Photos by Rich Corozine
This summer’s YMCA Camp Wiltmeet at Lenape Elementary School, run by YMCA childcare director Kayleigh Buboltz and first-year camp director Matt McCluskey, continues to offer innovative programs to 200-or-so campers every couple of weeks. So far, the campers have enjoyed Spirit Day, World Day, Value Day, Space Hero Day, Pajama Day and Character Day — where the campers learn respect, responsibility, caring, honesty, patience and love through skits and role-playing.
Some of the other programs that campers rotate through on a daily basis are illustration and book-making, modern dance, card games, sewing, field hockey, badminton, basketball, soccer and trips to Moriello Pool every week. Camp Wiltmeet has had field trips to Wooden Wheels in Port Ewen, the newly refurbished Forsythe Park in Kingston, Kelder’s Farm in Accord and to a production from 90 Miles Off Broadway.
In Gardiner, the town-run camp is essentially the Frank LaRonca Show, as the charismatic director — with Amanda Paul, his more sedate wife — return for their seventh year at Majestic Park. Amid the beautiful rolling hills at Majestic, the Gardiner summer camp offers programs for the 200-or-so campers in three basic categories: Sports (soccer, capture-the-flag, basketball, kickball, whiffle ball, etc.) under the direction of counselor Marcelina Martynek; arts and crafts (painting, drawing, de coupage, plants and pot-making, etc.) under the direction of Sydney Bagley; and library and performing arts (reading, making crafts from stories, group games, role playing, etc.) under the direction of Mia Potthast. Gardiner Library assistant Amy Laber is also doing a video project with some of the campers. Brian Majestic and Jen Harp are the new assistant directors to LaRonca and Paul.
“The new additions to the counselor staff have been terrific and make life here much easier,” said LaRonca. It’s hard not to see why, with the energy level, like at Lenape, buzzing from activity to activity.
The Highland Summer Camp is once again at Berean Park at the top of the village’s Reservoir Road. And once again it is supervised by recreation director Frank Alfonso, with arts and crafts director Lou Ann Judge along for her 20th year, swimming director Carl Relyea returning again for a similar stint and Alissa Morano running the sports program at Tony Williams Park.
Judge, who started years ago as a counselor, offers the usual painting, drawing, bead work and this year added birdhouses and stained glass to the repertoire. At present, she is having her charges — some 40 kids — decorate baseball caps for their trip to the Ulster County Fair this week. “It’s a biggie,” she says, “one of the favorite field trips we have.”
Morano offers a week of football, soccer, basketball and baseball, then two weeks of all-group games like kickball, dodgeball and the like. “We have 30 to 40 campers per week over the six-week program,” says Morano.