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Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp is an educational summer camp located in New Milford, Connecticut. The camp was established in 1942 by Dr. Ernst Bulova and his wife Ilse, Austrian educators who had studied under Maria Montessori.
Ernst (1902–2001) and Ilse Bulova were Austrian educators living in Germany in the early 20th century. Dr. Bulova ran an educational radio program in Berlin, but following the Nazis' rise to power he and his wife were forced to flee to England, where Dr. Bulova became co-director of the Beltane School in Wimbledon. With the help of relatives who owned the Bulova Watch Company, Dr. and Mrs. Bulova emigrated to the United States in 1940 to find a refuge for British children during World War II. The site chosen was hilly farmland in the Merryall region of New Milford, but since crossing the Atlantic had become too treacherous, the plan was abandoned and Ernst and Ilse convinced their relatives to sell the land to them. Thus began Buck’s Rock Work Camp, where the Bulovas put into practice some of their Montessori-based principles on how children learn and grow.
The earliest campers came from two of Manhattan’s progressive schools, The Dalton School and The Walden School. In addition to learning about New Milford’s small-town governance, the children worked on neighboring farms to alleviate the wartime manpower shortage. Once the war ended, the camp really took off and a unique program of creative and artistic endeavors evolved.
In the 1970s the Bulovas sold the camp to 3 couples who ran the camp together for many years.
While many campers believe that the camp was named for a large boulder that sits behind the Actors Studio building, the land on which the camp sits was part of the Buck’s Rock district of New Milford, John Buck having been one of its first settlers. In addition, the road that runs through the camp is called Buck’s Rock Road.
In 1996 the camp was purchased from the former owners (Lou Simon and Irwin Berger) by Mickey and Laura Morris.
In 2001, coinciding with a memorial ceremony following Dr. Bulova's death, a group of alumni spanning the camp's 50-year history founded a non-profit organization called Friends of Buck's Rock (FOBR), to promote the educational ideals and philosophy of the camp's founders. In addition to sponsoring alumni events, FOBR has served as a fund-raising organization, partnering with Buck's Rock's directors to make it possible for financially disadvantaged teenagers to attend camp on full scholarships.
In 2016, the camp was purchased by Noah Salzman, a former camper, and his wife Smadar.
Notable staff and alumni
- Eric Schleien, Member of New Hampshire House of Representatives / CEO of EISCO
- Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's
- Ezra Koenig, singer/guitarist in indie-rock band Vampire Weekend
- Ezra Miller, actor: The Flash, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film), We Need to Talk About Kevin (film), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (film)
- Henry Sapoznik, Klezmer music authority, four time Grammy nominated performer/producer
- Jason Zimbler, former child actor (Clarissa Explains It All)
- Happy Traum, folk musician of 1960–2000, session guitarist for Bob Dylan.
- Roy Book Binder, blues guitarist
- Fred Melamed, actor
- Kerri Green, actress (The Goonies)
- Jeremy Black, actor (The Boys From Brazil (film))
- Erica Jong, author
- Dan Shor, actor
- Rebecca Drysdale, comedian
- Paz de la Huerta, actress
- Myq Kaplan, comedian
- David Miner, Emmy-winning producer of 30 Rock
- Matt McGorry, actor on Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away with Murder
- Sadie Dupuis, guitarist and singer in rock band Speedy Ortiz
- Elle King, singer and musician
- Janet Margolin, actress: David and Lisa, Annie Hall
- Michael Azerrad, author and journalist
- Griffin Newman, actor on "The Tick" and "Search Party (2016 TV series)"
- Sarah Sze, contemporary artist
- Lola Kirke, actress on "Mozart in the Jungle", "Mistress America" and "Gone Girl (film)"
- Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp official website
- Friends of Buck's Rock official web site