Kids Classes Guide Update: Beacon Recreation Building is Open and Useful!

As if inspired by the mantra of Thomas the Train and Friends, whose goal is to always be useful, the Beacon Parks and Recreation Department has posted the following message to their Facebook page. This has been updated in A Little Beacon Blog's Kids Classes Guide:


From the Beacon Parks and Recreation Department:

Wednesday, May 16: "We are open, with running water, three bathrooms, power, wi-fi... and coffee! Community hours until 2 pm. Need to charge your phone? Need to get out of the house? The Rec Center at 23 West Center Street has power, wi-fi and big blue blocks/playground for the kids. We'll be open until 2 pm"

Adults, we've got your backs too! Specialty classes are listed in A Little Beacon Blog's Adult Classes Guide for both lifestyle, business and sports. So do check it out, and if you have a specialty class to submit to either Guide, you can do so on our Event Submission Page!

Beacon Youth Police Academy Recruiting for Summer Camp 2018


From the Office of the City Administrator, Anthony Ruggiero

The Beacon Youth Police Academy is pleased to announce our 4th annual summer program, July 16 to 20, 2018. This free weeklong program, for students in the Beacon community entering grades 9-12, will provide an introduction to law enforcement, interactions with officers and field trips. A variety of locations will be used to host the program, including Beacon High School. Trips will include visits to local training centers, police academy, court and correctional facility. The goal of the academy is to help participating youth understand the role police officers play in the community, job duties performed and the requirements of becoming a police officer.

This program was organized by Joe and Christine Galbo in cooperation with the Beacon Police Department, Beacon Recreation Department, Beacon Mayor's Office, City of Beacon, Beacon PBA and Beacon School District. Our Youth Academy is funded solely by donations from the community. We greatly appreciate the generosity of our local businesses, community organizations and residents for their continued support.  

An online application can be found here or by emailing  

Beacon Players Offer Free Wednesday Workshops to Prep for 2017/2018 Theatre Season

The lights onstage in the Beacon High School will not go dark this summer, as the Beacon Players will hold free theater workshops all summer long. They'll meet every Wednesday from July 5 to August 16, from 9 am to noon. This is an open call to all Beacon High School students, including incoming ninth graders, as well as Beacon Players, Cast and Crew.

These workshops are a student's best chance at getting audition tips for the fall's upcoming student performance of Cinderella, and for hands-on experience at building the sets. Design work will start on the costumes, as well as on the horses (oh, the glamour!). Theater games will be played, lighting techniques will be practiced, and there will be donuts. Donuts!

Registration is not required. Students simply need to walk into the theater on Wednesday mornings at 9 am.

Summer Camp for Kids at Storm King Art Center (Sponsored)

Have you ever been to the Storm King Art Center? It's nothing short of amazing. On 500 acres of meadow, fields, woodland and hills, you'll find a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures by highly acclaimed artists. One need not have a lot of art knowledge to have an awesome day - awesome in the purest sense of the word, as in "the experience of being at Storm King produces serious awe."

This summer, kids of all ages, from elementary to middle to high school, can register for a week or two of summer camp at Storm King. To give an idea of what your camper will do there, we'll highlight a few choice tools that will make an appearance at camps:

  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Sketch Book (no artistic skills necessary)
  • Pencils

Storm King Young Explorers
AGES: 7 to 9
DATE: June 26–30: 9 am to 4 pm (Aftercare through 5 pm available)

Calling all young explorers! Roam, roll, run, improvise, play, create, and discover the meadows, woods, and art at Storm King. Learn to use a compass! See, sketch, and move like a sculpture! Campers will come away confident about exploring the outdoors and modern and contemporary art. Binoculars, magnifying glass, journal, art supplies, and more will be provided.

Project Write: Becoming Authors and Artists
AGES: 10 to 14
DATE: July 10–14: 9 am to 3 pm
DATE: July 17–21:
9 am to 3 pm
Spend a week at Storm King engaging in place-based writing, surrounded by sculpture, rolling hills, meadows, and woodlands. Storm King staff and teachers from the Hudson Valley Writing Project share behind-the-scenes discoveries and inspiring insights, launching students into a fun and creative world of writing and art making. Offered in partnership with the Hudson Valley Writing Project.

The Art of Scientific Observation: From Microecology to Monumental Sculpture
AGES: High School Students
DATE: July 24–28:
9 am to 5 pm
Throughout history, both scientists and artists have used field journals to note their observations of the natural world and develop their ideas. Effective visual and written notation requires keen observational skills, and the practice of creative recording in journals can engage and develop critical and lateral thinking capabilities. Weaving together science and art, The Art of Scientific Observation offers teens a unique opportunity to combine field ecology and artistic practice. Focusing on daily explorations of plant and animal life, as well as the sculpture and landscape architecture of the Art Center, campers learn about observational and notational methods through creative journal making. Campers will engage with a variety of techniques including sketching, collaging, and writing. Each camper finishes the week having created his or her own experimental field journal.

The week at Storm King was really incredible. Sadie had agreed to participate reluctantly. She asked several friends to join her but none were able. One said, ‘It’s not my thing.’ Another was busy. Art is a stretch for Sadie and I think she [too] would say ‘it’s not my thing.’ What I saw happen over the course of the week was a shift in her perspective. We had some great conversations on our 30-minute ride each morning and evening: What is art? What constitutes art? By the end of the week she was asking if we could come back sometime, because there were pieces of art that she wanted to sit under that she hadn’t had a chance to. I think she realized that her art and her journal were incredibly impressive and it wasn’t about how it compared to the other participants. Sadie really expanded her feelings about art and found that she liked it. I wanted to let you know that it had a powerful impact on her, perhaps life-changing in some way.
— A parent of a camper from 2016's Art of Scientific Observation Camp

If you're an adult reading this, wishing you could go to camp here, don't worry. Storm King Art Center does offer Family Memberships, which could be your entertainment on Saturday and Sunday mornings. But in the meantime, keep the focus on camp and register now, because space is limited and there are only a few weeks of it offered.

Editorial Note: This has been a sponsored article by Storm King Art Center that A Little Beacon Blog's editorial team approved of to write and research, as part of our Sponsor Spotlight series. To learn more about Storm King Art Center's programs, including their Summer Camp and Family Membership Programs, visit as well as their Dedicated Sponsor Page that highlights dates and must-do programs here at A Little Beacon Blog.

Snow Day and 2 Hour Delay Bus Backup Plan

February has us in the thick of Winter, and for parents, that can mean one thing: thwarted schedules due to 2hr snow delays in the morning, and unexpected afternoon early dismissals with cancelations of all after school programs.

This little email message from the Beacon City School District can wreak havoc on your day, especially when there is no snow or rain forecasted, causing parents to miss medical appointments, cancel work meetings, miss work deadlines, cancel work opportunities because they can't show up to work on time,  etc. etc. etc.

For parents of small children who cannot walk home, or stay at home by themselves, this can mean a thwarting of schedules. For parents of older kids, this can mean wondering how or what will occupy their children's time, especially in the afternoon, when after school activities are canceled. People who work near Main Street know that after school foot traffic really picks up after 3pm when kids get out of school.

One reason for a bus backup plan can be busing your child to a designated daycare center. If weather conditions are such that don't have you worried about actually having your child on the road because there is not one drop of snow or rain - as have been the conditions of most weather situations of the 2hr delays and early school dismissals for the 2016/2017 Beacon City School District - then you may fare better with a busing back up plan.

Says Jane Savage, a parent of older kids in the Newburgh District: "Snow delays and unplanned early dismissals definitely impacts the family, but we have back up plans. Like sending the kids to the neighbor's house so that my husband and I can both get to work. Having older children and delays are a bigger impact because you want to make sure your kids make the bus versus getting home early to just let themselves in." 

Many families in Beacon do not have bus pickups at home because they live within the bus zone, where the District feels that the kids can walk to school. So parents of young children must drive the kids to school. Relying on neighbors can be difficult if those neighbors are also working parents and need to be at work, or are out of town themselves. A rotation plan can of course go into effect where everyone rotates who is going to cancel their meetings or go into work late.

Delays can have a far reaching domino effect on other people, which can be especially frustrating on days when there is not one drop of forecasted precipitation. Says Meredith Ginn Carr, a mother in Fairfax Country, Virginia: "For us, a 2 hour delay really knocks off our routine and my 1st grader usually has an off day at school on those days. Last year when I was pregnant and in the 2nd trimetser, I had 4 doctors appointments effected by 2 hour delays. Basically, if I had scheduled a morning appointment, it guaranteed a delay."

Busing Backup Plan

You will need two things for your Busing Backup Plan in Beacon:

  • A supervised place for the bus to drop off your child. If that is a daycare center like Rose Hill or Kids Place, then the center needs to have your child's medical and all forms on file that they would for any enrolled child. If your child goes to Beacon's After School Program through the Recreation Center, that program is held in the public elementary schools and also gets canceled during early dismissals. So, having your child enrolled in at least one day of after-care at another facility that does not close down when the Beacon City School District does, which has happened on sunny days, may be a good idea.
  • Fill out the Transportation Request Form from the Beacon City School District's redesigned website, that makes forms like this easy to find. You can also click here to be taken directly to the page that contains the PDF of the form.  If your child is going to a private daycare center or school, you will need to fill out this form each year. The deadline to re-submit the form is April.

Busing for Emergency Drop-Offs

On the form mentioned above, there is not a box that indicates if you need it for an as-needed basis. There is only the option to select every Monday, or every certain day of the week, or All Days. Write in what you need. As-needed can include pre-planned emergency evacuation drills, unplanned weather delays, carbon monoxide leaks, etc. You must designate what you want done with your child in instances like these, with your choices being: Walk, Bus, Pickup.

You will fax the bus form to Gail Morgan in the Registration Department. Once she processes, the Transportation Department is supposed to call you to confirm that your child is on the list. If you don't get a call, you could call them, or you could walk your form into the Registrar's office at 10 Education Drive, and have them fax it to the Transportation Department while you wait, to make sure that they did receive it and did process it. Then you'll know the only department left you need to followup with is the Transportation Department.

Well, That Was Awesome... Hunting for Vampires and Bonding with Kids During Parent/Child Yoga

After we put down the mats and set up the boom box, the morning began with spooky and dramatic organ playing as we moved our arms and pointed fingers to warm up our bodies. Child fitness instructor and founder of FitKidz, Dayna Case (my sister-in-law), led a small audience of mothers and children through different yoga poses and activities to songs, like "Going on a Bear Hunt," except our version was "Going on a Vampire Hunt" with all sorts of creepy adventures as we got closer to finding the vampire. Don't worry - we escaped from him.

The first dual yoga I'd ever done was Alice Sipple/Dancing Tree Yoga's class at All Sport. It was called Family Yoga and it was awesome. Alice has since moved with her family to Egypt for a spell, so when Dayna asked me if she could run a Parent/Child Yoga class in A Little Beacon Space, I jumped on it.

Why It Was So Special

In a yoga class with pairs, you get to work with and touch your partner. You can put feet to feet and grab wrists and sway back and forth. You can look at each other eye-to-eye, and give each other a spooky face. You can stop in the moments of a busy day to just be with that other person, who in this case, is your child. No telling them to put their socks on, no telling them to stop throwing water. Just moving and swaying, curling and rolling.

When's The Next One?

I don't know! Dayna lives in Columbus, Ohio, so it could happen whenever she passes through Beacon, I suppose. Or if you lead classes like this and want to give a special pop-up experience, contact me with your idea.

Meanwhile, see what other events are popping up in this Little Beacon Space. You never know if it will be back, so best take advantage by coming when it's here!

New This Fall - After School Program At All Sport Health & Fitness (Sponsored)

After-school options for kids are getting pretty good around these parts. All Sport's new After School Program has been modeled around the success of their Summer Camp Program, Camp FIT. Where once you could only get planned activities in art and sports during the Vacation Camp days or Kids Night Out at All Sport, now parents can sign up their kids for regular afternoons of after-school programming that includes swimming on some days. All Sport's Kids Club is still an option, and is unchanged from what you are used to (aka the childcare room at the club), but the After School Program has more programming and planned hands-on activities with the kids. Unlike with Kids Club, registration with the After School Program means you can leave the club and do errands in the area.

Morning and afternoon care are both options, and busing is available for children in the Wappingers school district. But Beacon parents have an opportunity here to create a check-and-balance for their own fitness schedule. Here are the benefits to signing up for a couple of days of All Sport's After School Program:

Swimming Lessons and Planned Swimming Activity

You and your children may be veterans of All Sport's group or private swimming lessons, where you have gone - no matter the weather - to make strong swimmers. If you coordinate an After School Day with the swimming lessons, the staff at All Sport's After School Program can walk your child to their swimming lessons. And where might you be?

Working Out, Massages, and Errands Around
All Sport

While this After School Program is open to all children and not just members of All Sport, if you were a member, kids could be looked after while you take advantage of the club, locking in a workout with yourself. It might look like this:

  • Cardio on the treadmill or elliptical, or running outside around All Sport's Outdoor Park.
  • Toning on the circuit machines with a free, personalized plan of what setting and weight work for you on the machines.
  • Scheduling a Pilates session with Beacon Pilates' outpost studio, located upstairs at All Sport (not included with membership, but a convenient way to utilize Beacon Pilates if you have children).
  • Relaxation in the sauna with a quick shower after.
  • Or... Use this time to relax for an hour, in a massage upstairs.

Space is limited in this After School Program, so reserve your days now. Be sure to ask which days have swimming as an activity, and see if you can cross-coordinate with when you schedule swimming lessons (registration for which is going on now and books fast, so call 845-896-5678 to register for swim lessons).

 All Sport's decorations in their front lobby show how excited they're getting about their new After School Program!

All Sport's decorations in their front lobby show how excited they're getting about their new After School Program!

P.S.: All Sport's Camp FIT runs all the way until the start of school, so weeks starting August 22nd and August 29th have a few spots left for campers. You can call 845-896-5678 to register, or visit this page for more details.
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Beacon Launches After School Program in 3 Elementary Schools

If the new, official After School Program is anything like the successful re-launch of the years-long dry Beacon Pool, then Beacon residents and students in the Beacon City School District are in for a treat. The After School Program, developed by the City of Beacon Recreation Department, will serve students in grades K-5 from 3pm to 6pm in Beacon's three elementary schools: Sargent, South Avenue, and Forrestal. Glenham, the fourth elementary school that Beacon kids attend, already has an After School Program through the Fishkill School District. Kids will be able to select from programs ranging from art to baking to yoga to engineering to bird study (bird study!) in the After School Program, which has opened registration for enrollment.

The program is directed by Mark Price, the director of the Beacon Parks and Recreation Department, and Nate Smith, City of Beacon assistant recreation director, and takes place at each of the schools. When asked about why the program was launched, Mark replied: "Our community and feedback! I have had the joy and privilege of working for the City of Beacon for the last eight years. In that time we have watched some of the most important programming lapse, with the closing of the Beacon Community Center and Martin Luther King Cultural Center, their after school programs. Some of the most continual feedback I have heard from our community in that time has been the hope for the return of after school programming in the schools. Here we are! So with the support of both the City of Beacon and the Beacon City School District, we are going to give it a try and make Beacon just a little bit better."

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The After School program will incorporate the creative talent available from parents and other residents of Beacon. Tapping into the community in this way has long been a dream of many: Interim Superintendent Ann Marie Quartironi mentioned it to me during a parent meeting, and Mark Price himself, who had used private After School Programs in the area for his own children, was immediately on board. Says Nate about his role with the program: "I have been working in recreation programs with school-aged children my whole career. I was a summer camp director for several years and ran after school programs in Monticello for almost two years. I love working with school-aged children and giving them an opportunity to do some really fun and enriching stuff."

If the promotional Instagrams have indicated that this program is special and designed for residents who like variety and stability in their child's lives, then the actual curriculum will have you wishing you could sign yourself up. Says Nate about the new program: "I am excited to be a part of this project and bring this type of programming to my community. There are so many talented people in Beacon. I know that children, including my own, will benefit from exposure to the arts, nature and a variety of athletic activities that they might not have otherwise."

Take a look at the initial schedule for Session 1, which runs from September 12 - November 11, 2016:

Please note that this schedule was taken from the City of Beacon's website on 8/2/16, and may have changed. Please see the website for Beacon's After School Program for the most up-to-date listing and details.

Different classes are run on different days at select schools. Instructors include those you know from local businesses, offering a wide range of classes. Five Hens, a local baker and specialist in dark chocolate, will help kids learn about measurements and adapting recipes, the science involved in baking as well as a general knowledge and an appreciation of food. Audubon New York’s For the Birds program teaches environmental awareness and appreciation of nature through the study of birds. Students learn about their local, natural environment through indoor and outdoor lessons as well as a conservation project designed to enhance a bird habitat. Junior Engineers is a hands-on program that will bring together a variety of engineering elements. Students will use robots, computer coding, mechanical advantage, LEGO blocks and motors to solve problems.

There are four sessions offered throughout the year:

Session 1: September 12 - November 11, 2016
Session 2: November 14, 2016 - January 20, 2017
Session 3: January 23 - April 7, 2017
Session 4: April 17 - June 15, 2017

Pricing is based on signing up for a consistent day of the week through an entire session, and is $125 for each type of day. For example, if you sign your child up for every Tuesday, the price is $125 to go on Tuesday for the entire session, with a slight discount available to those signing up for five days.

As you are planning after school activities, use A Little Beacon Blog's Kids Classes Guide to see how you want to balance all of the opportunities available. It includes free options from various programs, sports registrations, and other classes available in Beacon as well as Fishkill and neighboring towns.

Parents, start your calendars!