Summer 2020 Updates
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This summer, Usdan will be moving online. We welcome you to join  us for Usdan Online: Usdan's online arts education program. 

Usdan Online aims to provide excellent arts instruction and to create a thriving community of young artists that is not dependent on being together physically. We hope Usdan Online will allow students to remain connected to Usdan, make new memories, and creatively contribute to the world now.

The program engages our talented network of artist educations to teach exciting courses in Art, Culinary Arts, Dance, Music, Nature, Theater, and Writing.

Browse our exciting courses and find out more here



On Tuesday, May 26, the Usdan staff announced the cancellation of in-person camp for Summer 2020. For a full announcement from Chairperson of the Board of Trustees John Usdan and Executive Director Lauren Brandt Schloss, please click here

On Thursday, May 28, we presented to our parents and guardians options for handling their child’s 2020 tuition. You can read the full email here

Our entire community is in our thoughts and we are counting the days until we can all be together on campus again.



Upcoming Community Events

You can view all upcoming community events for Summer 2020 via our calendar here


Past Community Events

Creating a Meaningful & Memorable Summer 2020

Thursday, June 15

On Thursday, June 25, we held the second in our series of webinars with child psychologist and art therapist Dr. Robin F. Goodman. The webinar offered practical tips for managing time, activities, and parenting issues this summer. 


Designing for Change

Wednesday, June 24

In this family workshop, participants crafted their own personal visual or written message with Usdan Creative Writing Teacher Jay Howard and Usdan Curriculum Specialist Hawley Hussey. 

During this time, many of us want to get our passion, frustration, anger, and disappointment out onto our best and strongest protest sign. How do we create signs from the heart that stand out and spark discussion? How do we use art to question and understand lived experiences?

In this workshop, participants were given the opportunity to craft their message clearly. There were a variety of visual ideas presented for sign-making including DIY activities and visual design templates. 


Under the Lights:
A One Night Only Virtual Event to Support Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts

Wednesday, June 17

The people who make up Usdan - our campers and their families, staff, faculty, board members, and supporters – are the heart of our campus and while we may be apart we can still stay connected. Now more than ever, we were grateful for the chance to gather, albeit virtually, for an evening of entertainment and inspiration. This year's theme, “Under the Lights,” highlighted one of the most fundamental forms of artistic expression, theater, and reminded us that even with the limitations of coronavirus, the show must go on.

The program will featured student and alumni performances as well as an awards presentation honoring Usdan alum and Broadway notable Seth Rudetsky, and local theater leader Ruthie Pincus of Stage the Change.

Funds raised will help us sustain many of our core needs, including scholarships and the restoration of the Lemberg Theater, a staple of Usdan’s campus.

You can view a recording of the live event here


Virtual Family Gathering & Performance

Saturday, June 6

Usdan students and parents joined us at our first virtual family gathering. Students asked Usdan Executive Director, Lauren Brandt Schloss, questions and expressed their thoughts. After the Q&A, composer and violinist Colin Jacobsen, and dancer and costume designer Maile Okamura will share a performance piece made just for Usdan, and discuss what it means to be quarantined at home as a creative family.

Watch the performance piece here


Looking Ahead to Summer: Helping Campers and Parents Cope

Tuesday, June 2

Usdan parents were welcomed to join a free webinar with child psychologist and art therapist Dr. Robin F. Goodman. The webinar provided information about issues and reactions related to a changed summer as well as tips for coping as a family.

Click here to view the presentation deck. 



Here are some resources for sharing the news with your children and adjusting for the summer ahead:



Why did camp close this summer? 

Both the administration and board explored myriad options for running a full season on campus. Ultimately, we decided to cancel in-person camp because we would not be able to provide the Usdan summer our students know and love. For the full closure announcement, please visit here

Our 2020 families are in our thoughts and we are counting the days until we can all be together on campus again.


Will there be camp in 2021?

At this time, we are planning for an in-person season in 2021. By next summer we will have more information about the virus, guidelines will have been tested, and our staff will have ample time to plan for a program that is true to the unique Usdan experience our campers know and love and that is safe for all. 

We remain deeply committed to providing our Usdan campers the experience they love, the one that fuels them, the one that gives them the space and means to grow into the creative makers and doers of the future. 


How can I get in touch to discuss what I’ve paid to date?

On May 28, we wrote to parents with options for how to handle your family’s 2020 tuition. You can read the full letter here

COVID-19 has impacted your lives and ours, and we understand that you may need a full refund. However, we are offering some alternatives that will sustain Usdan into the future.

By Friday, June 5th, someone from our staff should have contacted you via email to schedule a time for a phone call. On the call, we will learn from you which of the below options in combination or alone best suits your family at this time.​ If you have not been contacted by one of our staff people please email

1.  Make a tax-deductible donation of your 2020 tuition to Usdan’s “Future Fund”. 

  • Every dollar you donate will be doubled by an anonymous donor.

2. Leave your tuition as a credit for our 2021 season. 

  • You will receive a 10% bonus for every dollar you leave as credit. For example, $1,000 left behind will turn into a $1,100 credit for 2021.
  • You can receive a full tuition refund if you choose to withdraw before November 30, 2020.

3. Request a refund of summer camp tuition fees paid to date. 

  • Refunds will be processed through August 31, 2020. 

We are not taking refund requests via phone or email.

All families enrolled in our 2020 season will have the opportunity to receive first choice classes in 20201. Additionally, if you have a scholarship for this summer, you will receive the same scholarship percentage in 2021.


Why can’t I request a refund via phone or email?

In the coming months, we will initiate refunds, donations, and credits to over 700 families. Due to the unusually high volume of these requests, we hope you understand that we need to streamline this process as best we can. 

Additionally, we recognize that each of our families is a specific case and have paid varying amounts of tuition to date. For this reason, we want to clearly outline for you what each of the three options means for your family. 


Can my child’s scholarship be carried over to 2021? 

Yes. No matter what you've paid to date, all 2020 scholarships will be honored in 2021. Since we do not yet know the price of our 2021 season, it will be a percentage rather than a dollar amount. 

If you enrolled with no deposit and would like to leave one as credit for our 2021 season, please tell this to the staff person who contacts you or email


What is the withdrawal policy if I leave my tuition as credit for 2021? 

You can receive a full tuition refund if you choose to withdraw before November 30, 2020.


I’m not sure what I want to do yet with my tuition paid. Is there a deadline to complete the form?

At this time, there is no set deadline to complete the Tuition Adjustment Form. After your phone call with one of the Usdan staff, we understand your family may need time to discuss how you would like to handle your 2020 tuition. Please let us know if you need more than two weeks to complete the form. We do need each family to complete the form for auditing purposes. 


Will this summer count as a camper summer?

Yes, summer 2020 will count as a camper summer. If this year was your 5th year, you will still be able to attend the 5-year lunch in 2021. If this was your Lifer year (8 years at camp), you will be included in the Lifer Ceremony in 2021. 

Will Usdan be offering anything virtual this summer?

Usdan is committed to engaging with our students throughout the summer months. In April, we launched the Summer Starts Now initiative and website and through it we continue to provide resources for families to remain creatively engaged at home. This ever-growing collection includes original, archival, and borrowed creative content such as prompts and activities to do at home, virtual Festival performances, amazing resources from other arts and culture organizations, and instructional videos created by Usdan faculty. The collection covers Usdan’s departments of Art, Chess, Creative Writing, Dance, Discovery (K & 1st graders) Music, Nature & Sustainability, and Theater. 

This summer, we are offering exciting art courses through Usdan Online: Usdan's first online arts education program. Click here to browse the courses. 

The Usdan staff is committed to helping your family stay creatively engaged this summer. If there is a creative subject or experience we are not providing that your child is asking for, please let us know. We would love to help you find what you are looking for. 


Can you share any resources for how to help my child cope with the disappointment of this time and how to keep this summer engaging? 

On Tuesday, June 2, we hosted a webinar with child psychologist and art therapist Dr. Robin F. Goodman. In the webinar, Dr. Goodman discussed how parents can help their children cope with disappointment and change in the summer months ahead. If you were not able to attend the webinar, click here to review the full presentation. We will also be hosting more events like this throughout the summer. Visit our Calendar for a full list. 

We don't plan on going away and want to remain engaged with our families. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to support you and your family in this challenging time for all of us. 


I miss Usdan! When can we gather virtually? 

We miss you right back. Usdan is planning a number of community virtual events this summer. Visit our Calendar for a full list. 



#1 Lauren's Musing

#2 Focus on the Love

#3 Dinner

#4 Dare we?

#5 Earth Week Musing Part I: Our Children's Crisis

#6 Earth Week Musing Part II: Our Children's Crisis

#7 A Safe Space to Create

#8 Time

#9 Zoom Shiva

#10 Time to Play

#11 Black Lives Matter

#12 Protest Art

#13 Marking the Transition

#14 The Spring that Disrupted the Future



Summer Starts Now is a collection of creative content and resources to help our community stay creatively engaged. The collection brings together all the things we love about a Usdan summer: the arts, nature, friendship, and live performance, to help us find joy in these uncertain times and to further our mission to instill in young people the desire and drive to creatively contribute to the world now and for the rest of their lives, and to enhance and fortify our community.

We've included borrowed, original, and archival content covering Usdan's departments of Art, Chess, Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Nature & Sustainability, and Theater.

Here, we will offer ways to create meaningful connections with art, no matter where you are. 

Visit the Summer Stats Now website HERE

Also, we hope you will continue to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for daily postings. 



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