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.