Our Programs

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.

Program Goals

  • 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 out-of-school enrichment programming for thousands of disadvantaged 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, ecological awareness, teamwork, peer support, role-modeling, creative expression, problem solving, and leadership.

Where is Camp Oh-Neh-Tah?
Camp Oh-Neh-Tah is located on 400 acres in the Catskill Mountains, in East Windham, NY.

What kind of housing and facilities are at Camp Oh-Neh-Tah?
Each cabin has electricity and houses 10 girls and 3 staff members. The showers and sanitation facilities are in close proximity to the cabins. 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 at camp are nutritious, kid-friendly, and served “family style”.

Here is a sample menu:

Scrambled Eggs
Fruit Juice

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Garden Salad
Garlic Bread

Chicken Quesadillas with Salsa
Lettuce, Tomato, Sour Cream
Salad Bar
Iced Tea

There are also vegetarian options and Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches 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. Do pack one nice outfit for our final banquet. Laundry services are provided on a weekly basis for essential items only.

There is no trading post at SEED, 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. For an overview of suggested items, you can download our  Camper Packing List ».

Furthermore, it is more likely than not that your child will leave or lose items at SEED, so it is suggested that you do not send anything valuable or expensive. We do go over all lost and found items with girls, but make sure to label all belongings with your child’s name. Girls Quest is not responsible or liable for lost personal items. 

What is the Summer Learning Gap (SLG)?
The Summer Learning Gap is the loss of learning and knowledge that occurs during the summer months when children are not in school. The SEED Program seeks to close this learning gap and focuses on building our girls’ abilities, confidence, and attitudes by effectively incorporating activities that support a child’s school-year learning with our summer educational sessions.

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 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 or college students studying education, social work or related fields.

What are some of the program’s activities?
The program is designed to provide daily literacy-based enrichment activities as well as a wide array of additional classes and activities to choose from. Other activities offered include:
Swimming, boating, drama, dance, music, basketball, volleyball, soccer, environmental education, nutrition, art, Native American lore, hiking, cookouts, camping, non-competitive games, yoga, fitness, knitting, crocheting, creative writing, double-dutch, and more!

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, 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.

What if my child is homesick or does not like SEED? 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. 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 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. Monies collected for the remainder of the session will not be refunded.

Can we visit the camp? Send Letters or Emails? Send Care Packages?
We do not allow parents to visit their girls while at camp. Correspondence with your child is a critical aspect of her camp experience. During their first few days at camp, girls are strongly encouraged to write a letter home. We suggest posting letters prior to your child’s departure as mail takes three days to arrive. Alternatively, emails can be sent to registrar@girlsquest.org for distribution to your child once a day. The girls do not have access to a computer during their stay at camp. It is fine to send a care package to your child as long as it does not include any candy or food items.


Apply Now

If our SEED program, which will run from August 5-13, 2020, sounds like the perfect program for your daughter, download, then print, review, and complete the following components of the Registration Packet:

  • Overview of SEED Program Registration Process 
  • SEED Program Participant Application 
  • SEED Participant Profile 
  • SEED Child’s Letter (brief essay written by your daughter explaining why she wants to go to Camp Oh-Neh-Tah)
  • Participant Evaluation Form


The Overview of the SEED Program Registration Process document clearly outlines how to complete the Registration forms and how to submit them. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Incomplete/inaccurate forms could impact a young girl being accepted into the program.

If your daughter is accepted into the program, you will be notified to pay a $50 non-refundable Processing Fee within 48 hours.  You will also be instructed to complete/review the remaining components of the Registration Packet below. Again review the Overview of the SEED Program Registration Process for instructions.

  • Medical Form (includes Camper Health History Form and Camper Physical Exam Form)
  • Immunization Record
  • Copy of Camper’s Hospital and Medical Insurance and Prescription Drug Cards (both sides)
  • Camper Code of Conduct Agreement Form 



Teen Leadership Program

The Teen Leadership Program is designed to address the needs of our girls as they grow older. The goal of the program is to:

  • Keep teens connected, engaged, and nurtured during the pivotal ages of 15-17, 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.

In the program, qualified girls ages 15 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.

Fall 2021 will mark the return of the Teen Leadership Program.

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