Brighter Futures Summer Day Camp
“For four weeks in July our Day Camp gives homeless and disadvantaged children a stimulating and recreational environment, where they can escape from their problems and the stigma of poverty, and just be kids.”
Brighter Futures Summer Day Camp has been in existence since 1976, providing an enriching recreational program for a four-week period in July. The camp serves up to 100 homeless and economically disadvantaged children ages 5 to 13.
Without the camp experience, most of the children we serve would not get any form of summer recreation or enrichment and would spend the summer idle at home or in the streets.
Many of our campers have multiple problems in their lives and, increasingly, are sent to Brighter Futures because other camp programs struggle to meet their emotional and behavioral needs. Brighter Futures has had tremendous success working with these children. Parents, guidance counselors, social workers and teachers consistently report that the camp’s positive and lasting influence on the children is seen in the classroom, at home and throughout their teenage years.
A typical day at camp includes swimming, tennis lessons, games, arts & crafts, music and a reading & writing activity. A pizza party and weekly awards ceremony are held every Friday to reinforce and build campers sense of achievement and self-esteem. The schedule also includes academic and literacy enrichment activities so that children don’t backslide in their academic skills during the summer.
Special activities such as Olympics Day, Carnival Day, a Talent Show and a Fashion Show add enriching dimensions to the camp program.
Many of the children come to camp hungry—so breakfast, lunch and a snack are provided daily. Campers are also welcome to take food home with them. Clean clothing, new sneakers, bathing suits, towels and school supplies are distributed as needed.
Camp staff includes a mix of Certified Teachers and college and high school students. Many of the children who were once campers return to be counselors-in-training and then counselors.
The families of the children who attend camp face significant challenges. Many live in local homeless shelters with their families or have lived in shelters in the past. Few of the families are able to afford the camp fee, so Brighter Futures provides full or partial scholarships to almost all of its campers.
The cost of sending a child to camp is $900 for each summer session. Homeless children are eligible for a $400 camp subsidy from the Department of Social Services. Most other children require a full scholarship. The annual scholarship need is approximately $60,000.
Location & Hours
Mamaroneck Avenue Elementary School
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
4 weeks in July
Eileen Torres, Director of Youth Services
How You Can Help
Donations of bathing suits (all sizes including adult), towels, swim goggles and suntan lotion are welcome. Your financial donations can help provide camp scholarships, purchase camp equipment and clothing for our campers.
To Volunteer or make an In-Kind Donation—please contact:
914.949.3098 x 9735