In 1901, a small group of women, wishing to share the benefits of sun and ocean air with city-bound, physically challenged children, established a very special summer home in Southampton, New York. A small building was rented to accommodate 10 children. The following year a more suitable residence was rented, and plans begun to identify a permanent facility. Over 100 years have past. The dream of the founders has continued and the number of campers, as well as services and activities, has grown. Children whose challenges are primarily physical in nature come to the Southampton Fresh Air Home for summer activities adapted uniquely for them. They might never have such opportunities were it not for this very special place.
The Southampton Fresh Air Home (SFAH) is one of the few residential camp facilities in the eastern United States that accommodates severely as well as mildly and moderately physically challenged children. SFAH provides an environment in which campers play, socialize, mature and develop physically, emotionally and psychologically. With its unique atmosphere and varied programs, SFAH encourages self-confidence and new skills and attitudes, to enable its campers to live more rewarding lives. During their time at SFAH, they develop a sense of community, a sense of belonging, and a sense of equality.
The Southampton Fresh Air Home is located in Southampton, New York on the East End of Long Island. The camp’s four acres have accessible facilities including dormitories, staff quarters and a main building with a dining hall and an activities room. There are tennis and basketball courts, two outdoor swimming pools, a computer center and an arts and crafts studio.
The camp has an excellent infirmary. A registered nurse is always at the camp, a local pediatrician is on call 24-hours a day, and Southampton Hospital is just a few minutes away. The camp has a “no latex” policy to ensure the health and safety of its campers with severe latex allergies. Our camp director, assistant directors, lifeguards and counselors are CPR certified.
The camp has three-week and one-week sessions each summer. We serve children ages 8 through 18, occasionally accepting older campers for specially designed programs. The camp is small, with a home-like environment. Meals are served family style with all staff and campers dining together. We can accommodate up to 55 campers at a time. Our counselors are typically college students studying special education, physical or occupational therapy, psychology or nursing. The camper-to-counselor ratio is 2:1, and 2 counselors sleep in each bunk to ensure immediate response to campers’ nighttime needs.