Summer 2017

Another incredible summer completed. Soon our campers will be sharing their wonderful memories from camp with their families and dreaming of the 12123. Thank you to all our campers and staff for making 2017 so special. We will miss you and be thinking of you until the buses arrive next summer.

Love,

The Krouners

 

Summer Newsletter: Week 6

Hello all! Welcome to the final newsletter of Summer 2017! Wow, the summer has flown by!

Last week’s Bunk Plaque Night was a huge success, and we have our first Middle Camp Triple Crown winner since 2007! Special congrats to the Omaha Boys, who wrote their own lyrics to “One of Us” by New Politics and created a Netflix-themed plaque called “An Omaha Original.” Our winners for Junior and Upper Camp were the Kiowa Girls with “Kiowas in the Hood” and the CITs with “CIT Story.”

Also this week was the final Trip Day, to either Six Flags or Saratoga Springs and Ice Skating. Thankfully, the rain held out for the majority of the day and campers were able to enjoy the wild roller coasters, the delicious food, and the smooth ice of the Albany Hockey Facility.

 

Michael Samuels and Jake Steiner (Special Programs and Events Coordinators) breaking green and white arrows to symbolize the start of Tribals.

The following day we had the LT Show. Campers and staff alike always look forward to this night each year. From singing and dancing in front of the whole camp to working stage crew or the tech booth to creating the 15-page program, every single LT participated in the show in one way or another. It’s incredible what this terrific group has achieved this summer.

Later that evening, the entire camp was transported to another world for Tribals break of 2017! Continuing with this summer’s Scooby Doo theme, a group of Head Staff dressed as monsters led the whole camp from the Playhouse to the Garden, only to be whisked back to the Playhouse which was decked out in glow-in-the-dark lighting, cobwebs, and all sorts of spooky stuff. Finally, Head Staff members dressed as the Mystery Gang came back to save the day, restoring Tribals for all of the campers and staff.

 

 

Green and White battling it out at a Hockey period during Tribals.

 

Day One of Tribals began with the announcement of the team names. Jacob Plotkin (Super Senior Boys GL) and Megan Jaske (Super Junior Girls GL) took the helm of Seminole Creation, while Evan Snerson (Super Junior Boys GL) and Kristyn Bennett (Head Pool) led Iroquois Prestige. Following the reveal, everyone headed out to the pit for Hatchet Hunt. After an intense 20 minutes, Jacob and Evan finally pulled the hatchet out of the dirt, hand in hand, meaning that both Iroquois and Seminole split the first points of Tribals.

After a jam-packed day of activity periods, everyone headed down to the 31st Annual Marathons. Separated by gender and division, each group got the option to take their turn around the course, at varying lengths depending on age. While the winners did get their names entered into the Book of Records, each and every participant earned a point for his or her team.

 

Our four Generals in the pit right after Hatchet Hunt.

 

We continued yesterday with another pair of activity periods, followed by the Dashes across the Main Soccer Field and the Individual Medleys at the pool. In addition, our traditional Spelling Bee and Family Feud Trivia events also took place for major Tribals points! All of these events were organized by division and gender as well, and are favorites for allowing the whole camp to participate together.

 

View from high above the Junior Boys Marathon.

 

Still to come in the next few days are:

– “Sing,” where the whole camp gathers in the Playhouse and the two teams take turns singing their final songs for a panel of judges. This is always an emotional night as it signifies the nearing end of camp.

The Apache Relay, where each individual camper plays a role and contributes to their team’s performance in an all-across-camp relay race.

The Final Services, which will be led by the 2nd Year LTs.

Banquet, the final dinner on camp, which includes a special menu and decorations on every table. This is always one of the most spirited meals of the summer!

Thank you all for joining me this summer! I hope this newsletter gave you an insider’s eye into the goings-on around camp, and please feel free to send us a note at camp@schodack.com for any comments or suggestions for next summer’s newsletters!

– Sam Holland

 

 

Summer Newsletter: Week 5

Hi everyone! Welcome back for an update on the goings-on from Week 5 at Schodack!!!

We had a very special Services this past week — including the crowd-favorite story affectionately known as “Uncle Lou Hated Rocks.” This story tells the tale of how Lou Krouner dug up all of the rocks around camp in order to begin farming on the land we all enjoy today. Later that night was the 12th annual Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament, and I’m proud to announce that Evan Snerson (Super Junior Boys GL) was victorious for the 5th time in eight years, rendering his “RPS x4” shirt practically unwearable!

 

Josh (Super Senior Division Head) interrupted yesterday’s lunch lineup for a Tribals fake.

 

We’ve had a lot of comings and goings at camp as well. Junior and Middle Campers went to Grafton Lake State Park for a trip day at the beach, featuring some delicious hot dogs and burgers grilled by our very own Doug Herbst.

Meanwhile, our Super Seniors spent two days touring the great city of Boston, making their way to Gillette Stadium, Faneuil Hall, the Massachusetts State House, and Quincy Market.

While that was happening our fantastic group of Leadership Trainees were on their three-day excursion up to Montreal! Highlights included the ever-popular jetboating trip on the Lachine Rapids, an afternoon of shopping on Saint Catherine Street, a trip to La Ronde, and some time well-spent walking around Old Montreal.

 

Here’s a quick word from Matt:

Few places in the world can match the exuberance of the Camp Schodack Dining Hall. Spontaneous, positive energy is truly infectious during meal times and on certain days the decibel level can be off the charts. As proof of this, a few years ago a friend came to join me for lunch at camp and arrived a little late. Getting out of his car, he was concerned he had missed the meal but I was able to assure him he hadn’t by pointing out the cheers we were hearing all the way from the parking lot!

Cheers fall into a few main categories: Schodack Classics like the following have been around for years and years and will probably last forever: “Iggy-Wiggy,” “Kings and Queens,” “Sponge-Bob,” “Gandalf.” Other cheers are created for and performed by a specific person and pop-up for one summer out of nowhere and often fade away. A few of this summer’s favorites are “Mike for Hipster Mike,” “Kit for Shakespeare.” “Alan for Freestyle,” “Simone’s Special Iggy” and “Luke for Pool Song.” Each cheer has its own following – campers and staff who particularly love it – and each one celebrates an aspect of camp culture or an individual personality in a very special way.

If you’re looking for something to chat about during phone time this weekend, I encourage you to ask your camper about their favorite cheer from the Dining Hall. The stories and descriptions will give you a good glimpse into the spirit they experience at camp and will help connect you to some of the special traditions we have here at Schodack.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

One of our largest Whitewater Rafting trips to date!

 

Here are some other notable happenings from this week:

– Throughout this week the Steve Kurtz Hitting Contest is going on at Baseball, featuring a brand-new point system that better reflects a camper’s ability to hit — something that Ethan Gold, our baseball counselor, has assured me is 100% accurate based on current statistics and expert advice!

– Paul and Linda took a group of campers to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood last week, and another modern art trip to MASS MoCA is in store for early next week.

– The Schodack Open Tennis tournament is quickly approaching. Next Tuesday, campers will square off in a traditional singles tournament.

– Pharoah organized a special event afternoon for his Middle Boys – a special University Day featuring college classes and meditation sessions!

– Our Adventure trips are wrapping up for the summer, but not before one final Indoor Caving trip and an overnight trip to Jamaica State Park in Vermont.

– The final leg of Triple Crown, Bunk Plaque Night, is tomorrow! Only one bunk, the Omaha Boys, have the potential to win a Triple Crown, since they also won Talent Show and Lip Sync.

Tribals “fakes” are in full swing. Many members of Head Staff have been interrupting lunch and dinner lineups, in full-clad costume, each time only to reveal a bit more about the theme of this year’s break (Scooby-Doo!). See below in the Scoop for a wonderful photo and blurb!

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next Friday with one final newsletter, but for now, check out today’s Scoop. (I decided to give the LTs the day off, as they only just returned to camp!)

Summer Newsletter: Week 4

Hi again! For those of you just reading this blog for the first time, my name is Sam Holland, it’s my eighth summer at Schodack, and I’m excited to be bringing you the news this summer! Be sure to check out the blog every Friday for a new post — and we’ll send you a reminder email as well. You can also flip back through the earlier newsletters from this summer on the blog!

We had an incredible Visiting Day and were so glad so many of you could make it up to camp. Keeping with tradition, the rain held off until just after all of the parents left! After welcoming all of the Second Session campers on Sunday, everyone gathered in the Playhouse for the Counselor Show Part II.

We saw some amazing talent on stage, including, but not limited to, dance performances, silly skits, and incredible singing and instrument-playing. To open up the show, Paul and Matt walked around the audience and sang while Linda played “You Got a Friend in Me” on the piano — an ever-popular classic!

“you just remember what your old pal said…”

 

Here are some other notable events that occurred this week:

– A group of Middle Girls played at a Softball intercamp at Scatico yesterday, and we were victorious. Special shout-out to MVP Charlie of the Pima Girls for pitching all seven innings and allowing just a single run! Honorable mentions also go out to Leah of the Teton Girls and Mykayla of the Toltec Girls for some outstanding highlight reel plays.

– Paul and Linda took a group of campers to see a performance of Ballet Hispánico at Jacob’s Pillow Dance, a performing arts center in Becket, Mass. They will also be taking a group to see “Tanglewood on Parade” next week for a special evening trip day.

– Tonight, after Services, is the 12th Annual Rock, Paper Scissors Tournament. RPS is an all-time favorite for many campers and staff — some will even argue that there is a strategy to the game!
[brief Owen interlude: “I most certainly would say it’s a game of skill, Sam, since it’s a ‘first to ten points’ event. Having said that, it’s truly a contest where the youngest campers can take on (and have beaten) the oldest counselors.”]

 

 

– The Adventure staff received an amazing number of signups for Whitewater Rafting that they actually made the trip down the Deerfield River twice — once with Junior and Middle participants and once with Super Seniors.

– Throughout this week are the Penalty Shootouts at Soccer. The male and female winners in each division will be put in the Book of Records.

– Today is the Canadian Doubles Tennis Tournament. Played in proper style, campers are paired up to compete against a single counselor. In most years, only counselors make it to the final, but we’re definitely in store for some great, friendly competition.

Kemp the Storyteller was back for the fourth summer in a row! One of the most special night activities each summer, every division got to experience some truly amazing entertainment.

– Our oldest campers are packing their bags! Next Tuesday, the LTs will make the journey all the way to Montreal, while the Super Seniors will get to explore the great city of Boston. Both trips are often regarded as the highlights of many campers’ summers.

 

A picture-perfect day at the Lake

A picture-perfect day at the Lake

 

– Another massive LT Carnival is in store for this weekend — now regarded as one of the most popular special events of the summer. New to the Carnival this time around is the Pit Stop, a special area located between the Garden and the Playhouse complete with beanbags, coloring, bubbles, and anything and everything else needed for a true pit stop. Special thanks to everyone in the kitchen for baking hundreds of cookies for cookie decorating!

– Auditions and rehearsals for the second play — a musical revue — are also well underway!

That’s all for this week. Here’s a copy of today’s Schodack Scoop, and have a wonderful week!

 

Summer Newsletter: Week 3

Hello again! It’s Sam Holland, bringing you another update as we wrap up Week 3 at camp.

After a successful 2-Day Tribals Break, campers and staff woke up Saturday morning ready for a fun-filled weekend. Halle Gold (Middle Girls Group Leader) and Baz Barrett (Tennis) led Mohican Midnight, while Carley Friedstein (Middle Girls Group Leader) and Kit Fowler (Archery) took the reins of Seneca Sunrise.

Our first all-camp activity of the day was Hatchet Hunt. The Generals, Captains (2nd-year LTs), Head Lieutenants (1st-year LTs), and Lieutenants (Super Seniors) took their turns digging around the pit, but it was Carley who found the prized possession and earned the first points of 2-Day Tribals for Seneca Sunrise.

 

 

That evening, in incredible Schodack spirit, campers shed their green and white tees and Tribals paint for Services. This week’s Services theme was “Determination,” and everyone particularly enjoyed Paul’s weekly story — this one was about his grandmother, Lena, and all of her hard work and contributions to the family and to Krouner’s Hotel.

 

(The Walk to Services – a wonderful Schodack Tradition.)

2-Day Tribals is also the time for both the Dashes across the soccer field and the Individual Medleys in the pool. Both events are organized by division, and the winners are entered into the Book of Records! Rope Burning, the final event of the weekend, was an incredible success. A select group of campers were chosen to help run supplies up to the leadership of each team, who were eagerly racing each other to set up a fire that would burn through a rope suspended from two poles. In the end, it may have been Seneca Sunrise who won on the scoreboard, but 2-Day Tribals was a success for everyone at Schodack.

 

 

Here are some other notable events:

– We had our first Mountain Biking trip of the summer. Campers pedaled their way around the beautiful Albany Pine Bush Reserve.

– We took a large group of campers and staff to spend an afternoon at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the largest modern art museum in the United States!

– On Tuesday, the camp went bowling and to the movies for Trip Day! Great scores were achieved at the lanes, while a wide range of movies were enjoyed by the different age groups.

– Wednesday was a big day for Drama — a matinee and an evening performance of this year’s show, High School Musical. The campers were magnificent and the Playhouse was rocking!

– It’s been a big week for intercamps! Groups of rising 5th grade boys played basketball at Pontiac and rising 6th grade girls played soccer at Scatico.

– At a special line-up this week before dinner, Matt called up campers and staff entering their 3rd and 5th years at camp to receive their special Schodack shirts and blankets.

– We had the second Super Senior Survivor Series event on Wednesday. Kids competed in an obstacle course, a ball toss challenge, a scavenger hunt, and of course, a puzzle. The red team won again — though since teams are re-drawn each week, it was mostly different campers than last week.

– Tonight is the second leg of the Triple Crown — Lip Sync, originally known as “Putting on the Hits.” Bunks have been eagerly rehearsing all week, and it’s on track to be a stellar night!

– We have had two ongoing tournaments this past week: the Bonus Ball Tennis Tournament and the Bruins 88 Hockey Tournament.

As always, below is a copy of today’s Schodack Scoop. We’re all incredibly excited to see you tomorrow for Visiting Day!

 

Summer Newsletter: Week 2

Hi Everyone! Sam Holland here again. It has been an awesome week at camp!

We have been quite busy over the past week. Saturday marked the first Rookie Day and LT Carnival of the summer. The day was full of fun and games in the Playhouse and Garden. This year, the LTs chose to put on a Halloween-themed afternoon, giving prizes away to the best costumes (Best Princess, Best Celebrity, and Best Fruit to name a few). Notable booths included mock-tails, a bouncy pumpkin, and a massive slip-and-slide tower. Shoutout to the LTs for an amazing day.

The following day was the first leg of the Schodack Triple Crown, Talent Show, which has been part of Schodack tradition since 1989. After days of rehearsals, bunk after bunk took the stage of the Playhouse (with some gorgeous fans keeping everyone cool) and performed their hearts out.

 

It’s going to be a big weekend on the 2-Day Tribals front. This year’s theme — for the break of 2-Day Tribals and the fakes leading up to it — is Tarzan. Head Staff, clad in animal costumes, will stage an entire battle at the foot of the Corral Hill, complete with water balloons and slingshots! Bunks will be split into the Seneca Green and Mohican White teams, and we’re looking forward to an incredible weekend. Common favorite events in 2-Day, in addition to activity periods, are Hatchet Hunt, where the chosen leadership of the two teams dig through a pit full of woodchips and other odd items, and Rope Burning, where the leadership work together to build a fire strong enough to sever a rope suspended from two poles.

 

And now, some notable recent events:

– We invited two professional drummers up to camp for our very own first Drum Circle! Up to 35 campers at a time participated in sessions of rhythm and call-and-response while learning all about the different types of drums. [see above for a photo]

– Basketball free-throw contests are now underway. Organized by division, the winners of each tournament will get to be added to the Schodack Book of Records.

– The Greg Maddux Pitching Contest is taking place over the next week at Baseball. Campers can head down during any Camper Choice to test their skills—points are awarded for throwing the ball anywhere within the boundaries, but campers can earn extra points by predicting where the ball will go. Winners of this contest will also go into the Book of Records.

-Our theme meal this week was based around Mediterranean cuisine. It was a blast and the whole camp broke into a wild line dance by the end of the meal.

– A select group of adventurous campers got to experience whitewater rafting and kayaking along the Deerfield River in Western Massachusetts.

– At Archery, the Olympic Competition uncovered a fighting spirit in many campers, with several prevailing over almost impossible odds to hit all 5 colored rings. Congratulations to all those who have taken part, and we look forward to next week’s ‘Quasimodo’ Challenge!

– Today is the Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament—one of the newer tennis competitions at Schodack. Congrats to Connor of the Super Senior 2 Boys and Allie of the Super Senior 2 Girls! Honorable mention to our runners-up, Alec of the Super Senior 2 Boys and Kira of the Super Senior 1 Girls, as well.

 

– Schodack experienced a new first—participating in a Ping-Pong Intercamp, and we won — congrats to Lindsey of the Teton Girls and Samantha of the Kashaya Girls for bringing the trophy home!

– While Junior and Middle Camp spent their trip days at Cooperstown or Bear Mountain State Park, the Super Seniors got to experience two days up at Lake Placid. Some of the notable events included a hike up the infamous Mount Jo, a pizza dinner at Mister Mikes, and a gondola ride up Little Whiteface Mountain, the very same mountain that hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics!

– This afternoon, we are taking a group of campers to see Beauty and the Beast at the Saratoga Opera.

 

Here’s an update from Matt about our LTs giving back to the local community:

As I write this, our Leadership Trainees are hosting children from Hope 7, a local day camp run through a Community Center in Troy, New York. Beginning last summer, we partnered with Hope 7 because their camp mostly consists of children who require significant financial support to attend even the most bare-bones summer program.

As part of the community service aspect of their training program, our LT’s will host these children two times this summer – welcoming them to Schodack and organizing wonderful activities and events for each visit. Our LT’s take this opportunity seriously, and make our whole Schodack community very proud with their warmth and creative energy.

After their visits last summer, we received a glowing letter from Hope 7’s Executive Director letting us know that the experience of being hosted at Schodack was not just a highlight of their campers’ summers, but of their entire lives. She reported that her campers talked about the welcoming spirit of our LT’s and the fun of their visits for weeks afterward.

I am sure that this summer’s experience will be equally positive and we can all feel proud of our LT’s and their staff for this example of giving back to our local community.

I hope you have a great week and enjoy their phone calls this weekend.

 

That’s it for now. Have a fantastic week, and see below for a copy of today’s Schodack Scoop!

 

 

Summer Newsletter: Week 1

Hello all!

The first full week of Summer 2017 is complete, and things are off to a great start at the 12123! We had a nearly an inch of rain over the course of the first weekend, but nothing could dampen the Schodack Spirit and thankfully the clouds have cleared since then and the weather has been absolutely stellar!

Here’s a reflection from Matt on the Opening Day events:

One of my favorite traditions each summer is when my dad and I sit with each bunk individually on the Opening Day of camp. It’s a wonderful way to connect with each group and to welcome everyone in a really personal way. During these chats, we reinforce the values that are important to us at Schodack, hear from campers about what they are most looking forward to this summer and answer any questions they may have. These chats always reinforce what an incredible group of kids we have here at Schodack and make me so energized for the summer ahead!

This summer, I was particularly blown away by a certain aspect of these bunk meetings. I asked each group how they felt about our policy of not allowing technology at camp, and what it was like to leave cell phones, video games and computers at home. I was truly curious: Is it hard? Do you miss that stuff while you’re at camp? If you created the camp rules would you let campers bring those devices to camp? I expected to get mixed responses – some would agree with our approach and some would probably wish we allowed more devices at camp.

To my surprise, not one camper said they wished we allowed more technology at camp. The responses were amazing! Common comments included things like: “What? A cell phone at camp would be terrible. We wouldn’t talk to each other as much!” and “It is SO nice to get a break from all that for the summer” and “Video games at camp…that would just be weird.” A few campers did say they thought it would be tough adjusting to not having screen time and yes, one camper said she had a “farewell ceremony” for her cell phone the night before coming to camp, but everyone seemed to agree that a break from technology was a positive thing and more importantly, that it’s part of what makes camp so special.

I loved hearing these honest responses from the campers and it was gratifying to know that they appreciate the break from technology in the summer. With all the talk out there about how this current generation of children is more and more tethered to screens, it’s nice to know that a desire to connect in a more old-fashioned way, at least here at Schodack, is still alive and well.

All the best from camp,
Matt

 

This week marked the first all-camp special event of the summer — All for One. Bunks split into small groups with their staff, CAILs, and Second Year LTs to compete in three different areas on camp, cleverly named Warmth, Tradition, and Spirit. The activities themselves were all put on by the First Year LTs — who did a tremendous job running the camp for the afternoon – and were as diverse as corn hole, poetry, dancing, frisbee, 9-square, and more. Campers also got the opportunity to break some items in the Book of Records, such as the fastest climb up the cargo net at Gymnastics. All for One also featured the Corral Chip, which consisted of a makeshift driving range setup at the top of the horse corral hill for campers to test their skill and accuracy by driving golf balls into buckets and hula hoops at the bottom.

At the end of the day, the LTs at each activity tallied up points based on participation. Last year’s Senior 2 Boys, three-time champions of All for One, were actually running the events this time around. The Omaha Girls proved to be victorious this summer, also finishing a close second last year, and they loved their celebration party at the end.

Last Monday, campers and staff joined forces to compete in the Camper Counselor Tennis Tournament on Monday. Each doubles pair consisted of one camper and one staff member or LT—it was a great bonding experience for all! Congrats to Sean Pass (SS1 Boys BC) and Cooper of the Toltec Boys.

Tuesday was also the first Trip Day of the season! Junior and Middle campers took a trip to the water park at Zoom Flume, where they got to enjoy a lazy river and multiple different water rides—the most daring campers went down the Black Vortex! Super Seniors and First Year LTs got to experience the city of Saratoga Springs. Home of delicious sandwiches, funky T-shirts, and some incredible ice cream, Saratoga is one of my personal all-time favorite trips of the summer.

Here are a few more notable events that have occurred this week:

– Camp Schodack was well-represented at several intercamp tournaments in the area: for rising 6th and 8th grade boys in soccer, rising 8th grade boys in basketball, and rising 7th grade boys and girls in tennis. At the tennis tournament, Ben of the Toltec Boys won the boys singles bracket 2-1 in a super tiebreak. In the doubles tournament, we an all-Schodack final with Scott and Justin vs. Joe and Mikey (all Toltec Boys), with Scott and Justin ultimately taking it home in the end.

– The LTs held their first Challenge Day, with a packed day of events including playing in the mud, scarecrow making, and a cook-off.

– All bunks have been intensely rehearsing during rest hour and their spare time for Talent Show, which is this Sunday! It will be the first Triple Crown event in Schodack history to occur under ideal temperatures. Special thanks to the new fans!

– Paul and Linda took a group to see the New York City Ballet perform an evening of George Balanchine at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

– The Bella Coola Girls and the Biloxi Girls tied for first place in the Cleanliness Cup for this week—they had better scores on clean-up than the rest of the camp. Way to go girls!

– The Adventure staff have been running camping overnights for Junior Camp at our campout area, and the Horseback Riding staff have resumed their ever-popular lunch rides.

– Rehearsals for High School Musical, this summer’s special feature presentation by the Drama staff, are in full swing in the Playhouse.

– The Golden Bow tournament at Archery is well underway. Open to all campers, the highest score in each division will be entered into the Book of Records.

– New to Schodack this summer is Crossfit, which has proved to be very popular for every age division of camp.

– Tomorrow is our first of two Rookie Days and LT Carnivals, where potential new campers and their parents will visit for a special afternoon of tours and games. The parents will walk around for a tour of camp and meet with Paul and Matt, while the kids will get to join the rest of camp and enjoy the carnival in small groups led by Second Year LTs.

That’s all for now. Have a wonderful week, and be sure to check back next Friday for another update from the 12123!

Summer Newsletter 2017: Welcome to Camp!

Hi there!

My name is Sam Holland, and with some help from the Leadership Trainees and Errol Photo, I will be bringing you the news from the summer. I’m originally from Manhattan and I’ve grown up at camp, starting as a Shawnee Boy in 2010. I graduated the LT Program in 2014 and spent the past two summers working as a Bunk Counselor, and I am excited to spend my eighth summer as your eyes for this season!

The LTs write The Schodack Scoop – our daily newspaper at camp – but the budding journalists and writers among them will also be helping out by gathering news and comments from the campers after the big events of the summer! I’ll also add a copy of the Scoop from each week here for you to take a look at.

This blog will normally be published on Fridays, but we’ll send you a reminder email each week once it has been posted.

 

Here’s what will be coming in the newsletters!

– Details about the exciting happenings at camp – activities, out-of-camp trips, tournaments, and zany goings on that would never happen at home!

– A look ahead about upcoming attractions – events to discuss with your child during phone time, perhaps.

– Thoughts from Matt and the Leadership Team on a range of topics as they occur to them throughout the summer.

– Quotes from campers and photos of the events!

 

So what’s happened since you were last here?

Many first-year campers and their families attended New Camper Day earlier this month, but many of you have not been on camp since last year! Here’s what’s been going on:

Camp has finished its renovation of the remaining camper bunks, so every bunk on camp has now been refitted and remodeled in the last four years. All bunks now have spacious porches as well, and they look tremendous!

The hockey rink underwent the second part of its transformation, with brand new custom-built boards around the outside to complement the new floor mats from last summer.

The Playhouse has taken on a whole new look. Gone are the small fans which may have affected the temperature by a degree or possibly two – in are two enormous fans which have made sitting and watching The Counselor Show positively idyllic.

We have also planted over 30 new trees all over camp – the Lorax will be pleased!

 

We have had an amazing first few days.

Planes, buses and cars came from all directions on June 28th as Camp Schodack began its 61st season in the beautiful foothills of the foothills of the Berkshires. The screams of delight as old friends reunited after months apart melded with high fives and excited hellos as new campers, bunkmates and counselors all met for the first time.

Walking round the dining hall 87 minutes later, it was clear that campers had little difficulty feeling right at home!! But here’s the thing – I gotta admit to being a little jealous here – the LTs served the whole of camp the traditional Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup fewer than 90 minutes after getting off the buses themselves – and I always thought my years as an LT were so good, but our efforts couldn’t be repeated! Food was devoured, decorum was (sort of!) kept and decibel levels were off the charts!

The afternoon was as smooth as ever – swim tests were swum, lice checks given, bunk photos taken (they’ll accompany your child home!) and campers got to sit down, by group, with Matt and Paul for a welcome meeting. In between, introductory name games were played, camp was toured, bunk expectations gone over and bunk nicknames and cheers were discussed and created!

 

The Counselor Show has opened proceedings here for as long as I’ve been here – I fondly remember Adam Berg, our Junior Boys DH and my counselor of two summers, throwing on a dress and choreographing a silly dance to “Fergalicious” (or “Bergalicious”, as he would call it).

I am sure many campers here for the first time will have vivid memories of seeing their counselors perform, something they themselves will be doing in The Triple Crown in the weeks to come…but more of that later.

We thought we’d ask some campers what their impressions were of
The Counselor Show:

– “I thought it was fun!! I liked Malcolm’s dancing!!” – Ellie, Biloxi Girls

– “The dancing was cool. Seth and Lewis were funny! I liked when Ben Lake sang!!” – Allie and Abby, Huron Girls

– “It was awesome!” — Rachel, Kashaya Girls

– “My favorite was the special kinds of dabs!” – Jake, Huron Boys [see above photo!]

 

Finally, yesterday morning, not even 24 hours after arriving on camp, the campers were away playing activities! Each group has a pre-set schedule so that they get to visit every activity on camp over the course of each week – I’m sure you’ll want to ask what their favorites are. And those are the places they will probably have returned to during Camper Choice!

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next week with all the goings on from Week One!

Here’s a copy of today’s Schodack Scoop, along with an incredible
Schodack Sunset:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni Blog Post: Sam Kravitz!

It is no secret that camp teaches you important skills that will prepare you to face life’s many obstacles: independence, teamwork, creativity, leadership, and being true to yourself – to name a few.  We all know that attending sleep away camp will make the transition to college easier. We have all read the articles outlining how a summer as a camp counselor is more valuable than a summer as a coffee-running intern. However, what not everyone readily realizes is that camp also prepares you for challenges you may never expect to face. My eleven summers at Schodack prepared me for an important experience I never saw coming my way.

In August of 2013, my sorority little sister was struck while crossing the street in Manhattan. Sadly, she succumbed to her injuries two days later. Almost immediately after her passing, the Lauren Nicole Marcus Foundation was born, to honor Lauren’s life and carry out her legacy. The main goal of the foundation is to keep Lauren’s memory alive by recognizing, and changing the lives of, outstanding young women who share the same positivity, hard-working nature, and passionate zest for life that Lauren embodied. In addition to the three annual scholarships at the schools she attended, we created L.A.U.R.E.N.’s Campa three-day summer camp program that teaches less-fortunate middle and high school girls the importance of many core values: Learning to Accept, Understand, and Respect Each other No matter what.

When the time came to plan L.A.U.R.E.N.’s Camp, we knew that in addition to showing these girls all of the joys of summer camp, we needed them to leave as better people. It was essential that we show them how to resolve personal conflicts and get along with one another despite their differences, at such a critical time in their lives when drama and pettiness is high. This seemed like a tricky task, considering the many reasons why the Windsor school district selected specific girls to join: Some came because they were bullied, while others came because they were the bullies. Some came because of a tough family life, and many came from families who struggle financially. How could we take this melting pot of girls and leave an impact on their lives in just three days?

I looked to my own experiences at Schodack for guidance. I spoke to members of the SCI board, former SPEC’s and members of ropes staff and head staff. I dug deep into my memories of what made the biggest impact on me as a camper and as a counselor. As is turns out, the lessons I learned at Schodack and the lessons we wanted to teach this group of young girls were not very different after all.

Lesson 1: Unity. Upon arriving to camp, we split up the girls into bunks by age. We encouraged them to come up with a bunk name, design a sign, and create a cheer. We took bunk photos. All things we did on our first day at Schodack. Drawing inspiration from my CIT years, we sat in a circle and introduced ourselves, tossing around a ball of yarn. By the end of the activity, we were all connected. We were unified as a group and had a string bracelet to prove it!

 

Lesson 2: Team Building. How do you show a group made up of a mix of long time friends, acquaintances, and strangers how to work together? Well, it’s the same way we learned as counselors during staff orientation, or senior campers about to head to the high ropes course. In our team-building workshop, the girls untangled themselves from the human knot, organized themselves in order of their birthdays without saying a word, and raced a hula hoop over and under without breaking the chain. With verbal instruction, they led blindfolded teammates across a field to collect puzzle pieces, and then worked together to complete the puzzle. They constructed pasta towers using only marshmallows and scotch tape. Turns out, teaching a group of counselors and a group of young girls is pretty similar! Through some important anti-bullying lessons, we were able to help the girls understand that it’s ok to be different from one another and, by the end of the weekend, guided them on how to work through these differences to accomplish a goal together.

Lesson 3: Confidence Building. Although we plan some specific confidence-building workshops, it turns out, the regular camp activities really helped our campers build the most confidence. Think about the fear you might have felt standing at the top of the trapeze before jumping, and the feeling of accomplishment you felt after catching the bar. Even if you never actually caught the bar (like me), we’ve seen that the feeling of taking that leap and conquering that fear has brought a great feeling of accomplishment and built confidence for the girls to take on to their next challenge.  My all time favorite memory from L.A.U.R.E.N.’S Camp 2016 was when one girl conquered her fear of heights at the trapeze. After only a few seconds, her hands slipped off the bar and she was slowly lowered to the net. She was overwhelmed with emotions about the fear she had just conquered. In 2017, she stood tall in line about to give it another go, and even encouraged the younger girls to give it a try. This time, she caught the bar and swung back and forth until it was time to let go on her own. It was absolutely incredible to see her growth, physically and emotionally. She came back the next year more confident than ever! And my favorite memory from 2015 was listening to one girl sing for the first time in front of others at the talent show. WOW did she have a beautiful voice, yet had never been placed in the spotlight to know it! It is the every-day camp activities, like scoring a goal at soccer or catching the fly-ball at baseball, that truly develop confidence and self-esteem.

Lesson 4: Have fun!! Last and most importantly, the joys of summer camp can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age, background, and life experiences. Playing BBG, decorating cookies, roasting s’mores around a campfire, and singing camp songs are memories I’ll never forget, and I am so glad to be sharing these joys with this wonderful group of young girls who would have never otherwise had the opportunity to attend sleepaway camp.

 

I don’t think I could contribute to the success of L.A.U.R.E.N.’s Camp without all that Camp Schodack has instilled in me. There are so many lessons we teach, activities we enjoy, and memories we make with these girls that, ultimately, I’ve learned from Schodack. And for that, I will forever be grateful!