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Summer Camp Frequently Asked Questions

With its irresistible combination of art, play, nature, and friendship, it’s no surprise that Usdan is regarded as the region’s premier summer arts camp.  Over the course of every summer since 1968, more than 1,500 students travel from all corners of the New York metro area to commune on Usdan’s bucolic campus for fun-filled days of creativity and self-discovery.

With so many exciting programs, classes, and sessions to make sense of, we have compiled a list below of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding how Usdan works.

If you did not find answers to your summer camp questions here, you are always welcome to reach out to us by phone at 631.643.7900, or by email at info@usdan.org.  Prospective students and their parents or guardians are also encouraged to visit Usdan to tour the campus and learn more about our programs first-hand.  Information about arranging a campus tour and or attending an informational session can be found here.

WHEN IS USDAN’S SUMMER 2018 SEASON?

2018 DATES

  • 7 week session: June 25, 2018 - August 10, 2018, weekdays (closed Wednesday, July 4).
  • 4 week session: June 25, 2018 - July 20, 2018, weekdays (closed Wednesday, July 4).
  • 2 week session: July 9, 2018 - July 20, 2018, weekdays.
  • 3 week session: July 23, 2018 - August 10, 2018, weekdays.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ATTEND USDAN?

2018 RATES

  • Tuition for 7 weeks: $5,450* (includes transportation and fees).
  • Tuition for 4 weeks: $3,950* (includes transportation and fees).
  • Tuition for 3 weeks: $2,950* includes (includes transportation and fees).
  • Tuition for 2 weeks: $1,950* includes (includes transportation and fees).
  • No gratuities are expected or permitted.
  • * Premium rates may apply for some classes.

Bus transportation from designated areas in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Southern Westchester is provided at no extra cost; 7 and 4-week students from Nassau, Suffolk, and Queens receive door-to-door bus transportation.

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WHAT IS A MAJOR?

Students choose one subject in which they have the greatest interest or desire to participate as their major. Students spend two periods (2 hours total) on their major each day. A musician, for example, might choose Piano as a major, a dancer might choose Ballet, and an art student might choose Ceramics.

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WHAT IS A MINOR?

A minor is a student’s secondary subject interest. Students spend one period (1 hour) on their minor every day. Usdan believes that students should enjoy a variety of interests and learn skills across subjects, especially art forms they’ve never tried before. Minors may be entirely different from majors: for example, a Ballet major might minor in Chorus.

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WHAT IS A RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY?

Usdan students participate in a daily 1-hour recreational period, to give them an active day that embraces total mind and body health. Recreational courses include Swimming, Tennis, Yoga, Games, Hoops and Nets, Archery, and Dance.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUNIOR AND SENIOR DIVISION STUDENTS?

Students attend courses with similarly aged peers; the age divisions are called Discovery, Junior Division, and Senior Division. Discovery students have completed pre-K through grade 1, Junior Division students have completed grades 2 through 6, and Senior Division students have completed grades 6 through 12.

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WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY AT USDAN LIKE?

Camp runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. every weekday.

Students attend one 2-hour course (a major), one 1-hour course (a minor), and a 1-hour recreational activity. They also attend a daily Festival Concert where renowned artists or student groups perform for the camp. At the end of every day, students are rewarded with an ice cream snack.

A sample student schedule:

  • 10:00 a.m.–11:55 a.m. Major.
  • 12:10 p.m.–12:30 p.m. Lunch.
  • 12:35 p.m.–12:55 p.m. Festival Concert.
  • 1:15 p.m.–2:05 p.m. Recreational Activity.
  • 2:15 p.m.–3:05 p.m. Minor.

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DO I HAVE TO AUDITION?

While most courses do not require an audition, several do. Usdan Troupe, Piano, Jazz Ensemble, Dance Ensemble, and Rock On! are the only classes that require an audition. Other classes may have pre-requisite experience. See our class page for more information. For audition information, please contact Usdan's New York office at 212-772-6060.

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IS USDAN AN OVERNIGHT CAMP OR A DAY CAMP?

Usdan is a day camp. We do not offer overnight facilities for students. All campers are transported to and from campus by bus daily.

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WHAT IS PARTNERS IN THE ARTS?

Partners in the Arts is a special program for Usdan students in grades 2 and 3 that supports their growing independence. Partners campers study a major, minor, and recreation just like older campers, but are escorted from class to class by counselors. Counselors are high school aged students in Usdan’s Leadership Institute for the Arts who are familiar with Usdan’s campus and programs. They’re chosen for their maturity and rapport with young campers. Partners in the Arts participants meet their counselors at the McKinley Amphitheater each morning of camp and then proceed to their classes together. The Partners in the Arts program helps young students feel comfortable and confident as they learn, make friends, and have fun.

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DO STUDENTS SWIM?

Swimming in Usdan’s large, magnificent outdoor pools is one of many courses students may choose for their daily recreational activity. Some students choose to enroll in swimming instruction leading to American Red Cross certification. All Discovery students participate in a daily swim period, while Junior Division students have ​instructional swim Monday through Thursday and ​free swim on Fridays. Senior Division students who choose swimming as their recreational activity have a choice of either free or instructional swim. Click here for more details about Usdan's swim program.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT RAINS?

We recommend that all students carry an umbrella, rain jacket, or poncho with them in case of wet weather. Students will be held in their classes if there is severe weather or lightning, however, Usdan is open every day, regardless of weather conditions. When rain does occur, students in swim and outdoor recreational courses report to the movie house. All other classes continue as usual.

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ARE SCHOLARSHIPS OR FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?

Usdan offers two types of financial aid for families.

Merit-based scholarships, based on talent and ability, are available for high-school-age students wishing to major in Orchestra, Concert Band, Chorus, or Jazz Ensemble. Merit-based scholarships are highly selective and granted following an audition with a panel of experienced artists.

Tuition assistance is awarded based on family need. For more information, visit our Tuition Assistance page or please contact Usdan's New York office at 212-772-6060.

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ARE THERE COUNSELORS?

The Discovery program (for younger students who have completed pre-¬K, kindergarten, or first grade) has full-day counselors. Similarly, the Partners in the Arts program has counselors who guide students through their day. As students progress, they gain independence and the responsibility to walk to class on their own, supervised by staff members stationed across campus.

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DO STUDENTS NEED TO BRING THEIR OWN LUNCH?

Yes. Lunch is not provided; each student is required to bring his or her own. We recommend packing your child’s lunch in an insulated bag with an ice pack. An ice cream snack is provided to all students at the end of each day. If your child needs lactose-free or gluten-free frozen treats instead of ice cream, he or she can pick them up at the nurse’s office. Discovery and Aftercare students are required to bring an additional snack.

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ARE THERE VENDING MACHINES ON CAMPUS?

As part of Usdan’s commitment to sustainability, there are no vending machines on campus. Students are advised to bring their own reusable water bottles; water filling stations are located throughout camp for student use. Water bottles are available for purchase in the administration building.

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WHAT HELPFUL ITEMS SHOULD STUDENTS BRING OR WEAR TO CAMP?

  • Reusable water bottle
  • Lunch
  • Swimsuit and towel (if enrolled in swimming class or Aftercare)
  • Sneakers or walking shoes (please do not wear flip¬ flops or sandals)
  • Snack (Discovery and Aftercare students)
  • Mosquito spray
  • Sunblock
  • Hat
  • Umbrella, poncho, or raincoat

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CAN STUDENTS BRING THEIR CELL PHONES?

Yes, but use is restricted to certain times. Usdan believes that mobile devices such as phones and tablets can be incredible tools for creativity. We even offer classes in social media and mobile photography. But Usdan is also a place to disconnect from the frenzy of technology for a summer of discovery amidst the camp’s natural beauty. Students are permitted to use mobile devices on the bus, during passing periods, and during lunch. Students are not allowed to use mobile devices during class unless authorized by teachers, while walking on campus, or in the amphitheater during a performance.

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WHAT ATTIRE DO STUDENTS NEED FOR CLASS?

Some departments require dress conducive to course activity (see list below). Please note that Usdan does not discriminate based on gender identity, and encourages students to dress in the attire they feel most comfortable in.

  • Art: A smock or old shirt to protect clothes.
  • Music: White shirt or blouse, black pants or long black skirt, and black dress shoes for all concert performances.
  • Yoga: Comfortable clothing without buttons or zippers that is easy to move in. Bring a yoga mat marked with your name.
  • All Dance Classes (unless otherwise specified):

Girls: Black tops, form-fitting black bottoms (shorts, leggings, or tights), and jazz shoes.

  • Boys: White or black shirt, black shorts, and jazz shoes.
  • Ballet: Long hair must be neatly secured in a bun.
    • Girls: Black leotard, pink tights, and pink ballet slippers.
    • Boys: White shirt, black tights, and black ballet slippers.
  • Hip Hop: Solid-color T-shirt (no labels or branding), solid-color shorts or pants, and indoor sneakers or jazz shoes.
  • Tap dance:
    • Girls: Black tops, form-fitting black bottoms (shorts, leggings, or tights), and black tap shoes.
    • Boys: White or black shirt, black shorts, and black tap shoes.
  • Usdan dance ensemble: Ballet attire, as well as black tops and bottoms, and both ballet and jazz shoes.

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ARE THERE SPORTS?

While Usdan is an arts camp, we do offer one period of recreational activities every day. Students can additionally enroll in Tennis, Yoga, Archery, Swim, or Games, Hoops, and Nets, which includes basketball, gaga, and badminton.

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WHAT IS THE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY?

  • A. An applicant withdrawing:
  • 1. On or before April 30, 2018 is charged $100.
  • 2. From May 1 through June 27, 2018 is charged $750.
  • 3. After June 27, 2018: No Refund.
  • B. The date of withdrawal will be the date on which Usdan is notified.
  • C. An applicant not accepted by Usdan will receive a complete refund of all fees paid.

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