• About

  • Our Mission

    Since 1923, LifeCamp’s mission has been to combine the unique experiences we can offer in our rural setting with innovative teaching of life and academic skills to prepare children from greater Newark to excel.


    The Life Camp movement began in 1887, when Life magazine editor John Amos Mitchell founded the “Life’s Fresh Air Fund,” to send urban, underprivileged children to the country to enjoy open space, clean air, and sunshine. His first announcement declared, “Three dollars will send a child to the country for a fortnight.” In 1923, James Cox Brady opened the Life Farm on his land in Pottersville, New Jersey, to serve children from Newark. His descendants remain deeply involved in the camp to this day, which also has a board of trustees and year-round staff. It operates on the campus established a century ago, on land now owned by the Johnson family.

    Today, LifeCamp provides an enriching summer day camp experience for over 300 Newark area students daily, for six weeks during the months of July and August. Campers are between the ages of 6 and 14, and come from the greater Newark public school system as well as from Newark Charter School Programs (KIPP, Philip’s, North Star, Link, Newark Legacy and New Horizon).

    Our Programs

    Our rural campus provides a unique setting for children to discover their talents and stretch their imaginations in a way few other summer camp programs can match. The young people who benefit come from urban backgrounds without other access to such an idyllic location. Fundraising keeps tuition affordable for these families, with 94 percent of all dollars raised going directly to services for campers.

    The LifeCamp campus is located on 90 acres of open fields, rolling hills, and woodlands, near the Lamington River. The campus is an effective teaching environment that makes learning enjoyable by providing experiential and contextual links to the camp’s curriculum.

    Our Nature/Science program takes place in and around the Lamington River. Environmental education specialists from the Raritan Headwaters Association often come to work with our campers.

    LifeCamp is also where many of our campers first learn how to swim and ride a bike. The camp has a large outdoor swimming pool and a fleet of bicycles, which are maintained by volunteers. The campus provides many safe places to practice.

    Indoors, we have incorporated a game design element into computer time for the older campers as well as simple robotics and drone programs. We have a music studio for campers to create their own recordings, and they can hone their critical thinking skills through chess and other mind-stimulation games that require use of strategy, problem-solving, and judgment.

    A Day at the Camp

    A typical day at LifeCamp begins with breakfast of juice, milk, cereal and fruit and a morning meeting. We also serve lunch every day.

    The daily program balances the arts, athletics, and academic enrichment, as well as personal growth and development. It is designed to help young people from Newark become more confident in their abilities, improve their self-esteem, and develop greater autonomy and leadership qualities.

    For all age groups, the schedule is balanced among academic, artistic, and athletic activities to keep campers engaged and active. The schedule is organized so that campers do not have back-to-back physical or academic classes. Programs include Arts and Crafts, Aquatics, Biking, Chess/Strategy Games, Computer Education, Dance, Drama, Nature/Science, Physical Education, Percussion Orchestra, Reading, Recording Studio, Ropes Course, and Values.

    The LifeCamp learning environment is motivational and fun, and offers campers the camaraderie of interaction with peers and staff. Our camper-to-staff ratio of 6:1 offers plenty of opportunities for individual attention. Former campers are often hired as staff, allowing us to keep in touch and follow their success as they move through high school, college, and into the workforce. Roughly 25% of our summer staff were former LifeCamp campers. This culture of strengthening the LifeCamp legacy between former and current campers has consistently reinforced values such as respect and responsibility.

    LifeCamp helps campers gain self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment through challenging and enriching new experiences. We change lives for the better.