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.
For program updates as they pertain to COVID-19, please visit our Summer 2020 Update page.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 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?
7-week session - $6,300*
*Some 7-week classes are an additional $600.
4-week session - $4,500*
*Some 4-week classes are an additional $350.
3-week session - $3,400*
*Some 3-week classes are an additional $250.
All tuition prices include bus transportation. Bus transportation is required.
WHY DO SOME CLASSES HAVE PREMIUM FEES?
While all of Usdan's classes are designed to give students a deep artistic experience, some classes require extra materials, costumes, sound design, computers and other equipment, additional faculty, or safety training to do so. The premium fee allows us to offer these classes at the highest level.
HOW WILL MY CHILD GET TO CAMP?
Bus transportation to and from Usdan is required for all students, and is included in the tuition.
For Long Island Families we offer mostly door to door service. Some addresses may require a bus to stop on a corner, particularly for cul de sacs.
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.
3-week students from all locations may have a central pick-up.
For New York City, including Queens, we only offer central pick up locations.
Unfortunately, we are unable to take friend requests for buses. However, If you would like to your child to ride the bus with a friend, you may have both families picked up at one location. Please let us know if you would like to do that by including that on the application.
Please note the length of ride varies based on the route and distance from camp. While we try to ensure the quickest ride possible, from some locations it may be 90 minutes or more.
If you require a second bus, there will be an additional charge. Contact email@example.com to arrange.
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, Archery, Dance, Chess and U Time for Seniors.
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 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, Rock Band, and the 3 week Chamber Ensemble are the only classes that require an audition for entrance. Other classes may have pre-requisite experience, a placement audition. 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. 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?
Tuition assistance is available until January 15, 2020 in any major choice for the 7-week session. These grants are awarded based on family need. For more information, visit our Tuition Assistance page.
Our new Allegro Music Program offers $2,000 off the 4-week tuition in a Band, Orchestra or Vocal Ensemble major, Vocal Ensemble minor and Swim recreational activity. This cannot be combined with any other award. For more information, visit our Allegro Music Program page.
Our Uniquely U scholarship search will begin in January 2020. Celebrating creativity and self-expression, the search asked artists ages 7 through 18 and in grades 2 through 12, from across New York City, and Long Island, to submit samples of their work in creative writing; or visual and performing arts to be considered for a full scholarship to the day camp this summer.
ARE THERE COUNSELORS?
The Discovery program (for younger students who have completed 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.
A smock or old shirt to protect clothes.
White shirt or blouse, black pants or long black skirt, and black dress shoes for all concert performances.
Comfortable clothing without buttons or zippers that is easy to move in. Bring a yoga mat marked with your name.
All classes: Hair that falls to the shoulders or below should be pulled back, off the face.
Ballet: Female-identifying students: Leotard (any style), tights. Male-identifying students: “white shirt, black leggings or athletic pants.” Gender non-conforming may choose any articles of clothing from the female- and male-identifying options. All: Feet: Ballet shoes (no color preference for all).
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: Jazz shoes.
Choreography: Comfortable non-restrictive clothing i.e. shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, Yoga Pants, sweat pants, T-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. Feet: to be determined by the instructor on the first day.
Contemporary: Comfortable non restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, Yoga Pants, sweat pants, t-shirt, tank top, leotard. Feet: Barefeet.
Dance Adventure: Comfortable non restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, Yoga Pants, sweat pants, t-shirt, tank top. Feet: Barefeet.
Hip Hop: Comfortable non restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, Yoga Pants, sweat pants, t-shirt, tank top, leotard. Feet: Sneakers.
Tap: Comfortable non restrictive clothing i.e, shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, Yoga Pants, sweat pants, 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.
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, or Swim. Senior division students will have the opportunity to choose various sports during U Time including Quidditch, basketball, and Gaga.
WHAT IS THE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY?
As we continue to monitor COVID-19 and consider diverse scenarios, we remain hopeful and believe that a summer at camp is still a probable outcome to plan for. In an effort to mitigate uncertainty, we have recently updated our refund policy to be as flexible as possible for our families in these difficult and rapidly changing times.
Should your family need to withdraw from camp before May 31, you will receive a full refund of tuition paid.
We are discussing what Usdan’s withdraw policy will be after May 31 or in the unfortunate scenario of us having to close our gates for part of the summer. We ask that you please be patient with us as we come to a decision that is fair to our families while making sure Usdan can remain open for many more years to come.
The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly and we understand there is a lot of panic. If you are worried about being able to make this summer a reality, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help.
For more information on Summer 2020 updates as they related to COVID-19, please visit here: usdan.org/summerupdate.
A. An applicant withdrawing:
Before May 31: will receive a full refund.
After May 31: unknown at this time
After July 1: unknown at this time
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.
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY REGARDING VACCINATIONS?
With a focus on maintaining health and protecting the camp community as a whole, Usdan now requires all students, faculty, and staff to be up-to-date with all standard immunizations in accordance with the update in Public Health Law 2164, passed by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 13, 2019. Usdan will not accept any exemption other than a doctor issued medical exemption. All health forms are required by May 31 for pre-screening.