French Woods

199 Bouchoux Brook Rd
Hancock, NY 13783
All bookings are free!
Camp Prices 2020
Camp Category: ACA Accredited, Adventure, Arts&Crafts, Circus, CIT, Computer Technology, Cooking, Drama, Film and Video, Fitness, Horseback Riding, Lake, Magic, Music, Pool, Skateboarding, Sports, Tennis, Theater, Zip Line

About French Woods

French Woods is an individual choice performing arts summer camp for children from 7 to 17 years old. We offer programs in theater, dance, music, circus, magic, rock and roll, visual arts, film and video, sports, tennis, fitness, water sports, skate board, horseback riding and more. Younger campers have more guidance and supervision, while older campers are able to take on some responsibility and have a chance to work in the areas of their interest.

Each camper designs his or her own unique summer experience. We feature world-class programs coached by diverse, multi-national and talented counselor and adult staff members.

Campers are able to focus on one particular area of interest, or they may choose to select a variety of our activities. We offers all the traditional camp activities a-la-carte, and are famous for our programs in dance, theater, music, circus, magic, visual arts , film and video, sports, tennis, fitness, waterfront, skate board, rock and roll and horseback riding.

French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts is located on a private lake in the western Catskill Mountains of New York State near the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania Border. The camp is approximately two and a half hours from New York City, between Monticello and Binghamton.

French Woods is a place where your dreams are important. Counselors and adult staff utilize our facilities to make those dreams possible. Our non-competitive programs give you a choice over which activities you take part in and the opportunity to excel.

Our staff will encourage campers to try new things and be challenged in an environment that supports success. We find performing in a theater, circus, dance or music program builds personal confidence and teaches teamwork.
At French Woods we pride ourselves on offering you a unique individualized camping experience. Campers completely determine which activities they will participate in. Children are offered a wide range of performing and visual arts in addition to programs in sports, waterfront, horseback riding and much more.

There are six activities per day; three of these periods are called majors and three are called minors.

Majors are chosen at the beginning of each session and are maintained for the three weeks. Minors are chosen daily at breakfast. This lets you concentrate on the things that interest you, while giving you the chance to try something new.

Your counselors, head counselors and the program office staff will work with you to help you choose a program that's right for you. In this way we are able to offer instruction in performance areas that is unequalled anywhere in camping.
  • Classical and Jazz Music
  • Fine Arts&Crafts
  • Video and Film
  • Musical Theater and Drama
  • Theater Classes
  • Tech Theater
  • Dance
  • Circus
  • Sports
  • Adventure and Zip-Line
  • Magic
  • Tennis
  • Horseback Riding
  • Rock and Roll
  • Skateboard Park
  • Fitness Center
  • Cooking
  • The Lake and Pool
  • Computers and Technology
Classical and Jazz Music
The French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts Summer Camp Music program is one of the finest non-competitive, comprehensive summer camp music programs in the United States. Students are given instruction on all levels and perform in ensembles based on their age/ability and schedule.

Working conductors and musicians are at the heart of the professional faculty for the Summer Music Camp at French Woods. The counselor staff consists of music students and young music professionals.

Unlike other music camps, French Woods doesn't require campers to audition before the Summer. Auditions take place after the student arrives and is placed in the appropriate skill level group and instruction is offered on any instrument. Young musicians at all skill levels are welcome to French Woods and will gain from the summer experience.

Both group and individual private lessons are available from the staff for all orchestral instruments (Bassoon, Bass, Cello, Clarinet, Flute, French Horn, Keyboard, Oboe, Percussion, Sax, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba Viola, Violin, etc.), piano, drums, voice and guitar.
Fine Arts&Crafts
We offer a wide variety of classes and activities in many fine art and craft disciplines. Campers can be involved in intense workshops or dabble in any area they are interested in. In our drawing and painting department, campers may use pencil, graphite, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic and oil. There is also a large-scale mural program. In our ceramics department, campers use hand-built and wheel-thrown techniques to create both pottery and sculptures. Clay projects are fired in electric and gas kilns for natural, smoked, glazed and raku finishes.

We make beaded and braided jewelry and metal jewelry – wristbands, bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces out of a variety of materials. We also teach classes in traditional black-and-white photography, development and printing, as well as digital photography, digital photo editing and composition. In another area we work with stained glass, both for traditional soldered applications and for tile and glass mosaics. We offer a large screen-printing program where we make posters and t-shirts, a leather working and woodworking department and a traditional crafts program where we make traditional camp crafts including knitting, fabric painting, Tie-dye and more.
Video and Film
Learn how to shoot and edit video using our state of the art equipment - we use 3-ccd mini-dv cameras and non linear editing software including iMovie, iDVD and the Final Cut Studio.

Campers can make short dvd's featuring their daily activities to send home to their parents, or take part in our short film program, where campers, write, direct, produce and edit short films which are played in our film festival every session.

Campers can also study, script writing, special effects, titling and text effects.

Campers can also help film every performance at camp which we produce into DVD's.
Musical Theater and Drama
French Woods has one of the most ambitious theater schedules in camping, producing more than 70 full-scale productions every summer. There are five theaters on camp: a black-box, a proscenium stage with fly system, a proscenium stage with raked seating, a theater-in-the-round and a three-quarter-thrust stage. All theaters are equipped with sound and lighting systems and a technical crew that teaches and designs. Two full scale scene shops a huge costume shop and full music and tech theater departments support our stage productions.

Auditions take place on the day after you arrive at camp. For the musicals, campers are asked to sing 16 bars or about 30 seconds of any song that shows off their voice and for the dramas, we provide sides. Theater shows are divided up by age into 4 groups: 7-9 years old, 9-11 years old, 11-14 years old, and 11-17 years old. Because there is some overlap, a camper might be eligible for more than one age group of shows. We recommend everyone try out for everything they can, and we guarantee that if you try out for the musicals you will be placed in a show.

Professional instructors also teach classes in improvisation, acting technique, commercial technique, creative writing, directing, dialects, musical theater, Shakespeare, stage combat, scene study, theatre games and more. Our Cabaret and Improvisation Troupes are invited to perform at nearby resorts and neighboring camps. If you are interested in technical theater you can take classes and get hands-on experience in stagecraft and design, lighting, sound, video, costuming and makeup.

Our musical productions are supported by live music, provided by campers and staff in our classical, jazz, or rock and roll music programs, whichever is appropriate for the show, from small combos to full pit orchestras.

We also offer several one-act plays each session, some of which are directed by campers.

Rock and Roll

Are you interested in Rock or Pop Music? The French Woods Rock Shop offers lessons in acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and other rock-and-roll instruments, as well as song-writing. You can form bands, write your own songs and even record them to CD in our state of the art recording studio. Our staff organize the campers into bands at similar skill levels, teach them to play cover tunes or write their own music and practice in one of our 4 fully equipped rock studios. Once a band or individual has mastered a song, they can record and mix them in our recording studio to a CD or to mp3 files.

Towards the end of each session we produce a spectacular rock concert, where you have the opportunity to perform with your band for the whole camp.
Theater Classes
Theater at French Woods isn't only about being in shows, there are plenty of classes for aspiring actors, too. Take a scene-study class, or learn stage-combat, improvisation, commercial technique, dialects, acting techniques, stagecraft, costuming, musical theater, Shakespeare, audition techniques, and more. Or just for fun, play some theater games, take part in improv sessions, or perfrom with one of our cabaret or improv troupes.
Tech Theater
Our theater program is supported by a very rich technical theater department. Campers are involved in every aspect of stagecraft, from costuming and make-up, to lighting, sound, props and set design and construction.

Our costume shop hosts more than 40,000 costume pieces, with a large staff that costumes every show at camp. Your measurements are taken at auditions, so as soon as you get a part, we start making costumes for you. Campers can learn to sew, help select and put together costumes and help with costume changes and preparations backstage. Every session we build some costumes from scratch, so we always have new and exciting things going on in the costume department. Our props department, pulls props for every production and we make anything we don't have.

In our lighting department, you can learn about hanging lights and lighting design. Campers run the spotlights and light boards for every show and can learn about gels, gobos and all kinds of theatrical lighting effects. Our lighting boards vary from manual to computer controlled, giving you the full range of experience. We have an analog and digital sound systems in four of our theaters and frequently mic a large number of campers for performances. Campers can help set up the wireless body microphones and help ensure the audio levels are balanced throughout the show. Additionally our sound department provides sound effects, where they are required.

Our two scene shops build a complete sets for every show we do. We even have a very large storage facility just for set pieces we want to keep and re-use. Campers can learn to build and construct large and varied pieces of scenery. You can also paint backdrops, rig curtains and help move the scenery around between scenes during performances.
French Woods offers dance classes for any camper at any level; from having no prior experience to the advanced dancer. Shortly after arrival a class placement audition is held to determine the camper's experience and ability, and they are grouped into classes accordingly. Our five large dance studios, equipped with air conditioning, ballet barres, and audio players allow for a full comprehensive schedule.

Experienced dance teachers and dance professionals come from all over the world to expose the students to a variety of dance styles. Aside from all levels of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop, other dance forms have been offered including Pointe, Pas De Deux, Afro-Caribbean, Swing, Fosse, Belly Dancing, Camper Choreography, and Boy's Dance.

Throughout each three-week session a camper will work on both technique and improving their performance abilities, culminating in a Dance Concert performed on visiting day. Many dancers will be showing off their brand new skills, and others will look more professional, all are confident and encouraged to shine on the stage and enjoy the experience. Dancers return year after year to grow within this positive and unique dance environment. Dancers also have the opportunity to perform in many of the Theater Department productions, giving the campers multiple opportunities and venues in which to expand their dance skills.
French Woods has been a model for circus programs springing up throughout camping, but no one can equal our staff or facilities. The site hosts professional equipment in a twelve thousand square foot covered pavilion featuring every sort of circus apparatus. Our staff comes from around the world and is made up of professional circus artists and instructors. You can be part of our circus show and perform in acts just like those performed in professional circuses, or you can just try out the trapeze, juggling, unicycle or one of our other circus acts. Circus teaches children the benefits of hard work and self reliance. It is fantastic physical conditioning which is useful for dancers, gymnasts and sports enthusiasts of all kinds.

Circus Show
Each Session is capped off with a full fledged circus performance where parents and friends can watch our campers show off their new skills. We have clowning, tumbling, fire twirling, wire-walking, balancing globes, juggling, stunt bikes, rings, trapeze, triple trapeze, flying trapeze and bungie trapeze, spanish web, silk, ropes and other acts which all perform in an end of session extravaganza. Campers who just want to try new things without participating in the show also have that opportunity.
A professional staff of certified coaches and teachers, all with varsity experience, enable us to provide campers the finest training and instruction in the sports of their own choosing. Our objectives include the building of skills as well as developing positive attitudes and self esteem.

At the Sports Academy, each camper chooses his or her own activities from a variety of team and individual sports. Majors include basketball, baseball, softball, hockey, soccer, gymnastics, volleyball and fencing. Each sport enjoys both day and night time facilities and both intracamp and intercamp games are an integral part of our program.

Tennis is a sport most campers enjoy. We have eleven courts, a head "pro" and twelve instructors. There are lessons and activities on all levels. The number of tournaments that a camper participates in during the summer varies as to the interests exhibited by each player. Instruction is individualized and can be taken during both major and minor periods.
Adventure Climbing Wall and Zip Line
Project adventure offers our campers a bold experience. The French Woods Challenge Course includes a 500 foot Dual Zipline, a 3-sided Climbing wall for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, a Ropes Course with a Wobbly Log and Giant's Ladder. In addition there are 3 Sky Bridges, and a 3-sided Playpen. High above the ground, you are asked to achieve a goal without any physical help, but with the verbal support from other members of your team. Remember, you will be wearing a harness and head-gear in all project adventure activities.
Everyone can be a magician. Learning to perform in this area presents a challenge to even the most experienced actor. The experienced professional magicians on our staff begin teaching simple card tricks and progress to stage illusions. Then you can perform disappearing acts, escapes, levitation and the ever popular sawing people in half. You can impress you friends and show off for your parents.

Our Magic Program has its' own theater specifically devoted to magic. Each session we host multiple magic shows that you can watch or perform in. The theater has a sound and lighting system so that you can get the full experience of performing as a magician. You can even learn small tricks and take home the apparatus, so you can amaze your friends and family back home.
At French Woods, we believe that Tennis is a lifetime sport. Outstanding instruction is provided by our staff of 13 tennis pros and tennis counselors who are dedicated to helping campers achieve their maximum tennis potential. With 15 outdoor courts and an indoor court, we have the facility and the staff to offer:

  • Quality supervision and instruction
  • Stroke analysis and evaluation
  • Progressive teaching method for beginners
  • Tournament training and strategy for all levels
  • Conditioning and foot work
  • Mental toughness
Everyone, from campers trying out the sport for the first time - to the varsity level players, gets the attention they need.

Group clinics are taught in both Major and Minor periods.
Horseback and Equestrian program
Hundreds of acres of riding trails, plus indoor and outdoor riding rings provide an incredible background for our horseback riding program. We offer instruction in English and Western styles of riding and in Natural Horsemanship (Horse Whispering). Highly qualified equestrian instructors teach beginners through advanced riders, starting with lead line work for beginners and progressing to trail riding, jumping courses and dressage for days that are filled with adventure.

While riding in our indoor or outdoor arenas, or on a mountain trail, safety is paramount. Horsemanship can be a lifetime activity and emphasized at French Woods through hands on experience.
Skateboard Program
French Woods Skate Park hosts skateboarders, bladers, ripstickers, and even freestyle unicyclers in a huge, indoor arena. Our Skate board camp includes a beginner area dedicated to novice riders who are looking for one on one, or group style instruction, as well as challenging courses for enthusiasts and skilled skateboarders. The French Woods Skate park also includes one 3 foot mini ramp half-pipe, and one 10 foot vertical ramp half-pipe as well as a large street course area, and a 6 foot deep kidney shaped bowl. There is also a "chillout area" where riders can rest and hydrate themselves.

Heading the Skate Sports Department is a professional skateboard instructor. The department was also featured on MTV's "Made" Skateboard episode.

The experienced staff make safety a top priority at the park with the requirement of knee pads, elbow pads, and helmet on in all active ride areas. If campers do not have any or all the safety gear required to ride, as well as skateboards, don't worry, we have everything you need to get you rolling.
Fitness program
Welcome to the French Woods Motivation Center, "The Mo'". Our huge air-conditioned fitness center features the latest Precor strength training machines, treadmills, ellipticals, interactive bicycles, and a full range of free weights.

We have two aerobic studios where we teach yoga, Pilates, strength, aerobics, stage combat and tons of new fitness activities.

Even if you never exercise, our program offers a full range of strength training and aerobic activities. Each experienced staff member will guide you in a program of your choice. You can sample each type of fitness activity to see what works for you. Learn to challenge yourself, set goals and have fun getting in shape!

The "Mo'" is one of our most popular activities. It's time to get motivated!
Cooking program
Cooking is one of the most popular activities at French Woods. Planning and preparing thematic culinary feasts and cooking international regional cuisines as well as making luscious desserts are a key part of the program.

The serious culinary student can sign up for the FWF immersion class. Here campers can take advantage of our advanced curriculum by partaking in specialty classes such as Cooking Techniques including knife skills, cooking with spices, sauces and sautéing; Gastronomy- the art & science of food, and Table Setting and Dining Etiquette.

There are also opportunities for those campers who want to make something good to eat and see if cooking is for them! Bon appétit!
Water Sports and Swimming lessons at our Private Lake and Pool
It doesn't matter if you wish to get Red Cross certification or just get wet; both the lake and the pool are there for your use. The lake, which is not only private, but over 80 acres allows you to learn to water-ski, swim, sail, canoe or wind surf. Come play on our floating trampoline or slide or take a ride on the banana boat.

In addition we're only a mile from the Delaware River for canoe trips and river rafting.

The Olympic sized, heated swimming pool is used for competitive swimming, Red Cross instruction and just plain fun. Pool parties are set up for all ages, providing opportunities to swim both day and night.
Computers and Technology (S.T.E.M) at Camp
French Woods offers a wide range of activities in computers, technology and the maker arts. We have more than 80 computers in our computer lab, all connected to the internet, with software for graphic design, video editing, web page design, games design and more.

The staff teach classes in many areas of interest. Our video department uses state of the art DV cameras and non-linear editing to make video postcards and short films which are featured in our film festival each session. In our Graphic Design program you can learn how to edit digital photos, design your own magazine, make a website or app.

We also offer activities in Model Rocketry, Remote Control racing, and model trains. Learn to build models, launch rockets, and work on the wiring or layout.
Five theaters and two fully equipped scene shops plus a huge costume and prop warehouse give our theater program a depth and breadth no other camp can match.

With two circus buildings, our 25,000 sq foot covered circus pavilion rivals the training facilities of many professional circuses; and our second, 12,000 sq foot covered circus building caters to our younger campers.

Our horseback riding stables even allow for indoor riding lessons in case of rain.

We have 11 tennis courts, 5 lit for night play. Our 24,000 square foot indoor field house boasts 3 full size indoor basketball courts, room for indoor football and soccer games, a batting cage, volleyball, badminton, and ping png. Our ball fields offer baseball, soccer football and lacrosse. Our driving range prepares our campers for a round of 18 holes at the golf course across the street. Add all this to our fitness center that is the best equipped in all of camping and you have quite the sports and fitness program. Don't forget our brand new climbing tower, ropes course and zip line.

Our lake and heated Olympic sized swimming pool support our swimming and waterfront programs.

We have a large indoor skate park with half-pipes, ramps, slides and jumps.

Our music building is a large two story air-conditioned structure with small rooms for practice and lessons and large rooms for symphony, orchestra and concert band rehearsals and performances.

Our five dance studios with hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings are ultra modern and all the rage.

The Rock and Roll program features 15 rehearsal studios, each outfitted with drum kits, guitar and bass amps and keyboards, plus a professional quality 24 track recording studio.

Our Magic department has its two specially constructed theaters, as well as class rooms, allowing budding magicians to practice large-scale stage magic, as well as sleight of hand and close-up illusions.

Our Dining Hall is air-conditioned, and has backup power generation.

Our 20 visual arts studios opens the doors to our artists in training to all sorts of media.

Our state of the art Film and Video studios allows our campers to explore all aspects of film, from writing, to directing, to producing, and to editing and showcasing their final products.

We offer a brand new Culinary Arts facility for all of our up and coming chefs and cooks.

In a similar fashion, each of our programs is supported by the finest equipment and great air conditioned spaces for you to learn and grow in.
We take a great pride in our ability to offer a great tasting, varied and healthy diet to our campers. At every meal we offer a hot entree, a hot vegetarian entree and several hot side dishes. We have eight hot serving stations, so there are never long lines. Our salad bar is a very popular area, providing a huge selection of freshly made salads, seasonal fruits and raw vegetables. Our chefs prepare most of our food in house to ensure the very best quality and nutritional content. In addition to our main menu items we also have a grill room which is open at breakfast offering pancakes and at lunch for hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, veggie- burgers and cold cuts.

After evening activities our canteen offers free pizza, milkshakes, fruit, cookies and ice cream.

Our two dining rooms are spacious and air conditioned. We are able to cater to a wide variety of dietary needs. If your child has food allergies or a particular need please let us know. Our chef is available to answer any questions you may have. French Woods is nut-free.
Visiting Days at French Woods
French Woods Festival Days (Visiting Days) are a special opportunity for parents to visit camp and watch performances that reflect the hard work and dedication of the children. Spectacular Theater Productions, Circus Shows, Dance Performances, Rock Shows, Concerts, Equestrian Exhibitions, Fine Art and Media Displays, Magic Shows, Waterskiing Exhibitions and more, all take place during our Festival Days.

During the session, you will receive a schedule of the days events via email. Parents do have the option of taking their children home after their last performance or having them remain at camp until the following morning (the last day of the session - when pick up should be prior to 9 am). Afternoon performances generally end at around 4:00 pm and evening performances by 10:00 pm.

Visiting at any other time or date must be arranged in advance with a Camp Director. Unscheduled visitors will not be allowed on the grounds. Grandparents are welcome to attend visiting days. Please keep in mind that camp is rugged terrain and, while we assist where we can, all visitors must be physically able to get around camp. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

We welcome you to join us in the dining room for dinner on Festival Day 1 and for lunch and dinner on Festival Day 2. There are limited snacks for purchase at the camp store. You may not, bring food of any kind onto camp grounds, nor may you take your child/children off camp. Picnic dinners, homemade care packages, McDonalds or any other outside foods are NOT PERMITTED. Our extensive menu guarantees your child will receive both a satisfying and nutritious diet.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco

We have a strict NO SMOKING policy that applies to anyone on the French Woods campus at any time. The use of tobacco or any type of alcoholic beverage or narcotics is expressly forbidden in our rules and applies to campers, counselors and visitors alike.

Pets are not permitted. Leave Fido, Fifi and Sylvester at home!

Visiting days for the Summer of 2020 are:

Session 1
Visiting begins at 1:30pm on Friday June 26th.
Visiting continues at 10:00am on Saturday June 27th.

Session 2
Visiting begins at 1:30pm on Friday July 17th.
Visiting continues at 10:00am on Saturday July 18th.
Packing List
How many people live in each bunk?
Each cabin houses nine to ten campers with two to three counselors. The cabins are equipped with modern conveniences such as full bath facilities including hot and cold running water, ample electrical outlets and abundant storage space for clothing.

When do the campers pick their activities?
The three major activities are chosen with the help of our program director at the beginning of each three week session. The three minors are chosen at breakfast each morning and may vary from day to day.

Do campers ever get turned away from an activity they choose?
Never. A full time program director spends the day working with each child's schedule.

How many people are in each activity?
Sometimes a child chooses a private lesson which is one on one with an instructor. Some major musicals may have over forty in the cast. Most activities have from eight to twelve children.

How does the laundry work?
Laundry is picked up once per week and returned the next day. The laundry for each cabin is kept together and the children sort their laundry with the aid of their counselors upon its return.

Do you have a doctor in camp?
We have a doctor and eight registered nurses on the grounds at all times. Our modern infirmary is staffed twenty-four hours per day.

What is your largest age group?
Our children come from all age groups. Give us a call. We'll be happy to provide names and numbers for you to use as a reference.

Are campers put into bunks by age or grade?
Campers are usually grouped in cabin by age. Sometimes parents will request a placement by grade. If your child wants to bunk with friends, we almost always are able to work it out.

Are there any out of camp trips?
Children leave camp to compete in intercamp games or perform in our traveling troupes.

Do campers need extra money?

Canteen items are provided free of charge each day. We ask for a one hundred fifty dollar personal expense deposit (P.E.D.) for each camper. The fund is used primarily for emergencies. It is possible to designate this as extra spending money, if the parent desires.

Where do campers come from?

Campers at French Woods come from all over the United States and many foreign countries. We have large groups of children from the New York metropolitan area, Philadelphia, Baltimore-Washington, Florida and California, but don't be surprised if you have a bunk mate from London, Paris, Salt Lake City or Singapore.
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