Riverside Park Summer Camps: A Sports Oasis Along the Hudson

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The Riverside Parks Conservancy has been operating sports camp in the parks since 2013. In addition to continuing its partnerships with long-standing sports providers Kids of Summer (baseball, basketball, flag football), Carlos Oliveira Soccer Academy and the Riverside Clay Tennis Association, the Conservancy has introduced new sports for summer 2017. Ahmed Cohen, Sports Camp Manager for the Riverside Parks Conservancy, took some time to provide additional insight into the camps and sports in Riverside Park.

What are the benefits of Riverside Parks’ camps?

Our program, Riverside Park Conservancy, provides multiple benefits for NYC youth. Some benefits are providing youth with a better mind, body and spirit, as well dedication and leadership to their sport(s). Our kids choose their own sport selection, which allows a camper to feel empowered and able to explore a new sport or advance in a sport in which they are proficient. The camps provide a safe and all-inclusive environment for the camper and families that want to enjoy the park surroundings. Families get to meet and create user groups through gatherings at the camp and taking advantage of the various playgrounds surrounding the fields. The camp fosters relationship among families and youth that might not have happened because of difference in geographical living areas. With various selections of sport choices and amenities such as a lunch option provided by Ellington in the Park, early drop off and late pick up, families can be assured their child is well taken care of. The camps offer flexibility of attending for single week sessions, or multiple weeks at a time. Campers do not have to attend consecutive weeks, allowing families to go on vacation in the summer and not feel the burden of pulling their child out of camp, or having them start camp in the middle of the program. This flexibility creates less stress on the families and the camper experience.

What is special about Riverside Park and the facilities it has for summer camps?

Not only is the Riverside Park Conservancy Summer Camp the perfect way for a child to spend an active and fun summer of sports, but the camps also help improve our waterfront park. The campers have access to top-notch coaches and fields that are constantly taken care of from our four artificial turf baseball/soccer fields to our clay tennis courts, which are groomed daily. Proceeds from the camp go toward the care and improvement of the active recreation areas throughout the park. Riverside Park Conservancy and the camp providers dedicate 20% of the camp’s revenues to scholarships to families in need and have provided over $100,000 in scholarship credits each year for the last three years.

What is new for the summer of 2017?

For the upcoming summer we have added several single sport option and multi-sport options to allow for more choices and flexibility for campers. We are excited to add flag football for age’s eight; permitting families to get excited about football without the added fear of injuries that often come with tackle football. Introducing flag football will help teach safe play through proper instruction while also giving campers the confidence they would need to play tackle if they so choose later.

Futsal is similar to soccer, but, it is a faster paced game that can be played inside or outdoors on a smaller field with fewer players than regular soccer. By giving players more touches futsal allows kids to implement their skills in the game and think quickly. Tee ball was added to our program to provide another option to younger athletes. Similarly, girls’ basketball was added so our young female campers can compete with their peers instead of against boys. We also noticed our younger campers (four and five year olds) did not have many sport options, so we added tee ball, and multi-sport option of tee ball/soccer. This summer those younger campers will now have six sport options compared to the three they had last summer.

Kids of Summer has been teaching baseball for many years. What makes them an ideal partner?

Kids of Summer Baseball started in 2002 as a fun, quality and affordable, dedicated baseball camp that wanted to provide top-notch instruction to the local community. Campers participate in targeted and varied morning drill sessions and daily afternoon game play. Their experienced responsible and caring coaches, many with college or professional playing experience, work with campers of all ability levels from beginners to advanced travel team players. Kids of Summer features a 5:1 camper to coach ratio to ensure personalized attention, improvement and wonderful memories.

What makes the Carlos Oliveira Soccer Camp a special place?

The Carlos Oliveira Academy (COSA) has been operating in New York City since 1999. Their co-ed soccer academy utilizes highly trained soccer coaches from Brazil, Latin America and the U.S. who work with boys and girls at their developmental level. The coaches incorporate playground games within soccer instruction to provide a free flowing atmosphere and not a drills camp.

Many people don’t know about the clay tennis courts in Riverside Park. Tell us about the camp offered by the RCTA?

 

The Riverside Clay Tennis Association has been providing tennis program for children for over 15 years. The camp want scampers to become acquainted with the fundamental of tennis and, if already acquainted, to improve their tennis skills. It strives to improve their game and overall athletic skills with fun and target drills with fun and targeted drills developing movement balance, and hang-eye coordination. The majority of the tennis camp’ counselors and coaches are young adults who themselves learned to play tennis at RCTA programs. The clay courts are the only ones in New York City that youth have access to on a daily basis as most tennis is played on hard surfaces. Playing on the clay at Riverside the campers get to experience play as if in the French Open.

Click here for more information on the Riverside Parks Summer Camps

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