Programs
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PROGRAMS

Summer belongs to U. 

 

 

Grade

Age Division

Programs Offered

K and 1

Discovery

Discovery Program

2 and 3

Junior: Partners in the Arts

Classic, Allegro Music & Rec Camp Programs

4 through 6

Junior

Classic, Allegro Music & Rec Camp Programs

6* through 12

Senior

Classic, Allegro Music & Rec Camp (6–8 only) Programs

*Grade 6 students may choose to go into the Senior Division if their schedule allows. Grade 6 students in a Music Major must choose the Junior Division.

 

Discovery Program

(GRADES K–1 | 4- AND 8-WEEK SESSIONS)

The Discovery Program provides a fun and exciting exploration of the arts for students who have just completed kindergarten or grade 1. Surrounded by Usdan’s woodland campus, and using the Discovery Center as a base, children have experiences in Music, Art, Dance, Nature & Sustainability, Theater, and Recreational Arts led by professional artists and educators. Two college-age counselors help guide each small group throughout their adventurous day, fostering a safe, nurturing, and positive atmosphere while also creating a variety of engaging activities that are tailored to students’ interests. 

After completing their grade 1 summer at camp, children from the Discovery Program head into Usdan’s Classic Program feeling confident and excited because they have spent the previous summer getting a taste of its many opportunities.

Typical Day (start and end times may vary):

9:30 a.m.: Children are welcomed by their counselor when they arrive on their bus.

10:05 a.m.–10:40 a.m.: Music

10:45 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Snack

11:05 a.m.–11:45 a.m.: Art / Nature & Sustainability  

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.: Swim

1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.: Lunch / Supervised Play 

2:05 p.m.–2:45 p.m.: Dance

3:05 p.m.: Ice cream, followed by children being walked to their bus by their counselor

 

Classic Program

(GRADES 2–12 | 4- AND 8-WEEK SESSIONS)

Usdan’s Classic Program provides an immersive arts experience and fosters friendship and shared enthusiasm among young artists in grades 2 through 12. Our program offers instruction by experienced educators and professional artists in five art disciplines—Art, Creative Writing, Dance, Music, and Theater—and three specialty areas—Chess, Nature & Sustainability, and Recreational Arts. All that is needed to attend is an open mind and an excitement for the arts. 

Students in our Classic Program choose a two-period Major, a one-period Minor, and a one-period Recreational Activity for four or eight weeks. Each period consists of approximately one hour of instructional time, during which students immerse themselves in an area they are passionate about. Some of our campers love being able to explore two different departments for their Major and Minor, while others choose to focus on one. Most Majors and Minors culminate in a performance or celebration of student work. The Recreational Activity supports campers’ creative development by encouraging movement and play. 

Daily Festival Performances by professional and student artists in Usdan’s 900-seat McKinley Amphitheater enrich students’ days, bringing art to life in thrilling new ways to delight, surprise, and inspire. Repertoire for the daily Festival Performance includes traditional and contemporary art from a culturally diverse group of performers, including dancers from the Alvin Ailey and Michelle Dorrance companies, musicians from the New York Philharmonic and International Contemporary Ensemble, mimes, puppeteers, and spoken word and Broadway performers.

Students attending our 8-week session have the opportunity to change their courses after the first four weeks. While most Majors are divided into four-week increments, select performing-arts Majors, including the Usdan Troupe and the Ensemble, are eight weeks long. Please visit our Classes page for more information on your child’s departments or courses of interest. 

Students attend courses with similarly aged peers; the age divisions are called Junior Division, Junior Division: Partners in the Arts, and Senior Division. Junior Division: Partners in the Arts students have just completed grade 2 or 3 (see more below), Junior Division students have just completed grade 4, 5, or 6, and Senior Division students have just completed grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Students who have just completed grade 6 may choose to be in either the Junior or Senior Division, apart from grade 6 Music Majors, who must choose the Junior Division.

A sample student schedule (start and end times may vary):

10:00 a.m.–11:55 a.m.: Major

12:05 p.m.–12:25 p.m.: Lunch

12:35 p.m.–12:55 p.m.: Festival Performance

1:15 p.m.–2:05 p.m.: Recreational Activity 

2:15 p.m.–3:05 p.m.: Minor

3:05 p.m.: Ice Cream and Dismissal

Partners in the Arts Division

Partners in the Arts is a special age division for Usdan students in grades 2 and 3 that supports their growing independence. Partners students are in the Junior Division of Usdan’s Classic Program, just like older campers, but are escorted from class to class by supervisors. Supervisors are high-school-age students who are familiar with Usdan’s campus and programs. They are chosen for their maturity and rapport with young campers. The Partners in the Arts Division helps our younger students feel comfortable and confident as they learn, make friends, and have fun.

 

Allegro Music Program

(GRADES 2–12 | 4- AND 8-WEEK SESSIONS)

Like the musical notation for which it is named, Usdan’s Allegro Music Program is fun-filled and upbeat—a camp experience that expands students’ appreciation of music. The program follows the same outline as Usdan’s Classic Program and offers a more affordable tuition to take a specific combination of courses, including a Major in our Music Department. For four or eight weeks, musicians and vocalists in our Allegro Music Program immerse themselves in music and nature on Usdan’s 140-acre campus. 

Each camp day, the Allegro Music Program offers students two hours of instrumental or vocal instruction in their Major, one hour in a Minor class of their choice, and one hour of U Time as their Recreational Activity, during which they swim or choose from an array of fun games and activities. The day is capped off by a live performance in our 900-seat Amphitheater. Bus transportation via central pickup locations is included in tuition. Door-to-door busing is available in certain Long Island areas for an additional fee.

Students must be enrolled in the following classes to qualify for the Allegro Music Program:

  • Major: Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Junior/Senior Vocal Ensemble, Intermediate Piano, or Intermediate/Advanced Piano
  • Minor: You choose!
  • Recreational Activity: U Time (includes swim) 

 

Recreational Camp Program

(GRADES 2–8 | 1-WEEK SESSIONS)

Usdan’s Recreational Camp Program provides an opportunity for students to experience the beauty of Usdan’s wooded campus and recreational spaces, including its swimming pools and archery range, and to join Usdan's welcoming and inclusive community, while having fun, being active, and making new friends. 

Students have one period of swimming, one period of archery, and one period of general recreation, including activities and games such as cornhole, four-square, badminton, and more, in addition to an art station. Our Recreational Camp students also get a taste of Usdan’s Classic Program with one period of Art, taught by experienced art educators and professional artists, as well as a daily Festival Performance by professional and student artists to delight, surprise, and inspire them. Each group is guided through their days by one or two counselors.

A sample student schedule (start and end times may vary):

10:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m.: Archery

11:05 a.m.–11:55 a.m.: General Recreation

12:05 p.m.–12:25 p.m.: Lunch

12:35 p.m.–12:55 p.m.: Festival Performance

1:15 p.m.–2:05 p.m.: Swim 

2:15 p.m.–3:05 p.m.: Art

3:05 p.m.: Ice Cream and Dismissal

 

Artists in Residence Program

Every summer, Usdan brings world-class teachers and visiting artists—actors, directors, playwrights, painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, dancers, poets, and novelists—to teach and collaborate with Usdan campers ages 5 to 18. It’s a two-way exchange, with experienced artists and young creators learning from each other and contributing to one another’s work and development. Usdan has developed a program for students that builds on this premise. 

The goal of the Artists in Residence Program is to harness the creativity, concerns, and intelligence of youth in contemporary art-making—by involving youth in the creative process as collaborators in the generation of a new work. Each Artist in Residence collaborates with a group of students through research and creative sessions to create a new piece. You can learn more about the program by visiting our Artists in Residence page.

Among the 2023 Artists in Residence is Superhero Clubhouse. This summer, they are leading an interdisciplinary Major through which they will be storytelling and world-building in an original eco-theater performance work.

 

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