Visiting Students Program and Summer Camp

Summer at Hawthorne Valley Farm Camp

OUR CAMP programs seek to build reverence for life and community awareness through living, playing and working together on an active farm. While the camp strives to complement the educational approach of Waldorf schools, campers come from all backgrounds.

Our camp is uniquely situated within Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 400-acre biodynamic farm in the scenic Berkshire/Taconic foothills of eastern New York. The farm has a herd of 60 milk cows, heifer herds, calves, a flock of laying hens, horses and feeder pigs. Milk from the cows is processed in the farm dairy into yogurt, cheese and quark. A market vegetable garden grows biodynamic produce for the camp kitchen, local CSAs and consumers as far away as New York City. There is a busy farm store and bakery. For details on our location, contact us.

The younger House Campers and staff live together in a large farmhouse. The older Field Campers and their counselors share a campsite in a shady glen in the northeast corner of the farm. Their homes are large, bunk-bed equipped cabin tents mounted on wooden platforms. All meals are served family style in our Dining Hall. A spring-fed pond serves as our swim facility. It is state-inspected and supervised by trained lifeguards. Wooded areas ideal for hiking and camp-outs surround the farm fields.

OUR DINING HALL serves staff and campers meals prepared from scratch using biodynamic/organic ingredients. Campers and staff eat together family style fostering the community-building spirit of the camp. Meals are vegetarian, with farm fresh eggs and dairy products. Menus emphasize fresh, seasonal vegetables and whole grains. We seek to build awareness of the connection between the land and the nourishment we receive from it.

OUR STAFF consists of five full-time experienced year round personnel. Sixteeen counselors and four counselors-in-training join for the summer. We maintain a 3:1 camper to adult ratio. Our camp is monitored and licensed by the NY State Department of Health.

Our Logo T-shirts and hats are available during our summer camp program. Our hats are on sale at the Farm Store on a year round basis. All profits from the sale of this merchandise benefit our camp scholarship fund. If you would like to contribute to this fund or our other needs, please see our How You Can Help section and help a child enjoy a nurturing summer on the farm.

We have many employment opportunities available during our summer camp program. See our Employment Opportunities section for details.

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THE ONE-WEEK SESSION FOR AGES 8 AND 9 is a good first time sleep away experience for children. We provide a nurturing environment for the campers in a homelike atmosphere to help the children feel safe and secure. The children feed animals, clean the barn, collect eggs, garden, ride horses, walk the local hills, enjoy arts and crafts, singing, games, swimming and family style vegetarian meals. This will be a hands-on farm experience that is suitable for the younger, first time camper.

1-Week House Camp 2011: Sunday, July 17–Friday, July 22; Tuition 2011: $700

THE TWO-WEEK SESSION FOR AGES 9 AND 10 is a wholesome, enjoyable program of activities well suited to the nine-year-old child. Children feed the animals, clean the barn, collect eggs, and garden. Their farm experiences are interwoven through the day with more traditional camp activities that include horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, nature projects, games, archery and morning and evening singing. Walks, hikes at local parks, cookouts and campfires round out the two weeks. A homelike atmosphere allows children to feel comfortable and secure.

2-Week House Camp 2011: Sunday, July 3–Friday, July15; Tuition 2011: $1,750

THE THREE-WEEK SESSION FOR AGES 10 AND 11 is similar in rhythm and structure to the two-week session. Animal feeding, cleaning the barn, gardening, horseback riding, arts and crafts, games and archery are all part of the weekly rhythm. In the longer session, the emphasis is on building a home away from home on the farm. There is more time for lively camp events such as hikes to nearby state parks and forests, camp-outs, cook-outs, Sunday gatherings, a carnival, Olympics day and Talent Night.

3-Week House Camp 2011: Monday, July 25–Saturday, August 13; Tuition 2011: $2,625

Camper readiness will be determined in consultation with and is subject to the approval of the camp director. If you have questions about which camp is appropriate for your child please contact our camp director. Each session is limited to 28 campers.

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The Field Camp is a true immersion into the farm for children and teens ages 12 to 15. The campers work on the farm and learn about sustainable agriculture and experience the garden-to-table and the farm-to-store process. Each session accepts only 15 campers and due to the challenging nature of these programs, only campers who are deemed mature and interested enough will be accepted. All field campers and their counselors share a campsite in a shady glen in the northeast corner of the farm. This site has large bunk-bed equipped cabins and outhouses. Shower facilities are available at the Main House. Meals are either prepared at the camp site or shared family style in the dining hall with the younger campers. All meals are vegetarian and prepared using biodynamic/organic ingredients.

THE ONE-WEEK SESSION FOR AGES 12 AND 13 is a transitional camp experience for new campers and those graduating from the House Camp to attend the Field camp for the first time. This short program is for children to begin to experience the farm from garden to table, while working alongside the farmers, who grow, process, and cook healthy food. The afternoon activities include swimming, crafts, hikes, music and many other projects. Campers are encouraged to build relationships with other campers and the staff through meaningful and productive farm related activities, while gaining confidence and the ability to live in a simple outdoor setting.

1-Week Field Camp 2011: Sunday, July 17–Friday, July 22; Tuition 2011: $725

THE TWO-WEEK SESSION FOR AGES 12 AND 13 is for campers who are ready to take on the challenge of working for part of the day alongside farmers and other professionals who grow, process and cook healthy food. This camp provides an opportunity to learn about the work involved in the farm-to-store system. Traditional camp activities like swimming, games, nature exploration, craft, music, and day trips add to the experience. Campers are encouraged to develop responsibility for self and others through productive work while living together as a community. Campers are expected to be ready to live in simple, outdoor living conditions and exhibit willingness and interest in helping the farmers.

2-Week Field Camp 2011: Sunday, July 3–Friday, July 15; Tuition 2011: $1,775

THE THREE-WEEK SESSION FOR AGES 13 AND 15 challenges campers to be "junior apprentices." Professional staff in the retail store, bakery, dairy plant, camp kitchen, and farm will supervise campers for part of the day. This session includes an extended overnight off campus camping trip and a visit to local cultural events. Traditional camp activities include swimming, crafts, music, hikes and more. Campers and counselors develop a tight-knit community where all learn to meet the challenges and reap the rewards of living and working together. Some goals for the campers include developing responsibility for self and others, acquiring skills to live in a community setting, understanding the life process that sustains us and learning to commit to complete a job to its fullest.

3-Week Field Camp 2011: Monday, July 25–Saturday, August 13; Tuition 2011: $2,650


Please complete a CAMP APPLICATION and return it to us with a non-refundable $50 registration fee made payable to: "Summer at Hawthorne Valley Farm." Campers interested in the Field Camp need to complete a CAMP QUESTIONNAIRE and return it with the camp application. Please mail applications to: Summer at Hawthorne Valley Farm, Main House, 327 Route 21C, Ghent, NY 12075, or fax to (518) 672-7608.

Please note that State Laws requires that all campers will need to have a current PHYSICAL EXAM from a doctor in order to attend our camp.

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