New Partnership Brings IAL Students and Alumni to Camp in Upstate New York this Summer

By: Strategy & Institutional Advancement
April 7, 2022

Category: camp | caring

The days are getting longer, the coats are returning to the back of the closet, and all around NYC we can feel the joy of spring’s arrival. As educators, though, we admit we have mixed feelings as summer break approaches: while the time off is beneficial for some, lack of structure can be a real barrier for many students working to maintain growth from year to year.

In New York City especially, access to engaging summer activities can be limited, and getting out into nature remains an expensive privilege. Although we offer all kinds of enriching in-house summer programming, it has been a long-time dream to give our students the chance to enjoy the natural world for an extended period of time together. This summer, that dream is finally coming true.

Change Summer is a local organization who is launching Camp Beyond, a new sleepaway camp tailored to serve local charter schools like Inwood Academy. We are delighted to send 50 middle school students to Camp Beyond this summer, which will take place in two sessions over the month of July (July 3 – July 15 and July 17 – July 29) on the campus of Union College in Schenectady, NY. Enrollment is now open, and we are encouraging families of middle school-aged students (including rising 5th graders and 9th graders) to apply now.

The ability to spend time in nature, not-to-mention on a college campus, will broaden horizons for our students in a way we simply can not do in the classroom.

“It’s not necessarily going to have the same direct connection to academics as summer school, but I think it’s going to actually be even better in the long run, both academically and from a social-emotional standpoint,” explains our founder and CEO Christina Reyes. “Nature inspires you in so many ways; it builds confidence, it helps you reflect, and it gives you perspective that is oftentimes hard to get in the city where everything is loud and fast.”

Camp Beyond shares Inwood Academy’s passion for character formation and service while offering many enriching activities like sports, hiking, swimming, art, performance, broadcasting, STEM, and more. Many who spend their whole lives in New York City never have the opportunity to learn how to swim, and so we are especially excited to share that students who attend Camp Beyond will learn to swim in a safe, supportive, and serene setting.

While the opportunity to be a camper at Camp Beyond is currently limited to middle school students, we are excited for the benefits it will bring to our older students as well. Rising 11th and 12th grade students can apply for positions as paid junior counselors, receiving a stipend of $1,200 with transportation, room and board included. IAL alumni and staff can apply for positions as paid counselors with a stipend of $2,000. Working as a counselor at Camp Beyond will give our students and alumni valuable professional development and mentorship experience.

The cost for a family to send their student to camp is $150 (Inwood Academy and Change Summer cover the remaining expenses). We are able to offer a pay-later option or possible scholarships to families who are unable to pay. We know that sending a student to sleepaway camp can be an adjustment for families, and our teachers and staff are available to answer any questions that may arise.

We are so excited to see the fruit that comes from this opportunity, and we look forward to sharing those stories with you soon. For now, we will leave you with a note from Camp Beyond:

“We believe that just like a high-quality education, an amazing summer camp experience should be available to all children. Our goal is to provide students with an amazing overnight camp experience in a safe space where they can experience new things and make lasting friendships. We appreciate your commitment to changing summer for hundreds of students this year.”

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