Written by Andy Newman, email@example.com Wednesday, 17 July 2013 13:51
There are many fine summer programs going on in and around Port, but it’s doubtful that any of these programs can equal or surpass the wide variety of activities and experiences offered by the Port Washington Children’s Center’s ATLAST program at the Manorhaven Elementary School.
“It’s going real well,” Director Matt Holzer said of the first few weeks of the day camp that accommodates children entering pre-k through sixth grade. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from parents. We’re off to a good start. New kids are enrolling and others are extending.”
“The kids are busy all day,” he continued. “We have everything scheduled. We have electives Mondays and Wednesdays where the kids get to pick an activity. If they like sports, for example, they can get an extra period of sports. Then we have the Discoveries program (for entering 3rd graders and up) where the kids leave the school twice a week. We offer tennis, sailing, gymnastics and golf. Being that we’re a non-profit, we don’t have the bigger budget, but we do really well.”
The recent heat wave hasn’t been too much of a challenge for Holzer and his assistant, Eric Sutz. All campers, except those in pre-k, go to the Manorhaven Pool three times a week.
“We’ve got a lot of water games set up and we’re careful when the kids are outside,” Holzer said. “We keep the kids hydrated.” Holzer, a teacher at Weber, and Sutz, who teaches at South Salem, are in their second year running ATLAST.
“All of the classrooms are air conditioned,” added Sutz. “The custodial staff has been extremely accommodating. They’ve made it easier.”
This is the fourth summer that ATLAST (Absolutely Terrific Local Activities for Summer Time) has been run by the Children’s Center. Donna Preminger, the executive director, is extremely pleased with the program. “This program has grown so much,” she said. “And thanks to Matt and Eric, it has run so smoothly with no hiccups at all. Bonni Cohen (Manorhaven’s principal) has been great.”
“We have a very professional staff throughout the program, “ Preminger continued. “We keep our camper-counselor ratios lows so we get to really know our children. We keep them safe so they have fun and we really nurture them and watch them really grow over the summertime.”
There are 10 staff members who also teach in the Port school district. Twenty staff members are Red Cross certified and there is an also an employee who is certified as an emergency medical technician. Each group of 15 children has a head counselor who is a certified teacher, a college-aged counselor, a high school-aged counselor and a counselor-in-training.
John Talbot, who is the pool director and teaches during the year with Sutz at South Salem, is in his first year with ATLAST and he’s quite impressed with the program. “It’s unbelievable what Matt and Eric have put together,” he said. “I’m planning on bringing my own children here next year. The program is so extensive and it offers so much to the children.”
The full summer session runs through August 9 and there’s also a second session that begins on July 22. Children attend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parents of pre-k youngsters can opt for a half day. Transportation to and from Manorhaven is optional for an extra fee. The fee for the full day 2nd session is $900 and the half-day is $520.