On a recent summer Friday, campers at Camp Poco, the day camp program hosted by the Pocantico Hills Central School District, enjoyed the Camp Fair, complete with games, food, and a dunking booth, all of which brought smiles, laughs and more than a few soaked camp counselors.
Staying cool in the water seemed to be a favorite for many, both campers and counselors alike.
“I like to go to the pool,” rising fourth grader Savannah Bremmer. said, adding that the Ham & Eggs morning routine is also a highlight, not to mention the myriad of spirit days held during the six weeks camp is in session.
The pool provides time for swim lessons along with a day a week of free swim time. Many of the lifeguards are former campers and there’s always a line to take a leap off one of the high diving boards. But swimming is far from the only activity offered, one such event is the overnight days.
On this day Counselor Maia Hood was a bit bleary eyed having overseen the fifth grade overnight the evening before, but it was not enough to ruin her enjoyment of being a part of this Poco tradition.
Hood was a student teacher with camp co-director Kerry Papa, which allowed her to get to know some of the students who currently attend camp. Having worked at other summer camps, Hood said Camp Poco is something special.
“Everything they need is on campus, it’s more fun for me and everyone else,” she said. “The kids just have so much fun, there is so much to do.”
For 66 summers Camp Poco has hosted campers on the grounds of the Pocantico Hills School and has grown in activities and numbers. This year the camp ran from June 27 to Aug. 5.
Each morning, campers enjoy Ham & Eggs, a pep rally that sets the mood for the day where winners of the “Where’s Baby Skye” contest are announced. The tiny mascot has made a habit of hiding around camp causing campers to be on the lookout as to where she might be. The lucky camper who finds her wins a prize. From there, campers spread out to enjoy camp activities like games, culinary programs, arts and crafts or to just enjoy the fun like the new bounce house. Each day brings a theme, whether it’s Crazy Sock Day or Tie Dye Day. Campers also get to enjoy field trips to area attractions and there are campus sleep overs and an off-site camp getaway for teens. And, of course, the season’s ultimate activity: Color Wars!
“It’s going great,” Papa said of this year’s camp adventures. “We’ve had record breaking numbers at camp, that’s more campers having fun.”
This year campers have an opportunity to learn a variety of court sports for the first time, led by new court sport specialist, JD Schneider. He is introducing campers to Pickle Ball, Tennis, Futsal, Basketball, Four Square and Wall Ball and said he joins in the fun too.
“There’s always something different to do,” head counselor Kristen Spedaliere, who is new this year said as she oversaw the Gaga pit. “The kids are always having so much fun, they are excited to leave for the next activity, but sad to leave too.”
“Ham & Eggs,” was the clear favorite of camper Daisy Shields.
“I went to a bunch of different camps, and they don’t do anything like that,” the rising seventh grader said.
Daisy is continuing a family tradition of sorts, as her mother and uncle attended Camp Poco. According to Daisy’s mom, the color wars when she attended did not have the cool colors that are used today.
“I can’t wait to be in the teens group next year,” Daisy said.
Photos and story by Alicia Smith