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Do you know what your children are doing this summer? The time to plan a fun summer is now

The school gym was a hive of activity Monday night, Feb. 26, as groups from Shelter Island and neighboring communities gathered for the Summer Activity Fair — a chance for Shelter Island families to find out what summer programs are available for kids, how to sign up, and how to pay for them.

Linda Springer wrangled golf balls and children at the information table for the Owen Dickson Junior Golf Program held at the Shelter Island Country Club every summer.

Instructors Father Peter DeSanctis and Bob DeStefano were on hand to demonstrate how the town-run golf program keeps kids 7-16 years old productively engaged for two hours a week all summer long for only $75. Brookelyn Gulluscio practiced her putting, and what looked like a chip shot when Linda wasn’t looking.

Brookelyn Gulluscio checking out the Owen Dickson Junior Golf Program to be held this summer at the Shelter Island Country Club. (Credit: Charity Robey)

“I am in the golf program again this year,” Brookelyn said. “I just got a brand-new golf club in Florida.”

Representatives from most of the Island’s cultural and recreational institutions were on hand, talking to parents and students about their programs. Brooke Hedley and her staff described Camp Quinipet’s program, which has been around quite a while (my son went there 25 years ago) and is seeing its highest rate of returning campers in years.

Rebecca Kusa and Cindy Belt spoke with prospective campers about Mashomack Environmental Explorers, a popular program for 3rd through 7th graders that is already 3/4 full for the summer of 2024. Do you find 9- to 13-year-olds hard to entertain? Cindy and Becca may have the secret: keep them outdoors.

Speaking of outdoors, the North Fork Audubon Society was at the fair to continue its mission of “connecting people with nature” with summer programs for kids.

Matt Dunning recruited sports-minded youngsters, aged 5-12 for the Shelter Island Skills Program with soccer, dodgeball, basketball and obstacle courses on Fiske Field. And the Bay Street Summer Theatre Camp is signing up campers for one- and two-week camps on everything from improv to Shakespeare.

Janine Mahoney, representing the Shelter Island Educational Foundation, said she wasn’t there to tell parents about a summer program; she was there to tell them how they could pay for one. “We have money for students to go to camp,” she said.

The Shelter Island Educational Foundation has earmarked $15,000 to award to Island children to help pay for summer programs. On Friday, March 1 the Ed Foundation will start accepting applications at ShelterIslandedfoundation.org. Parents who apply will find a fillable online form in English and Spanish. Applications are accepted through March 17.

The time-honored method of funding summertime activities is to get a job, and for kids old enough to work, Bethany Ortmann, Director of Shelter Island Recreation, is looking for eight lifeguards.

The positions can be full- or part-time and pay starts at $17 an hour. FIT Manager Emily Kraus was on hand to talk about the Recreation Department’s many summer programs, (calling all young chefs, artists, soccer, and tennis players.) See information about signups below.

Town Summer signups

Registration for the Town of Shelter Island Summer Recreation Programs will open on March 4 at 9 a.m.

Signups can be done online, which is the fastest way to secure a spot in the programs, which do fill up quickly. For an online form, visit shelterisland.recdesk.com/Community/Home

Registration can also be done by mail to the address below:

Town of Shelter Island, C/O Bethany Ortmann, PO Box 970, Shelter Island, NY 11964

Summer programs are available for a wide range of interests, from STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) to Cooking, Swimming, Soccer and more. Although most of the programs are for children and youth, adults can sign up for the Tennis course. For questions, please contact Bethany Ortmann at Town of Shelter Island Recreation: 631-749-0309 or email [email protected]