle, and end games. Advanced players develop a vast repertoire of complex strategies and the ability to apply them shrewdly in-game. All of our chess players benefit from improved problem solving, critical thinking, and concentration.  Students hone their skills through game-play and tutoring in competitive chess tournaments and exciting team competitions. Individual and group lessons are conducted by highly-ranked tournament players with decades of experience.  A major highlight of our chess summer camp is that celebrated chess masters come to Usdan to serve as guest teachers and share their expertise with our young players.

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Usdan takes full advantage of New York City’s pool of exceptional writers to lead our summer creative writing programs. Our faculty is comprised of accomplished authors who are also experienced in nurturing students in the discipline and art of writing.

Whether their preferred form is poetry, plays, short stories, novels, or non-fiction, our young storytellers get to practice their writing in small, collaborative groups. Working in peaceful, open air writing studios, our writers build imaginative narratives and find their creative voices, while experimenting with the core elements of storytelling like style, structure, setting, point of view, conflict and resolution.  One vital element of our teaching involves encouraging our students to experience empathy, both as an ingredient and a result of their writing practice.  Finally, all writing students gain invaluable editorial experience by shaping and contributing their works to a new installment of Usdan’s literary magazine, Painting with Words.

2018 Classes

*Please note: 2019 classes will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Creative Writing; Making Magic, Monsters, & More;

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Dance

In our summer dance program, our dancers study technique, classic repertory, and original choreography with nationally renowned dancers and choreographers. We offer classes across a wide range of styles and traditions, including contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, hip hop, funk and tap. 

Instruction at our dance camp is rigorous, caring and fun.  Our studios are spacious and mirrored, with soft floors and generous skylights that give an open-air effect. Each class culminates in a freshly choreographed dance performance for the entire community, including friends and family, in the dance department studios or on Usdan’s main stage.

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

2018 MAJORS

*Please note: 2019 Majors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Ballet; Contemporary Dance; Dance Adventure; Hip Hop; Senior Dance Makers: Choreographic Institute; Usdan Dance Ensemble.

2018 MINORS

*Please note: 2019 Minors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Absolute Beginner Ballet; Broadway Jazz Dance; Contemporary Dance; Dance Adventure; Dance Makers: Creative Movement; Hip Hop; Modern Dance; Open Level Ballet.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Music

 

In the chorus program, our singers focus on finding their voices and mastering technique, as well as working together to learn major choral repertoire. Piano and guitar students work on technique and perspective through individual and ensemble practice and performance.  Our orchestra musicians form the core of Usdan's four dynamic orchestras, and practice within a full orchestra as well as in their own sections each day. Our jazz students can be-bop, swing or samba in Usdan’s jazz ensembles, and receive tailored instruction within their sectionals and ensembles depending on their age and experience level.  Four concert bands offer exceptional collaboration and performance opportunities for budding band musicians of every age and ability. Concert band students participate in one hour of full band rehearsal in addition to another hour of sectional study each day.

Classes, rehearsals, and performances take place in the camp’s McKinley Amphitheater and several studios, sized for each group and specialty. And throughout the summer, our music students have opportunities to present their summer’s work to family, friends, and the entire Usdan community.

2018 Music Summer Program

2018 MAJORS

*Please note: 2019 Majors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Band (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion); Intermediate Piano; Intermediate/Advanced Piano;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Orchestra (Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass); Junior Chorus; Senior Chorus; Strum, Pluck, & Pick: Guitar Instruction. 

2018 MINORS

*Please note: 2019 Minors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Absolute Beginning Guitar; Absolute Beginner Piano; Chamber Music (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass, Piano); Guitar & Songwriting;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Junior Chorus; Piano; Rock on!; Senior Chorus.

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

View All

Nature

 

In our hands-on nature program, students study the art of planting, growing and cultivating food by caring for Usdan’s own fruit and vegetable gardens, and learn to prepare simple dishes from the produce they grow.  Exploring the flora and fauna in Usdan’s idyllic woodland forest allows students to understand the delicate relationships at the heart of Long Island’s vibrant local ecosystem.  In an innovative course on sustainable art, students are challenged to combine art, science and empathy to identify creative and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students also care for the Nature Department's pet snakes, lizards, and tortoise.

 

 

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

2018 Majors

*Please note: 2019 Majors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Nature, Ecology & Design; Organic Gardening & Simple Cooking; Sustainable Design

2018 Minors

*Please note: 2019 Minors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Nature, Ecology & Design; Organic Gardening & Simple Cooking; Sustainable Design

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

View All

Discovery

Play and exploration are at the heart of Discovery, where children enjoy music, art, dance and swim multiple times a week.  Rather than select a major and minor, Discovery students experience a special multi-disciplinary program tailored for their age group.  Discovery students experience the arts through hands-on practice with Usdan's esteemed faculty. Each class is led by a minimum of four adults who provide individualized attention and support.

Throughout the summer, Discovery campers attend select assemblies performed by professional and student artists.  In addition to the core program, additional activities draw from Usdan's diverse offerings such as theater, nature, archery, chess and photography. With the Discovery Center as a base, campers explore the arts together in small groups with dedicated college-age counselors to guide them throughout their adventurous day.  

Children from all over the New York metropolitan area choose Usdan’s Discovery program because it is a singular summer arts camp for kids who share a common love for the arts.

Typical Day
9:30 a.m. : Children are helped off of their bus by one of the Discovery counselors
10:05 a.m. : Chorus
10:45 a.m. : Snack
11:05 a.m. : Art  
12:00 p.m. : Swim
1:00 p.m. : Lunch / Supervised Play 
2:05 p.m. : Discovery Period*
3:00 p.m. : Ice Cream and children are brought back to their buses

* The "Discovery Period" is an activity that is scheduled weekly such as theatre or a scheduled visit to one of the junior/senior classes such as chess, archery, or sewing. 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Recreational Arts

 

The Recreational Arts program augments Usdan’s core mission to support campers’ creative development by encouraging physical fitness and an appreciation of the natural world. This comprehensive approach to our children’s creative, spiritual, and physical development makes Usdan unique among camps in our region.  Set in an idyllic woodland forest, our campus spaces are joined together by walking paths and are designed for optimal enjoyment of fresh air and natural light.  Across campus, students can enjoy nature walks, splash in two large outdoor swimming pools, play sports on multiple playing fields, as well as practice yoga and archery.

 

Each day, students spend a dedicated period enjoying a Recreational Activity of their choice. Each of these activities, with the exception of Recreational Swim, can also be chosen as a Minor.

2018 Recreational Arts classes

*Please note: 2019 Recreational Arts classes will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Archery; Free Swim; Games, Hoops and Nets; Instructional Swim; Quidditch; Tennis; Yoga.

(Each of these classes can also be selected as a Minor, except for Free Swim.)

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Theater

 

The dynamic hub of the Usdan theater program is the extraordinary Lemberg Drama Center, which includes an air-conditioned indoor theater, two outdoor theaters, and rehearsal studios, as well as costume, prop, and set shops. With offerings in both drama and musical theater, our students have several opportunities to experience the full of cycle of staging and performing a play or musical throughout the summer.  Recent productions include Into the Woods, Frog and Toad, Finian’s Rainbow, and Oliver!

High-school aged students may audition for The Usdan Troupe which presents one fully staged musical production every year.  Former company members describe it as "summer stock theater for teens."

2018 Summer Theater Program Classes

2018 MAJORS

*Please note: 2019 Majors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Drama Lab; Matinee Idols Meet "Mean Girls"; Musical Theater; Musical Theater Adventure; Theater Tech Workshop; The Usdan Troupe.

2018 MINORS

*Please note: 2019 Minors will be announced in November and are subject to change*

Acting Like it Hurts: A Stage Combat Primer; Actor's Craft: Monologue Work; Actor's Craft: Scene Work; Audition Bootcamp.

 

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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