A (Poly) Summer to Remember

After a two year hiatus, Poly Prep Summer day camp returns to our Dyker Heights campus.

School may not be in session, but for decades, anyone who has found themselves on Poly’s beautiful Dyker Heights campus during the summer has witnessed the laughter, giggles, and sheer energy that hundreds of children have enjoyed at Poly’s Summer Experience Day Camp. This June, after a two year hiatus, kids will be returning and we cannot wait to welcome the happy campers back!

Kids enjoying sprinkler at Poly Summer day camp
COVID, Renovations, and Performing Arts Camp

Summer Experience Day Camp first opened in 1966 with 127 campers and ran uninterrupted until 2020 when COVID shut down schools and camps across the country. During the closures, Poly took the opportunity to upgrade a number of facilities. In addition to large projects such as modernizing classroom spaces and adding HVAC to the Chapel, hundreds of improvements were made throughout the buildings and grounds.

Carrie Quiqley, who has been the Director of Summer Programs since 2014, explained the importance of following protocols for social distance during the summer of 2021 which required a smaller number of in-person campers. However, it was a surprise to many families when Poly Prep announced that its summer camp programs would not return to Dyker Heights for the next two summers.  During this period, Poly Summer relocated its robust Performing Arts Camp to the Park Slope campus where campers had a blast learning instruments, dancing, singing, designing sets, and putting on amazing shows. The program continued Poly Summer’s focus on team building, friendship, and non-competitive fun.

Performing Arts camp girls in sequence
Kid in costume at Poly Summer performing arts day camp
Theater kids at Poly Summer performing arts day camp
Campus Upgrades Complete

The wait is over. A plethora of upgrades and renovations are complete and ready for summer campers. Kids will enjoy a summer experience with access to pristine, world-class, indoor and outdoor accommodations to fit all their developmental and entertainment needs. Classrooms have been updated, our athletic fields have been transformed with new turf, bleachers, concrete pathways, and more.

Our brand new Poly Arts Center will be home to this year’s Performing Arts Day Camp.

Camp at Poly is everything kids want: fun activities, swimming, dance and music, all right in their Brooklyn backyard and all in a safe and nurturing environment with caring, fun-loving, and experienced counselors, many of whom are former campers.

Smiling counselor with kids at Poly Summer day camp
Smiling counselor holding kid at Poly Summer day camp
Kid giving counselor high five at Poly Summer day camp
Smiling counselor with kid at Poly Summer day camp
Embracing Tradition
Girl enjoying unicorn sprinkler at Poly Summer day camp

Camp favorites like Olympic and Carnival week, pool races, and whole-camp barbeques on Wednesdays will make their return this summer. Maybe the elusive rainbow unicorn sprinkler will make an appearance, too. Physical Education teacher Matt Durando ’96, P’30 remembers the traditions of Poly Summer day camp that he recalls with warmth to this day.

Olympics day at Poly Summer performing arts day camp

 “I started Poly camp in the summer of 1988. My parents’ theory was attending Poly camp was a great way to get acclimated to the campus as I would be entering the Poly in the fall of that very same year. I loved camp as I met students who would be my future classmates at Poly but also met some amazing friends from Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst. The camp provided opportunities for the children in the community to share a healthy summer together. The day was filled with baseball, basketball, soccer, Gatorball, touch football, arts and crafts, tennis, camp olympic events that made each day unique and incredibly fun. Campers were required to show good sportsmanship and kindness which was modeled by a tremendous leader named Michael Junsch ’71, P’94, ’95! We swam two times a day as one period was instructional and the other was free swim. Cooling off after playing in the hot sun was refreshing and invigorating. We took a break from the days’ activities and ate lunch by the pond. The majority of the groomsmen in my wedding went to Poly summer camp with me!”

Try Something New & Forge Friendships

Maybe it’s a dance party in the Oval, a tug-of-war in the back fields, or learning to juggle, but whatever the activity, campers have the chance to try different activities and cheer each other on. What Durando described still holds true. Shared experiences are often the conduit for forging new bonds and making good friends and Poly Summer is a place where kids can try on something new and meet kids from different schools.

Dance party in the Oval at Poly Summer day camp

By design, the Poly Summer day camp program intentionally creates groups of children of the same age to help encourage connections and friendships.  Each camp group, led by a head counselor and a team of dedicated counselors, travel to all activities together. With opportunities to mix and mingle with campers across the program in games and activities, camp groups provide an extra layer of safety and support for all youth.

“Every child plays, every child learns.”

Michael Junsch ’71, P’94, ’95
Kids smiling with tie dye shirts at Poly Summer day camp
Children cheering at Poly Summer day camp
Boy doing ceramics at Poly Summer day camp
Friends on swings at Poly Summer day camp
kids doing arts and crafts at Poly Summer day camp
Smiling boy at Poly Summer day camp
Kids balancing plates at Poly Summer day camp
Kids in pool at Poly Summer camp
Learn to Swim

Nothing quite says summer camp like donning a bathing suit and learning to swim. Poly Summer’s learn-to-swim program is designed to safely acclimate youngsters to the water while building confidence as they learn to breathe, kick, float, and ultimately swim. Every camper is evaluated in swimming in the first two days of camp, assigned a swim instructor and is given lessons every day for six weeks in two in-ground pools. Not only is our personalized approach fun, it also offers kids skills that will last a lifetime.

Grow & Build Skills While Having Fun

The Poly summer camp program is designed for kids to develop—and maybe even discover—their own talents and interests. As counselors get to know their campers, they are able to provide personalized, in-depth instruction around a skill, with the goals of improving kids’ confidence and ability. All campers play tennis, participate in visual arts and creative movement, along with numerous  outdoor activities.

Poly Summer is a natural extension of the education program and philosophy at our school. “The camping experience is important to the educational process,” said Michael Junsch ’71, P’94, ’95, who brings 50 years of experience with him to our summer camp. “Kids learn to socialize, how to work with adults and fellow campers who may have a completely different perspective. Camp instills the value of communication in kids. Every child plays, every child learns. Our campers and staff create life long friendships. During my time as director, my focus was to create a day camp with a sleep away camp atmosphere, having evening events, dance events, and having parent camper events. This atmosphere carries through today.”

Grade 4 and 5 campers will have more choice in their activities each week, whether they want to spend more time in STEM, arts, or sports. Inclusion is key. The goal for all campers is to participate in collaborative community activities and for students to grow and learn in an environment that is non-competitive and encouraged by all members.

Baseball campers at Poly Summer day camp
Girls and boys playing soccer at Poly Summer day camp
Friends on the tennis court at Poly Summer day camp

With a variety of special events (i.e. drum circles, scavenger hunts, field days); camp traditions, and weekly themes, campers will have ample opportunities to discover new aspects of themselves. This program offers a unique chance for kids from schools across NYC to shape this summer community together, as they immerse themselves in six weeks of friendship, fun, and unforgettable memories.

Arrow pattern green

Become part of the Poly’s Summer Experience day camp family in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Give your kids a safe and happy Poly summer to remember. Find out more.