Monthly Archives: July 2017

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,


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!