Finally! Speciality summer camps for all the weird kids who’d rather destroy the capitalist system or work on their stock portfolios than sit on logs and make lanyards.
Here are our very favorite New York–area summer camps.
For parents (and kids) who think that pirates are sword-wielding, foul-mouthed, alcoholic ruffians, Maritime Pirate Camp begs to differ. Through a weeklong program of song, theatrical performances, and maritime history lessons, head counselor, Captain Courage, teaches kids about an oft-forgotten sect of buccaneers known as the “good-hearted pirates.” On the last day of the program, campers will perform Captain Courage’s original musical about a band of good-hearted pirates searching for a heart of gold, followed by a pirate feast of chicken fingers, fries, and juice. In between the singing and mock stage combat and rope tying lessons, Captain Courage also hopes to teach the campers about what he considers to be the five most important values: faith, honesty, humility, love, and courage. That sounds like a lot to pack in a week, but what do we know? We’re not pirates.
Price: $150/camper for one week
For kids ages six to 11
Locations: Sag Harbor Wailing Museum, Mattituck Historical Society, and Southold Historical Society
What camp do the spawn of Occupy activists go to? The Paul Robeson Freedom School Camp, of course. Created by Occupy Wall Street activist Justin Wedes, this eight week camp, although not officially part of OWS, is based on the basic tenets of the Occupy dogma and will be led by longtime Occupy activists. Campers will learn about the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, LGBTQ rights, universal healthcare, urban gardening, local food and other social justice-related topics. Our only complaint? The camp does not cover riot preparation or how to get the sting from pepper spray out of your eyes. Bummer.
For kids ages 10 to 14 from Brooklyn
Location: 195 Maujer Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
For the burgeoning hippy child, Natural Wonders Camp is the place to be. Instead of playing sports, campers learn about medicinal plants and herbs, and instead of arts-and-crafts, they make paper out of herbs, flowers, bark, and other found materials. Other activities include map making, soil science, book making, and plant identification lessons. Each one-week session covers the same topics, but focuses on different plants, bugs, birds, and the like each time. Birkenstocks not included.
Price: Ranges from $220-$275/camper for one week
For kids ages six to 12
Locations: Prospect Park, Open Source Gallery, and the Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School, depending on the day
We’re having a hard time imagining a kid who wouldn't want to go to this camp. What kid doesn’t enjoy board games? About financial planning, investments, and credit management, that is. Or who wouldn’t want to play on the computer? But only to make tables in Microsoft Excel. And what about field trips? What kid could resist a trip to, not the pool, but their local financial district? We’ll tell you who: normal kids. But normal kids don’t attend FICA’s summer camp, rather, “young investors” do. And the best part? There are so many different programs and focuses to choose from—like Technology-Communications, Travel and Tourism, Entertainment-Media, and Energy-Space Technology—that said-young investors will never have to attend a normal summer camp again!
Price: Ranges from $799/one week session to $2799.95/four week session
For kids ages 8 to 19
Location: Columbia University
Here’s a secret: it’s not easy learning how to strut in stilettos or strike the perfect Zoolander pout. So what's a wannabe model to do? Attend modeling camp, of course. At this weeklong program, teens “learn the ins and outs of professional modeling” from the likes of casting agents, models, and celebs from shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway.” Each girl will also put together a personal modeling portfolio using the photos from their shoots at camp.
Price: $999/camper for one week
For girls ages 13 to 18
Location: the New York Helmsley Hotel
Kids are greedy little suckers, always asking for things and leeching money from their parents' wallets. But we have a solution for that: send them to ConstructionKids Camp. That way, the next time they want something, you can tell them to go build it themselves. Of course, the camp won't teach them how to build every toy, gadget, and doodad that they want, but they will learn how to make skateboards, vehicles (er, go-carts), playhouses, wigwams, guitars, and stop-motion films. And, while the Buildings and Cities Building Workshop worries us a bit (is this training for future autocrats?), teaching kids how to use tools, install wheels, and cut wood is never a bad thing. Just make sure to bump up their allowance after you fire the handyman.
Price: approx. $450/one-week workshop
For kids entering Kindergarten to 4th grade
Location: Building 92 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Prospect Park
The Spice Girls may have disbanded 13 years ago, but girl power is still alive and kicking at the Hewitt School’s one-week Girl Power camp. The camp, which just had its first session this year, is designed to help young girls deal with all of the confusing, icky, un-fun aspects of growing up. Workshops and talks discuss a gamut of not-often-addressed topics, like how to start a conversation, how to deal with mean girls, why we judge people, how to decipher ads and PhotoShopped images, and how to make a good first impression.
Price: $850/camper for one week
For girls ages 10 to 13
Location: The Hewitt School
Send your child to this camp if they meet one of the following criteria:
-They like blood, guts and gross things
-They watch too much television, specifically crime shows like “CSI” and “Law And Order”
-They are juvenile delinquents
-They have aspirations to become a cop or detective
-They hate the sun
-They’re just weird in general
At this two week program, campers get to play with blood, fingerprints, DNA, urine, hair, skin fibers, and other tell-tale identity clues and will learn how to solve crimes and put the bad the guys in jail.
Price: $1100/camper for two weeks
For kids ages 12 to 18
Location: Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School campus