Monthly Archives: June 2017

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!