New York PlaySmart Academy


Combining the best of summer “day-camps,” experiential education and athletics, the Academy provides an intensely unique but fun experience for middle school youth where sitting around is minimize, the learning and participating is maximized and the impact is real.

Many of the activities featured at our Academy are below:

  • Warm-up, exercise and nutrition instruction for good health and physical fitness.
  • A “learn to swim” or “learn to swim better” experience crucial for all youth.
  • Exposure to 5-6 sports (some non-traditional such as lacrosse, rugby, archery, low/high ropes, rock climbing, fishing, tennis, volleyball).
  • Life skills workshops on topics such as health/nutrition, leadership/service, confidence building, public speaking, manners and etiquette.
  • Mentoring sessions with guest speakers such as professional athletes and coaches, Olympic athletes, elected officials, and community, faith and corporate leaders.
  • Academic workshops focused on study and organization skills, time management, goal setting, subject specific skills and college/career readiness.
  • Purpose driven field trips bringing the goals of the Academy to life for the participants (and to provide an extra element of fun).


Each Academy has the capacity for Sixty (60) middle school youth who are in grades 5th – 8th grades.  The program is for student-athletes AND non-athletes.  However, youth will be expected to participate in outdoor and physical activities, sports, team building sessions and classroom workshops.  Keeping with our values, the Academy is open to youth and families who typically would have not have access to these types of programs due to economic or other circumstances.

The Academy is open to youth across the local region but emphasis is placed on youth in the local neighborhoods as the Academy site is often more accessible.  Recruitment as well as transportation logistics take place through partnerships with like-mind organizations, athletic leagues and local middle schools.

To participate, each student must complete an Academy application requiring parental signatures.  In addition, each student must provide reference form from a mentor, coach or teacher (attached to the application).  This is the student’s first measure of responsibility and showcasing their investment in the opportunity they are about to receive.  Appropriate help to complete this section is available for students should they require it.

Participation in organized sports has both social and physical benefits for young children: physical, mood and mental health, self-esteem, and promotes positive social effects

David Wright, Chairman


In order to further the development of our summer Academy participants, PlaySmart provides follow-up group activities throughout the school year on a weekend or off-school night.  A local community center or middle school generally serves as the gathering place before each activity.  These activities include but are not limited to community service projects, sporting events or other purpose driven events, leadership workshops with guest speakers and athletic opportunities such as pick-up games.

The purpose of these activities is to continue relationship building and to provide a “check-in” on the participant’s academic progress, athletic interests and overall well-being.  Additionally, these meetings provide more time to reinforce the outcomes and goals of the Academy.



JULY 10 – JULY 14
9:00 am to 3:30 pm

The PlaySmart Academy is a one-of-a-kind summer experience for underserved youth in our local community featuring sports, physical fitness, life skills development and enrichment. It’s a one week program for middle school students (rising 6th to 8th graders) who have a desire to improve themselves not just on the court or field, but more importantly in life. PlaySmart uses sports as a vehicle to teach life skills that youth can take back to the classroom, the community, and to their families.


  • Sports and fitness
  • Guest speakers
  • Breakfast and lunch provided
  • T-shirts and other cool stuff
  • Transportation provided
  • Instruction and guidance from trained staff and volunteers


Space is limited to 80 participants.

  • Need based program
  • No cost to participate
  • Application completed by parent/guardian and child

For further information and an Academy application please contact:

Liz Delizia

  • Academy Flyer

    Download the 2017 PlaySmart Academy camp flyer.

  • Academy Application - English

    Download the 2017 PlaySmart Academy Student Application – English version.

  • Academy Application - Spanish

    Download the 2017 PlaySmart Academy Student Application – Spanish version.

  • Volunteer Flyer

    Download the 2017 PlaySmart Academy volunteer flyer.

  • Volunteer Application

    Download the 2017 PlaySmart Academy Volunteer Application.