Herald Neighbors

Rolling River Day Camp in East Rockaway gives back to community


Dozens and dozens of children and teens from nursery school to 10th grade, focused intensely on drawing colorful and vibrant patterns on paper. 

After they drew the patterns, they began writing long letters on their papers, all as a part of a community service project to thank veterans and troops for their work serving the country. 

The children and teens are campers at Rolling River Day Camp— a summer camp that meets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for eight weeks from July 1 to Aug. 22.

“I think doing community service projects at camp helps show campers how they can help other people by having a positive impact on their lives,” said Jennifer Glatzer, communications manager at Rolling River Day Camp. “Many of the campers are from Nassau County and Long Island and are fortunate enough to have the financial means to go to a private camp like ours, so community service projects teaches them to learn to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate.” 

Throughout one week of camp, campers participated in Coin Harvest, which involved them bringing in as many coins as they could to camp every day. Then, all the coins were gathered together to donate money to SUNY Maritime College for a veteran program. 

This summer, campers raised $600 through the process, which was distributed in a check presentation in front of the camp, to Commander, Adam Grohman, the deputy commandant of cadets acting leadership development and operations office at SUNY Maritime College. 

Another community service project that campers participated in involved the camp partnering with Swirls and Twirls, in Oceanside, to raise money for the camp’s scholarship program, called Camp Mates.

For every purchase that campers made at Swirls and Twirls, a portion of that money went to the camp. Then, 15 percent of the money raised went toward supporting the scholarship program, which helps pay for children and teens, to attend camp, who do not have the financial means to do so.

Also, on Aug. 13, the counselors in training campers, in ninth and 10th grade, visited the Ronald McDonald House to bake treats for children being treated for various illnesses. 

In addition to participating in community service activities, the camp also has a plethora of activities and sports offered to kids. 

“I think this camp provides the opportunity for social and emotional growth that campers can’t get from school because they can conquer certain fears by learning and trying new things,” Glatzer said. “For example, if a camper has stage fright, we can encourage them onto stage in theater or if a kid can’t swim, the Red Cross-trained instructors will help them learn.”

The camp offers a variety of activities, including swimming, running, theater/drama, arts and crafts, cooking, sailing, playgrounds, free swim, nature, music, steam lab, singing, sailing, kayaking, rock climbing and intramural sport games. 

The camp also offers private sports trainers equipped to teach lessons to campers in basketball, soccer, hockey, european handball, softball, tennis, bowling and lacrosse. 

Many counselors have found that the activities at camp have positively impacted the campers’ lives in ways that they can’t learn in a natural classroom setting, and the camp has impacted their lives, too. 

“I don’t know what summer is without this camp,” said, Brian Krinick, 19, who was a camper as a child, and has been a part of the camp for 17 years. “This camp teaches the campers social skills and things that they can’t learn in the classroom.” 

For Chelsea Buda, 18, an assistant counselor who works with 3 through 5 year old campers, working at the camp has helped her realize that she wants to work with kids in her future profession. 

“This camp helped me realize how much I love kids,” she said. “I’m happiest when I’m working with kids and I loved working at this camp this summer.” 

Many campers have found that the camp helps them stay active, rather than doing indoor activities. 

“I like doing all the activities at camp, instead of staying in my house watching TV,” said Michela Zuckerman, 8. “I like playing with my friends in free swim and making bracelets at camp.” 

“My favorite sport to play at camp is basketball,” said Ryan Steiner, 10, a camper who has been attending Rolling River for 6 years. “I love camp because I get to have fun with friends, I learned teamwork and everyone always helps you at camp.”