For many children who come to the Southampton Fresh Air Home for the first time, the variety of camp activities they can participate in is nothing short of miraculous. SFAH provides a typical camp experience with sports, arts and crafts, computers, cookouts, beach outings and sailing. Activities are adapted for the abilities and degrees of dexterity of each camper.
SFAH campers of all ages participate in typical camp sports including tennis, basketball, softball, golf, sailing and swimming. Our programs draw on the work of special needs professionals in each sport, and make use of local facilities offered with pride and love by many in our Southampton community. Tennis pros and local teens who love the sport work with children on our own court. Our sailing program, which makes use of a local accessible dock and the adapted boat “The Sara C” is generously supported by Sea Legs, a nonprofit organization of disabled veterans. Campers golf at local driving ranges and the Shinnecock Golf Club, under the watchful eye and careful instruction of members of SFAH’s Board of Directors and special needs professionals in our golfing community.
Arts and Crafts
In 2004 SFAH opened the Otto Arts and Crafts Studio, where campers spend many hours each summer on fun projects that challenge and delight their creative talents. They explore ways of using not only hands but also feet, wheelchair wheels, and adapted art supplies to produce pictures and three dimensional objects.
Campers participate in several musical and theatrical events throughout their time at SFAH. They make masks, costumes and props, and sing and dance on the camp’s flat deck that is used as its outdoor stage.
Local music professionals and amateur groups come to the Home to perform for and with the campers, and occasionally campers go to theatrical performances at various summer programs in the East End towns.
SFAH’s Mulholland Computer Center is equipped with state of the art computer equipment: personal computers, adapted keyboards, large screen monitors, scanners, printers and digital photography equipment. A variety of recreational and educational software is available, and all campers have e-mail accounts so that they can keep in touch with family and friends throughout their stay at SFAH. We recognize that computer technology fields afford important opportunities for physically challenged adults, and work to create a computer program that is fun and educational, encouraging each camper to want to explore and do more with technology both at camp and when they return to their homes and schools.
Southampton, New York is a small East End town on Long Island. It is a close-knit community, which reaches out to support the camp and enhance its programs each summer season. Campers attend concerts at local Agawam Park, go to the circus when it comes to town, have a picnic at a private home on the beach and watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. They are guests at the homes of Board members, and go to the ocean beaches for the simple pleasures of sand, sun and sea air. They go to a Nature Conservancy preserve on Shelter Island and explore its adapted trails with special programs provided by the Conservancy's educational staff.
SFAH campers participate in time honored traditions of all American camps: flag raising and lowering at the beginning and end of each day, color wars between bunks, movie nights with popcorn and candy, ghost stories around the campfire, talent shows by campers and counselors, pie eating contests and so much more.
At the end of each three-week session there is a SFAH Prom. Staff from local salons come to the camp to help the girls with makeup and hairdos. Both campers and counselors dress up for this very special evening of dancing and remembering all the good times they had with each other throughout their weeks at camp.
Campers keep in touch with each other and with staff throughout the school year. Many former campers maintain their connections with each other and with the next generation of SFAH children, long after they have moved on to college, jobs, and independence.