NYC camp offers ‘passport’ to city adventures for high schoolers

Courtesy of the 92Y
Credit: 92Y

Typically, thoughts of summer camp conjure memories of tents and hiking.

However, the camp experience has evolved in many ways. One example is the 92nd Street Y’s Passport NYC program: Instead of spending days in the woods, teenagers from 9th through 12th grades participate in a residential camp.

Students stay in 92 Street Y housing and select from different specialties — film, fashion, music industry and musical theater — to focus on during their three-week stay.

We talked to camp director Molly Hott about the program and its summer offerings.

Why choose Passport NYC?
There are a lot of different camps throughout NYC, but there aren’t many residential ones for teenagers, especially with the opportunity for them to live in New York and explore one of the five specialties that we offer. It’s like an in-depth tie between both NYC and the specialties together.

The camp is described as “five reality shows into one.” What does that mean?

There’s “Top Chef,” there’s “Project Runway,” there are all these different types of shows that are similar to what we offer at the camp in a real-life situation, so [students aren’t] competing with each other, but they’re really competing to learn and build their own skills — without cameras following, of course!

Are there community service opportunities for the campers?
One of the big things about the program that the website doesn’t really talk about is the opportunity to earn community service credit by participating in activities to give back. Anything from working with seniors to getting their hands dirty in urban farms, there are just so many opportunities for them to explore.

How safe is the camp for students who may not be used to city life?
Safety is the No. 1 factor in this program, both physically and emotionally. The basis of what we do has everything to do with making the teens and their parents comfortable. So, when they travel throughout New York, they’re taking trains and buses and are real New Yorkers, but they always travel in a group. … They’re not traveling like children or holding hands or anything like that, but they are told before they even leave where they’re going, what train they’re taking, and essentially we’re teaching them how to get places while also making them responsible for one another. So, it’s like a buddy system, but in a more teen-related way.

Passport NYC
July 28 through Aug. 18
9th through 12th grades


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