Camp Poco Returns for Its 65th Year This Summer

Campers at Pocantico Hills Day Camp can take swimming lessons.

Pocantico Hills Day Camp returns for its 65th anniversary summer, with old favorites like the Bubble Bus and Harlem Wizards and new activities like corn hole and Halloween Day in July.

The six-week program will take place on campus, with special health and safety precautions due to the ongoing pandemic, after a virtual program last year. The camp welcomes resident and non-resident campers.

“It certainly looks a bit different than it did 65 summers ago, but overall, I think there are so many things that look the same,” said Camp Assistant Director Kerry Papa, who is running the program with Camp Director Ryan King. “It’s still kids having fun, developing friendships, being outdoors, building community. Those kinds of things were at the heart of camp when it started and they still are now.”

Camp registration is online on the district’s website and closes on Friday, May 28. The camp runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays from Monday, June 28 through Friday, August 6. It is closed July 5 in observance of Independence Day. The pricing is the same as last year.

To comply with state and local health department regulations, campers will be organized in pods, by rising grade, each with a maximum of 15 campers. Campers will not be able to cross pods for activities. Pods at several grades have already filled.

“We are very lucky that we have such a sprawling campus and so we have made a conscious shift to move whole-group gatherings to the field,” said Ms. Papa, a Pocantico third-grade teacher. “Each pod will have its own tent and those tents will provide the distancing between pods that we have to have in place.”

Pocantico Hills Day Camp is shifting as much of its programming outside as possible. Arts and crafts traditionally have been held inside, but it will be moved outside under a large tent on the greentop. Studio and culinary will be a hybrid of inside and outside activities.

“We’re really consciously thinking about being outdoors as much as possible,” Ms. Papa said, adding that the school building is available for rainy days.

All the specialists in wilderness, primary athletics, upper athletics, studio, culinary, and arts and crafts are returning to teach this summer. For swimming, the camp is partnering with Rivertown Aquatics again at the pool. The current guidance is for the pool to operate at 50% capacity, but that could change.

Masks are mandated for all campers and staff, in accordance with the state mandate. The exceptions are when children are swimming or eating. Lunch will be outdoors, under the individual pod tents, so campers are shaded and protected from the sun. Children will be in their respective tents for camp-wide events.

All staff are eligible for the vaccine and are encouraged to get it if possible. Although the pods will be slightly smaller than the groups in the past, the camp will maintain the same camper-to-staff ratio it has always had. The high-quality supervision allows for kids to be engaged with counselors and supervised in a safe manner, Ms. Papa said.

“People are excited about camp this summer. They’re excited about the return to campus and they’re really looking forward to it,” she said. “I think it’s a much-needed return to fun and the true feeling of summer.”

To register, visit the camp page on the district website: https://www.pocanticohills.org/groups/4846/pocantico_hills_summer_camp/summer_day_camp. For more information, contact Mr. King at rking@pocanticohills.org and Ms. Papa at kpapa@pocanticohills.org.

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