! Alert

Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

Gov­er­nors Island Wel­comes Beam Camp City


New to Gov­er­nors Island, Beam Camp City is a day camp run by Brook­lyn-based non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion (and year-round Gov­er­nors Island ten­ant) Beam Cen­ter that aims to make out­door activ­i­ties acces­si­ble for New York City youth. Beam Cen­ter strives to build com­mu­ni­ties and bring togeth­er youth through engag­ing projects. 

Beam Center’s main mis­sion is to cre­ate an out­door camp­ing expe­ri­ence for New York City kids and to pro­vide space for campers to express their cre­ativ­i­ty, explore their iden­ti­ty and con­tribute to a shared expe­ri­ence. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Beam Cen­ter spent its sum­mers exclu­sive­ly at its sum­mer camp in New Hampshire. 

With out­door open space grow­ing more lim­it­ed in New York City, Gov­er­nors Island is the ide­al loca­tion to cre­ate Beam Camp City. Intend­ed for city kids and run by city res­i­dents, Beam Camp City is a safe space for chil­dren to expe­ri­ence the best of what Beam Cen­ter has cre­at­ed in New Hamp­shire, but much clos­er to home. Sur­round­ed by the Island’s lush foliage, kids spend most of their time out­doors learn­ing about their phys­i­cal surroundings. 

Grow­ing up in New York City, some chil­dren may not oth­er­wise have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to iso­late them­selves with trees, flow­ers and, insects. At Beam Camp City, kids are using their nat­ur­al sur­round­ings to make art and rein­force their lev­el of aware­ness for their phys­i­cal space. The Beam Cen­ter team has found that build­ing this rela­tion­ship with the envi­ron­ment and their com­mu­ni­ty can expand campers’ per­spec­tive and creativity. 

Beam Camp City’s flu­id­i­ty and flex­i­bil­i­ty is what makes this sum­mer camp expe­ri­ence so unique. Youth mem­bers and lead­ers lis­ten to what campers have to say. As the chil­dren offer their own feed­back and expe­ri­ence, camp staff empha­size how impor­tant it is that the campers know their voic­es are heard. The camp cur­ricu­lum and pro­grams are based on campers’ feed­back and interests. 

Not only is there a pow­er­ful con­nec­tion between the campers and staff, there is also a large net­work of com­mu­ni­ty sup­port involved in the camp expe­ri­ence. Bri­an Cohen, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Beam Cen­ter, says, We are con­nect­ed to the city ecosys­tem of edu­ca­tion — we are work­ing hand in hand with both the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, the Depart­ment of Youth and Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions to make this hap­pen. This is a cross-sec­tor part­ner­ship, we are not try­ing to do this on our own.” 

For the sum­mer 2021 sea­son, campers part­nered with mixed media artist Ye Qin Zhu to cre­ate CON­STEL­LA­TION, a series of six sculp­tures made of weld­ed steel and silt-cast ceram­ic bells, installed across Gov­er­nors Island through Octo­ber 2021 to cre­ate a lit­er­al con­stel­la­tion of ring­ing bells. 

Marisol Cas­tane­da-Sal­ga­do, Beam Camp City Direc­tor, says, After a year of iso­la­tion and a glob­al pan­dem­ic, plus every­thing that real­ly affect­ed chil­dren and youth in New York City, this project gives them an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see each oth­er.” Along with giv­ing campers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see one anoth­er, Gov­er­nors Island’s hun­dreds of thou­sands of vis­i­tors are engag­ing with the project as well, fur­ther empha­siz­ing the inter­con­nect­ed­ness between vis­i­tors, the Island and art. 

By employ­ing hun­dreds of city youth each year and invit­ing campers to get involved through feed­back and par­tic­i­pa­to­ry art­work, Beam Cen­ter is work­ing hard to expose the next gen­er­a­tion of New York City res­i­dents to art, team­work, envi­ron­ment, and — most impor­tant­ly — themselves. 

Beam Center’s youth Doc­u­men­ta­tion Team has cre­at­ed a pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion titled The Light Show: Beam Camp City, Sum­mer 2021 fea­tur­ing the pho­tos, they cap­tured through­out their sum­mer on Gov­er­nors Island. Vis­i­tors are invit­ed to the exhi­bi­tion, open on August 7, 8, 14 and 15 from 11am to 5pm, in Colonels Row Build­ing 407A. RSVP here.

Vis­i­tors are also invit­ed to attend Beam Center’s Invent­ge­nu­ity Fes­ti­val! All ages from 6 and up are wel­come and invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in fes­ti­val activ­i­ties. To RSVP click here.

For more infor­ma­tion on how to get involved, click here.