Finding engaging camps and activities for summer break can be anxiety-inducing for parents in a normal year. But throw the uncertainty of the pandemic into the mix, and we’re all left to wonder what this summer will actually look like. Will in-person camps be safe? Should we be looking for remote options? NORY, a STEM-based camp in New York City and Westchester, offers both.
Unlike many STEM camps, NORY, which means “to play” in Korean, blends both hard skills—learning what a circuit is and how to use it to make a robot—and soft skills—grit, empathy, and inquisitiveness—into all of their camp offerings. “We like to say we’re making and building with a purpose,” says co-founder Matthew Trainor. In keeping with this, all of NORY’s STEM camps are rooted in stories. Campers start the week by hearing a story about a character in a situation they can understand or relate to (think a dolphin swimming in dirty waters) and then are tasked with using robotics and science to solve the problem (figuring out a way to remove trash from the ocean.)
Kids at home can get in on the problem solving, too, thanks to NORYs hands-on virtual camp options. Remote campers receive a package by mail with all of the supplies they’ll need for NORY’s Robot & Science or Coding & Game Building camps. All of the projects are student-driven and rigorously tested before they become a part of the curriculum, says Trainor, so kids can complete their tasks and build some pretty advanced robots even if a parent isn’t nearby to help.
For parents who choose an in-person summer camp, NORY offers its Robot & Science camp for kids ages three to 12, as well as an Entrepreneur’s camp, for ages five to 12, where children participate in The World’s Coolest Lemonade Stand Project, a city-wide campaign to introduce kids to entrepreneurial skills at a young age. At the camps Downtown, on the Upper West Side and in Gramercy, parents have the option of adding swim to their package, which includes 45-60 minutes of swim instruction at a nearby pool for part of the week, or they can add on a soccer program, in partnership with Super Soccer Stars.
NORY camps are offered on a weekly basis in various locations throughout New York City. They also have a brand-new site in Hartsdale, Westchester. The camps are full-day (9am-3pm) with a half-day program available for kids ages three and four. All COVID safety precautions are strictly adhered to, including mask-wearing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocol, and staggered drop-off and pick-up times.
Pricing starts at $750 per week for in-person camp and $399 per week for a virtual half-day camp (9am-1pm and 11:30am-3:30pm). Siblings receive a 5% discount on all camps.
Adds Trainor: "After all that kids have been through this past year, they deserve the most fun summer ever, and we will ensure that that is exactly what they experience at NORY." It sure sounds like a summer to remember to us.