Around the Island

Coping With the Crisis: Keeping busy with a safe, fun summer

We finally have some warm weather. Parents are probably sighing with relief that Zoom school is over. But now what? The usual Island programming and events aren’t happening. But for adults and children alike, we can still enjoy our summer.

Summer Classes for Kids: Town Recreational Director Bethany Ortmann is moving the July programs online, offering three weeks of programing that include Drama, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and Arts and Crafts. Children will be able to connect with familiar staff faces along with seeing their summer friends each morning.

To learn more about the programs and to sign up, visit Islanders will be informed about August scheduling when more is known.

Outdoor Movie: If you’re lamenting that there are no movie theaters open, Shelter Island may have the answer. The Friends of the Library is planning to host some drive-in movies at Wades Beach. Stay tuned for dates and times.

Library Online: Director Terry Lucas reminds us that the library is still open, even with closed doors. Remote programming will continue along with the summer reading programs for children and adults. She recommends going to the website and scrolling down to see the programs, including Great Decisions, book clubs, Friday Night Dialogues, STEM programs and more. In a few weeks there will be curbside pickup and delivery of library materials. If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for it online. In addition, they have downloadable eBooks, audio books, magazines and movies. The website is or you can email Ms. Lucas at [email protected] with questions.

Enjoying Nature: The Mildred Hird Nature Preserve, off Menantic Road, opened late last year. With summer foliage now in bloom, it’s wonderful for a stroll or energetic walk, and the Sylvester Manor trails are now open from sunrise to sunset. Additionally, Turkem’s Rest at Midway near Tarkettle Road provides a walk leading to beautiful wetlands and Fresh Pond.

Shelter Island Classics: Remember, many traditional activities have not been affected by the coronavirus: cookouts, frisbee, catch, hide and seek, tetherball, croquet, badminton, stick-ball, handball, gardening and pool games. Councilman Jim Colligan recalls his youth spending endless time in the backyard playing Redlight-Greenlight, Ringaleveo and Capture the Flag. He recommends that grandparents or anyone share memories of summer days to help youth discover the possibilities of unstructured childhood.

Off-Island Options: Beyond Shelter Island, there are plenty of virtual activities that parents can access. We suggest that parents research camps geared to almost any interest, which have been adapted so they can be attended online. While mainly intended for children and teens, adults may find them worthwhile as well. Here are some examples:

• NYC Guitar School: A summer rock camp for ages 8-17 offers a $20 online trial lesson. Phone 646-485-7244 or go to

• Cinemakidz2: For ages 5-15, it’s for filmmaking, animating, etc. Phone 347-699-6401 or go to

• Geek Forest: S.T.E.A.M. camp for ages 6-12. Phone 917-966-6000 or go to

• Child’s Play NY: Offers week-long sessions for ages 3-11 learning to perform. Led by professional actors. Every Friday there’s a show. Go to

• Virtual Painting and Digital Arts Camp: Phone 516-463-2267 or go to [email protected]

• Learn a language and take music classes with Other popular language platforms are:,,

Note: Except for those endorsed above, we suggest parents thoroughly check out reviews and recommendations before signing up for any online programs.

Storytime & Doodling: Every night on Twitter, Josh Gad is doing 10-minute story times. Some of the selections have included Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and Drew Daywalt. Look for Josh on Youtube.

• Lunch Doodles: Every day at 1 p.m. with Mo Willems. Mo can also be found on Youtube.

• Zentangle doodling: The art of creating beautiful drawings from repetitive patterns. One good site is This is said to be good for stress reduction!

• The Kindness Rocks Project: People paint rocks with inspirational sayings and leave them on beaches. Finding one is a treat. Go to

Virtual Tours: Take a trip to Mars. Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover. The site is in the middle of an update, but the 360 mode offers a great digital view at accessmars.

• Museum and tours: Go to for NY’s best online events, virtual tours, and Livecams. Also, check out the website for The Smithsonian Institution.

• The Parrish Art Museum in Watermill has virtual tours. Go to

• The Quogue Wildlife Refuge also has virtual tours. Go to

Learn other skills: Magic. The Social Distancing Magician Starter Kit for $49. Ten hand-picked magic tricks taught to you by Justin Willman. Proceeds benefit COVID-19 relief charities. Go to for full details.

Learn to cook new recipes: Online classes like, a Long Island based program.

Genealogy: Research family roots through a variety of resources. can be helpful, but not always necessary. You can do a lot on your own just searching the internet. There are resources on the library site,

Note: The information for this article was provided by the Shelter Island Mental Health Group and written by Nancy Green. The group consists of Lucille Beurgers, Jessica Colas, Laurie Fanelli, Nancy Green, Bonnie Stockwell, and Ryan Sultan, MD. Thanks also to Bethany Ortmann, Terry Lucas, and Jim Colligan for their contributions.