Long Island Summer Camp
All people, regardless of ability level, have the right to opportunities found in the world around them. Individuals with both physical and developmental disabilities, as well as their families, should experience year-round recreational and respite care activities in a camp setting. Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck of New York provides this needed service to all. The camp provides opportunities for social and personal growth within a supportive environment. Campers learn to try a variety of creative and challenging activities and experience success. Campers develop enhanced self-esteem which carries over to work, home, or school environments.
Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck is dedicated to the benefit of physically and mentally challenged children of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The camp stands today, not because of the efforts of one organization, but rather as a culmination of a tremendous wave of effort from many Rotary Clubs throughout District 7260.
History of the Camp
The dream of a camp such as Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck was first inspired in 1941 by the members of the Rotary Club of the Moriches. The group made a donation aimed at providing staff for children afflicted with Polio at the County Welfare Department Camp at Yaphank. Club members made a visit to the camp, where they were moved by the plight of the children with polio. They arranged a picnic at an ocean beach on Fire Island. The boats provided by the Rotarians and laden with food and picnic supplies crossed the bay. They had a day packed with both fun and heart-warming experiences. The club was determined to never lose contact with these children.
In 1942, Oldfield, a beautiful home in East Moriches, was rented by the club for a camp for the children. It was decided that the club would cooperate with the National Society for Crippled Children in the sponsorship of the sale of Easter Seals. At the same time, the nucleus of a fund was established for the continuation of this work in the county.
In 1943 and 1944, a camp was provided for the children at Wading River in another home rented by the club. In 1945, due the Department of Health, in lieu of a traditional camp, the children were transported to and from a summer school in Huntington. That program was abandoned in 1946, when the club began to provide a camp in Yaphank. During this year, arrangements were made to purchase part of the land where Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck now stands. A club member simultaneously donated the balance of land, which they owned. Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck was built throughout 1947 and the early part of 1948. The community came together once again to provide materials and equipment donations, as well as volunteer labor.
On July 6, 1948, the Rotary Club of the Moriches welcomed a group of 25 children afflicted with Polio to the first official session at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck. This six-week session was a huge success in every respect, a tradition which has continued to today.
The Camp Today
For over a half century, Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck (The Moriches Rotary Health Camp, Inc.) has been turning the dreams of disabled children into reality. The camp has invited thousands of youngsters to enjoy a session of summer fun at its 37-acre site on the shores of Kaler’s Pond in Center Moriches. At Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, disabled children enjoy the joys of boating, arts & crafts, music, adaptive sports and games, swimming campfires and more.
In a supportive environment, campers are encouraged to reach beyond the limits of their handicaps and join with their fellow campers in activities designed to enhance their lives.
Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck is truly a volunteer organization: we have never asked for or accepted government funds.Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck extends its heartfelt gratitude to the Paquatuck Squaws, Rotarians, volunteers and all local community organizations. Without their help, the camp would not exist.
About Our Staff
We select staff for those qualities of maturity, sensitivity, and caring that allow them to relate well with young people and enhance our camping program. Many of our Counselors are college graduates employed in the field of education. Our Counselors-in-Training are college students whose courses of study focus on education or a child-related study. Junior Counselors-in-Training are high school students who are familiar with the Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck program.
Each staff member assumes many responsibilities including: bed time, overnight and morning duties; camper health and safety; planning and implementing activities to address the individual needs of the child. The experience is built upon helping children see themselves in a more positive light. Staff and campers canoe together, hike together, sleep out under the stars together, and most importantly, take risks together and accomplish goals thought, by the camper, to be impossible.
Our staff is dedicated to facilitating a positive experience for every child. To accomplish this goal, we place three staff with each group of seven campers. The staff is professionally trained to use pro-active behavior management techniques in order to provide a positive camp experience.
Board of Directors
Steve Kronman, President
Barbara Caldwell, Vice President
Newton Homan, Treasurer
Marcella Weiss, Secretary
Dennis Brennan, Director
Thomas Chieffo, Director
Laura Dunathan, Director
Nancy Farrell, Director
Glenn Frost, Director
Janice Graf, Director
Tom Kerr, Director
Maureen Klersy, Director
Kevin Spellman, Director
Peter Traina, Director