Sponsored: Three Outside The Box Summer Camps

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

ymca of montclair summer camps

Summer is around the corner. It’s time to plan ways to keep your kids occupied. The YMCA of Montclair offers several great outside the box camps for ages 6-15. For more options, visit our website.

Summer Sparks STEM Camp —If you have a child entering 1st-6th grade, this is a camp where your child can tinker, make, build, code, invent and so much more. Taught by teachers and other subject matter experts, programs range from Intro to Coding, Make It Fly, Gooey and Gross and Green to Math Mayhem. In addition to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, kids can take programs in Theatre, Movie Making, Dungeons and Dragons, Wood Works and lots more. You can view the schedule of offerings here. Choose morning or afternoon sessions or sign your camper up for a full day.

ymca of montclair summer camps

Voyagers A camp for teens ages 12-14 with a sense of adventure! At Voyagers, teens go on thrilling excursions, make an impact in the local community and choose their weekly camp activities such as drama, art, sports, cooking and more! Day trip opportunities are Wednesday-Friday and include Fireball Mountain (outdoor laser tag), Hurricane Harbor, Turtle Back Zoo Treetop Adventure Course, Dorney Park and more. 


ymca of montclair summer camps

Quest —Trains teens ages 14-15 how to be effective leaders and prepare for the working world during this four-week program. Quest teaches teens the skills necessary to earn their first paycheck and helps them get real job experience. It’s the perfect balance of activities for those wanting to join the workforce and have fun. During the first two weeks, teens participate in activities and workshops where they learn how to write a resume, interview for a job, dress for an interview and more. During the second two weeks, teens expand their leadership skills by interning at a YMCA of Montclair camp or facility to start them in the right direction. There’s also a field trip on the second Friday of the program.


ymca of montclair summer camps

Financial assistance for YMCA of Montclair camps is available to those with demonstrated need who live in Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, Clifton, Glen Ridge, Montclair and Verona.


Weekend Family Highlights: Story Time, Mystery Hunt, French Fun and NJ Makers Day

BY  |  Friday, Mar 24, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

It’s the first weekend of Spring! We’ve rounded up some fun and family friendly events for you to enjoy. Check ‘em out!

On Saturday, Belleville Public Schools will host its 1st Annual Family and Community Health, Wellness, and Safety Fair at Belleville High School (100 Passaic Avenue, Belleville) from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. This free event will feature balloons, a DJ, face painting, art, dancing, and other fun kid activities. There will be health screenings, fire safety, healthy living information, free giveaways, snacks, and more. Chair yoga will be held at 10:15 AM and 11:45 AM and Zumba will be held at 11:00 AM and 12:30 PM.

Barnes & Noble at Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will present a story time for children on Saturday at 11:00 AM. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Little Golden Book, create your very own Little Golden Book to take home. Classic stories will also be read, such as The Monster at the End of This Book.

Also on Saturday, the Essex County Environmental Center (621-B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland) will host a Family Spring Mystery Hunt at 11:00 AM. Get outdoors and follow the numbered clues on the trails to find a surprise box. Anything more than a slight drizzle will cancel this program. Dress warmly. Advance registration is required by calling 973-228-8776. Fee is $10 per adult and $8 per child. Continue Reading

Sponsored: Teenagers as first-time campers. How do they do?

BY  |  Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 5:18pm

Campus Kids Weekday Sleep-Away Camp

From the directors of Campus Kids Weekday Sleep-Away Camp on the rural campus of Blair Academy

It’s not too late!


How do 13, 14 and 15-year-olds do when they go to sleep-away camp for the first time? Some teens worry about fitting in at a camp where lots of kids have been attending for years. Will I be accepted? Will I make friends? Will I be homesick?

Experience teaches us that most of these first-time campers do very well. We recommend asking these key questions before choosing a camp:

  • Ask the director how many teens are in camp and how many are new to camp. What is the “social atmosphere” of the camp? How have new teen campers done in the past?
  • How does the camp help kids feel welcome and accepted? What are counselors doing throughout the day to encourage friendship and kindness? How are any problems identified and handled? What happens if your teen is homesick?
  • What is the activity program for teens? Is there variety and challenge? Are teens allowed to make choices?
  • Speak to a couple of families who were once in your shoes. What was their teen camper’s experience like? What went well, what didn’t? If their teen had concerns, how were they handled by the staff?

Remember, YOUR TEEN IS NOT TOO OLD TO BEGIN CAMP! Camp is the ideal place for your teen to gain independence, to make new friends, and to experience the pride of meeting new challenges, all of which are very important for the well-being of your son or daughter. Take advantage of what camp has to offer. It’s a special opportunity.

Bring your family for a private tour of the Weekday Sleep-Away Camp in Blairstown, NJ. 1-hour west of Manhattan.
We are making appointments for these dates:

  • March 25, 26
  • April 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23

Choose two weeks or more.
Enroll online now. Only a deposit is due at this time.
Space in each age group is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Quick Links




Montclair Board of School Estimate: New Superintendent, Old Budget Issues

BY  |  Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 8:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Residents made it clear to the Montclair Board of School Estimate (BoSE) their concerns about the 2017-18 school budget, especially proposed cuts to paraprofessional staff.

the Montclair Board of School Estiamte

The first order of business was to introduce the Montclair school district’s new interim superintendent, Barbara Pinsak, who recently retired as superintendent of the Teaneck district.  Pinsak said she was in love with Montclair and promised to work very hard for the children and parents of the district.  Mayor Robert Jackson said he was certain she would do a good job. Continue Reading

Barbara Pinsak Is New Montclair Interim Superintendent Effective March 17

BY  |  Monday, Mar 20, 2017 6:39pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Barbara Pinsak is the new Interim Superintendent of the Montclair Public Schools by a unanimous decision of the Board of Education, effective March 17.

“We are privileged that Barbara Pinsak will be stepping in as Interim Superintendent to bridge the gap for us while we continue the search for a permanent Superintendent. We will continue to interview candidates for the permanent position. In the meantime, Ms. Pinsak comes to us with extensive school administrator experience as she recently retired this past August from Teaneck Public Schools. We are delighted to have her,” said Board President Jessica de Koninck.
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Weekend Family Highlights: The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Storytime, Art and More!

BY  |  Friday, Mar 17, 2017 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Happy weekend! We’ve rounded up some fun and family friendly things to do in the area. Check them out!

This weekend, Belleville High School (100 Passaic Avenue, Belleville) will present Disney’s The Little Mermaid on Friday at 7:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM in the school’s Connie Francis Theater. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for children age 6 and younger and adults age 55 and older.

Barnes & Noble at Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will present a story time for children on Saturday at 11:00 AM. Caldecott Medalist and New York Times bestselling author Kevin Henkes graphic novel for preschoolers is about four eggs, one big surprise and an unlikely friendship. After the story, stick around for coloring and activities.

Van Vleck House & Gardens (21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair) will host Garden Explorations Saturday Family Program on Saturday from 10:00 to 1:00 PM. The theme is Seeds and Germination. Visit the Education Center during the event hours and an environmental educator will discuss various topics relating to nature in and around the gardens. A simple craft will be offered as well as supplies for a self-guided activity on the property. Activities are designed for children ages 4 and up, however all are welcome. All children must be supervised by an adult. This rain or shine event is free for Friends of Van Vleck, otherwise $5 per child ages 4 and up ($10 maximum per family). No registration is required.

Photo: Jonathan Edelman

Just Kidding at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, NYC) will host a bilingual concert with 2016 Latin Grammy Winner 123 Andrés and Friends at 11:00 AM. Andrés Salguero, better known as 123 Andrés (Uno, Dos, Tres Andrés) has been called “a rock star for little language learners.” His high-energy music gets kids singing and dancing. Tickets are $17 ($14 for members). Expected run time is 60 minutes.

On Saturday, Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host their monthly Family Art Adventure from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. Explore and discuss artwork and participate in a hands-on project in the studio. This activity is for children ages 6-12 and their adult companions. Reservations are not required. Cost is $18 per family for non-members and $6 per family for members.

Mayo Performing Arts Center (100 South Street, Morristown) will present Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live on Saturday at 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM. Join Daniel on an interactive musical adventure as he and his friends explore the vibrant world of their much-loved neighborhood. This show is recommended for children ages 2-6. Tickets are $20-$50 and are available online.

On Sunday, catch New Jersey Ballet’s Cinderella at Mayo Performing Arts Center (100 South Street, Morristown) at 3:00 PM. This colorful spectacle is one of the ballet company’s most popular Kids & Families matinees. This classic fairy tale will be shown in two acts and will give even the youngest audience member a love for the ballet. Tickets are $15 – $25. Recommended for children ages 4 and up.

On Sunday, Montclair History Center will host a Family FUNday at Crane House & Historic YWCA (110 Orange Road, Montclair) from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This month, kids can create a tin-punched candleholder, corn husk creatures, and a woven potholder. They can also try writing with a quill pen and serve as “sous chefs” in the hearth kitchen by grinding spices. Tours are self-guided. Admission is $10 per family.

Also on Sunday, stop by Montclair Art Museum for Drop-In Studio between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. The new Helen & Bill Geyer Art Studio will be stocked with a range of art materials to explore with a seasoned MAM studio instructor. This is free for members and included in Museum admission for non-members.

For more upcoming events, check out the family friendly events, showcased in green, on Baristanet Calendar.

Montclair Board of School Estimate: Staff Reductions Cause Concern in Budget Review

BY  |  Friday, Mar 17, 2017 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

the Montclair Board of School Estimate

The Montclair Board of School Estimate began deliberations on the 2017-18 school budget passed by the Montclair Board of Education at its first meeting on March 16 – held two days later than originally scheduled owing to the March 14 snowstorm that shut down the district for two days.

Interim Schools Superintendent Ronald Bolandi, already having presided over his last Board of Education meeting on March 13, made his last public appearance as superintendent at the BoSE meeting, reiterating for the benefit of Mayor Robert Jackson and the township councilors on the BoSE much of the ground he covered in school board budget workshops.     He highlighted the district’s intention of emphasizing priorities such as a world-language supervisor, who would get $125,000 for a 10-month position, a student advocate, who would get $95,000 for the same time frame, $100,000 for special-education development, and greater support for curriculum wiring programs and support materials for said programs.   But he also lamented the staff reductions and paraprofessional cuts involved.

“A lot of things caught up to the district this year,” Superintendent Bolandi said, “the fact that we have a very little surplus which we couldn’t use.”  He noted the surplus had been used before for property tax relief.   “We ran into a problem with that, and we didn’t have enough money to put in.”  He noted that Business Administrator Steve DiGeronimo had worked hard to cut costs in two areas – health insurance and transportation – to avoid deeper cuts in the classroom.

DiGeronimo said there would be greater premiums if the district tried to join any of the Horizon policies in the State Employee Health Benefit Program (SEHBP), due in part to the fact that the district plan follows a school year while the SEHBP plan follows a calendar year, so it wouldn’t make sense to switch over to SEHBP at this time.  Mayor Jackson said he did not agree with the analysis that was done, and the way to do the analysis would have been to take the annual SEHBP plan expense of $17.9 million, divide it by two, and figure out the projected amount for premiums for the second half of 2017.  Premiums for 2017 are projected at $16.6 million in the budget.  The mayor said the assumption would give him a number one would look at to determine whether to move into the state plan or not.   He did concede that analyzing the numbers this way would have possibly led to the same conclusion, and DiGeromino said there was a lot of guesswork about what the state increase would be.   He said Horizon would submit a proposal for 2017-18 to the district in April.  The district is currently working with a Horizon projection 10.5 percent increase based on 87 percent of claims paid.

Public comment centered not on the complicated actuarial tables of comparisons of health insurance plans administered through either calendar years or fiscal school years but on the more personal and visceral issue of student counselors.  Montclair Education Association President Gayl Shepard revisited the $675,000 expenditure for the Effective School Solutions (ESS) contract for serving 54 middle- and high-school students with five counselors and the issue of three counselors serving far more students being let go to save a smaller sum of $210,000.  She found it inequitable. Continue Reading

Snow Day For Schools on Wednesday, March 15

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 6:35pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair, Bloomfield, Verona and West Orange Schools have announced they will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, March 15.

Glen Ridge, Cedar Grove and Caldwell-West Caldwell posted a delayed opening for Wednesday.

The Special Connection: Montclair Mom Shares What She Learned Parenting Son With Prader-Willi Syndrome

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Parents of children with special needs will want to read what Montclair’s Alma Schneider wrote: “What I Wish I Had Known When My Son Was Born With a Rare Disorder” for Today:

First and foremost, I wish I had not listened to my Pediatric NICU Doctor who told me to go home and read about Lincoln’s Syndrome on the internet. The internet can be a curse when you have a child with challenges, especially the forums with other parents. Often, not always, people with the most severe cases post on the internet and to read about what could happen to your child when they are 19 years old is, in my opinion, a form of masochism when you need to bond with your infant.

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Montclair BOE Adopts 2017-18 Budget, Says Goodbye To Bolandi

BY  |  Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 10:38am  |  COMMENTS (4)

Montclair Board of Education adopted its version of the 2017-18 school budget at its March 13 meeting, with board member Joseph Kavesh casting the only dissenting vote.  The Montclair Board of School Estimate (BoSE), chaired by Mayor Robert Jackson, will take it up at its first meeting on Thursday, March 16, after the impending blizzard caused the March 14 BoSE meeting to be postponed.  The second BoSE meeting, which was to have taken place on March 16, has not yet been rescheduled.

Interim Superintendent Ronald Bolandi, presiding over his last school board meeting in Montclair, and Business Administrator Steve DiGeronimo went over the finer points of the budget for a public audience much larger than the audience that greeted the board on March 6.  Superintendent Bolandi reiterated the need for the district to develop more programs to direct teaching to the students as an alternative to greater spending.  He said the district needed to throw programs, not money, at problems.

Montclair School Board President Jessica de Koninck presents a plaque of appreciation from Essex County to outgoing Interim Schools Superintendent Ronald Bolandi.

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A great looking building for Montclair Center with appropriate height, massing and details. Bravissimo!

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