August 4-11, 2018
Check in after January 1 for full staff lists, class descriptions and registration information for next summer. Last summer details are available in the archive section.
Join us for a special CDSS family week at Ogontz, where the magic of tradition, humor, friendship and community brings us back year after year. This week is filled with singing, music, dancing and fun for all ages and this year we have an incredible staff of singers, multi-instrumentalists, and dance leaders! And as always, we invite campers to bring their talents to share as well!
Along with our traditional dance offerings of contras, squares, and English country dance, singers and musicians have the chance to participate in harmony singing, family band, and swap songs and tunes in a relaxed environment. Children’s classes are taught by caring and talented staff and include traditional singing and dancing. Days are full of choices in dance, song, crafts, mumming, fun games, and swimming in the crystal clear lake. Just before dinner we meet at the green chairs for story time. Twice a day campers get the opportunity to come together in a camp gathering to sing, dance, and enjoy entertainment by our talented staff and campers. And as always, our days end with a dance party and late night activities as roving monitors check on little ones asleep in their cabins.
Ogontz Camp offers woodlands and wide-open spaces where children can play, a mountain stream for exploring and a pristine lake that hosts a family of loons - perfect for swimming and canoeing. Whether you are having supper on the outdoor dining deck or simply relaxing in the circle of Adirondack chairs under the old white pine, you will enjoy peace and contentment as you take in the beauty of this piece of heaven in the foothills of the White Mountains. Delicious home cooked meals and fresh baked breads nurture your body and soul, fueling you through an unforgettable week.
~ Lily and Paul Leahy, Program Directors
|9:00-9:55||kids and adult classes|
|10:15-11:10||Kids and adult classes|
|11:20-12:10||Morning Gathering: dances, songs, show & tell|
|12:30-1:00||Buffet Lunch Served|
|1:30-3:30||2-Hour Swim Block All ages, 9 & under w/parent Swimming or napping, classes|
|1:30-2:25||All ages Napping and family classes|
|2:35-3:30||All ages Napping and family classes|
|4:50-5:20||Stories at the Green Chairs|
|8:00||Pied Piper/Bedtime for children 9 & younger/All Camp Sing Circle|
|8:05-10:30||After Glow and Evening Dance Party|
|9:15||Bedtime for 10-12 year olds|
|12:30||Bedtime for teens (Wednesday - Teen Game Night - 1:30am)|
Lily Leahy grew up dancing and singing at CDSS’ Family Week at Pinewoods and has been hooked ever since. She started dancing Longsword and Morris at age 10 on Hop Brook Morris, and continued on to dance with Boston-area based Orion Longsword for 14 years. She has taught longsword, morris dancing, and other traditional dances and songs to children for both Revels Education Programs and at the Wellesley Community Children’s Center After School Programs, where she worked full time up until having her first daughter 9 years ago. Lily currently resides in the Cork area of Ireland with her husband and two daughters. She is a music educator and conductor of a children's choir at a local school and enjoys singing with two choirs, one of which she has recently started and conducts. Lily has had the pleasure of teaching at Family Weeks at both Pinewoods and Ogontz and is very much looking forward to returning to Ogontz this summer!
Although new to the dance world since meeting his wife Lily, Paul Leahy has wholeheartedly embraced it. Paul has been a regular at dance weekends and camps over the past decade and a half. And although he started out by being dragged there, Ogontz Family week is now the highlight of his Summer. Paul is an enthusiastic singer and watcher of dancing (but has been known to partake in the odd twirl from time to time).
Mary Alice Amidon
Mary Alice Amidon is a warm and engaging music educator who is passionate and dedicated to song, dance and storytelling with young children. She is a multi-instrumentalist, an accomplished singer of traditional song, and a composer of new songs. As a performer she is gifted in forging a bridge between story, music and listener. As a song leader she inspires open-hearted, full throttle participation.
Peter Amidon fell into the world of traditional music in 1975 and has never turned back. He is thrilled to now be able to make a living as a freelance musician/educator/publisher: telling stories to all age groups, leading harmony singing with adults and teaching and leading dance with children, teachers and families. Peter Amidon, a founding member of New England Dancing Masters, publishers of books, CDs and DVDs of traditional dance for children and community dancing, leads workshops on leading dance with children and communities throughout the United States, often headlining (with Mary Alice Amidon) at state and national music teacher conferences. His choral arrangements are being sung by community, church and hospice choirs throughout the U.S. and the UK. He has led dancing and singing with children and adults at CDSS Camps for thirty-five years.
Karen Axelrod is highly regarded for her creative piano playing at English, American and Scottish dance events around the country. She is in the band Foxfire, Alchemy with Eric Martin and Rachel Bell, and Peregrine Road with Rachel Bell. Karen plays accordion with 3rd String Trio, a band that plays old world cafe music. She also plays accordion for Orion Longsword. She loves the ensemble aspect of playing for dancing, as well as the close connection between what the musicians do and what the dancers do. When not playing music, Karen spends her time coming in last in marathons.
Fynn Crooks used to have a fear of hurdles, but she got over it. Oh, that’s terrible! As a storyteller, humorist, and teacher Fynn has been sharing bad jokes, tough riddles, and a healthy enthusiasm for life with her students, young and old, for a decade. She loves leading group games to encourage communication, cooperation and just plain goofiness. You might find Fynn launching a rubber chicken across camp, leading a silly circus, lifeguarding, telling a folktale, teaching the art of marshmallow catapults, or just dancing with wild abandon. Whatever she does, you’ll sure want to join in the fun - her energy is infectious, but don’t worry, she washes her hands often!
Desiree Melegrito Halcomb
Desiree Melegrito Halcomb
Hailing from Honolulu, Audrey Knuth moved to Boston in 2008 to attend Berklee College of Music and to explore the thriving New England folk scene. After graduating, Audrey has made a name for herself in the music community, as a dance fiddler and audio engineer. With her bands, The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers and Audacious (with Larry Unger), she has travelled across the U.S. playing for dances and concerts. She’s equally adept at teaching workshops, and has been on staff at the renowned Pinewoods Music Camp among others. Audrey’s fiddle playing can be described as rhythmically lively; she's guaranteed to get you up and dancing.
Keith Murphy has been immersed in music and dance since his childhood days in Newfoundland. His distinctive rhythmic sound on guitar, mandolin, piano and foot percussion has helped drive several great contra dance bands including Nightingale, Wild Asparagus and Assembly. Having performed at many dance events throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as overseas, he brings a wealth of experience and sophistication to his playing.
Joanna Reiner has taught English dance, Scottish dance and longsword for over a decade. Her calling has taken her from Amherst to Ann Arbor, from NEFFA to Hey Days, including several sessions at Pinewoods Camp. Joanna led the Philadelphia-based Germantown Country Dancers English dance demonstration team for many years, is an avid dance gypsy, and in her spare time, works to support her dance habit.
Becky Tracy grew up dancing to her father's calling and scratchy 78s of Don Messer's fiddle playing. She has fiddled with the bands Nightingale and Wild Asparagus for the last 15 years and has played in many, many lovely places including Hawaii and France. Becky has a distinctive clarity of tone, a rhythmic attack owing much to French-Canadian playing and the melodic quality of Irish music. Her unmistakable sound has made her a defining presence among dance musicians.
* PROGRAM ADVISORS, plus
ABOUT OGONTZ CAMP
Ogontz is a beautiful 300-acre camp near Lyman, New Hampshire, nestled in the White Mountains halfway between Lisbon and Littleton, three miles or so off Route 10. It had been used as a girls' camp for over 50 years, and in recent years has been dedicated to music, including being the summer home for the Chorus of Westerly (Rhode Island). CDSS has held programs at Ogontz since 1999.
The camp, with its own secluded lake, is surrounded by acres of woods and sunny open spaces. The Dining Room has a warm rustic charm with wooden floors and windows on three sides looking out towards the lake and open grassy fields. Meals include lots of fresh bread and desserts from the large camp bakery. There is a beautiful dance hall equipped with a hardwood floor, a stage and fireplace. Several nice meeting spaces, including a barn loft, are used for our programs. A very special and popular spot to relax, read, listen to stories or just take in the scenery is a large grouping of Adirondack chairs, spread out under a large tree and overlooking the lake and in view of the surrounding mountains. The waterfront has a shallow, sandy beach, as well as places for diving and deep swimming, sailing, kayaking and canoeing. There are also swing sets, tennis courts and a special arts and crafts room. Also on the property are hiking paths following streams and waterfalls. Their New Ogontz Hall is under construction.
Ogontz Camp is a unique place and has its own traditions. The Kent family, who runs the camp, offers a friendly welcome to all guests.
The camp is about a three hour drive from Boston, MA, and six hours from New York, NY.
The program begins with swimming and an informal tour of camp on the afternoon of the first day; followed by an orientation meeting and dance after dinner.
Arrival time is after 4:00pm on the starting Saturday. Departure time is by 10:00am the final Saturday.
You will need to bring a flashlight to find your way around at night. A battery powered or wind up alarm clock and insect repellent may be useful. If you are on a special diet, you may need to bring your own particular food. An ice chest for drinks and snacks to share at after-dance parties may be handy. A specific packing list is sent with acceptance information.
Don't forget to pack your swimsuit, raincoat, sweater, towels, bed linen, and blankets or a sleeping bag and pillows. An extra blanket could be needed.
The nearest stores are a 15-30 minute drive away.
All participants are assigned on-site housing in the month before camp starts. Space is limited; we can't guarantee that all specific requests will be filled. Requests may be made on the Registration Form or with information sent later.
The rustic accommodations at Ogontz offer beautiful vistas and fresh mountain air. The Adirondack-style cabins (roofed platforms) have open sides, one wall of storage and rolldown tarps for privacy, and are generally without screens although mosquito nets are available. Each cabin accommodates a family of 2-6 people on single beds (usually). All have electric light. Shower rooms and toilet facilities are nearby. You have the option of bringing a tent (or two) to pitch on the cabin floor for added privacy and protection from bugs if it would make your family more comfortable.
Even mid-summer evenings in the New Hampshire mountains can sometimes be cold; you can be prepared by bringing extra blankets and even a soft hat to sleep in.
Housing is assigned in the month before camp starts and will be assigned based on the age of the youngest family member. Each family will be assigned its own cabin.
In the cooperative spirit of camp life, all campers have a daily job to help camp run smoothly.
Jobs are usually a half hour or less per day, every day, and the same job all week. Jobs are assigned in the month before camp starts; you have the opportunity make specific requests about your job assignment either on the Registration Form or later with your Registration Status Form.
We can't guarantee that all specific job requests will be filled, but please let us know if you have a preference or limitation (e.g., dust allergy, unable to lift heavy objects, can't stay up late, can't get up for breakfast).
At family sessions parents are generally assigned a job with their young children.
General job categories are:
- Dining room: breakfast, lunch or dinner (set/clear tables)
- Kitchen (serve food, clear, wash dishes, make coffee/tea)
- Sweeping (pavilions, community areas)
- Party help (late night party setup/cleanup)
- Clerical (office, bookstore, auction)
- Greeters (must be able to arrive by 2:00pm)
- Gopher (campstore, auction, lifting)
Some of the jobs start before breakfast. Please let us know if you are happy with an early job.
PHONE & COMPUTERS
Though your plate will be full with activities while at camp, for those of you who must keep in contact with work or home, there are options. There is first class mail and UPS service. We do ask that laptops and cell phones be kept out of the awareness of other campers. Even if you can't, others want to enjoy this time away from the reminders of work-a-day living.There is a touch-tone phone for camper use; you will need a calling card to make long distance calls. Cell coverage is spotty at best.
The fee for the week is
DEPOSITS AND PAYMENTS
Online payments can be made with Mastercard or VISA. We can only take the amount you approve, so balance payments need to be initiated by you.
Mailed-in registrations can be paid by Mastercard, VISA or by check, made payable to CDSS, in U.S. Funds. Mail to CDSS, 116 Pleasant St Suite 345, Easthampton, MA 01027
A deposit of $150/person/week, if not paying full amount, is needed with registration.
Full cost depends on the Week and, at family programs, the ages of children.
Full payment for sessions starting before August 1: due May 20
Full payment for sessions starting on or after August 1: due June 20
There is a fee of $25 on any late payment.
Deposits/payments are processed upon receipt. In the case of cancellation from the wait list or from a session, a refund will be issued as per our cancellation policy.
Registration can be completed online or Registration Form (pdf) may be mailed, hand-delivered, e-mailed or faxed to the CDSS office. Registration confirmation and status will be sent out after April 1. If you wish confirmation that we received your application, please send a stamped, self-addressed postcard or email us at email@example.com.
Looking to pay your camp balance? You'll find the payment form here.
We offer work scholarships to any camper in need, and named scholarships to practicing teachers, leaders and musicians. Please read about our scholarship programs before applying. Scholarship applications will be considered at the time of registration and should therefore accompany the Registration Form.