Summer Experiential Education and Development Program (SEED)
The Summer Experiential Education and Development Program (SEED) is a fun residential academic/social enrichment program for girls ages 8 to 14. We offer a camping program with educational and development twists disguised as play. It focuses on building our girls’ abilities, confidence and attitudes, while reducing the Summer Learning Gap—the loss of learning and knowledge that disproportionately affects children living in under-resourced communities. The camping program addresses four core experiential education principles: literacy/communication skills, creative expression, environmental awareness and leadership skills. SEED program daily camp activities are designed to stimulate the mind, body and soul; and ignite girls learning and emotional development in the “girl-centered” magnificent natural environment of Camp Oh-Neh-Tah.
Address Summer Learning Gap by providing literacy activities like reading and creative writing.
Teach girls social, communication, teamwork and conflict resolution skills.
Develop life skills that young girls can benefit from and leverage post camp and into adulthood.
Improve girls’ coordination and motor skills through participation in athletic and water sports.
Provide a safe, supportive and fun environment that encourages girls to play, grow, learn and challenge themselves through educational as well as traditional camp activities.
Encourage girls to be outgoing, take risks and make new friends.
Develop self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as empathy.
Eliminate bias and stereotypes by promoting understanding and acceptance of all girls regardless of race, color or background.
Increase or develop understanding, respect and appreciation for the environment.
Ceramics is only offered during two-week camping sessions. But rest assured that there are other camp activities that nurture the artist in every child.
Parents and Child FAQs
What is the SEED Program?
For over 80 years, Girls Quest has provided summer enrichment programming for thousands of underserved girls from the greater New York and Catskills regions. At our Summer Experiential Education and Development Program (SEED), located at Camp Oh-Neh-Tah, girls ages 8 to 14 participate in programs that promote literacy, social and emotional development, ecological awareness, teamwork, peer support and role-modeling, creative expression, problem-solving, and leadership without technical support.
Where is Camp Oh-Neh-Tah?
Camp Oh-Neh-Tah is located on 400 acres on the northern rim of the Catskill Mountains, in East Windham, NY. A 3 hour drive from New York City.
How will camp operate during COVID-19?
To operate resident camp during the COVID-19 period, Girls Quest will be using guidelines and protocols created by the CDC, the New York State Department of Health, the American Camp Association, and the Association of Camp Nurses. This year camp is open to all campers regardless of vaccination status but everyone must follow stringent pre-camp health screening and testing protocols to help provide an environment that is as safe as reasonably possible. Since we all need the opportunity to spend time in a safe and healthy environment where we can continue to heal, grow, gain independence, build self-esteem and take advantage of a positive outdoor adventure and living experience, we will continue using most of the NPIs (Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions) that made our 2021 and 2022 sessions such a success. The following are just a handful of the NPIs that will be part of how camp operates, and should go a long way in helping our parents feel comfortable about their child attending our SEED program in 2023.
Pre-camp protocols: The best camp sessions start with healthy participants and this begins at home.
- All campers and staff will be asked to complete a daily health monitoring form for 10 days prior to camp arrival. (Documentation forms will be provided).
- All campers and staff will be required to self-test prior to arrival in camp. Documentation and test results should be emailed directly to our camp Health Director.
- A MANDATORY Zoom Orientation for all campers and parents covering health and safety at camp and how to navigate the NPIs will be conducted in late June.
- All campers and staff must submit a fully filled out medical history, physical exam, immunization record as required by the New York State Department of Health.
- All campers and staff will sign a COVID-19 waiver.
- Staff will receive intensive training on health and safety procedures.
At camp protocols:
- All campers and staff will receive a health screening from the camp Health Director within 4 hours of arrival on site. We will Rapid Test on Day 4 or 5 of the session or if we suspect a camper is sick.
- Basic NPIs such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, frequent handwashing and sanitation, sneezing or coughing into your sleeve and not touching the face will be enforced to the greatest extent possible.We should be pros at this by now.
- Daily temperature checks and health monitoring will occur.
- In the event a child should test positive at camp, parents must be able to pick child up within 24 hours.
What kind of housing and facilities are at Camp Oh-Neh-Tah?
The sleeping cabins have electricity and usually sleeps up to 10 girls and 3 staff members. For 2023, our cabins will be housing 9-10 campers and 2-3 staff. The showers and sanitation facilities are in close proximity to the cabins and will be sanitized and cleaned twice during the day. We have evaluated all other structures (many of which are already open-air) and made changes to accommodate proper distancing and ventilation where possible. Facilities include a dining hall, library, health center, theatre hall, and a windmill that holds a ceramics studio.
How is the food at camp?
Meals in our Dining Hall are nutritious, kid-friendly, and served “family style”. Our structure will support our camp population with distancing. Cabin groups will have the option of taking their meal at the picnic tables outdoors adjacent to the Dining Hall.
Here is a sample menu:
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Chicken Quesadillas with Fixings
Veggie Dip Platter with Ranch
There are also vegetarian/vegan options offered as a daily supplement to a particular meal. Special dietary needs can be accommodated.
What items are recommended to pack for camp? Should my child bring money?
The girls play in a rustic environment and bring home very dirty clothing, so send inexpensive or older clothes that you are willing to discard. Laundry services are provided on a weekly basis for essential items only.
There is no trading post at Camp, so money is not necessary or permitted. If found, this and other banned items (electronic games, music players, tablets, laptops, cell phones) will be taken from your child for the duration of the program and returned at the end of her stay.
You will receive a Packing List prior to your child’s departure. Experience has shown that it is more likely than not that your child will leave or lose items at Camp, so to reiterate, it is suggested that you do not send anything valuable or expensive. We do go over all lost and found items with the girls, so please label all belongings with your child’s name. Girls Quest is not responsible or liable for lost personal items.
How are counselors selected and what qualifications do they have?
Our staff is carefully selected for those qualities of leadership, personal values, and caring that enable them to relate to and motivate young people. Criminal background, sexual offender and reference checks are completed on staff prior to hiring. Staff participates in an extensive pre-camp Orientation and training program. All staff is closely supervised by experienced administrative staff.
The staff at Camp Oh-Neh-Tah is mature, enthusiastic, and diverse. Most of the staff members are Girls Quest or Girl’s Vacation Fund Alumnae, teachers or college students studying education, social work or related fields. We are a girl’s camp; however, some program and support staff are filled by males who have alternative housing on-site.
What are some of the program’s activities?
The program is designed to provide each girl with an opportunity to experience enrichment activities as well as a wide array of additional classes and activities. Daily activities offered include: swimming, boating, drama, dance, music, basketball, volleyball, soccer, environmental education, art, hiking, cookouts, camping, non-competitive games, yoga, fitness, creative writing and more. A hike on our Nature Trail and up Mt. Zoar is included in the program.
How does Camp Oh-Neh-Tah care for the health and safety of its girls?
The Health Center is staffed with licensed medical personnel (RN, EMT, or Paramedic) who handle girls’ and staff’s daily health needs. All medication is checked-in at our bus site and stored in the Clinic, where your child will take her medication under the supervision of the medical staff. Your child’s physician must approve all medication with specific instructions for our medical staff. In 2023, our medical staff will have additional experience and training in mitigating COVID-19. Please note, that unlike school, the Health Director will not call you about every scratch or bug bite, but reserve that option for more serious injuries or illness.
What if my child is homesick or does not like Camp? Can my daughter be sent home early?
Since developing independence includes learning to trust and take care of oneself, we recommend that you give your child time to adjust if she writes that she is homesick or upset. We are prepared for continued “separation anxiety” in 2023. Parents should not tell their child that she can come home if she is homesick. Children must agree to attend for a full session unless there is an emergency, bad behavior or illness.
In the past, participants have been sent home for bad behavior, family emergencies or illness. It is the responsibility of the parent to pay for all travel costs if a child gets sent home early by Girls Quest.
Can we visit the camp? Send Letters or Emails? Send Care Packages?
Visitors are not allowed in camp for this 9-day session in 2023. Correspondence with your daughter is a critical aspect of her camp experience. Please write regularly. Campers do not have access to a computer during their stay, but you will be able to email the Assistant Director (email@example.com), who will make sure your child gets your communication. Care packages are fine as long as they do not include any candy or food items.
How do I register my child?
To register, please contact Ms. Shanny Hererra at firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration process consists of PACKET A (Application, Participant Profile, Camper Letter, Code of Conduct and Income Verification), the camper interview conducted by our Camp Director; and PACKET B (Medical History, Physical Exam and Immunization Record). There is a $50.00 non-refundable Processing Fee due with PACKET A and a Camp Fee between $150 and $350.00 which is due no later than July 1, 2023.
All our returners are welcome, although we have limited spots for ages 13-14 and will not be accepting any new girls in that age bracket. All 8–12-year-olds are welcome!
The Registration Process to enroll girls into the 2023 SEED (Summer Experiential Education Development) Program will be similar to the Camp 2022 process. Camp 2023 will run from July 14 to July 22, 2023. Parents/Guardians of girls who participated in Camp 2022, GirlsQUEST@Home, and/or GirlsQuest@Home Year-Round will be contacted directly by Ms. Connie Stine, our Camp Director, or Ms. Shanny Herrera, our Registrar, to ascertain interest in participating in Camp 2023. Those interested will be sent Registration instructions and materials (Packet A & B).
Parents/Guardians of girls who have never participated in a Girls Quest program should reach out to our Registrar, Ms. Shanny Herrera at email@example.com to request Registration information and materials (Packet A & B). All Registration documents (noted below) are writable PDFs and once completed should be returned to Ms. Shanny Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org OR Ms. Shanny Herrera, GQ Registrar, PO Box 806, NY, NY 10027.
The following outlines the Registration Process for New Applicants:
- Complete Packet A (completed forms due by May 30, 2023)
- SEED Program Participant Application (Parent/Guardian information and consents)
- SEED Program COVID-19 Waiver
- SEED Program Participant Profile
- SEED Program Child’s Letter
- SEED Program Code of Conduct Agreement
- SFSP Income Eligibility Form
- Pay Processing Fee
- Return completed Packet A with a non-refundable $50.00 Processing Fee by May 30, 2023.
- Payment Options
- We accept payment via money order or PayPal. We DO NOT accept personal checks.
- Please include a note indicating the child’s name and that the payment is for the Processing Fee.
- Money Order:Please make payable to “Girls Quest” and mail to Florence Danforth-Meyer, GQ Treasurer, 132A East 65th St. # 6A, New York, NY 10065
- PayPal:1) Access your account Home Page. 2) Click the tab to send money. 3) You will send to email@example.com. (If GVF or Girl’s Vacation Fund comes up, that’s us!) 4) Pick credit or debit and enter the details. 5) Before clicking the SEND tab please include a note indicating the child’s name and that the payment is for the Processing Fee.
- Interview with Camp Director: Once we have received a completed Packet A and your non-refundable Processing Fee, Ms. Connie Stine, our Camp Director, will be in contact to set up a Phone Interview (Parent & Child). Please plan for a 30-40 minute conversation.
- Attend Mandatory Parent/Child Zoom Orientation, Friday, July 7, 2023, 7:00-8:15 PM.
- Complete Packet B (completed forms due by June 30, 2023)
- Medical Form (includes Camper Health History and Camper Physical Exam Form)
- Immunization Record
- Copy of Camper’s Hospital and Medical Insurance and Prescription Drug Cards (both sides)
- Camper Packing List
- Pay Camp Fee
- The Camp Fee will be based on information provided on the Income Eligibility Form and range from $150-$350 per child and is due NO LATER than June 30, 2023. NO EXCEPTIONS. Follow the Payment Options instructions under Packet A Processing Fees. Please indicate the child’s name and that payment is for the Camp Fee.
- In the event that Camp is canceled, or your child should become ineligible, the Camp Fee will be refunded.
- Important Dates
- June 30, 2023- Parent Letter with Bus information and the recommended Pre-Camp Health Screening Process and related Form delivered to families. (Refer to Parents and Child FAQs above for more information.)
- July 7, 2023- MANDATORY Parent/Child Zoom Orientation 7:00-8:15
- July 6, 2023- Pre-Camp Health Screening begins. Please avoid large groups, gatherings, or events like the 4th of July celebrations that could expose your child to COVID-19. If you must attend large gatherings, be mindful of distancing and if advisable, masking.
- July 8, 2023- Unvaccinated participants take 1st COVID-19 rapid test and results emailed to the camp Health Director.
- July 13, 2023– COVID-19 rapid test should be taken on this date by all participants (vaccinated and unvaccinated) and results emailed to the camp Health Director.
- NOTE: Unvaccinated participants will be expected to take COVID-19 rapid test twice.
All forms must be completely filled out with proper signatures and returned by the designated date.
NOTE: We will not be accepting missing documents at the bus pick-up site on Friday, July 14, 2023.
The only form we will be collecting at the bus site on Friday, July 14, 2023, is the Pre-Camp Health Screening Form.
GirlsQUEST@Home Year-Round Workshops (GQ@HYR)
GirlsQUEST@Home Year-Round is a virtual version of Camp On-Neh-Tah that leverages Zoom technology and offers girls between the ages of 8-14 an opportunity to experience many traditional camp activities in the comfort of their homes. The themed workshops are offered on Saturdays from 1:00-4:00 pm and give participants a chance to complete enriching, creative and interactive activities conducive to a virtual platform. Materials like basic craft supplies, specific items needed for planned projects and instructions, are mailed to girls prior to a scheduled workshop. At times Pre-Work Assignments are emailed to participants to prepare them for fruitful discussions or planned activities. Camper favorites like Craft projects, Nature Awareness, Song Fests, Movement (yoga, fitness, dance), and Journaling make up the Workshops; along with new activities like the Gratitude Tree, Guest Speakers, and the widely popular Scavenger Hunt.
- Bring components of the Camp Oh-Neh-Tah experience to girls at home.
- Deliver themed sessions that address developmental topics as well as offer fun activities that generate interactivity and laughter.
- Focus on self-love and body-positive messages to help build self-esteem and confidence.
- Inspire creativity through arts and craft activities.
- Provide a nurturing environment that encourages constructive discussions that support growth.
- Expand exposure to important women who have made significant contributions to society.
- Give girls the chance to stay in touch with friends they have made through Girls Quest.
Teen Leadership Program
The Teen Leadership Program is designed to address the needs of our girls as they grow older. In the program, qualified girls ages 14 and up, participate in cultural, educational and leadership activities throughout the year. They receive training in leadership, conflict resolution, and behavior modeling during the school year, in preparation for serving as peer leaders at SEED during the summer.
- Keep teens connected, engaged, and nurtured during the pivotal ages of 14-17, and keep them on track, in school, and developing into responsible adults and their best selves.
- Develop skills and attitudes needed to become leaders among their peers and in their communities.
- Tap into the positive experiences of teens who have attended SEED and are eager to stay engaged with Girls Quest as they grow and give back to the younger girls in our program.