Summertime in the Hamptons—who doesn’t dream of it? Whether you’re shopping, getting lunch with friends or relaxing at the beach, there’s no shortage of fun activities. But what about the little tykes? An unstructured summer could wreak havoc on an otherwise structured lifestyle. Luckily, the Hamptons has its fair share of summer camps to keep kids active and busy. But with so many out there, how’s a body to choose? We called in an expert—a real, live summer camper.
Audrey, 6, has a recommendation. She has been attending Future Stars Southampton for two summers and is desperately looking forward to her third. Believe it or not, Audrey is almost harder to get an interview with than Julie Andrews, but despite having a younger brother (who she sometimes saw at camp last year) and sister competing for attention, Audrey was able to share a few of her favorite things about camp, including “I make a lot of friends and like all the counselors.”
Audrey spent her first year in the Future Stars Little Stars Camp, which is designed specifically for children aged three-and-a-half to five. This camp is a blend of sports instruction, swim lessons, arts and crafts, recreational games and music, and runs daily from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Last year, she aged out of Little Stars and became a full-fledged Future Star. As such, she still gets to do her favorite things at camp: soccer, kickball and swimming. But now, she gets to choose one of eight different focused camps, wth choices including baseball, basketball, lacrosse, multi-sports, soccer, tennis, golf or explore. Audrey chose tennis, and the benefits, to her, are already tangible. “I’m a much better tennis player now,” she says confidently.
A typical day at Tennis Camp starts at 9 a.m. with some basic stretching and warm-up activities, followed by drilling and other instructions before field play and fitness activities. Then comes lunch. “Mom packs lunch,” Audrey says, “lots of snacks and lots of veggies.” She sounds unenthused about the latter. “It’s pretty good.” Following lunch, the tennis Future Stars play tournaments, games and matches. Then more point play and a snack before a 4 p.m. departure, which is Audrey’s least favorite part of the day at camp. “I’m never happy to be done,” she says.
But what about spending time at home with her mom? Wouldn’t she prefer that to camp? “I’d rather be at camp.” Asked if she misses her mom while away at camp, Audrey, aged 6, says, “No, I’m too big for that.” As for her brother, “sometimes I’m happy to be away from him.” Fair enough.
The only thing that could make summer camp better for Audrey are some decidedly un-summery additions. “I wish there was an ice skating rink and that we could ski.” Get on it, Future Stars…
Audrey, now a seasoned camper, has the following advice for new campers: “Be aware that you will probably miss your parents sometimes and you will probably make a lot of friends. Also, you might see someone you already know and a lot of cool things might happen.” So don’t fret future-campers. Audrey has been there, and she knows, everything will be okay. But for now, it’s bath time. “Noooooooooo!”
Visit our Summer Camp Guide for a listing of local camps, as well as more helpful articles about choosing the right camp and more.