2003-05-02 / Community

Queens College Welcomes Rockaway Youth To Summer Camp

Queens College Welcomes Rockaway Youth To Summer Camp

Summer is coming and, with it comes a parent’s search for safe, affordable recreation for their children. Now in its 15th year, Queens College in Flushing will host a Summer Camp in several sessions, featuring an Education and Sports Program and an all-day Sports Academy. All options offer a mix of fun, age-appropriate activities for kids five to 14 years old.

All Queens residents, including those who live in Rockaway, are eligible for the camp.

"Fun" is the operative word for participants. In the Education and Sports Program, kids sign up for two creative classes and a sports activity. The choices include classes in art, music, theater, literature, and science. Remedial lab classes in reading and math are available, but overall, the classes emphasize the sheer "joy of learning," according to education director Karen Ponzo. "We deal with everything the kids could possibly love," she says. "We cover all the basic subjects, plus we offer computers."

This year camp sessions start June 30 and end August 22. There are choices of two-, four-, six-, and eight-week sessions, normally lasting from 8:30 am until 4 pm. Early-start and late-day programs are provided at no extra charge, while children five and six years old may attend the Education Program a half day. Parents may choose kosher or non-kosher lunches. The college contracts with a bus company that will pick up and deliver campers anywhere in Queens.

Classes take a hands-on approach to learning, providing ample opportunities to create; Ponzo is especially proud of the camp’s facilities, such as its professional-quality kiln. This year the camp has added several technology classes that allow kids to use state-of-the-art computers to explore at a basic level or challenges such as 3D graphics, animation, and magazine layout.

Unlike many summer camps, all classes are taught by local Board-certified teachers who offer classes in the same subjects they teach during the school year but with enrichments often not included in school curricula. "The teachers shares what they love," says Ponzo, with the hope that this passion will ignite students’ enthusiasm for learning.

At the all-day Sports Academy, students choose from competitive sports, swimming, dance, quiet games (like ping-pong or board games), computer games, and art workshop. Campers use the Queens College gym with its Olympic-standard pool, plus basketball and tennis courts and softball and soccer fields.

The camp can handle everyone from beginner to advanced athlete as "everything is instruction-based," says Brian DeMasters, director of the Sports Academy. Kids age nine and up may sign up for "majors," or sports in which they learn more advanced skills.

Above all, the camp aims to secure the children’s safety. Ann Singleton of Queens Village, whose daughter has attended six years running, says, "We’ve recommended the camp to lots of people. It’s very cost-competitive and a very safe environment. The swimming pool alone not only has the counselors but an enormous number of lifeguards." In fact there are twelve lifeguards, well above the two required by the Board of Health.

"We go way above and beyond the standards," says DeMasters. Where other camps use high school students as counselors, Queens uses only college students, who are more mature and better qualified. "This is a learning environment, and we have the reputation of Queens College behind us."

The camp can accommodate 1200 campers every day. yet Those interested in further information, may contact the Queens College Summer Camp at (718) 997-2777.

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