Throughout the After-School year and during the six weeks of Summer Camp, we provide our children with a variety of enriching or just plain fun Special Events.

Some are one time events, many are ongoing or annual events and some are seasonal.

This web page provides a sampling of these experiences with most being either free or based upon the generosity of our friends and donors.

Click on the links below to access some of these ongoing, annual and past events:

Pumpkin Picking on the Farm

Birthday Club

Bowling, Pizza and Swimming

Concerts & Performances

Visitor Presentations

Summer Camp Specials

Theatre Arts Introduction

Other Special Events

Special Events & Field Trips

Pumpkin Picking

Our first special event of the year is usually our field trip to a local farm just before Halloween to select pumpkins and pet a variety of animals. Each child carefully selects his or her special pumpkin for later carving and decoration in an arts and crafts class back at the CDC. It's great fun to get away from usual routines and enjoy being outdoors in the fall on a farm. A group of slides of this year's farm visit, in addition to slides of this year's Halloween Party, may be seen on the Home Page, Scrolling Slideshow.

Birthday Club

This is our 2nd school year that we celebrate with a birthday party, near the end of each month, for those students with birthdays that month. Thanks in particular to the monthly generosity of Suzzane Wilcox, the children receive a gift certificate and birthday cake or cupcakes. Following their cakes and drinks the children enjoy a party game. A video of one of our birthday party's may be seen by clicking on "Videos" and "Our Birthday Club" at the link Video and Image Gallery.

Bowling, Pizza and Swimming

These special events are looked forward to with great excitement by our students. While the bowling and pizza served afterward are a direct expense of the CDC, the rewards are more than worth it for children who don't often have an opportunity to participate in such outings at home.

On the other hand, thanks to the generosity of friends and donors such as Dick and Ruth Ann Cattlet and the Galloways, our kids swim during the spring and summer in their pools and are served refreshments. This is too often the only chance our kids have to swim and they thrive on the experience.

A video of these highly anticipated outings may be seen by clicking "Videos" and "Bowling and Swimming" at the link Video and Image Gallery.

Concerts and Performances

As described elsewhere on this website, The Angel Tree of Lights Celebration Concert takes place about mid-December. Last December 16th was the 5th consecutive year that the students of the CDC have kicked off our holiday celebrations with their Christmas Caroling. We used to hold these concerts on the sidewalk of Boonton's Main Street, but now hold them in our after-school home in the church hall.

The day before the Angel Tree Concert a smaller group of our students bring holiday cheer and Christmas carols to the retired residents of New Jersey's Fireman's Home here in Boonton. Press coverage of last year's event may be seen in the news story Cedar Hill CDC Holiday Concert Story

A few of our boys participate with the girls in two of our other now annual performances: Fashion Show and our Talent Show. Excerpts from the Fashion Show will be posted by the 1st week in May, and for the Fashion Show by mid-June. A video from our first annual Fashion and Talent Shows may be viewed by clicking "Videos" and "Spring Fashion Show" at the link Video and Image Gallery.

top of page

Visitor Presentations

Occasionally, volunteers or guests make presentations or host activities for our students. An example of one of our presentations by professionals was "Jefferson's Children" which follows in a recap of the event:

Jefferson's Children - A Visit With Jane Feldman and Shannon Lanier

Shannon Lanier and CASP StudentShannon Lanier and CASP Student

On January 28, 2005, Cedar Hill/St. John's held a Black History Teach-In with Shannon Lanier (Sixth great grandson of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings) and Jane Feldman (author photographer), co-authors of the book Jefferson's Children. Tailoring the conversation for two different groups, the younger children and the older children and adults, Shannon and Jane relayed the history of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings.

The two speakers relayed the complexity of the legacy of slavery; for example an important facet such as "Passing" in which some very light skinned descendents of slaves succeed by passing for white to ensure safety, education and freedom. The Jefferson-Hemings family history mirrors the history of countless other families. Shannon described the journey from slavery to freedom for Sally's children, who all originally located in southern Ohio, where Shannon still has relatives to this day.

Bridget Leading Peace Prayer

The After School endeavors to teach peace, caring and sharing and conflict resolution. In order to do this, the event started off with Bridget Burke-Weiss and the children reciting the peace prayer:


I promise to work harder
at finding peaceful solutions
to problems at home
and at school.

I also promise to not judge
other people unfairly
and to help make
Dr. King's dream a reality.

by Teachers Friend Publications, Inc.

Children Painting

As part of the celebration of Black History Month, Community After School Director, Bridget Burke Weiss and her staff spent several weeks orienting the children to the lives of such heroic figures as Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King and reading from the book, Jefferson's Children.

In keeping with the theme of the arts, the children created their own banner "Reaching for the Stars." When looking around the room, the audience realized that Dr. King's dream for society had come true and was reflected in the CASP rainbow family.

When the children were talking about Dr. King, one child quoted directly from his "I have a dream speech." "Be judged not by the color or your skin, but by the content of your character."

* Diversity * Family * Genealogy * History * Conflict Resolution * The Legacy of Slavery * Identity * Human Rights * Women's Studies * Sociology * African American Studies *

Audience Jane Feldman, introduced by CDC Board member, Fern Jones, presented the children of CASP with an autographed copy of Jefferson's Children.
The audience came from every walk of life, clergy, businessman, mayor, professor, parent and child. When Jane asked, "When did you learn of the relation between Jefferson and Hemings?" The audience responded with such varied experiences as, "I was taught in school in Guyana as a young girl.", another elderly lady revealed "She always knew through oral history," and still others had "No idea because we were not taught this history." Others learned that very day of this hidden part of American history.

What was remarkable in Jane and Shannon's slide presentation was to see the mixed race legacy of slavery. This opened up for the group the theme of "Who is your family?" Jane, who is an experienced photographer encouraged the children to "Find out about your family. If you have old photographs, label them." Ask your parents where their parents came from. Do a family tree if you can." "Preserve tradition through oral history and the lessons of the elders."

Shannon Lanier and Jane Feldman captured the hearts and minds of the children and all adults who were inspired by their youthful wisdom, their dedication to peace and their interest in connecting the whole human family through story telling.

When the children were asked, "What makes a family?" Many responded "Those who care for you and who takes care of you." One child bluttered out "Love" makes a family. Despite the fact 70% of the children come from single parent households, they are raised by loving and caring parents who struggle on a daily basis for child care and to maintain their employment. In the end, the After School children all agreed that the after school itself is a family.

The CDC launched its focus on Black History Month in the new space now opened thanks to a grant from Morris County Development. Through generous donations of foundations, in particular the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the children will be exposed to visual and performing arts.

* * * * * * * *

Jefferson's Children Book CoverJEFFERSON'S CHILDREN - The Story of One American Family (Random House, 2nd edition) by co-authors Lanier and Feldman, is used in course curricula in many junior high schools, high schools, and colleges around the country. It has become a powerful catalyst for discussion on issues of Race and Family. Prestigious Columbia University and Rutgers University use the book in courses on Race and the Law.

Expanding on JEFFERSON'S CHILDREN, the co-authors have produced an interactive multimedia presentation that helps to demystify race and explore our interconnectedness.

"I think people are fascinated just seeing us, as co-authors, presenting this information together," said Lanier. "They see two people, of different genders, races, & generations. One of us is blood family, and one has become family. People seem to really appreciate the culmination of our varying perspectives."

Jane and Shannon have spoken at many schools, colleges, and organizations about their work. They have shared a program on First Amendment Rights with Maya Angelou and have been keynote speakers at the American Library Association national conference, at a conference of 3000 Barnes and Noble Superstore Managers, C-Span's Book TV and more. Together they have taught special interactive workshops on Oral History, Multiculturalism and encourage participants of all ages to tell their own rich stories.

top of page

Summer Camp Specials

During our six week Summer Camp Program that we co-host with Boonton Parks and Recreation there are a number of special events that are scheduled. Perhaps none of them are appreciated more by the campers than Water Day. As seen in the video viewable by clicking "Videos" and then "Summer Camp Fun" on the web page Video and Image Gallery, a rented, giant, inflatable water slide is set up. In addition a "Dunk the Camp Counsellor" water tank is also rented and set up.

Theatre Arts Introduction

Shakespeare of NJ Junior Corps 2005

News release by Bridget Burke Weiss, Community After School Program Director
and professional actress currently appearing at the Darress Theater in "Sordid Lives"

Students by Drew University Shakespeare Sign

Thanks to a kind contribution from the Adrienne and Dillard S. Kirby Family Fund, three fortunate Boonton children, members of the CASP, had the opportunity to train with the Shakespeare of NJ Junior Corps this summer. This program introduces a small group of children ages 10-13 to the world of Shakespeare and acting performance. Junior Corps takes place for two weeks at Drew University in the new Dorothy Young Arts Center.

"It's Greek to Me" - Interview with CASP Actors by Bridget Burke Weiss:

CASP students Christopher Torres age 10, Antoinette Johnson age 11 and Alexia Hewitt (alumna) age 11, all participated in a two-week intensive acting camp given by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey held at Drew University in Madison.

Here the children were introduced to Shakespeare's plays as well as acting techniques, stage combat, voice production and diction. They studied Shakespeare's classic "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" and performed a condensed version of "The Tempest" to a packed audience of families and friends on Saturday, August 6th.

The following interview took place at a CASP CAST DINNER PARTY at Friendly's restaurant in Madison, NJ (chicken fingers and ice cream were the popular menu du jour):

Cast on Stage

Q: "What did you envision Shakespeare of NJ Junior Corps to be like?"

A: Chris—"I thought it would be easy—but I didn't know they would make me do a real play. I wanted to quit."
Antoinette—"I thought it was going to be really hard and I wouldn't know anybody.
Alexia—"I thought it would be the same as last summer but it was totally different".

Q: "What did you think after the first day?"

A: Chris—"I thought it was easy and a little corny."
Antoinette—"I thought it was easy and fun!"
Alexia—"I thought—I can't wait to come tomorrow!"

Q: "Tell me one thing you learned about Shakespeare."

A: Chris—"His plays make no sense to most young people until you study them."
Antoinette—"He wrote A LOT of plays. The words are crazy! It's hard to understand them."
Chris—"Yeah—except it 'It's Greek to me!' That I get!"
Alexia—"I learned that in Shakespeare plays, they used boys to play girls and they even kissed!"

Q: "What do you think the moral is in the play 'Julius Caesar?'"

A: Chris—"Don't be greedy."
Antoinette—"Friends shouldn't turn their backs on each other."
Alexia—"It's mean to back stab."
Chris—"Caesar loved the poor and the poor loved him—which made him a good ruler."

Q: "What was the hardest part of performing a play?"

A: Chris—"Projecting."
Antoinette—"Getting over stage fright!"
Alexia—"Saying all my lines—because I was scared—but I got through it!"

Q: "How do you think this will help you in school this fall?"

A: Chris—"It gives you an edge at auditions."
Antoinette—"If you have a school play to do — it will help you."
Alexia—"It will help me have more confidence."

Q: "What was the best part of this experience—besides the chicken fingers?"

Chris—"Our afternoon break. We got to eat our snacks together, play ping-pong and watch the Japanese and Italian Channel."
Antoinette—"Making new friends and acting with people!"
Alexia—"Playing all the theatre games—they were really fun! Bus Stop was my favorite. I also really liked learning my part."

Q: "What do you think the most important thing that you learned from this experience is?"

A: Chris—"That it takes more than one try to get a play right!"
Antoinette—"How to act on a stage and not be afraid!"
Alexia—"Not to be shy."

NJ Shakespeare "A Midsummer's Night Dream"

This past May, the children and staff of CASP were once again treated to a professional performance of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" by the touring company of Shakespeare LIVE! This program is designed to help introduce school age children to the works of Shakespeare through classroom study and live performance. Once again the children had a field trip to the historic Darress Theatre in downtown Boonton and were entertained by a rousing production of this whimsical classic with fairies, star crossed lovers and a spellbound donkey.

For the children luckily enough to see this show a second year in a row — it was a hit! Prior group discussions of the performance last year piqued the new student's curiosity about the humor and slap stick aspects of the show and the excitement of going on a field trip! Everyone had a great time and the children who had an encore performance understood the play on different levels the second time around. The acting company was very impressed with the children's poignant questions after the show and their impeccable manners as audience members during the show! Bravo! Thank you Shakespeare LIVE!

Other Special Events

Additional special events that are ongoing, annual or one time are:

  • Cub Scout Activities
  • Big Brother/Big Sister Visits
  • Golf Introductory Lessons
  • Movies
  • Funplex Amusement Center
  • Holiday and Cultural Observances
  • Organized Sports and Play
  • Picnics in Tourne Park

top of page