Camp SoulGrow Offers Free Kids Events

A nonprofit that offers free classes, outdoor adventures, and creative workshops for children 7 and older with help from community businesses and volunteers
London Rosiere painted with her young charges during one of Camp SoulGrow’s workshops last summer.

After her mother died last April, London Rosiere spent the summer in Montauk, challenging herself athletically, spiritually, and creatively. The experience was so nourishing that she decided to model a series of programs for children on the kinds of activities that had inspired and rejuvenated her.

The result is Camp SoulGrow, a nonprofit that  offers free classes, outdoor adventures, and creative workshops for children 7 and older with help from community businesses and volunteers.        Starting last summer, Ms. Rosiere put together such children’s events as a costume party at the Montauk Juice Factory, a T-shirt and seining workshop at Whalebone Creative, horseback riding at Deep Hollow ranch, a cooking class at the Crow’s Nest, yoga at the Love yoga space, a gardening program at Fort Pond Native Plants, and an all-ages pool party at the Montauk Beach House. Camp SoulGrow offered a Montauk archaeology program in August, a fall foliage walk at Amsterdam Beach in October, and gingerbread decorating in December at the Candied Anchor.

“I want kids off their cellphones,” Ms. Rosiere said Monday. To do that, she is tapping into the strengths and talents of the Montauk community to “teach kids new things for free.” As her website says, her program “integrates local businesses, promotes local culture, honors local history, and brings the community together in an organic way for the growth of our future.” 

Next up for Camp SoulGrow is a series of children’s workshops over the February school break at Gurney’s Inn. Tuesday, a k a Fat Tuesday, will bring cake decorating with help from the Candied Anchor. Wednesday it’s painting with Martine Langatta. Next Thursday, Fort Pond Native Plants will lead a gardening workshop, and Ms. Rosiere, a dancer, will lead aerobics and hip-hop sessions on Friday and Saturday. All will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

And in case you didn’t catch it the first time, all of Camp SoulGrow’s activities are free. Space is limited, however, so advance registration is a must at info@campsoulgrow.org.

To help cover her own costs and build the program, Ms. Rosiere, a New Orleans native who relocated to New York after Hurricane Katrina, is drawing on her Louisiana roots for Camp SoulGrow’s first fund-raiser, a Mardi Gras party at East by Northeast, a Montauk restaurant, on Tuesday from 7 to 10 p.m.

The party will include all-you-can-eat Cajun food prepared by the restaurant’s chef, Jeremy Blutstein, king cakes by Dawn’s Delights of Montauk, and beer from the Montauk Brewing Compamy. Hopefully Forgiven will provide the music, and there will be Mardi Gras beads and trinkets along with an auction. The suggested donation is $20 per person.

“I plan to have a hub this summer,” she said, and is working to pin down a space. Camp SoulGrow will also have its own bus by summer. “I’m learning as I go through it,” Ms. Rosier said. “It’s a one-woman show, but my philosophy is if you build it they will come, and I’m just building it with all my heart.”