The Parent’s Notebook

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By Aminisha Black
Gearing up for Summer
Summer is approaching and registrations for summer programs are in process.   Hopefully, youngsters will get a much-needed break from rigid curriculums and be allowed to explore their own interests and investigate new ones.
Sleep-Away Camps
There are Sleep-Away Camps with varying time periods, activities and costs to choose from.  If your child is eight years old and over, adjusts easily to new environments and could benefit from a bit of independence, sleep-away camp can be a rewarding experience for child and parent alike.  I remember my amazement at beds being made, clothes placed in hampers and other personal-care routines being done after camping without nagging from me.   Choosing the right camp for your child is a project itself.   Some of the things to be considered include, but are not limited to, age groupings, total number of participants, ratio of leaders to participants, experience and qualifications of leaders, activities offered and safety.  The camp’s reputation or widespread advertising doesn’t substitute for parental assessment.
Where to Look:
  Summer Camp, Ready or Not! – A book  for ages  9-12 written by Sandra  Belton, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, tells the story of two African-American girls going to distinctly different camps and their experiences.  Publisher:  Simon & Schuster.
Brooklyn Public Library – Central Branch – Education and Job Information Center, 2nd floor.  Summer camp information is available on the Web.  While there,  check periodicals and browse publications for camp listings and related articles.   Call 718-230-2122 for library hours.
Day Camps
Whether preference is based on location, age, gender, hours or activities, New York City is a smorgasbord of summer day camps.  Whether your child’s interest is Art, Photography, Dance, Sports, Film or other – supervised, structured programs exist that are geared to develop the youngster’s skill in the area.   Following are a few leads to local activities.  With a little creativity, some mixing and matching, you can pull together a program of relaxation and fun for your child. 
 Bed-Stuy YMCA – 139 Monroe St. 718-783-2200 Ext. 220. Full days July 5 thru Sept. 2 – ages 3 to 14.
 Von King Park – 670 Lafayette Ave. – 718-622-2082. July 5- Aug. 19. Registration April 4th – April 30th.  PAL – 495 Gates Ave. -718-230-8477. Eight – week camp for 6-13- year- olds.
Bed-Stuy Restoration Corporation RITE Multimedia Summer Program – ages  8 – 15.  718-636-6978.
Links to CityWide Agencies
The New York City Youth Guide to Summer Fun 2005 contains day-by-day events along with a listing of ongoing places to explore.  Call DYCD/NYC Youthline at 1- 800-246-4646 or 311 to request a copy.
PASE – Partnership for After-School Education – links to programs in all NYC neighborhoods with description of programs and contact information.  This is a direct connection to year- round programs that run special programs during the summer.  
Recreation
Call NYC Parks & Recreation at 718-965-8938 for all activities in Brooklyn. 
City Parks Foundation sponsors classes in tennis, track and golf beginning the first week in July and lasting through August.  Program runs in parks in all five boroughs.  Call them at 718-699-4200 or visit their Web site at www.cityparksfoundation.org.
 American Youth Soccer Organization – 718-923-1099.   The Precinct Youth Councils sponsor summer camps and sports programs:  77th Pct. Council – 718-735-0634; 78th Pct.  – 718-636-6451; 81st Pct.  – 718-574-0400; 88th Pct. – 718-636-6511.
Swimming Pools (open June to Labor Day) – Outdoor, Wading, Indoor and Mini- pools.  Call Parks Dept. at 718-965-8938 for pool nearest you and other locations.

Beacon Programs
80 Beacons in public school buildings throughout the city, each offering unique activities.  Call 311 or visit wwwnyc.gov/dycd for listings by location.
For Teens
Omega Teen Sailing Program – Manhattan Sailing Club – 212-786-0400. Free program for teens who live full-time in NYC: completed 7th grade and at least 13 years old by June 30th.
Summer Youth Employment (SYEP)
This program provides entry-level work experience for 14-21-year-olds.  As of this writing applications were not available but expected to be available the first week of April.   Visit www.nyc.gov/dycd for eligibility and application information or call NYC at 311 or NYC Youthline at 1-800-246-4646. 

Locating summer programs can be a team project for you and your child.  Remember  to use some of the free hours of summer to spend extra time having fun with your child. 
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