Family Guide 2023

We encourage all families — new and returning — to read the Family Guide in full. Please note that processes and programs have been updated for this camp season.  


To the young artists of Usdan, 2023:  

My name is Lauren and I have a big smile on my face. I am so so happy that I get to say: welcome to Usdan.  

The trees have all been waiting for you – so have the birds – so have the swimming pools – and so have your exceptional teachers, who have been busy preparing art studios and lesson plans and games for you to play this summer. 

But perhaps most important of all are your fellow students, who – like you – have been looking forward to coming here, and are excited and maybe a little nervous. We come together in the spirit of playfulness and creativity, and I hope that you will make new friends, create new work, and discover new things about yourself. I know I do every summer. 

Usdan is a rare, special place where we get to be in nature, create beautiful things together, and be ourselves. Be U! 


Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director

To the incredible parents, caregivers, and families of Usdan, 2023:   

Welcome! I could not be more sincere when I tell you that you made a wise and wonderful choice when you signed your child up for Usdan. Here they will get what all children should: a place to play, to make friends, to be creative, and to be immersed in nature.  

We at Usdan spend all year preparing for this moment, the start of the summer: booking performers, coordinating with teachers, planning for the arrival of students, maintaining our campus, launching new programs, and drumming up support. It’s a full time job and frankly it’s a dream job. When 1,500 laughing students from diverse backgrounds and walks of life arrive on campus on the first day of the season, I think our whole staff feels immediately in our bones that it’s been worth it. Often in our lives we’re discouraged from being creative and being ourselves, and here at Usdan we’re trying to fix that. 

Please reach out any time if you ever want to talk. We’re all parents ourselves, of course, and know how complex family systems and daily routines can get. And please feel welcome to visit us a lot on campus – we know grown-ups need art and nature too!   

Wishing us all a fantastic summer, 

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director


At Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, we believe that a vital part of the creative process is cultivating openness to new ideas and different perspectives. We believe that art making is future making. Usdan is committed to building a thriving and diverse community for all, and we welcome and affirm social identities in all forms, especially but not limited to, ages, abilities, artistic passions and interests, races, gender identities, religions, and economic and geographic backgrounds. We proactively seek to support all students, families, and staff, and we strive to create an environment that encourages all to share their unique gifts as a way to foster understanding, collaboration, and friendship in season and throughout the year. 


FAMILY ORIENTATION (In-person, at camp)

Tuesday, June 20, 2023: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Families are asked to arrive between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. 

New and returning students and their families are invited to spend an evening on Usdan’s campus.  

Your family can expect to experience the following at Orientation: 

  • Meet Usdan’s leadership team and your child’s teachers or counselors. 
  • Walk your child’s schedule​. 
  • If your child is a musician, check their instrument at the Instrument Check Building. 
  • Purchase Usdan merchandise at our store. 
  • Drop off medications and health forms with the Health Office. 
  • Meet fellow students before the first day of camp.  
  • Pick up Usdan’s Summer 2023 Calendar. 
  • Get ​as excited as we are for ​this unforgettable summer!


Before your child’s first day you can watch our virtual tour video. Additionally, there will be plenty of staff available to assist your child on the first few days of camp. 


If you’d like to lend a hand, we love to have returning families assist with guiding and welcoming new families. If interested, please contact Sofia Notar-Francesco at For more information on volunteering at Usdan, see the “How To Support Usdan” section below. 


Our location is: 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights, NY, 11798.

Usdan is accessible by car or the Long Island Railroad.

Please be mindful of rush hour traffic.

Long Island Railroad (LIRR)
Coming from NYC? Consider taking the LIRR!

We will have shuttle buses running from the Wyandanch LIRR station according to the following schedule. Families who would like to take the shuttle are asked to RSVP . If you miss the shuttle bus, please note that Uber and Lyft are available for pickup at the station.  

The following shuttle bus times were chosen to align with arrivals from and departures to Penn Station (Manhattan), Atlantic Terminal (Brooklyn), and Jamaica (Queens). 

Shuttle Buses Departing from Wyandanch Station
5:30 PM
6:30 PM

Once off the train, please proceed to outside of 7-11 on the north side of the tracks. The bus will say Suffolk Transportation on the side and will pull up at 5:30 and 6:30 and will immediately load and depart.  

Shuttle Buses Departing from Usdan

6:15 PM
7:20 PM

Shuttle Buses departing Usdan will leave from the bus lot near the amphitheater. 

Visit for more information on directions. 


Usdan will be open on weekdays only. 

Usdan will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. Camp will operate on a normal schedule for the rest of that week. 

Classic, Discovery & Allegro Camp 

8-week: June 26 – August 18 

4-week A: June 26 – July 21 

4-week B: July 24 – August 18 

Recreational Camp

Week 1: June 26 – June 30 

Week 2: July 3 – July 7 (Closed July 4) 

Week 3: July 10 – July 14 

Week 4: July 17 – July 21 

Week 5: July 24 – July 28 

Week 6: July 31 – August 4 

Week 7: August 7 – August 11 

Week 8: August 14 – August 18


At Family Orientation or via mail, your family will receive a printed calendar with important dates, including Festival performances, Theater shows, in-studio performances, and camp traditions. You will also be able to find a detailed calendar on our website.  

Each week in our weekly newsletter, we will email you a reminder of what’s coming in the week ahead. For now, please make note of the following important dates. 

  • Tuesday, June 20: Family Orientation; see above for more information. 
  • Monday, June 26: Opening Day 
  • Wednesday, July 19: U Benefit 
  • Wednesday, August 16: U Benefit 
  • Friday, August 18: Closing Day 


Throughout the course of the summer, there will be select days that are non-traditional for some or all of the campers. These may include performance days, visual art open studios days, end-of-camp rituals including a parade, opportunities for students to attend performances in other areas of the camp, and mass artistic experiences that involve the entire camp. We plan these events for educational and social purposes and we believe in the value of seeing, supporting, and celebrating each other’s work and our time as a community. 

You will be notified of any special events or activities in our weekly email and through our website. 



185 Colonial Springs Road | Wheatley Heights, New York 11798

In case of weather or other emergencies, visit for real-time updates and information





Please peruse the Department of Health’s Guide to Summer Camps in New York State 


Schedule change requests for Classic camp, including Allegro, can be submitted according to the following schedule:

  • 4-week A: By Wednesday, June 28 at 2:00 p.m. 
  • 4-week B: By Wednesday, July 26 at 2:00 p.m. 

Class availability is extremely limited, and changes will only be made if space is available.

Schedule change requests can be submitted here.

Once your request has been submitted, you will receive an email confirming our receipt. Changes are made based on class availability and are not guaranteed. You will receive a second email by 8 p.m. the night before the schedule change will go into effect with the result of your request and a new program card if the change was approved. 


Usdan uses text messaging as an additional way to communicate emergency reminders, announcements, and alerts. Please be aware that text messaging may be used in certain situations throughout your child’s session.  


Instagram: @usdanarts | #usdan


If you need to make a payment, please call 631-643-7900 ext 113 or email  You may also bring a check to orientation.  Failure to pay may result in the withdrawal of your child’s program. 

Should you have any questions about your invoice, please email our finance office at


If you need to speak with the nurses, you may call 631-643-7900 ext 125, or for non urgent matters,  email

New York State law requires us to have your child’s health form on file before allowing them to board a Usdan bus or attend a class. This form should be signed by a doctor and reflect a physical that occurred after June 1, 2022.  Health forms can be sent to or faxed to 212-772-6079. 


All medications, both prescription and over the counter, will need a physician’s order for our nursing staff to administer any medications to your child.  You can find the necessary medication forms here. The forms can be sent to or faxed to 212-772-6079.

You may drop off medications at Family Orientation, at the camp before the first day, or send them with your child on the first day. Over the counter medications, inhalers, and/or epinephrine may be transported on the bus by your child and brought to the health office immediately upon their arrival on campus. All medications should be labeled with your child’s name and have the proper paperwork attached to it. Inhalers and Epinephrine should have an original prescription label attached to the device or the packaging. 

Any controlled medications must be in an original pharmacy prescription bottle and can be transported to camp by giving it to your child’s bus driver to transport to camp. The bus driver will deliver the medication to a Usdan staff member upon arrival to camp.  Please make sure that the medication is also in a secured envelope or bag to ensure safety against tampering. 

All medication will be transported home in the same method at the end of your child’s camp session.  


As large-scale wildfires become more common, even if they are not local, the impact on the air quality on Long Island can be felt for days or possibly even weeks.

During the summer of 2023, Usdan administration will be monitoring air quality daily via “Air Now”. We are also part of multiple networks of camps that are also navigating these circumstances and sharing information.

The safety of our campers and staff is of the utmost importance. Due to the design of our campus, we do not have adequate indoor space to shelter all our campers. If it is determined that the air quality makes it unsafe for our campers and staff, we reserve the right to cancel camp. Notification of camp cancellation will be posted on our social media, website and an email will be sent to enrolled families. As per our refund policy, you will not be issued credit for day(s) that the camp is closed.


After you receive your child’s program information, you will receive your child’s transportation information via email under a separate cover. Please add to your contacts so that it does not go to your junk folder and you will be sure to receive that information in a timely manner. In this email, you will find important information such as your child’s bus company contact information, bus attendance monitor contact information, bus number, and approximate pick-up and drop-off times.  

Should you have questions in-season regarding your child’s transportation, you should contact the bus company or the bus attendance monitor. You may also contact 631-643-7900 with other questions. For non-urgent transportation matters, you may email

Important Transportation Information:

  1. Bus Route Number: It is very important that students know what their bus number is, especially at dismissal. Buses will be parked in number order in the afternoon. Please write your child’s bus number on their program. If your child is in Discovery or Partners in the Arts please write the bus number on their name tag to help facilitate staff getting them to the right bus.  
  2. Approximate pick-up time: Don’t be late! Please be 10 minutes early for the first day, and 5 minutes early every other day. Extra time has been built in for the first few days. Buses are scheduled to arrive at Usdan between 9:30-9:45 AM and will depart for home at 3:30 PM. Buses will not wait longer than 3 minutes past the scheduled pick-up time and will not be able to go back for students who miss it.  
  3. Please call your bus attendance monitor by 7:30 AM if your child is unable to attend for the day. Vacation notes listing days of absence and “no bus pick-up” should be given to the attendance monitor. If you are unable to reach the monitor, please call the bus company at the number listed below. Please do not call the camp for daily absences.  
  4. The use of seat belts are mandatory on Usdan’s buses.

Bus Companies (please refer to your individual letter for which company services your child’s route): 

  • Huntington Coach 631-261-9819 
  • Suffolk Transportation 631-665-3245 ext 4310, 4311, 4312, or 4323 
  • Pioneer Transportation 718-931-5450 



This year, Usdan is providing nearly $3 million in scholarships to ensure that cost is not a barrier for attending camp. These scholarships are made possible through philanthropic contributions. To support need-based scholarships, please visit  


Usdan is looking for gently used cards and appropriate board games to help facilitate friendships during lunch. We are also looking for donations of cutlery for our special events and benefits. These may be brought to the donation table at orientation located near the parking lot.   


Wednesday, July 19 | Wednesday, August 16 

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Honoring on August 16: 
Jeff Schoenfeld, Community Award 
Jake Cohen, Alumni Award 

U Attend 
U Watch 
U Applaud 
U Wander 
U Eat 
U Smile 
U Benefit 
And U Help the Kids Too! 

Join us for one or both U Benefits. Enjoy the art and beauty of our campus as the students do: immersively. These days of experiential events and encounters will be inspired by this year’s themes: imagination and harmony. The U Benefits will highlight performances and art from the students and offer the entire Usdan community the chance to see the artistry of your young ones alongside professional artists.  

To learn more and to purchase tickets, please visit

For more information on supporting the U Benefit, please contact  


Recently we asked one of last summer’s most dedicated volunteers about what the experience meant to her, and she said the following: “My children had attended Usdan for years prior to my time serving as a volunteer. It wasn’t until I began volunteering on campus that I got the true Usdan experience and fell in love with it.” 

We are looking for parents and caregivers to join our 2023 Summer Volunteer Ensemble at Usdan. Volunteers at Usdan welcome guests, give directions, assist with hospitality backstage in the Amphitheater, and more. We need volunteers on campus every day of the camp season, and especially on both of our Community Days this summer. Our campus community thrives on the help of our volunteer network. 

We hope that you will consider giving your time to Usdan this summer. If you would like to be placed on our volunteer list, please contact Sofia Notar-Francesco at


Usdan is more than a place—it’s a tight-knit community of people who work and thrive together. The camp’s staff and faculty are a crucial part of the Usdan experience. 

Lauren Brandt Schloss | Executive Director

Emily Annesley | Enrollment Coordinator
Kerry Barnhart | Senior Director of Student Affairs
Cory Benson | Manager of Buildings & Grounds
Alice Clancy | Manager of Events & Guest Services
Victoria Ellerbe | Director of Administration
Sasha Freedman | Associate Director of New Initiatives
Julio Garcia | Senior Groundskeeper 
Javan Howard | Director of Education
Courtney Kassinger | Associate Director of Student Affairs
Lauren Kinane | Manager of Special Projects
Kyra Leeds | Community Relations Coordinator
Jessica Liss | Director of Philanthropy
Johan Van Den Berghe | Controller


Caitlyn McSweeney | Aquatics Director | 
Mark Bligh | Music Department Chair | 
Jodie McLaughlin | Art Department Chair |   
Sadie Friedman | Discovery Program Department Chair |   
Jim Incorvaia | Theater Department Chair |   
David Lake | Recreation Department Chair |  
Cassandra Richards | Dance Department Chair |   


Courtney Kassinger | Associate Director of Student Affairs  
Sloan Huber | Transportation Assistant 


David Schecher  | Attendance Director  
Adam Cordero | Attendance Assistant 


Aoife Forbes 
Matthew Mantione 
Brittney Rifkind 


To keep our students healthy, Usdan maintains an on-site Health Office to provide care and dispense medication. Families should have already provided a Health Record and Physical Examination form by May 31. If you have not, please send it as soon as possible to 

Usdan’s Health Office requires both a doctor’s orders and parent permission for all medications. Students may self-medicate with emergency medication only if specified by a doctor’s orders. Medication and doctor’s orders should be dropped off at camp prior to your child’s first day or sent with them on the bus the first day of camp. Forms can be found at  

Usdan will monitor all health and safety guidelines for summer 2023 on an ongoing basis. This page will feature an up-to-date listing of operational procedures, and any changes will evolve in tandem with local and state guidance. 

Linda Amarante | Health Director  
Diana Marlow | Nurse 
Sharon Roccaro | Nurse 
Noreen Sadoff | Nurse 
Kathy Sager | Nurse 
Elizabeth Scannello | Nurse  


The Dean’s Office helps students become comfortable at Usdan. The Deans can offer advice or mentorship to students struggling with behavior, social skills, or their classes (if you have specific questions regarding the content and curriculum of your child’s class, contact the Department chair). The Dean’s Office staff are here to support all students and ensure they have a special summer experience at Usdan. 

Zachary Rifkind | Dean of Students 
Jolita Haigis | Associate Dean of Students  
Samoya Henry | Associate Dean of Students  
Pasquale Ianelli | Associate Dean of Students  
Danielle Parente | Associate Dean of Students 


Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts cares about children and has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for all of our young people. We recognize that providing that safe, caring environment is everyone’s job, not only the job of our teachers. Our entire staff – assistant teachers, accompanists, swim and recreation staff members, maintenance staff and the administrative staff – all have a responsibility to be informed about and take an active role in the prevention of child abuse. Every staff person has completed a Mandated Reporter Training course which meets the New York State Education Department mandatory requirements for Training in Child Abuse Identification and Reporting. 

If you have any questions or feel that a Usdan camper is being abused, or is in danger of being abused, please contact any member of the Dean’s Office staff or Nurse Liz Scannello. 


The opening day of camp is thrilling, maybe a little nerve-wracking, and oh, so much fun. Here’s what to expect:  


Before camp, you will receive transportation information with all of your child’s bus info. The bus will pick up your child at their assigned pickup location and head to Usdan. Please be 10 minutes early to the stop on the first day, and 5 minutes early every other day.  Buses will not wait more than 3 minutes past the scheduled departure time, and cannot go back if a child misses it.   

When buses arrive at camp, they are greeted by a member of the staff, who will provide instructions.   

Please write your child’s bus number on their program or another special place, or if your child is in Discovery, on their nametag to assist the Counselors in getting them to the bus. 

At the end of the day, everyone receives an ice cream treat before heading to their bus in the numbered slot that corresponds with their bus number. 


If you need to drop off or pick up your child(ren), you must have your 2023 Access Pass clearly positioned in your windshield to make morning drop off and afternoon pick up as easy as possible.   

Morning drop off begins at 9:20 am.  Classes begin at 10:00 am, so please drop off no later than 9:50 am to allow the children time to get to class.  

For afternoon pick up, parents should be on campus no later than 2:50 pm. This allows for students to get right into the cars at the end of the day (3:05 pm) preventing backups. You will be asked to park your car in the top lot closest to administration and show your access pass or photo ID to the administrative staff sitting at the table outside the administrative office. 

Please be prepared for delays the first few days of camp as we perfect our system. 


Discovery students must wear their nametag every day of the season. This nametag alerts our staff that a child is a Discovery camper and helps them anticipate their needs and expectations. This name tag will be mailed prior to the first day. 

Once they have arrived at Usdan, Discovery campers will meet Discovery Counselors who will escort them to the Amphitheater. Their Counselor will be with them every step of the way to help with anything they need. Be sure to write your child’s bus number on their name tag. 


In advance of the start of your child’s session, they will receive a nametag in the mail or at orientation. Make sure your child has their program card (digitally or printed) and nametag when they leave home for the first day of camp.  

Upon arrival, students in grade 2 and 3 will be ushered to the Amphitheater where they will meet their Leader who will escort them to their morning class. At the conclusion of their Major class, their Leader will take them to get their ice cream treat and then to the bus field for their ride home. 


Make sure your child has their program card (digitally or printed) when they leave home for the first day of camp.  

The Usdan campus is easy to navigate, and the staff is friendly, but sometimes we still need an insider to help us around at the beginning. Students should not hesitate to ask for help! Should your child need help orienting themselves, Usdan staff members wearing a bright blue t-shirt or students wearing a pin with “Ambassador” written on it will be able to help them.  


Upon arrival, students attending Recreational Camp will meet their group at the “Recreational Camp Tent” near the picnic tables by  the Welcome Center.  

At the conclusion of the camp day, their Counselor will take them to get their ice cream treat and then to the bus field for their ride home.  


Following their daily ice cream treat, students in the After Care program will take a quick stroll to the Amphitheater to meet After Care staff. After Care programs may vary daily and can include board games, arts activities, recreational time, and more. Swimming will be included, so we recommend an additional swimsuit and towel. 

Children in the After Care program do not receive bus service home. They must be picked up by a parent or authorized person at Usdan’s campus before 6:00 p.m. 

If you have signed up for After Care, you will receive a separate email with more detailed information about the program. If you are interested in After Care, but have not yet signed up, please complete this form. The cost is as follows:  

8-Week: $450 
4-Week A: $300 
4-Week B: $300 
1-Week Recreational Camp: $75/week 

Please email with any questions.


At Usdan, students may choose the bathroom and changing room that best fits their gender identity.   

We offer traditional binary bathrooms throughout campus, as well as all-gender bathrooms.  A student may use whichever is most comfortable for them. If a student is ever unsure of where to find the closest comfortable bathroom, they can simply ask a safety monitor or a staff member. 

At swim, we offer the option of traditional binary changing rooms, or an all-gender changing room. The changing areas all have curtained off areas for privacy.   

Usdan staff will communicate to student performers the options available for dressing rooms. 


  • Nametag (for Discovery and Partners in the Arts campers) 
  • Reusable Water Bottle 
  • Lunch 
  • Mask (optional) 
  • Swimsuit and Towel (if your child is in Discovery, Recreational Camp, or U Time) 
  • Sneakers or Walking Shoes (we do not recommend Flip-Flops or Sandals) 
  • Snack (for Discovery and After Care) 
  • Bug Spray  
  • Sunblock  
  • Hat 
  • Umbrella, Poncho, or Raincoat 
  • Extra socks or other clothing in case of wet weather 
  • Yoga Mat (if your child is taking Yoga) 
  • Smock (if needed) 
  • Instrument (if your child is taking instrumental music classes) 
  • Dance Attire (if your child is taking a Dance class, see below for details) 
  • Camera (if your child is taking Photography) 
  • Anything else which would make your child’s day more comfortable 


Some Departments require dress conducive to course activity. Please note that Usdan maintains an inclusive environment and encourages students to dress in the attire they feel most comfortable in. 


A smock or old shirt to protect clothes.


Usdan Dance welcomes all interested students. If the dancewear or shoe requirement hinders you from taking class, please reach out to the Dance Chair for assistance. 

All classes: Hair that falls to the shoulders or below should be pulled back off the face. 

Dance Adventure: Comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing—e.g., shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, T-shirt, tank top. Feet: Jazz Shoes and socks.

Next-Generation Dance: Comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing—e.g., shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, T-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights.For the safety of the dancers, please restrict overly loose or baggy clothing. Feet: Bare feet or jazz shoes, and sneakers. 

Broadway Jazz: Comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing—e.g., shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, T-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. For the safety of the dancers, please restrict overly loose or baggy clothing. Feet: Jazz shoes. 

Hip Hop: Comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing—e.g., shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, T-shirt, tank top, For the safety of the dancers, please restrict overly loose or baggy clothing. Feet: Sneakers.  

Tap: Comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing—e.g., shorts (no jeans), leggings, dance pants, yoga pants, sweatpants, T-shirt, tank top, leotard, tights. For the safety of the dancers, please restrict overly loose or baggy clothing. Feet: Tap shoes. Students may wear socks or no socks with tap shoes, depending on comfort. 


Athletic shoes, with closed toes, are highly recommended for Recreational Camp students. 

Swimsuit and towel. There are boys, girls, and all-gender changing areas at the pools.  


Swimsuit and towel. There are boys, girls, and all-gender changing areas at the pools.  


Comfortable clothing without buttons or zippers that is easy to move in. Students are encouraged to bring their own mat, which can be stored on-campus during their session. If a student cannot supply a mat or forgets their mat, Usdan will have extra. 


For the convenience of musicians who cannot take their instrument back and forth to camp, Usdan provides 24-hour instrument storage at Instrument Check.  You can pick up your child’s slot number at Orientation or on the first day of camp.  

Instrument Check is conveniently located on the way to the Music Department. All checked instruments must be in protective cases and marked with the owner’s name. Musicians can pick up a special sticker for their instrument case at the Instrument Check Building on the opening days of each camp session. 


Students are required to bring their own lunch. There is no refrigeration and students are required to carry their lunch in their bag. If a student forgets or loses their lunch, Usdan Administration can provide a backup lunch. 


As there is nowhere on campus to purchase beverages or food, students are advised to bring their own reusable water bottle. Water filling stations are located throughout the camp for student use. Students can purchase additional water bottles at the Usdan Store in the Welcome Center. Compostable cups are also available. 


Each afternoon, before boarding the buses, students are served an ice cream snack at no extra charge. If students need lactose- or gluten-free frozen treats instead of ice cream, they’re kept in the Health Office. If your child is in the Discovery program or is attending the After Care program, please provide an additional snack. 


Forbidden items for campers and visitors:

  • Cigarettes
  • Vapes or E-cigarettes
  • Matches
  • Lighters
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Weapons of any kind

No smoking or vaping is permitted at Usdan. Smoking on the grounds could result in immediate dismissal.

Items to leave at home:

  • Skateboards
  • Rollerblades
  • Frisbees
  • Water pistols
  • Wide-tipped markers
  • Portable radios
  • Shaving cream

Students are also advised NOT to bring:

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • iPods
  • Expensive watches, including Apple Watches
  • Cameras
  • Jewelry
  • Money beyond that needed for emergencies

The safekeeping of these items cannot be guaranteed, especially during swim periods.


We recommend that all personal items be marked with each child’s name. All found items are held at the Lost and Found area near the bus field for no longer than five days, with the exception of valuables, such as glasses, wallets, mobile phones, jewelry, etc., which are brought to the Administration Building for safekeeping.  


Please do not supply your child’s class with food or treats for birthday or end-of-season parties, whether on campus or your child’s bus. This will protect the health and safety of students with food allergies. 


Usdan believes that while mobile devices such as phones and tablets can be tools for creativity, camp is a place to disconnect from the frenzy of technology — to enjoy the plants and wildlife that surround us and to interact with the friends in front of us.  

In summer 2023, Usdan is becoming a device-free campus.  Students are not permitted to use their devices on campus, unless they have a health need that requires them to stay connected.  In this scenario, the Health Office will supply them with a “device pass” which they can show upon request. With the permission of their teachers, students are permitted to use their device in class to record a sample or take a picture. In this scenario, the device must be returned to the students’ backpack immediately afterwards. 

Students are permitted to use mobile devices on the bus. 

If you need to contact your child during the camp day, please call the Usdan Administration Office at 631-643-7900. 

We know that lunchtime may be a source of anxiety in the first few days, as students are getting to know each other.  We will be supplying the lunch areas with games and cards and tips on how to facilitate conversation with one another.  We are looking for donations of gently used cards, appropriate board games and art supplies.  There will be a table at orientation where you can leave any games or art supplies you are looking to rehome.  Feel free to email us at with any questions about when you can drop off a donation. 


Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts maintains a pristine, natural campus for the enjoyment of all students, and exploring the campus is an integral part of the Usdan experience. Studies show that hiking and spending time outdoors can boost creativity, improve focus, and encourage positive thinking. 

Of course, being immersed in nature brings out some health and safety risks for children, including mosquitoes, ticks, and poison ivy. 


Usdan encourages all students to use organic herbal insect repellent to prevent mosquito and other insect bites. Usdan takes care to remove standing rainwater where mosquito larvae may linger, but mosquito bites are a natural consequence of spending time in wooded areas. 


Students are told to perform regular tick checks. Families are encouraged to thoroughly check their children for ticks after each day and carefully remove any ticks present (the recommended method is simply using a piece of tape or sticky lint roller to pull a loose tick off). If a child is bitten, be sure to monitor the bite site for irritation. 

Here are some tips to safely remove an attached tick, should you find one:

  • Tweezers are the best tool to use.
  • Place tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Try to grab the tick’s head or just above it.
  • Pull upward with a slow and steady motion. Try to avoid breaking the tick, but don’t be alarmed if the head breaks off and remains in the skin. Disease transmission is not possible without the entire body.
  • Disinfect the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Contact your child’s healthcare provider.

To learn more about tick prevention, visit


Poison ivy is a common vine found throughout the northeastern United States and beyond. Contact with the plant can cause an allergic reaction that triggers skin irritation and blisters. Nature students are taught to recognize poison ivy’s trademark three-leaf pattern and not to touch any part of the vine. Students enrolled in programs that regularly venture into wooded areas are supplied with pre-contact solutions that help prevent an allergic reaction. 

Usdan removes poison ivy near our pathways. 


As part of Usdan’s maintenance of a beautiful natural setting for students, the camp emphasizes a commitment to sustainable living. Please be sure to send your student with a reusable water bottle daily; fresh drinking water is also on-site for student consumption. We encourage using reusable food packaging for lunches. 


In case of inclement weather, Usdan will provide the latest camp announcements online at and via text communication. Parents and caregivers will also receive updates to be alerted of severe weather issues or other imperative information. 

All studios are covered and recreational spaces have a covered alternate space, which means Usdan will not close for a rainy day.


Located between the Amphitheater and Administration building, the Welcome Center houses Visitor Information, the Usdan Store, and our Art Gallery which will feature student and faculty art. Merchandise is also available online at


Even the home of summer fun has a few rules.

Since our very first summer, Usdan staff and campers have embraced the belief that we should treat others with respect, empathy, kindness, compassion, and understanding at all times. Even when it’s hard to do. Especially, when it’s hard to do. 

Together, we can create classroom environments that welcome every student, and Festival Performance audiences which celebrate those on stage. Like the staff and campers before us, using this simple philosophy and common sense, we can find energy and inspiration in art and a roadmap to be good citizens at Usdan and in life. 


It is expected that students will speak kindly and respectfully to other students and faculty/staff. It is expected that they will respect others and their property, including the camp and its property. Students will follow directions without insubordination and respond to reasonable requests.  They will accept others and have respect for others’ beliefs. Students will keep hands and objects to themselves, and take responsibility for their actions. Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct may result in corrective or disciplinary measures, up to and including expulsion. Failure to heed a warning issued under this Code of Conduct will result in further discipline.   

Conduct on the Bus: For your safety, standing in the aisles of the bus is not permitted and all students must wear a seatbelt. Students are not permitted to take photos or videos of other students without their consent. If you do not abide by these rules, intended for your wellbeing and that of other students, you may be dismissed from Usdan. 

Attendance: Regular attendance in class and at performances is expected of all students. If you have missed a class, stop at the office and give your reason to the Attendance Office. Unexplained absences will be reported to parents, and repeated absences from class may result in expulsion from the camp without a refund of tuition. You may be excused to accompany your family on a vacation, but no refund of fees is made for absences. 

Leaving the Grounds: You are not permitted to leave the grounds. If you do so, you may not be allowed to continue at Usdan. 

Lastly, you understand that storing, possessing or using any real or replica firearms or weapons, as well as illegal drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or vape paraphernalia by anyone on campus is strictly prohibited. 


Usdan recognizes the value of a mutually supportive relationship between the camp, the students, and the parents/guardians. We believe a child is best served when the camp and parents share a commitment to collaboration, to open lines of communication, and to mutual respect.  

It is expected that parents/guardians will address any concerns in a positive and supportive manner, and will avoid public actions or behaviors detrimental to Usdan or its employees.  You will treat members of the camp community with respect, and provide Usdan an opportunity to resolve issues of concern before public criticism.   

The below lists prohibited conduct by a parent/guardian including but not limited to:  

  • Abusive, threatening, profane or harassing communication, either in person, by e-mail or text/voicemail/phone or any other written or verbal communication including defamatory, offensive or derogatory comments regarding the camp or staff made publicly to others.  
  • Disruptive  or threatening behavior that interferes or threatens to interfere with camp operations, including the effective operation of a class, an employee’s office, administration, or campus, including events, parking lots and car-pickup  
  • Excessive unscheduled campus visits, e-mails, text/voicemail/phone messages or other written or oral communication.  Camp staff and administration may not always be immediately available to speak with you. Staff and administrators have a practice of attempting to return all phone calls/e-mails within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.  


When attending or participating in a Festival Performance at the Amphitheater, the goal is to create an atmosphere of focus, engagement, appreciation, and respect. Another goal is for students to understand and be comfortable in various performance settings. Like all great art, this takes practice and perseverance. 

A Usdan staff member will signal when each performance has concluded by lowering the lights. Students should not leave or prepare to leave the Amphitheater before this time. Please wait until the stage lights go off before putting on your backpack or standing up during a performance. 

Talking or other forms of distraction, including eating food, during a performance is impolite to the performers and those around you. 

Different types of performances require different forms of response: 

  • Clapping along is good when encouraged by the performer. 
  • Clapping after an improvised solo in a jazz concert is expected. 
  • Clapping is reserved only for the end of the entire piece in a classical music concert. 
  • Calling out the names of performers, or making distracting noises, are generally not appropriate. These noises distract performers and impair their ability to engage with an audience fully. 
  • Clapping for stage crew, while they are working, is not appropriate. 
  • Use of electronic devices, as well as other “quiet” activities, such as reading or drawing, are not appropriate. 


Students thrive when they feel safe. Creating a respectful environment that fosters safety is one of our most important goals. In the 10 points that follow, you will find guidelines that will help ensure that discussions are respectful and inclusive. A “discussion” could be a number of things including a class discussion, a conversation with a friend, a debate with another artist, a large question and answer session within your department, or any of life’s countless groupings, and the exchange of ideas that are the result. 

  • One mic, one voice: Only one person should speak at a time. 
  • Step up, step back: Participants should be aware of how much they are speaking. If they feel they are speaking a lot, they should let others speak, and if they find themselves not talking, they should try to contribute some comments, ideas or suggestions. 
  • Use “I” statements: Everyone should speak from his/her/hir/their own experiences. 
  • Avoid making generalizations: Don’t make blanket statements about any groups of people. If you’re not sure that something you want to say is factually correct, phrase it as a question. 
  • No assumptions — except for best intentions: People should not assume other people’s experiences or anything else. The only assumption people should make is that when other participants speak, they are speaking with the best intentions and do not mean to offend anyone. 
  • Correct gently, but do correct: If someone says something that is incorrect or offensive, politely call them on that. Letting comments slip by only makes the space less safe and increases the difficulty of building successful partnerships. 
  • Respect confidentiality: Assume that stories and comments shared in meetings should remain private. If you would like to share someone’s story or comment, please ask them first. 
  • Embrace diversity: Diverse groups have lots to offer, including different tastes. When members share their likes and dislikes, respect their personal opinions and preferences. 
  • Lean into discomfort: Many topics and the discussions that result can sometimes be challenging. Be willing to experience some discomfort in discussions, and learn from it. 
  • Uphold commitments: The key to safe and successful communities (classes, peer groups, friendships, etc.) is honoring your commitments to that community. If you cannot go through with a commitment, make sure to let people know and find someone to take your place. 


Usdan students and visitors always expected to use respect toward each other – both at camp and online. Please be a good citizen by not participating in, or tolerating, bullying at camp or cyberbullying via any social media platform. Saying hurtful or malicious things about others, no matter the form, is never tolerated by Usdan. If you witness or are the victim of bullying at camp or cyberbullying, please report it to the Dean’s Office immediately. 


We welcome parents and caregivers to attend our daily Festival performances as well as Theater Department shows and in-studio performances with your 2023 Access Pass and proper ID.  All visitors will receive a visitor pass upon entrance to camp, which must be displayed on their person at all times.   

Family members are especially encouraged to visit for the daily Festival performance and admission is included in your child’s tuition.  

There may be limitations on the number of families who can attend specific in-studio performances. Families will be notified of these limitations in advance of the performances. 

Before the start of summer, you will receive a printed and detailed calendar of performances and events. Each week, we will email you a reminder of what’s coming in the week ahead in our weekly newsletter.   

Via email and on our website at, parents and caregivers will be notified on which days their own child is performing on campus. 

2023 Access Passes are digital and will be emailed to you in advance of camp. Passes should be printed at home in advance of visiting campus. Be sure to keep your pass in your car window, or show it upon arrival in a taxi, when visiting Usdan. Those without a pass must call the day before their visit to be placed on a security list. No visitors will be admitted without identification.  

Visitors are not permitted to ride on any Usdan bus, bring pets onto campus (service and therapy dogs are welcome, but due to health department regulations, we require a copy of their vaccination record on file with the health office), or use any of the camp’s recreational facilities. 


When visiting camp, we ask that you respect the guidelines outlined below. Anyone who does not abide by these guidelines will be removed from camp and may lose visiting privileges. 

  • All visitors must check in at the security booth and, if they don’t already have one, receive a Visitor Pass. This pass must be worn at all times.  Anyone on campus without a pass will be asked to leave immediately. 
  • If you need help or directions on campus, please visit the Welcome Center or ask a staff member or volunteer. Please do not ask students for information. 
  • An adult should never be alone in a bathroom with a student. Whenever possible, please wait until students have exited. 
  • Photographing students in the pool area and restrooms is strictly prohibited. You may photograph your own child in other areas of camp, but please exercise discretion when photographing other children. Please do not post photos of children other than your own on social media without permission from the child’s family. 
  • Please behave appropriately and respectfully around students, faculty, and other guests. Usdan reserves the right to remove or bar guests from campus at any time. 
  • Our campus is a precious commodity and we ask that you help us ensure it remains so by disposing of garbage in the bins placed throughout the grounds. Please also consider zero waste solutions or reusable solutions sustainable whenever possible.  
  • We are thrilled for you to join us to enjoy the arts and nature in this inspiring and unique environment. 
  • If a parent or guardian wishes to take their child home after a visit, they must be signed out from the main office with a valid ID.  


Parents and caregivers occasionally need to pick up students during the day for appointments. Parents, guardians, and anyone else authorized must have their 2023 Access Pass in the window of their car clearly showing their child(ren)’s name(s).  Please bring photo identification as well.  If an adult who has not been previously authorized on the enrollment form picks up a camper, we must have written permission from the parent/guardian. An email to is sufficient. We will not release a child to anyone without express permission from the parent/guardian.  

Please call ahead or email us at so we are expecting you. You must bring your access pass and a photo ID.  

For afternoon pick up at dismissal time, parents should be on campus no later than 2:50 pm. You will be asked to park your car in the top lot closest to administration. You must have photo ID. 

If your child normally takes a bus and you would like to pick them up at the end of camp, you must alert the camp the evening before, if possible, or as soon as you are aware you will be making the change.  We must make sure your child does not get on the bus, and the bus does not wait for them, causing unnecessary delays. Please see “Drop Off & Pick Up” under “What to Expect: The First Day of Camp”. 


If a parent or guardian wants their child to go home with another Usdan student, both children must be picked up. Students may not ride on any bus other than the one assigned to them by Usdan. Written permission must be provided by parents of both students. Please provide 24-hour advance notice.  



Via Long Island Expressway

Queens Midtown Tunnel to the Long Island Expressway to Exit 49S or Throgs Neck Bridge to Clearview Expressway to Long Island Express- way to Exit 49S. Continue on the service road, parallel to the Expressway, for 3 lights to Pinelawn Road. Turn Right onto Pinelawn for 6 lights (there is a left hand turning lane at the 6th light). Turn left onto Colonial Springs Road. The entrance is 1 mile on your left. 

Via Southern State Parkway

Belt Parkway to Southern State Parkway, Exit 35 (Wellwood Avenue). Follow Wellwood Avenue, north, past the Long Island National Cemetery, just past Newsday. Turn right after Newsday onto Colonial Springs Road. The entrance is 1 mile on your left. 


Via Long Island Expressway

To Exit 49N. At the traffic light on the exit ramp turn left onto Pinelawn Road. Cross over the Expressway heading south on Pinelawn Road. Continue on Pinelawn for 7 lights (there is a left hand turning lane at the 7th light). Turn left onto Colonial Springs Road. The entrance is 1 mile on your left. 

Via Southern State Parkway

To Exit 35 (Wellwood Avenue). Follow Wellwood Avenue, north, past the Long Island National Cemetery, just past Newsday. Turn right after Newsday onto Colonial Springs Road. The entrance is 1 mile on your left. 


The nearest station is Wyandanch on the Main Line, Ronkonkoma Branch. There are taxis and app-based car services at the station. Long Island Railroad information can be found at 


Rideshares (Uber, Lyft, etc) are available in the area. 

Congratulations to making it to the end of Usdan’s Family Guide. We can’t wait to welcome your child this summer.