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May 4, 2010 4:28 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Hampton Country Day Camp expands near tennis center site

May 4, 2010 4:28 PM

The Hampton Country Day Camp, a branch of a successful group of camps founded by New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, has been running quietly on the campus of East Hampton Indoor Tennis in Wainscott for the past three summers, but this year, the camp is branching out on a 20-acre site on Buckskill Road that had formerly belonged to the tennis club.

Tonight, the East Hampton Town Planning Board is poised to adopt some minor final changes to the site plan for the property, which includes two 4-foot deep swimming pools, a wading pool, a welcome center, rec center and lunch room and a host of fields and courts for tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, ga-ga, an Israeli game, and an outdoor play gym for children, which was approved in the fall of 2008.

The changes include decreases in driveway and sidewalk width, changes in revegetated areas and moving the dining hall 10 feet north on the site plan because of an error that was made during construction.The camp, which is set to run from June 28 to August 20, but may go longer into the summer, will hold its first open house on May 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again on June 12.

“He sees things in his mind that you can’t imagine,” said camp director Dave Skolnik of Mr. Jacobs’ plan. “He had a vision of completing the premier day camp on the East End.”

The family of camps known as TLC for its first camp, the Timber Lake Camp in the Catskills, has three sleepaway camps, two of which are in the Catskills and one of which is in the Poconos, and the North Shore Day Camp in Glen Cove.

The right side of the campus is called the “Stepping Stones” campus for 3- and four-year-olds, who will have their own changing rooms, mini-basketball and tennis courts. A carnival tent will cover a pavilion and all campers will receive American Red Cross swimming instruction and a free swim time every day. A soft outdoor gymnasium is also on the preschool campus.

Children who are 5 years old will enter a transitional year, in which campers will use both the preschool and elementary school campus. Kids in sixth grade through 10th grade will be eligible to participate in “Teen Hampton” another program being offered at the camp’s former site at the tennis club on Daniel’s Hole Road.

In the center of the campus for the younger campers, every Friday will be a Starfish Ceremony, in which campers will learn life lessons and core values and campers who exemplify good life skills will receive awards.

Lunches will be prepared with whole grains and fruits in an indoor cafeteria that includes a salad bar and hot entrée offering every day.

“The food will be very kid-friendly, with a nutritious feel,” said Mr. Skolnik.

The dining hall has a rec room downstairs and a room where students can watch movies in inclement weather.

Hampton Country Day Camp also provides transportation to and from the camp, which is included in the price of $7,200 for eight weeks, pro-rated for campers who don’t attend for the whole summer.

Campers will be in groups of 10 to 12 with three to four counselors per group.

“We want to keep our staff ratios as high as possible,” said Mr. Skolnik.

In their application to the Planning Board, camp staff said that they plan to have 90 employees on site.

“We’re looking for lifeguards and some counselors and specialty positions,” said Mr. Skolnik, who added that he would be relying heavily on his associate director, Jane Olshever, an East End resident who’s been a part of the Hampton Country Day Camp since it opened three years ago.

“She’s the glue,” he said.

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