For New Heights, their summer program begins in the dead of winter when staff get together to begin to discuss opportunities they want to develop for youth.
“We do not simply roll out the same programs every summer,” said New Heights Executive Director Tracey Tucker. “We like to mix the new in with the old.”
According to Tucker, its new Tristate Adventure program may prove to be one of its more popular offerings this summer. In this program, youth will engage in activities in ME, NH, and MA.
“They will have a chance to rock climb, boogie board and enjoy an ice cream extravaganza all in one day,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”
In its new Boogie Boarding and Slacklining program, longtime Adventure Coordinator Sally Gregory said youth will have the chance to slackline at the top of a mountain as well as boogie board in the ocean on the same day.
“Slacklining is an increasingly popular sport that resembles slack rope walking and tightrope walking,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun and we supply all the equipment kids will need.”
New Heights also offers intensive multi-day workshops in which youth can investigate various subjects, or engage in activities, at greater length. Mad Circus Skillz is one such workshop.
“This is an opportunity for youth to learn to walk on both two and four foot tall stilts and make their own performance grade hula hoop to keep,” said New Heights’ becca Pawling. “Kids will finish the workshop by showing off a bit to the tourists of Prescott Park.”
For Pawling, her workshop reflects her strong belief that creativity is essential for youth. She cited her choice in not capitalizing her first name as an example—albeit fun—that people also should feel free to be themselves.
“We encourage positive creative expression, and so how I choose to spell—or not spell—my name sort of demonstrates that for the kids in my workshops,” she noted. “It is okay to be whoever you are.”
For youth who appreciate day trips as opposed to extended overnight expeditions of which New Heights offers several, the Day Camp program is the perfect fit.
“Whether a youth is looking to go swimming at a beach or tubing at a water park, we offer all sorts of different one-day adventures,” Tucker said. “It’s a chance for kids to get their proverbial feet wet at New Heights before moving on to more intensive programs and opportunities.”
According to Tucker, though, New Heights’ Day Camp is still constructed like any other summer program.
“We discuss how we want each day to look like, what staff we want where and in the appropriate instructor to youth ratios,” she added. “Everything we do is intentional, which is why we begin to map out our Summer Program by December of the previous year.”
As for how New Heights can continue to diversify its summer programming each year, Director of Development & Marketing Janice Hastings said community support is critical. She cited its upcoming St, Paddy’s “April Fool’s” Five-Miler in April as proof regarding the “incredible support” New Heights receives from surrounding communities.
“This race attracts more than a thousand people each year—it’s essentially a big party whose purpose, of course, is to raise money for our programs,” she added. “From participants to corporate and individual sponsors, this event alone demonstrates just what New Heights means to the greater Seacoast…Our Summer Program would not be what it is without this type of support.”
As for what parents and youth alike can expect this summer at New Heights, Tucker distilled her beliefs into one word. “Fun,” she laughed.
New Heights charges program fees, but offers need-based scholarships and all the equipment necessary to participate. To register or learn more about New Heights’ Summer Program, please visit www.newheightsonline.org, or call (603) 422-8235.