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 email@example.com. 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 2020 SEASON?
- 7 Week Session: June 29 - August 14, 2020
- 4 Week Session: June 29 - July 24, 2020
- 3 Week Session: July 27 - August 14, 2020
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ATTEND USDAN?
Rates for 2020 season will be announced soon
7-week session - $5,850*
*Some 7-week classes are an additional $550.
4-week session - $4,050*
*Some 4-week classes are an additional $325.
3-week session - $3,050* *Some 3-week classes are an additional $225.
All tuition prices include bus transportation, medical accident insurance, and registration fees. Bus transportation is required.
HOW WILL MY CHILD GET TO CAMP?
Bus transportation to and from Usdan is required for all students, and is included in the tuition.
Please note that door to door pickup is available for 4 or 7-week enrollments in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. 3-week students in those areas may be asked to meet at central pickup locations. For areas in Queens and Long Island with high density, there may be central picks ups in order to shorten the ride time for students.
In Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Westchester, students meet at central pickup locations. Transportation for Usdan will only go as far east as the William Floyd Parkway. Students who live east of that will need to meet the bus at a central pickup location near the Parkway.
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.
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 Vocal Ensemble.
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, Basketball and Gaga, Quidditch, Archery, Dance, Chess.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUNIOR AND SENIOR DIVISION STUDENTS?
Students attend courses with similarly aged peers; the age divisions are called Discovery, Partners in the Arts, Junior Division, and Senior Division. Discovery students have completed pre-K through grade 1, Partners in the Arts students have completed grades 2 through 3, Junior Division students have completed grades 4 through 6, and Senior Division students have completed grades 6 through 12. Students who have completed grade 6 may chose to be in either the Junior or Senior division.
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.
*Discovery students will have a different schedule, and do not choose a major, minor or recreational activity. See more here.
DO I HAVE TO AUDITION?
While most courses do not require an audition, several do. Usdan Troupe, Piano Majors , Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Dance Ensemble, Advanced Ballet, Advanced Contemporary, Rock Band, and the 3 week Chamber Ensemble are the only classes that require an audition. Other classes may have pre-requisite experience. If you are a 6th grader interested in majoring in Band or Orchestra in the Senior Division, you will need to audition in order to be placed at the higher level. See our class page for more information. For audition information, please contact Usdan's New York office at 212-772-6060.
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.
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.
DO STUDENTS SWIM?
Swimming in Usdan’s 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. Board games and cards are available poolside for students who opt not to swim. Click here for more details about Usdan's swim program.
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 Shed for games and other activities. All other classes continue as usual.
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 Middle and High School Merit awards wishing to major in Band and Orchestra. Merit scholarships are only available for the 4 week session. Merit-based scholarships are highly selective and granted following an audition with a panel of experienced artists.
Students must be enrolled in the 4 or 7-week session in order to be considered, and they must major in the subject they applied for. Visit our Merit Scholarship page for more information.
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.
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.
DO STUDENTS NEED TO BRING THEIR OWN LUNCH?
Yes. Lunch is not provided; each student is required to bring their 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, they can pick them up at the nurse’s office. Discovery and Aftercare students are required to bring an additional snack.
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.
WHAT HELPFUL ITEMS SHOULD STUDENTS BRING OR WEAR TO CAMP?
- Reusable water bottle
- 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
- Umbrella, poncho, or raincoat
DO STUDENTS NEED TO BRING THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS?
Yes. Students studying all instruments except pianos, percussion, and string bass must bring their own instrument. String players may rent violin, viola, or cellos from Murphy's Music. For the convenience of musicians, Usdan provides 24-hour instrument storage at Instrument Check.
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.
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.
Contemporary: Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, t-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. Feet: Barefeet.
Ballet: Leotard (any style), tights, ballet shoes (no color preference for all). Feet: Ballet shoes.
Hip Hop : Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, t-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. Feet: Sneakers.
Dance Ensemble Repertory: Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), dance pants, Yoga Pants, sweatpants, t-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. Feet: Barefeet.
Tap: Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, t-shirt, tank top. Feet: Tap shoes. Any brand or type is ok. Capezio and Bloch are affordable options. Students may wear socks or no socks depending on comfort.
Broadway Jazz: Comfortable non restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweat pants, t-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. Feet: Juniors: Jazz shoes; Seniors: Character shoes found at Capezio or Bloch.
West African: Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, t-shirt, tank top. Feet: Barefeet.
Dance Adventure: Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, t-shirt, tank top. Feet: Barefeet.
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.
WHAT IS THE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY?
Information on our 2020 season is coming soon. Policies are subject to change, but our 2019 Withdrawal Policy is below.
- A. An applicant withdrawing:
- 1. From May 1 through July 3, 2019 is charged $750.
- 2. After July 3, 2019: 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.