1,3,5,6 We Want Olympics!

Is it the Red Hollywood vs. Blue Broadway? Nope…another FAKE OUT! Mitch’s shirt changes color often; boys are doing zumba; girls are screaming; MISSter Towanda; 5 year club reflections; intense silence at flagpole; and in the mess hall.  Stephanie is working on another tree branch sculpture; Serious Nature Live is covering the fundamentals and procedures of outdoor survival.

We win the lacrosse championship! We move to the semi-finals in tennis!

But every movement, sound, color, thought is focused on the start of Towanda’s Olympics…when is breakout?

In the mess hall, at line-up, at activities, you can hear the chant:
“1-3-5-6, we want Olympics…2,4,6,8, tough luck you  have to wait….Not much longer”

Stay tuned. Perhaps. 100% maybe!!!

-“High Intensity” Mitch and “Aren’t the Olympics on TV?” Stephanie

Fake Outs, Psych Outs…Is there Anybody Out There?

So much going on here;  rain, sunshine, cool temps, hot temps, thunderstorms, activities, all camp singing American Pie at different venues, flags waving, kids swaying, mud ghost, indoor Outdoor Adventure as an activity, culinary class at the Farm with Chef Paulette, Club and Dorm Fake Outs, Pink Floyd Psych-Outs, BBQ indoors, BBQ outdoors, Horseracing in the drizzle sponsored by the Dorm, the Debs raid the Club of all their visiting day candy, bumper cars, campfires, did someone say Fake Out??

Things are moving fast; people are racing in all directions, late reveille, early to bed, milk and cookies, rain on the roof, Casper barking, did someone say Psych-Out?? And that was just Sunday……who knows what will happen today??? Tonight is Miss-ter Towanda!

Needless to say, camp has Olympic Fever!  Is there anybody out there?


P.S. Are you watching the Campcam live? If you were tuned in last night at about 7PM, you saw the Club’s Fake out and at 7:15 you saw the Psych-Out!!! Red Olympus vs. Blue Atlantis…or not!  Oh what will the real teams be?!

!yaD sdrawkcaB

BACKWARDS DAY was a hoot!

Dinner in the morning, breakfast at night. Taps in the morning, Reveille at night.

We enjoyed a beautiful, sunny, mild, breezy day filled with great Inter-Camp games!

COUNSELOR HUNT was the evening activity (like hide and go seek….counselors hide, campers find them, each counselor is worth a certain number of points, but we don’t learn their value until the end!). Can you believe I was worth negative 100 points!?

Then at Under The Lights I challenged Lower Camp to a backwards shot from half court on the main basketball court.  I thought I was being cute and said if you give me 5 chances and I sink it, then we will have a late reveille, a breakfast on the lawn and you can come to breakfast in your PJs.  Well, I made the shot!

The Senior, Club and Dorm trips to Montreal, Niagara Falls and Boston trips have all checked in.  Inters are back from a great trip to Cooperstown; as are the National Girls from their Canoe Trip.

Today we have trip day to cool down and relax at the movies (there is lots of excitement coming in the next two weeks!).  And then Goldrush in the evening!

I had to share this wonderful letter we received from a first time parent, who actually suggested we share this with all of you!

Dear Mitch and Stephanie,

Wow! Wow! Wow!  Being a sleep away camp “First Year ” Mom, I really didn’t know what to expect this summer in general and especially on VISITING DAY!.

Well, when I saw my daughter on visiting day I broke down like a baby!  Crying and shaking I had missed her soooo much!  We had such a fabulous day and I was dreading the end of the day because so many of my friends who send their kids to other camps told me what a nightmare the departure could be.


I left feeling confident and thrilled for my child that she was having a once in a lifetime experience.  Her  “first”  (of many) years at Towanda! Did I mention she never looked better!?!   Thanks for truly caring about these kids and running a tight ship!


We are still in the after glow of Visiting Day!  The siblings that stayed over had a great time, our alumni that came for the Alumni Day BBQ were very nostalgic and it was another beautiful day.

Sunday night, our Staff All Star Basketball Game was a great evening activity; a capacity crowd filled the field house. The pre game show included Mitch & Stephanie dancing center court as the camp serenaded and kicked off their shoes (a la another scene for our new and improved American Pie lip dub… you know: “…. Can you teach me how to dance real slow?… You both kicked off your shoes- man I dig those rythym & blues…”)!

The game was the perfect setting for a Mitch vs. Jared Reiter half court backwards shot showdown contest (that the young Reiter foolishly thought he could win).  The two teams (Red Counselors vs. Blue Staff) entertained the audience with Globetrotter-like prowess, but the real excitement happened at halftime! Our gymnastics department put on an impressive show which was followed by the Club’s early FAKEOUT!!!! That first got the crowd excited, pumped and even more spirited as the Blue Gymnasts and the Red Acrobats faked out the crowd!  Try going to bed after that!

Monday was a thunderstorm day; major booms, claps and downpours.  But nothing could stop us from a jackpot Casino Night!

We said au revoir and bon voyage to the Club & Dorm and Seniors as they left for their trips to Montreal and Martha’s Vineyard today!

Another great week underway here at Towanda!!!

S’more about our S’more Tour!

Many of you have been asking to hear S’more about our S’more tour!  So here’s a taste of what it was all about from two of our favorite former camper/counselors in the Towanda Family who were on hand to help make sure it was a great day!

We welcome you to Camp Towanda, we’re mighty glad you’re here!!

by Lauren Cohen and Hannah Lyons

The S’more Tour was this past Saturday and it gave us the chance to invite up future campers to spend the day with our Towanda family– and what a day we had! Aside from filling up on sun and blue skies (don’t worry, we didn’t forget our sunscreen!) we also filled up on Jonesy’s chocolate-chip cookies with milk, s’mores, and a BBQ lunch.

After all of the families arrived, we ditched the parents for some tye-dye Towanda Tees and started activities! (Rumor has it Mitch gave a great walking tour of camp for the parents!)

We really did it all– climbed the rock wall and cruised down the zipline, dodged the ball at Ghost and Gaga and had some downtime in Arts and Crafts just before jumping right into the foam pit in the brand new Gymnastics Pavilion! At the end of the day, we got a chance to cool down at the waterfront where we slid down the big slide in Sunset Lake, chilled out on the beach and swung off the Tarzan swing. The only thing missing from our day was the rookie campers at Square Dancing that night! We hope you’ll be there next year!

We want to send out a very special thank you to the Debs, Dillies, Jets, and Cadets who were every bit as welcoming, friendly, fun, and happy as they are everyday to the rookie campers. Our youngest age groups made the newcomers feel like old friends. That is the Towanda way!

All we have to say at the end of the day is– give us S’more of Camp Towanda!!

See you soon Rookies-

Hannah and Cohen

Girls Sing/Oh We’re Half Way There!

Yesterday marked the halfway point of the summer; 95 degrees and it was Girls Sing!

If there was ever an evening that  could define the sprit, tradition, legacy, love and respect of everyone who is part of our 2012 Camp Towanda Family, it would be last night! Camp is electric! Camp is unified!

Girls Sing was quite the event. The pride, effort, support, time, energy and devotion from the campers and counselors as well as all of the hard work that went into sing was nothing less than magical for all of us here.  No staff went off duty; everyone was part of it..

And oh, the boys; I wish you all could be flies on the wall. Their decorum and appreciation flowed in a burst of love and incredible pride and respect of their camp sisters. The cheering and applause; as well as the hugs and the tears.

From scenery to songbooks to themes and costumes; what a night! We had the “Debs and Dillies Down the Red Carpet”, “Tweens & Juniors in Emergencies”, “International News Network”, “Seniors Hit Route 66” and “Dorm Cartoon” (after they faked us out with their “Pretty Little Dorm” scenery).  In the end, the Dorm Girls won but it was EXCEPTIONALLY close.  Only 10 points separated first and last place.

The support from one group to the others was overwhelming; Stephanie and I had tears while watching.

It exemplified what an incredible experience this summer is for all of us here. I realize that parents are often interested to hear about sports and activities, that is all great here; but the life skills and the inter-personal growth without a keyboard or an electronic device is priceless. I think this is what makes us unique. You should just see how polite, respectful and appreciative our kids are here!

We’re still smiling in the glow of last night.  Can’t wait to for you to see more of it on Friday Nite Flix later this week!

Until then…

-Humming Mitch and Singing Stephanie

S’more Tour and Fun in the Sun!

Excitement; that is what is going on here at camp! So much so I haven’t had a chance to even blog!  Actually,  it has been sooooo hot and by the time I came into the office, I actually had to lie down!  I never thought I would say this, but we wouldn’t mind a day of rain! Can you imagine?

The Water Carnival was a blast; Smorgasbord Dinner was fun; comedy improv night was very entertaining;  late Yogurt Nite was yummy;  Friday Nite Flix was awesome as always! And our Inters made us proud, doing our Shabbos service at the Honesdale Temple.

Saturday was our Rookie Day S’More Tour with lots of new campers checking us out for next summer.  We loved seeing second and third generation kids as well as meeting lots of new faces and their families! Thank you for all of the amazing responses…it really was a terrific day!

Saturday night we had a Square Dancing hoedown; Sunday The Inters went bowling while the rest of camp had an extended indoor rainy day BBQ when we were teased with a thunderstorm that ended up missing us. Regardless, we all danced to the Woodstock  rain dance and Santana’s Oye Como Va in the mess hall!  We probably had only about 20 minutes of rain, but ended up having an all-camp ETB (early to bed) to catch up on some rest; as the humidity level has been hovering at 97% for a few days.  The Seniors-Dorm-Club and LITs ordered in Chinese Food !

Yesterday our activities and intercamp games continued while we ended the day with an all camp Dutch Auction and then surprised everyone with McDonald’s as a special treat on the main soccer field.

So that’s a little of what has been going on here in addition to regular activities, inter camp games and general swims!

Today  is Picture Day, Banana Splits, Haircuts and GIRLS SING; a very powerful day!  We hope to be giving some exclusive reporting from Girls’ Sing on Twitter @camptowanda…so stay tuned!  You never know with our internet connection, but we hope to pull it off.

As you can see, even I’m getting in on the water fun in this heat!


P.S. Okay, I take it back. I do not want rain. Especially on Visiting Day!!!!!

Healthy, Happy Campers!

By Stephanie Reiter

Several people have shared with us the recent article in the NYTimes about food at summer camp. Here at Camp Towanda we are all about kid-friendly, parent-approved healthy choices. Our nutritionist helps us create balanced menu so that kids actually eat, enjoy and try. We always serve fresh fruit throughout the day, and campers can find fresh vegetables, brown rice, pastas, and many other healthy choices at our extensive salad bar. We strongly believe that refreshing and nourishing snacks help keep our kids properly fueled for success here at camp (hey, just ask your kids about our Camp Towanda Fusion Water)!

At Camp Towanda our health and wellness initiatives go beyond the dining hall. When we came to camp in 1991, I decided to start a garden.  What started out as a passion project of mine has evolved over the years to become a haven in the center of Camp Towanda.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs aren’t the only things that grow in our garden. Our campers grow too!  The benefits of our garden program truly benefit the whole child, beyond just teaching healthy, natural eating:

“Gardening captures kids’ interest, teaches them nurturing skills, gives them a sense of pride in their accomplishments, introduces them to try healthful foods, and provides a way to improve and give back to the community. Working in a garden can be one of a child’s first experiences with care-taking.  Understanding that he is responsible for the growth or decline of the plants in the garden allows him to see the results of being responsible, protective, and gentle. Additionally, the delayed but inevitable gratification that comes with growing a garden teaches patience and self-confidence.”[1]

Beyond these universal benefits of gardening with children, our garden also serves another purpose here at Camp Towanda.  The garden is a safe, nurturing place during free time where campers can get a little extra TLC and a break from the day-to-day excitement.  It does for campers what a spa does for grown-ups!  The results are beautiful and campers feel confident, recharged and renewed to re-enter their daily routine.

I am also very excited about how we have been able to take some of our freshest ingredients (like romaine, corn and rosemary) and bring them to our Farmhouse where campers are whipping up delicious creations in our Camp Culinary program.

To learn more about our garden and other inspirational tips about gardening with children, visit our Pinterest board “Stephanie’s Garden”: http://pinterest.com/camptowanda/stephanie-s-garden.

[1] National Garden Association, “Why Youth Gardens”.

Electionality 2012!

Dear Constituents,

What a great evening we had last night!  Our annual Electionality convention was fun, exciting, cute and terrific. Electionality is an event where we vote for our Camp Presidents (a co-ed ticket from upper and lower camp) and also where our campers (aka “Delegates) of all ages get to show us their creativity, making up their own “States”! The different States (or groups) campaigned for their favorite ticket as the camp presidential candidates presented very entertaining (laugh out loud, belly hurting laughs) speeches.

In the end, it didn’t matter who won, everyone had a great time. To view a small segment of the campaign trail, check out this live news report: http://vimeo.com/45484781

We hope you enjoyed our live tweeting of the “2012 States” on Twitter (twitter.com/camptowanda).  But in case you missed it, here is a complete list.  We promise more “live tweeting” from future events!

Debs – State of Jay Fray
Jets – State of Men in Black
Dillies – State of One Direction
Cadets – State of Being Really Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking
Tweens – State of 80s
Middles – State of Late Reveille
Junior Girls – State of States
Junior Boys – State of the Hashtag
Inter Girls – State of the Alphabet
Inter Boys – Sean and State Plus 28
National Girls – State of the National Hippies Sugar Magnolia
National Boys – State of Orange Juice
Senior Girls – State of Yaz
Senior Boys – State of Quailman
Dorm – State of Prancing
Club – State of Superheroes
LIT Girls & Boys – State of the IWA

…..and that’s the report from Camp Towanda!


Camp Towanda Has Talent!!

We’ve got the fever, we’re hot, we cannot be stopped!  The spirit and the weather is hot!  We are sweating and energetic!   Our weekend activities were full of talent.  We had an awesome (and cute) Talent Show Saturday inside the Field House; the kids were great, the crowd enthusiastic and the cheering and hugs ecstatic!

Sunday night the entire camp enjoyed the Upper Camp Presentation of “N.C.W. Yankees” (aka Damn Yankees; as in NON CAMP WORD YANKEES)!  Then we all enjoyed milk and cookies as the moon rose over the main soccer field.  Late night ended with Upper Camp Parties in the Canteen for the Dorm & Club, and L.I.T.s.  The C.I.T.s partied on the Mansion Patio.

Our staff are enjoying their quality down-time as well. After a busy week of work (and play!), they enjoyed relaxing on the zip line under the lights and a staff basketball game;  we cancelled the staff campfire (as no one wanted additional heat)! Our off-duty staff even enjoyed inter-camp basketball games last night.  Camp is really fun for everyone!!

The spirit around camp is very positive and high; smiles, comfort and friendships is what we see a lot of! One can feel, smell and see how appreciative the campers are of being here; soaking in every bit as they grow, experience, try; all while genuinely being grateful for their time here.

This morning reveille called at 8:00 AM; breakfast with the Beatles and then it is Electionality tonight! This Camp Towanda tradition always promises to be a creative night of fun and spirit for all campers and counselors!!!  We will attempt to report on Twitter (@camptowanda) the “States” and their Delegates (you never quite know how the internet will behave at camp).

And just a side note regarding some of the emails we receive but never have the time to properly respond. Thank you!!! We appreciate the feedback and accolades….

Dear Mitch,
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars we sent the kids to Towanda and in particular to you, Stephanie, and your amazing team. All I can say is thank you! Looking forward to visiting day.

And as phone calls begin, we want to share with you a wonderful letter we received from a parent:

We just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to listen to our son and know exactly what he needed to get past his “homesickness”…we always believed Towanda was a magical place and that we trusted you and your staff…but the way all of you handled this just confirms  Towanda is all that we knew it was and so much more…

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s to another great week at Camp Towanda!!!!