Summer Camping Program

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Frequently asked questions

  • Q. There are five Fresh Air Fund camps. Which one will my child attend?
  • A. Children are assigned to a camp by age and gender to provide the best possible summer experience:
    Camp Anita Bliss Coler (ABC) – Girls only, ages 9-12
    Camp Hayden-Marks – Boys only, ages 9-12
    Camp Tommy – Boys only, ages 12 ½-15
    Camp Hidden Valley – Girls and boys, ages 8-12, serving children with and without special needs
    Camp Mariah – Girls and boys, admission is restricted to children who are currently in the 6th grade
  • Q. Where are The Fresh Air Fund’s camps located?
  • A. All five camps are located on Sharpe Reservation, with more than 2,000 acres boasting multiple lakes, ponds, streams, and hiking trails. Located in the Hudson Highlands near Fishkill, NY, Sharpe Reservation is 65 miles north of New York City, about two hours away by car.
  • Q. How do children get to and from camp?
  • A. The Fresh Air Fund provides charter bus transportation to and from camp. All buses arrive and depart from Riverbank State Park, which is located at 145th Street and Riverside Drive in Manhattan. Parents will receive a letter of confirmation a few weeks before camp begins stating the time and date of departure. All buses leave from either Port Authority Bus Terminal or Riverbank State Park.
  • Q. Who will supervise my child at camp?
  • A. Each of our five camps have an experienced Camp Director, specialized program staff, and counselors who are selected after a comprehensive interview process. There is a 1:6 staff to camper ratio at all times.
  • Q. Will my child need to bring money to camp?
  • A. There is nothing to buy at camp, so please have your child leave all money at home.
  • Q. What will my child eat at camp?
  • A. Our dining halls are full of kid-friendly foods. There’s something different each day. Breakfast might include cereal or waffles. Lunch could include sandwiches, veggie sticks, and pasta. A typical dinner menu features fried chicken, lasagna, or meatloaf. There is always a fresh salad bar available, and options for campers with food allergies. Fresh fruit is also offered throughout the day. Camp meals are well-balanced and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Q. Do children swim at camp? What if my child isn’t a strong swimmer?
  • A. Swimming is one of our children’s most beloved activities. With the exception of Camp Hidden Valley, which has a pool, campers swim in beautiful lakes that are also used for boating and fishing. Swimmers are always supervised by 6-8 Red Cross certified lifeguards and campers wear colored wristbands designating each child’s swimming level. With an opportunity to swim almost every day, camp is the perfect place for children who are just learning how to swim, to get one-on-one instruction. While at camp, they have the opportunity to work toward higher swimming levels. In addition, all waterfront staff are CPR certified.
  • Q. What if my child gets sick at camp?
  • A. Each camp has a nurse that lives on the property. In the event that your child isn’t feeling well, the nurse is available at any time of the day or night. Additionally, the nurse is responsible for dispensing any medications your child takes. Should your child need additional medical attention, camps also have a Senior Camp Nurse, and a doctor who visits each day who oversees the medical program. You will be contacted if your child must be seen by a doctor or is in the infirmary for more than 24 hours.
  • Q. What are the sleeping arrangements like at camp?
  • A. Campers live in single-sex cabins of four to 12 children, plus two to four counselors. Camps Hayden-Marks, Hidden Valley, and Mariah have electricity in all cabins, but some cabins at Camps ABC and Tommy do not have electricity. Remember to pack a flashlight and extra batteries!
  • Q. Can I stay in touch while my child is at camp?
  • A. Of course. Campers are encouraged to write letters and postcards on a regular basis, and parents are invited to do the same. However, it is a cell phone-free environment. Camp life can be an adjustment for some kids, and talking to parents on the phone may make them feel homesick. Our campers are practicing their independence skills, often for the first time. If there’s an emergency at home, parents are always welcome to call the camp office. Additionally, The Fresh Air Fund New York office can be reached 24 hours a day. You are welcome to call the camp office to check in on your child without speaking to them.
  • Q. My child doesn’t know what to pack for camp. Do you have any pointers?
  • A. Campers should bring enough clothes to last the duration of their stay at camp. Please pack shorts, t-shirts, long pants, pajamas, and a few sweatshirts – and don’t forget bathing suits and towels! For a full packing list, please see the packing list included in your confirmation packet.

     Please leave the following items at home: cell phones, valuable jewelry,  electronics such as phones, video games or iPods, hairdryers, and food.
  • Q. Where do I send mail to my child? 
  • A. Name of Child 
    Name of Camp
     Sharpe Reservation
     436 Van Wyck Lake Road
     Fishkill, New York 12524