What’s New With U? – Week 5

What’s Inside

What’s New With U? – Week Five

Lights, curtains, and energy up as we took the cue for Week 5 to begin.

We were so excited to welcome our 3-week campers as they entered onto the scene, ready to show us their stuff.

On Monday, the Mayhem Poets showed their poetry prowess, dropping rhymes about everything, from cool nicknames to writer’s block (Creative Writing students, take notes!) and even chicken (Bwak!). The Drowsy Chaperone performances were anything but nap-inducing, and we raised a (compostable) cup to the casts of Fiddler on the Roof JR.

We were blown away by the powerful rhythm of the Ephrat Asherie Dance company on Wednesday. And on Friday, we rocked out with two-time Tony-nominated singer and actor, Constantine Maroulis.

Beyond the Amphitheater, exciting things are afoot around Usdan’s campus. Newer classes like DIY Musical Theater and Silent Film Orchestra are experimenting and expanding the bounds of creativity. Other classes — like Sewing and Fashion, Animation, and more — prepare for their close-ups, concerts, collaborations, and celebrations. We can’t wait!

See U next week.

Here’s Looking at U

Every newsletter, we will have a compilation video and collection of photos from the previous week. Scroll through and click on photos to enlarge. 

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

This week, Discovery kids taught us it’s never too early to learn about sustainability, as they reuse and upcycle old materials to create new art. Discovery Art teacher JT Harris asked students to make collagraph prints from found objects and recycled materials around campus. And now, they’re creating a large cardboard fish and painting plastic cups for scales.

But arts and crafts aren’t the only way that Usdan’s been reusing and upcycling. This spring, educator and mom, Georgeanne Rousseau generously donated a collection of over dozens of alphabet books to our early childhood Discovery program. The Georgeanne Rousseau Alphabet Book Collection contains books covering all different themes ranging from famous artwork to yummy food to colorful dinosaurs has become a beloved possession of our Discovery Center. We’re honored to be accepting donations for The Georgeanne Rousseau Alphabet Book Collection to continue to grow our library.

Instead of throwing away old alphabet books or letting them gather dust in your attic, consider donating them to the Collection, where they will be cherished by Discovery students for many years to come. Donations to The Georgeanne Rousseau Collection in the form of ABC books are tax-deductible. If you are interested in donating, please contact Kathleen Drohan at kdrohan@usdan.org for more information.

Finally, here’s bit of inspiration take us into the weekend:

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Summer Learning #Goals

Take a look inside the Usdan classroom to see how our teachers and staff are collaborating with students and what their summer goals are. This week’s segment focuses on Kimaada Le Gendre, who runs the Leadership Institute at Usdan.

Kim’s question of focus for the summer is: 

“How can I create a safe, empowering, productive inspiring, reflective space that allows forLeadership Institute for the Arts (LIA) students to grow into the leaders they want to become?”

From the outset, Kim knew her goal this summer was to help guide these Leaders in learning about Usdan as a safe inclusive space for kids who love art. Kim is committed to ensuring the Leadership Institute campers can figure out who they are as people, as artists, and as leaders in a safe and encouraging envrionment.

Kim and her team had the students vote on three themes that they wanted to focus on for this summer’s Leadership Project: Sustainability; Diversity and Inclusion; and Community Building. Leaders were placed in the groups they were most excited about. A staff member was assigned to each group to serve as a mentor.

“At the beginning of the summer, many of them didn’t see themselves as leaders,” Kim says about her campers, “but now they have accumulated the tools to feel empowered and like they’re becoming leaders in their own right.” Leaders will host a Spirit Day at Usdan in order to apply their learnings to the real-world in a productive, relevant way. The Sustainability group will teach campers how to implement sustainable, daily changes; the Diversity and Inclusion group will be participating in acts of kindness; the Community group will be write fun Mad Libs about Usdan.

The guest workshops have been an inspiring way to integrate the topics Leaders are learning about this summer. Pop trio, Betty, spoke about their music career and the intersection of diversity and inclusion; The Chameleons physical theater troupe taught interactive acting exercises Leaders can apply to their everyday interactions with campers; the Mayhem Poets slam-poetry duo had the Leaders write poems about sustainability. These workshops have been an incredibly opportunity to weave the topics of the summer into the Leaders’ real-world experiences.

At the end of the 7 weeks, Kim is planning another workshop for the Leaders to help them reflect on their growth during the summer and their journey to create their own leadership story.

Gearing Up: Merch Item of the Week

It’s getting hot in here, so stay hydrated! This week’s merch item of the week is the Usdan water bottle.

You can beat the heat with this item for $10, and find more merch at the Usdan shop online or at our Welcome Center.

Up Next: Upcoming Events and Programming

This week, we gave plenty of much-deserved, standing ovations to the casts of Fiddler on the Roof JR. and The Drowsy Chaperone. Next week, we’ll see fashion forward campers take the stage; the much anticipated collaboration between International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and the Contemporary Classical Chamber Ensemble class, impressive animation, and much more.

Don’t forget: You’re invited to join us for a performance and backstage lunch. Just contact us at RSVP@usdan.org at least 24 hours in advance to reserve your place. (If you plan to be on campus past 1:30 p.m. to experience all these exciting performances, we ask that you please do not park in the bus field.)

The full event calendar, including in-studio showings, demonstrations, and tournaments can be found here. Festival Performances are recorded and can be found on our YouTube page. Next week’s schedule is:

Monday, August 5
Festival Guest Performance – Grace Kelly
12:10 p.m. & 12:35 p.m.

Tuesday, August 6
Festival Student Performance – Excerpts from Singin’ in the Rain. 
12:10 p.m. and 12:35 p.m.

Wednesday, August 7
Festival Student Performance – ICE* & Contemporary Classical Ensemble
12:10 p.m. and 12:35 p.m.
In-studio showings and demonstrations:
Doo-Wop Wed Widinghood Juniors T10 at 1:30 p.m.

Discovery Open Dance Class at 10:00 a.m. (Kennedy & Kiley – D9 / Melissa and Francesco – D3)
Discovery Open Dance Class at 11:05 a.m. (Patrick & Sofia – D9 / Laura & Peter  – D3)
Discovery Open Dance Class at 2:10 p.m. (Madeline & Lisa – D9 / Megan & Justin D3)

Thursday, August 8
Festival Student Performance – Fashion Show
12:10 p.m. and 12:35 p.m.
5-year Lunch
Seniors – 12:00 p.m.
Juniors – 12:30 p.m.

Friday, August 9
Festival Student Performance –  Senior Iwnstrumental Ensembles
12:10 p.m. and 12:35 p.m.
In-studio showings and demonstrations:
Art Open Studios 10:00 a.m. – 3:05 p.m.
Sr. Animation Film Festival at 10:30 a.m.
Jr. Animation Film Festival at 1:30 p.m.
Singin’ in the Rain Troupe at 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

*International Contemporary Ensemble

Administration Corner

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Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to experience a day at Usdan’s campus? To take a ton of different classes everyday, create beautiful art alongside friends, and, of course, eat ice cream every day, all while surrounded by a gorgeous woodland campus?

You can find all this content on our YouTube channel. Subscribe and you’ll receive notifications when we upload Festival Performances, weekly recap videos, and much more.

Think about next summer

With the start of the 3-week session comes all new classes (and all new waitlists). If you’re already thinking about next summer and want to ensure your child gets their top picks, think about joining our Return2U program and pre-register now for the 2020 season.

Between today and the last day of our 2019 season (August 16), you can sign up for Return2U and receive 2019 rates and other perks. Additionally, if you pre-register before August 15 for 7- and 3-week campers, your child can ring our end of the session gong (a high honor around here). You must enroll in the same session length or longer than in 2019. Return2U closes at 11:59 p.m. on August 16, so don’t miss out.

There’s an app for that!

Search and download “Usdan Summer Camp” from the Google or Apple App Store and have all important camp information right at your fingertips. 


Executive Director Lauren Brandt Schloss is giving us a blast from the past with these polaroid photos.

What Do U Think? Weekly Poll Question

This week, we asked campers: What’s your favorite place on Usdan’s campus and why? Parents, we want to hear yours, too! Tell us at tellus@usdan.org.

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