Happy 4th on the 5th!

Two very busy, patriotic days here at Camp Towanda! Yesterday camp showed its Team USA spirit in RED, WHITE and BLUE! It was also silly name day here at camp, so everyone wore a unique nametag that is determined by the secret Camp Towanda formula! We’ll never tell! We had a morning full of amazing activities (Zumba, Gaga, Ghost, Basketball and more!).  For lunch, we dined on delicious Pizza bagels followed by Jonesy’s famous cookies and letter writing at rest hour.  With water bottles in hand, and plenty of sunscreen we spent the afternoon at Options and the waterfront; Upper Camp General Swim followed by Lower Camp General Swim.  Campers enjoyed choosing the big Aquaglide slide, the good ol’ silver slide, surfboards, tarzan swing, swimming, the ‘walk on water’ mat or beach volleyball! The perfect way to cool off in this heat.

Last night we had a fun-tastic carnival on Girls Camp filled with games, face painting, popcorn, hot pretzels, balloons, music and tons of spirit! Today we really celebrate July 4th on the 5th and the festivities are in full swing!!! Stay tuned tomorrow for a recap of all the fun from the 4th on the 5th including our camp-wide tradition of attempting to break a Guinness Book of World Record, Co-ed activities, more General Swim and then an awesome Campfire, Luau and Fireworks! Nothing like ending the 2-day celebration with a bang!!!!

Happy 4th of July!

Hot summer days full of fun!!! Yesterday we enjoyed intercamp tennis, intercamp play date and water-skiing!  Last night our 5 year club took their annual trip to the Binghamton Mets (a good game plus a bonus fireworks show) while the non-5 year clubbers played “human games” and then “UTL” for  Lower Camp (Under The Lights).

Human Games are charades, dizzy bat, gigantic twister, anagrams, parachute tennis, human bingo  and relay races; good silly fun (by the way, with no electronic or digital assistance!). UTL was a special bonus before milk and cookies. Everyone smiles as we live, play, learn and grow together!

This morning we plan to skirt around the weather and sleep in till about 8:45am (well at least the campers will sleep in!) and have a outdoor buffet breakfast with a carnival planned for tonight.

Of course, here at camp we celebrate the 4th of July on the 5th with a day full of coed activities, which we call COEDING, then an elaborate fireworks show and luau and… a Camp Towanda favorite!

And now for the part of my blog where I love to share emails we get from our parents who often say it best:

“I just received my fist letter from our son that said “THIS IS OFFICIALLY THE BEST SUMMER EVER!”  I have received this type of letter from him every summer…how do you do it?  Better than the best summer for 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008…?  All I can say is thanks for putting this all together.  He had a very crazy year in school filled with a ton of school work and he really buckled down and did beautifully.  I am more happy than ever that he is having a great, stress free, happy-summer.  He really loves the “Towanda Experience”.  The nonstop activities with his best friends are right up his alley.

We are also happy to hear that he is going to try out for the  Play.  We are very glad to see him venturing off the playing fields where he is most comfortable and  into new activities at camp.  You have an atmosphere established where he is not afraid to go out and try something new like this.  That is really great and I thank you for that.”

Okay and just one more letter from one of our parents about telling their friends about touring Camp Towanda:

“Dear Mitch & Stephanie,
One of our friends asked us what was special about Towanda; we told them to visit and they did.  After their visit, they told us they can see why  kids love Towanda! They said all the campers seem so well adjusted and in the groove (even after just a few days)!  They said our son said “it’s awesome” (which was confirmed on FNF)!!!  They also asked him if he had anything to tell his parents and he said, “Yeah tell them I am great and happy!”  What better endorsement?!

They said they had some concerns for their younger one who is only 6 and who does not really know what he likes yet.  He isn’t sports and they were worried that he wouldn’t have enough to do. The older one loves sports so they were thrilled for him but wanted the boys to go together to camp. I told her about cooking, gardening and pottery.

I told her that you and Stephanie think of things parents don’t even realize!  She couldn’t believe the camper to counselor ratio.  I also told them how we look forward to your nightly emails and how you don’t get this kind of communication anywhere else!  I explained how you are strict but with good reason and have the safety and happiness of our children in mind at all times. I always feel secure that my kids are in good hands!”

So on that note everyone, have a Happy 4th of July and make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter (@camptowanda) for bonus updates in real-time.

Uncle Sam Mitch and Bestephanie Ross

2nd week stride!

Happy Monday everyone!  I didn’t intentionally take a weekend off from my daily blog (which is actually a reincarnated version of my nightly email that I send to parents).  It’s just that I am so busy at camp that I didn’t have a free second.  But let me tell you; all is great here; the 2nd week stride has begun.

We had Watermelon League for the boys, a singing bee for lower camp (that’s like a spelling bee, but you have to finish the words to the song), a Scavenger Hunt, inter-camp games, great activities, good jokes and even taking the time to walk the miniature horse and donkey (you remember donkey otie)!  The Club boys also returned yesterday from their overnight canoe trip; a powerful bonding experience for sure.

This weekend we enjoyed breakfast with The Beatles, banana splits with The Archies and of course, Sunday night BBQ with The Grateful Dead…classic vinyl all day long!

Now that a full week has passed, the kids are almost ready for me to start reffing their Ghost games (they must  be at level 2 for me to invoke grand master rule 123 point 5, sub-paragraph C…that’s the Tuesday rule of standing on 1-leg; not to be confused with rule number K-9; Casper’s slobber on the ball is part of the game! What a great game, Ghost is!

We had a beautiful Friday evening service lakeside with a spectacular bright red sunset followed by a great episode of Friday Nite Flix (so great that it took over 24 hours to upload via our gerbil powered internet service)! If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here.  Or set your e-dials to our Friday Nite Flix Vimeo Channel for weekly installments of our must-see TV. https://vimeo.com/channels/ctfridayniteflix12.

Today is our winter birthday party and Big Brother/Sister ice cream event; Tuesday is the 5 year club trip to the Binghamton Mets; Wednesday is another relaxing porch breakfast (and we celebrate our independence on Thursday for the annual camp Towanda 5th of July celebration featuring fireworks to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture and a luau! We also will continue our tradition of breaking a Guinness World Record on Thursday as we create an epic version of everyone singing American pie (a camp favorite and the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day)!  More on that later in the week!

Tours have begun as families interested in next summer visit; our campers are singing, cheering and engaging the visitors while the counselors instruct and lead; it is very powerful to watch.

Last night during freeplay I was sitting on the hill above Stephanie’s garden when a group of younger campers (boys and girls) decided to sit next to me and just go on and on about how much they love it here, can’t believe it has been only a week and they feel so lucky.  (my keyboard is smiling)!!

Okay, before I go, I wanted to share this wonderful letter we received from parents of a camper that needed to arrive late……

“….I want to tell you how touched to my core I was with how thoughtful and caring the welcome for our daughter was. As I’ve been asked by many since yesterday how the drop-off was and I have had trouble putting the proper words on my feelings without getting choked up. Taking the ENTIRE group away from their activity to make sure she felt comfortable when she arrived was just an incredible touch. Screaming her name with a huge sign to welcome her was magical.  She was instantly swarmed by the kids and the counselors. Amazing!! But I guess that is what sets Towanda apart. I want to believe a similar arrival at another camp would be handled so perfectly but I just don’t  think it would be so. No way!! Yesterday was Towanda at it’s FINEST. It was pure LOVE! PURE JOY! A moment that I will never forget. You guys just get “IT” !! And “IT” is what made us look at each other when we toured camp in the rain 2 years ago when we first came to visit and it was pouring rain and yet there was still a spirit and a warmth that was tangible that we felt deep down and knew we had found the camp for our family. We were hooked and today I sit here and believe it was one of the best decisions we have made yet as parents. For we could not imagine having a more secure feeling knowing that the TOWANDA FAMILY is now our family as well and we are so lucky to be a part of it. I know our kids are getting the gift of camp, but it is the gift of Towanda that they are really getting. So again thank you from the bottom of our heart for how you handled her late arrival and since I know you will take great care of her I won’t even ask how she is doing!!!. All the best and have a great summer! ..”

On that note…we’ve got a great week planned!!

Let’s jump right in to week 2!