Hillcrest Jewish Center Day Camp, located in Flushing, will add some extra fun activities to its programming for younger children this year.
Starting July 6, summer campers ages 4-7 will enjoy weekly field trips to various cultural and educational organizations throughout Queens and Long Island, including the Wildlife Conservation Society's Queens Zoo, the New York Hall of Science, and Stew Leonard's dairy and grocery store. The half-day, age-appropriate trips will be on Fridays throughout the eight-week camp season.
On some Fridays, live entertainment might be offered in lieu of a trip. Traditionally, the older campers were offered more activities, but camp director Howard Seidman says he wants to start this additional programming to make one more day special for the younger ones. He also wants to make the camp experience more attractive, giving parents more for their money, and hopefully have the children come back each year.
“Your longevity starts with your youth. We want to have them start young and stay in the program until they become counselors in training,” Seidman says. “We're trying to make it more attractive, giving them more bang for their buck.”
The camp, which is celebrating 60 years this year, has a 70-percent return rate. Last year, 156 children were enrolled.
The trips, as well as lunch, snacks and transportation, are included in the price of tuition. Other activities offered to younger campers include arts and crafts, instructional and recreational swimming, and lessons on Jewish culture. Campers of all ages enjoy a weekly barbecue in Valley Stream on Wednesdays.
Also for campers of all ages, Israeli dodgeball is being added this year. This version of the sport is a bit more challenging than the one traditionally played in the United States, according to Seidman. “It's basically played in a confined area. It's not open. It's a lot faster and a lot harder,” he says.
Hillcrest Jewish Center Day Camp is held five days a week, 9am-4pm throughout the summer for children ages 4-14. Registration for the 2018 season is open, and camp runs July 2-Aug. 24.
Main image: Younger campers will have the opportunity to visit the Wildlife Conservation Society's Queens Zoo, among other popular location, this summer with Hillcrest Jewish Center Day Camp.
Courtesy Hillcrest Jewish Center Day Camp