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Camp Ballibay for the Fine & Performing Arts
The Best Kept Secret
For Independent-Minded, Artistic Teens
Three hours from New York City, on a pristine Pennsylvania mountaintop, is a summer haven for creative, different-thinking kids.
Founded by education reformers Dorothy and Gerard Jannone in 1964, it's both a fun, friendly summer camp and a unique environment for personal and artistic growth.
Young artists are offered real decision-making agency, and work with the adults on campus in a daily creative dialogue.
Our staff are teachers, parents, and artists. The camp directors are college professors with long careers in the arts and education. With never more than 160 kids, and always at least 40 adults, it's an ideal community for fun and learning: safe, warm, diverse, and accepting.
Teens come to paint, draw, dance, act, sing, play music, make films; and to discover new interests and make friends in a bucolic setting. There are horses to ride, animals to care for, and a garden to tend. And the food is truly amazing; local, sustainable, and made from scratch.
80% of kids come for more than one summer, and 25% of the camp community has been coming for more than 5 years. Many teens join our Counselor in Training program at age 16 or 17, and then return as Apprentices at age 18, and/or Junior Staff at age 19.
At $4,500 for a 3-week stay, it is one of the most affordable small, private summer arts programs for kids anywhere. It's also the #1 rated arts camp on CampRatingZ.com since 2011. It's not for everyone. But for independent-minded teenagers in search of creative peers, it's nothing short of magical.
A brief description about the summer programs you offer.
We offer 3 & 4 week general programs, where teens design their own program days, choosing from any and all of our activities. We also have 2 & 3 week programs with a visual arts focus, 2 week rock music camps, and 2 week intensive dance programs.
What draws teens to your program?
We are a genuine, warm, accepting, safe, tolerant environment. We believe strongly in non-competition. There is absolutely no bullying, no divas, no hazing. There are no contests, no awards, no pressure to do or to be anything or anyone in particular. We attract the artist, and the different thinker. We are LGBTQ friendly.
What type of teen attends your program?
We provide a safe space for a lot of special kids who don't necessarily have an easy time finding their "group," because they are young artists, different-thinkers, free spirits, hyper-focused, super-shy, etc... When the right kids come to Ballibay, they know they are among "their people," often within minutes of arriving on campus.
Where do your participants come from?
All over the world. More than half from NYC/NJ/DC, but the rest from everywhere: All over North America, Asia, Europe, and South America.
What's a typical day like?
Completely individual choice based on teens' interests. See some sample daily schedules here: https://www.campballibay.com/daily-schedule/
What should participants expect to learn or take away from your program?
In our programs, teens really collaborate with the adult professional artists on the staff. We emphasize a true creative dialogue and depth of exploration of the quality students don't usually see until graduate school. It's an opportunity for deep engagement with their art, in a totally supportive environment.
What are past participants saying about your program?
We are the #1 rated arts camp, and #1 rated camp in Pennsylvania any category, on CampRatingZ: http://best.artsCamps.us/ We are rated 4.9 out of 5 on both Facebook and Google Business. Our kids and families love us, and over 80% of campers return for more than one summer.