Theater, Art, Dance, Rock, & more!

IMG_1823_2Theater at Camp Ballibay is truly exciting. During the summer camp season we stage over 25 productions, from one-acts and readings to full length plays and musicals.

Our theater camp program is open to campers of all ages and experience levels. Shows are process- and learning-oriented; Campers are cast in roles that are meant to help them grow as performers.

Our directors teach campers about all aspects of theater throughout the rehearsal process, making every show and every role a great learning opportunity. Ballibay has been a premier performing arts camp since the early 1970s.


Technical Theatre

lightboardopThere are often as many campers backstage as there are on stage in Ballibay productions. Campers operate the lighting and sound boards, followspots, fog machines, and video projections; often there are stage crew moving props and sets, setting microphones, and assisting the cast; and frequently campers will stage manage or assistant stage manage shows, calling lighting and sound cues, and making sure everything is in place for the production. Combined with the video crew, this means teams of up to 15 campers per show, taught and supervised by qualified staff!

But even more happens before the day of a show: props must be gathered; lights hung and focused; costumes selected and modified; sets constructed, painted, and dressed. And just before the show the makeup is applied. One production can easily involve another 25 campers in these projects working with the counselors, and learning from them!

As with all Ballibay programs, some campers will just want to try tech once, other campers make it their major focus at camp, and everything in between. Our unique program accommodates all interest and skill levels.

Safety is an important part of technical theater, and all campers (not only those who decide to participate in the program) receive a basic introduction to theater safety during the camper orientation.

IMG_7320Campers interested in lighting will work with state-of-the-art , lights by ETC, Altman and Martin, and a huge selection of effects, gobos, and colors. Campers working with sound will be learning on Mackie mixing boards and Macintosh computers; We have a huge digital library of music and sound effects. Our shows are run like professional productions, with numbered lighting and sound cues called by a stage manager; campers have fun while learning real, practical production skills.

DSC_0321 2_MG_9463There is a casual, relaxed manner about our art studios, packed with materials, and run by an experienced, creative staff. We have a very special way of looking at art; we see children’s art as an individual language that is separated from adult technique. We teach and assist campers in technique, but campers’ artwork is always a process of individual expression.
There may be class-like situations in the studios, but the majority of the campers are engaged in individual or small-group independent work. Instructors are on hand helping out where needed and observing campers’ activity & progress.
Campers are encouraged to be active in more than one project at once, so that as they exhaust one, they can put it away and go on to another area of interest; looking at what another camper is doing, or at one of the constantly changing displays or demonstrations going on.

Suzanne Goldenberg directs all the activity of our fine art camp. Our staff includes art teachers and college undergraduates and graduate students who are aspiring to careers involving art, children and teaching.

Our music camp program is comprehensive. Our full-time staff offers traditional vocal, string, woodwind and brass training, workshops and classes, and ensemble opportunities including duets, trios, and quartets, improvisational groups, vocal jazz ensembles, and more! Beginning through advanced students will find our instrumental and vocal performing arts camp programs rewarding, with ample time for lessons and practice, and numerous performance opportunities each session.

Instrumental Music

two girls play flute at music summer campBallibay’s instrumental music program is beneficial for advanced students, beginners, and campers wanting to try an instrument for the very first time. Our experienced teachers work with students on most string, brass and woodwind instruments. For campers wanting to try the violin, flute, trumpet, clarinet, or saxophone for the first time, we have instruments available on campus. Most experienced players will bring their own instruments to camp.

Students can schedule several private lessons per week. Campers can work with classical, jazz, popular and Broadway music, and our instructors are available to teach theory & harmony, improvisation, and many other aspects of music.

All campers studying instrumental music are encouraged to perform, and there are many opportunities.   We produce several Camper Cabarets each session, as well as five-o’clock specials, which are less formal opportunities for campers to showcase works in progress or collaborate with an instructor on a performance.  We also have regular Jam Nights where campers can experiment or work through new pieces in a low-pressure, fun environment. There are also many opportunities for instrumentalists to perform in rock-n-roll band nights in horn or string sections!


campercabbackstageVocal music has become one of the most popular programs at Camp Ballibay in recent years. We have several vocal music instructors who divide their time between individual and small group voice lessons and coaching and musical direction of musical theatre productions.  All of our voice instructors are either professional singers and instructors, or are students studying for degrees in music instruction or performance.

Vocal health, and age- and skill-appropriate voice training are central to our vocal music program; the developing voices of young performers must be carefully nurtured and protected.

Performance opportunities for singers abound; each camp session we produce two or three Camper Cabarets (talent shows,) several Five O’Clock Specials (informal afternoon performances) and Jam Nights, where campers can work through new pieces or experiment in a low-pressure environment.



Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHOur exciting dance camp program is open to all campers. Some campers come to Ballibay to work specifically in dance, while many others have some experience or are first-time students. We offer Jazz, Modren, Ballet, Tap, and Hip-Hop dance classes. Dance is available as a major or minor activity during all of our sessions. We also offer a 2-week dance camp intensive for experienced dancers, with exciting artists-in-residence.

Our experienced dance staff develops choreography for musical theatre productions and dance concerts, and works with campers throughout each session towards these performances. Students who wish to develop their own choreography can do so with the assistance of our staff, and there are opportunities for performing their work through each session.

Dance on Camera

Capturing choreography on camera allows our dancers to work in a wide range of spaces and environments usually not suitable for live performance. It enables a new kind of storytelling and drama, mixing of dance and non-dance movement, fragmentation and reconstruction of the choreography, and a multiplicity of viewpoints on each gesture.

This exciting new program with its great expressive possibilities promises to play an important part in the future of our innovative performing arts curriculum.



We have had a very active video program since the mid-seventies, and our technical expertise and equipment have grown to a professional level. We videotape all productions and performances throughout the summer using a live three- or four- camera shoot in which campers operate the cameras. Our video staff provides excellent training in live video production, teaching campers about camera operation, video switching, picture composition and communicating with video directors on headset.

All shows are filmed in HD format and made available to parents online at the end of the summer.


Ballibay4_1Our Film Program was a new addition for 2014.  Built off of and around our Video program, film teaches campers the art of visual storytelling.  Campers start out shooting very basic video slideshows that try and tell a coherent story.  Campers then progress to creating short documentaries and profiles on campers and staff.  Finally, campers graduate to creating scripted, directed movies.

All of their work is shot on professional-grade equipment and edited in Final Cut Pro, an industry-standard computerized film editing platform.  Campers films are showcased at the Ballibay Film Festival, which takes place on the last evening of each session.

IMAG1355Our radio program broadcasts from our short-range FM radio transmitter reach the camp community two or three times daily, including a live daily morning show. Our radio program teaches production and presentation of professional talk, news and music radio formats; along with radio plays, radio improv, comedy, and broadcasts of Ballibay rock bands and ensembles. Campers learn DJ skills in the ‘WBAY’ radio studio, as well as during our ‘DJ dances’ during the summer.

Rock music has been part of our non-competitive, individual choice camp program for over 25 years! Our full time guitar, drum, and bass instructors teach students at all levels and work with many camper bands each session for the band night, ensemble showcases & concerts, and camper cabarets.

In our three rock studios we have acoustic and electronic drum kits, amplifiers, guitars and basses of all types, keyboards, and a large assortment of percussion instruments.  We also integrate non-traditional instruments into our Rock program, such as strings, horns, reeds and more.

We also have regular rock special events – banjo concerts by the hay bale, collaborations withIMAG1242 the dance department on live performances, five o’clock special performances and much more.

Rock Music is available as a major or minor activity area during all of our camp sessions. We also offer a 2-week Rock Camp at our sister camp, The Rock Farm, but Camp Ballibay campers are still able to take advantage of most aspects of The Rock Farm.

Horseback Riding at Ballibay

IMG_1124Horseback riding is a popular activity with many campers. We have horses and English and Western tack on campus for use in our daily riding program. In our program there is room for the beginner, the camper wishing an occasional ride, and the advanced student who desires in-depth training in equitation and horse care. There is an orientation concerning safety and program goals for those campers who choose riding. Three periods per week are included in the fee. Campers wishing additional riding time can earn them at camp by helping with stable care in the morning before breakfast or during other free time. After appropriate familiarization and practice in our spacious riding ring, those who qualify often take trail rides. At Ballibay there are a multitude of trails suited for long leisurely trail rides.


We have an active waterfront program that includes a large swimming pool and an on-campus lake that is used for boating or poolfishing. Our waterfront is supervised by qualified lifeguards and assistants. During our orientation program, each camper takes a swimming test so that his or her skills can be ascertained, and we can explain what our waterfront program can do to upgrade skills. Swimming instruction is scheduled individually with each camper. Recreational or ‘general swim’ is offered twice daily during our regular morning and afternoon activity periods, and anyone who wishes to participate may. The water in our pool is checked weekly by a state approved laboratory, and daily by our staff. Both areas are inspected and approved annually by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Evening Sport

Every day we offer a different sporting activity or game after dinner. We have tennis courts and a large sports field for softball, volleyball, badminton, soccer and many other team and individual sports. In keeping with our non-competitive orientation, the emphasis in our sports program is individual involvement, improvement of skills, and fun.

Our Unique Philosophy

Ballibay is a residential summer camp for children interested in the Fine and Performing Arts. Our program is educationally oriented, with an emphasis on process rather than product; and growth, learning, safety and caring are our highest priorities. Activities are non-competitive, and participation is based on the individual choices of campers.

Campers of all interest and skill levels are at home in the Ballibay program; our goal is the artistic and personal growth of children, whatever their backgrounds and goals. 

The Small Camp Idea

DSC06133We believe that a small camp is a happy camp, so rather than expanding our camp’s capacity over the years, we have created multiple small camps. Everyone knows everyone at each of our camps. With never more than 140 campers, and always at least 45 staff, we maintain very small communities with an outstanding child-adult ratio (typically 3:1). No one feels lost, and everyone “fits in.” Campers attest to how easy it is to make friends here, even for the most introverted of kids. Parents tell us how much confidence their experience at a Ballibay Camp has given them.

Cabin sizes also remain small, with usually 8-12 campers and at least two counselors living in each bunk.  All of our counselors are at least 19-years-old. Only our cabins are organized by age and grade; all of our program areas mix ages and genders, allowing campers to make friends and work creatively alongside a diverse group of fellow campers. Superb individual attention and an open, non-competitive environment serve as the foundation of The Ballibay Camps’ truly unique and supportive communities.

Individual Choice

IMAG1274No bells ring, whistles blow or loud speakers blare to announce the end of one activity and the beginning of another.

Our distinctive individual choice program allows for great flexibility; each child selects his or her own activities, and programs can be altered to better meet the needs and interests of our campers. This flexibility does not mean anarchy; rather freedom in a structured environment that allows for constructive choice, application of skills, completion of projects and smooth interaction. As one of our parents said, ‘Ballibay is the most structured – unstructured camp…’

IMAG1203It never takes long for campers to find their niche and direction in our program; and this direction is always one that suits their interests and needs! Campers must participate in some activity, but the activity is the activity which they have chosen.

We are always prepared and happy to assist campers in planning their activities and pursuing their own interests. Younger campers in particular need more help in making choices about their activities, and we assist them with this throughout the summer, and plan special group-centered activities for them.

Non-Competitive Programming

Among the key philosophies of Ballibay is a commitment to a noncompetitive environment. There are no awards, prizes, or inclusion and exclusion based on judging, scoring, or grading of any type in our arts program areas. Our teachers provide feedback, advice, and encouragement; they encourage campers to pursue interests, and to observe others to gain insight and inspiration.

There are many summer programs offering performing arts training that prepare children for the highly competitive professional arts world. This is not our mission. We want the experience of artmaking to be rich and fulfilling, and free of the concerns of the professional world.

We take pride in attracting campers from an extremely broad range of skill and experience levels, and providing an environment in which all campers have ample opportunities for growth.

it’s the journey, not the product

IMG_0912‘It’s the Journey, not the Product’ has always been a basic tenet of the Ballibay philosophy. The road that leads to a completed project, artwork or performance is the most valuable to the student, regardless of the final outcome. If the process of development and discovery is positive, then valuable learning and growth have occurred.

This philosophy does not mean that the product is unimportant; we expect campers to make a commitment to the activities they have chosen and follow through with them. Whatever campers elect to be involved in, be it drama, tennis, or musical instruction; they need to meet their commitment to a project or study through its completion. Should a camper want to change commitment to a program he or she has selected there is ample opportunity to do so, but this is always done through discussion with his or her instructors.

A Typical Day

It’s hard to call a day at Ballibay typical.  Every day at Ballibay is different by virtue of our unique method of scheduling.  Campers go through orientation during their first two days at camp, and in those two days they meet every staff member in every program at camp and can register their interest in a program during a one-on-one meeting.  The staff use the lists they develop from those meetings to create a new schedule each and every day.  No hands are raised, no signup sheets are used.  Campers are free to try new things in a pressure-free environment.

Click the times in the lefthand column below to learn about how the day is structured at Ballibay.

Click to View:

wake up

Cabins wake up at different times; most cabins start getting up and taking showers around 7:30. Campers and staff use this time to prepare themselves and their cabins for the day. Many cabins tune into ‘WBAY’ camp radio for the live, camper produced ‘morning show.’


special morning programs

Around 7:45 some campers are already starting their program day. For instance:

  • The hosts, guests, and engineer of the live morning radio show are in the studio beginning their broadcast.
  • A cabin fishing trip is well on its way at the camp lake.
  • A group of campers and staff are beginning their day with a morning yoga class, meditation, or warmup.

Only a small portion of the camp is going this early; interested campers will do live morning radio about once a week, and other morning activities rarely if ever meet more then three times a week. All early morning programs are optional.



We run a “quiet dining hall” — no chanting or singing, banging on tables or running around. Quiet, pleasant conversation is the norm.

Younger campers sit at assigned tables that change each week.  These assignments are specifically designed not to include cabin-mates or to be gender-segregated.  Meals are a community time, and we want campers to broaden their social horizons at camp by meeting children from other programs.

Visit our food website for menus, chef bios, and details on our outstanding foodservice; emphasizing fresh, local, and sustainably-produced foods.

After breakfast there are announcements; Staff announce the morning’s schedule, calling rehearsals, classes, lessons, and other activities.

Campers are encouraged to approach staff with their interests during mealtimes, when everyone in present, and staff seek out and plan with campers who have expressed interest in the dining hall as well.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

morning activities

Following a little free time after breakfast, campers and staff go to program areas for the morning: 9:30-12:00

About half of the plays and musicals have regular full-cast work sessions in the mornings.

Campers in “half-day” theater will rehearse either in the morning or the afternoon. The evening activity period is always free for other, non-theater activities.

Dance classes, instrumental and vocal music lessons, video classes, radio shows, open art studios, riding, tennis, swimming lessons, rock band rehearsals, and more all happen in the morning.

“Free swim” is usually available 11:00-12:00.


clear the hill

Campers and staff return to cabins at 12:00, 5:00, 8:00, and after the Nighttime program.

Since every camper has his or her own schedule during activity periods consisting of rehearsals, classes, time in the art studios or the sports area, this is an important time to ‘re-group’ at the cabin before the meal.

These cabin times are part of our balance between structure and freedom in the program; although very little time is spent as a ‘cabin group’ during the day, these times are important to keep each busy day flowing smoothly.

Campers are accounted for at 11 different times per day, whether it’s as a cabin or a table in the dining hall.


Visit our food website for menus, chef bios, and details on our outstanding foodservice; emphasizing fresh, local, and sustainably-produced foods.

Each table in the dining hall seats 5 or 6; with at least one staffperson at each table in our main dining room.

Soup and salad bar are available every lunch.


rest period

Each day campers and staff return to their cabins to relax after lunch.

Campers write letters, play quiet games, and nap.

We run a very active program, and this mid-day rest is essential for everyone.

Every day during rest period, ‘WBAY’ camper radio broadcasts pre-recorded camper produced radio shows including music shows, talk radio, radio plays and more!


hillside meeting

Campers and staff gather on a shady hillside for a short meeting about the afternoon schedule of rehearsals, classes, and other activities, as well as news about upcoming productions and activities.



afternoon activities

As in the morning, all campers and staff go to their rehearsals, classes, lessons, demonstrations and other activities.

About half of the plays and musicals will have a full cast work session during the afternoon. Shows going up will have their full-tech-dress rehearsal in the afternoon.

No one is in the cabin areas during these activity times: At Ballibay the cabins are not a focal point of camp life; the program areas are where campers make their important lasting friendships.

Free swim is available 4-5 most days.


back to cabins

Campers and staff return to cabins at 12:00, 5:00, 8:00, and after the Nighttime program.

Since every camper has his or her own schedule during activity periods consisting of rehearsals, classes, time in the art studios or the sports area, this is an important time to ‘re-group’ at the cabin before the meal.

These cabin times are part of our balance between structure and freedom in the program; although very little time is spent as a ‘cabin group’ during the day, these times are important to keep each busy day flowing smoothly.

Campers ‘regroup’ by cabin or dining hall table, and are accounted for, 11 times per day.


Visit our food website for menus, chef bios, and details on our outstanding foodservice; emphasizing fresh, local, and sustainably-produced foods.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH


free time & sports

A break in our program day, this is free time ‘on the hill,’ a chance for busy campers to play sports, read, or relax.

The sports field is very active every day at this time, with volleyball, softball, soccer, &c…



evening activities

During the evening activities all of our program areas are open and calling classes and lessons, and full-cast theatre rehearsals do not meet so that campers busy in theater all day can participate in other activities.

It is also a time for show preparation: soundchecks, costume and makeup, video team meetings, and technical theater cue-to-cues.

Rock bands, dance rehearsals, and instrumental and vocal ensembles have special priority in the evenings.



back to cabins

Campers and staff return to cabins at 12:00, 5:00, 8:00, and after the Nighttime program.

Since every camper has his or her own schedule during activity periods consisting of rehearsals, classes, time in the art studios or the sports area, this is an important time to ‘re-group’ at the cabin before the meal.

These cabin times are part of our balance between structure and freedom in the program; although very little time is spent as a ‘cabin group’ during the day, these times are important to keep each busy day flowing smoothly.


nighttime program

The majority of our nights are filled with theatrical productions, dance and music concerts, camper cabarets and special events including movie nights, dj dances, and a band night each session.

The nights are a particularly important part of what makes Ballibay a special place; over the course of three weeks at camp, a camper will see and/or participate in at least 3 cabarets, 5 plays, 2 musicals, a band night, a dance and/or ensemble concert, a dj dance, 2 movie nights, and a bonfire with songs & stories!

Campers not involved in the performing arts have live entertainment almost every night, and campers in the performing arts have a wide variety of performance opportunities, and constant inspiration!


back to cabins

Campers and staff return to cabins at 12:00, 5:00, 8:00, and after the Nighttime program.

Since every camper has his or her own schedule during activity periods consisting of rehearsals, classes, time in the art studios or the sports area, this is an important time to ‘re-group’ at the cabin before the meal.

These cabin times are part of our balance between structure and freedom in the program; although very little time is spent as a ‘cabin group’ during the day, these times are important to keep each busy day flowing smoothly.


"lights out"

‘Lights out’ time varies from cabin to cabin, from just a few minutes after the evening program for the youngest campers to 45 minutes or so after the evening program for the older cabins.

Some cabins will allow ‘flashlight time’ after lights out for reading and studying lines. Our staff makes sure that campers get enough sleep and that campers who want to sleep are not disturbed.

Our days are long and plenty of rest is essential for campers of all ages and our hardworking staff.

One counselor is always in the cabin from the end of the evening program through breakfast the next morning. Our office is staffed until 1:00 am every night for any nighttime difficulties, and directors, the deans, and our camp nurse are available 24 hours a day for any serious problems.

Campus & Location

Click on the map to view various areas of camp.



IMAG1326Ballibay’s breathtaking campus and outstanding facilities are a perfect compliment to the great kids and amazing, talented staff we attract each summer.  Situated on 174 mountaintop acres, we actively use about 100 acres, leaving a beautiful wooded buffer around much of the campus.  We take great pride in keeping the grounds carefully manicured while still maintaining the atmosphere of a rustic, wooded campus.

All campers live in rustic cabins with modern amenities such as hot and cold running water and private, indoor bathroom facilities.  Our cabins have electricity for campers to charge their electronics, but our campus does not have WiFi.  Please see our philosophy page for information on our unplugged campus policy.

DSCF9966Camp Ballibay makes extensive use of several buildings on campus, including the Ballibay Theater, the Outdoor Platform and the Little Theater, which includes a large dance studio/rehearsal space, and a true Blackbox Theater.  The Blackbox is used for rehearsals, scene study and lighting workshops.

As with all of our programs, however, Camp Ballibay campers are free to use the facilities of any of our sister camps during their free time, and many Camp Ballibay programs use space in other program buildings (the makeup studio is in the Farm Arts Barn, etc.)

We are constantly improving and upgrading all areas of camp. Within the past five years we completed a major addition to our dining hall, including additional cooking and dining space, added new lighting infrastructure to the Ballibay Theater and did a minor renovation of the stage space and wings.

New Facilities



We hope you will come to visit us during the summer or any time during our off-season.
Please contact us to arrange a visit!

Tuition & Dates


Ballibay First Session

4 wks | $5325. | June 26 – July 23, 2016

Ballibay Second Session

3 wks. | $4500. | July 24 – August 13, 2016

Click here to register now for 2016!


Early Enrollment – register before 12/15 and save $200.
Pay in Full at time of registration – save $100.
Sibling Discount – save $250. on the second and each subsequent child.

Counselor-in-training program

Junior CIT program: 16 year old returning campers enrolled for five or more weeks are eligible for our Junior CIT program: campers spend 1/2 their day in an apprenticeship to staffpeople, and 1/2 their day as a camper. Junior CITs are given some counselor-like responsibilities, and receive some time off on campus. Tuition is discounted an additional 10%.

Full CIT program: 17 year old returning campers enrolled for five or more weeks are eligible for our Full CIT program: campers spend 1/2 their day in advanced apprenticeships to staffpeople, and 1/2 their day as a camper. Full CITs are given many responsibilities similar to those of counselors, and receive time off on campus. Tuition is discounted an additional 20%.

Camp Videos

See dozens of Ballibay videos at

Contact Us

Request a Camp Brochure and receive our Newsletter

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Summer Address

1660 Ballibay Road
Camptown, PA 18853

All-year Email and Phone


Our Brooklyn Office:

please call for an appointment
830 Albany Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11203

PRIVACY POLICY: Ballibay Camps, Inc. will not share, sell, or distribute by any means information entered on our brochure request form.

Sister Camps
The Rock Farm
Endless Mountains Dance Camp
Farm Arts Camp
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