The Sound of Silence

c2998683-f54e-4371-861e-2b761a1bdfcd-2Parents don’t always realize how intense the build-up to camp is until their campers flee the nest. For the past 6+ months you have been talking about camp, not talking about camp, shopping for camp, labeling for camp, practicing goodbyes, packing trunks, and just about everything in between, to prepare for the day the busses pulled away. With all that preparation, you must have been ready for them to go, right? You thought so, and then the silence set in. No more bed to make, no more reminders to brush their teeth, do their homework, schlep them to activities. No more talking with coaches and teachers about their progress, no more extensive grocery shopping lists and no more smelly socks to wash. So now what?

You are left praying for a postcard, yearning for the back of their head in a photo, patiently awaiting a phone call.  Something. Anything. The silence and the waiting can be a big adjustment…especially for first year parents. Even for seasoned parents, the letting go of the details of your child’s life isn’t easy.  We totally get it and can promise you a few things:

  1. It gets so much easier. We bet you didn’t realize that your world has been on HIGH SPEED for the past few months leading up to camp. The sudden halt is abrupt. But while you are hearing the sounds of silence, we are hearing the screaming, cheering, laughing, cheering, cheering, cheering…. And all this amazing energy and spirit wouldn’t happen if you were here, because that is the magic of camp. However, after a few days, you will get the hang of being on your own and start to enjoy the break that you deserve. The summer moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and enjoy it, you could miss it. They will be back before you know it!
  2. Trust the system. This is not the first rodeo for Mitch, Stephanie, Amy, Bobby and our incredible Senior Staff. They have seen and lived through almost every scenario you could possibly imagine, and are ready to handle those that come their way. The Towanda philosophy about bunk dynamics, bunk life and the communication with parents comes from decades of combined experience. No decision is taken lightly. It is all FTGOC (For the Good of the Camp & For the Good of the Camper).
  3. Towanda is not like other camps. Everything we do is to help your camper grow into an independent, healthy, confident person. That’s our big picture goal. We care about not just this summer, but the summers and years to come. Your camper will benefit in the long run. Watch how they blossom. See what motivates and interests THEM. Enjoy learning about what choices they make. Sit back and find out how they deal with challenges that come their way. You have given them so many tools, love and support. Trust in them. And trust in the fresh perspectives they will get here at camp. We will not let them fall. We’ve got this! You’ve got this!

About Camp Towanda:

Camp Towanda is an independent, traditional, co-ed sleep-away camp in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It is privately owned, operated and directed by Mitch and Stephanie Reiter (who are celebrating 25 years as owners and directors).  For over 90 years, Camp Towanda has continued to define what camp should really be. Our program offers state-of-the-art facilities, an excellent and professional athletic department, waterfront, extensive arts, drama and adventure programs, and special events.  We are highly regarded and respected as an industry leader and are involved in giving back to various organizations throughout the year.  Camp Towanda is accredited by the American Camp Association and a member of the Camp-Alert-Network, Wayne County Camp Association, Camp Owners and Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Camp Association.

Camp and Giving

promo_044With the holiday gift-giving season upon us, we thought it was fitting to recognize what we believe is the greatest gift a parent can give a child…it can’t be wrapped, it can’t be opened, it can only be experienced…because it is the gift of CAMP. Our campers tell us repeatedly throughout the summer how thankful they are. During our weekly Friday Night Services, we take time to reflect, appreciate and value all that camp gives us. When parents send us (and are surprised by) letters of gratitude that they receive from their camper, we remind them how much of our program is about appreciating how lucky we are to have the privilege of camp.

Camp Towanda is proud to support and be involved with many philanthropic organizations. We teach, demonstrate and encourage our campers and staff about the importance of giving back, being involved and caring. There are several opportunities during camp and throughout the year for our families to get involved, including the Foundation Fighting Blindness Vision Walk, Project Morry Swim-a-Thon, Walk-a-Thon and Basketball-a-Thons, and SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education). At Camp Towanda, giving back is so important to the fabric of our camp and culture and as a result, campers gain an even deeper appreciation for their own experiences.

We want to share some other ways that you and your camper can share the gift of camp and some of the causes we support at camp:

SCOPE

As many of you know, Mitch is president of this national organization that provides underprivileged children the opportunity to experience the advantage and edge of sleep away camp. SCOPE funds camperships at non-profit residential camps (thusly, helping the camps, too) and following through with college support.

Many Towanda campers, staff, parents, alumni and friends have contributed time, energy and money to SCOPE. Some efforts include events and sales during the summer, volunteering at off-season fundraiser events, creating school events that support, Mitzvah projects and business contributions.

Our Dorm, Club, LIT and CITs are involved in the SCOPE Junior Leadership Council. And Jared Reiter is on the Young Leaders Board!

Shout out to Evan Seiden for organizing a Bake Sale at his school that netted $350.00 and www.MitzvahMarket.com, Modell’s Sporting Goods and all of our camper volunteers at recent events (Allie Chaiken, Evan Seiden, Josh Merlin, Huggie, Jake Weinstein and Sydney Levy).

Check out SCOPEUSA.ORG for the latest events for all ages.

We are looking for volunteers for the April 5 Benefit Dinner at the Conrad Hotel in Manhattan (where we will officially welcome Towanda Alumni Hank Azaria to the Honorary Board)! ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND AND SUPPORT! THIS FUN EVENING!

To our Floridian Families; SCOPE is currently looking for an adult to head up our SouthEast Chapter; please contact Mitch if you are interested. This is a great opportunity!

SCOPE currently has chapters in New York, Chicago, South Florida, Texas and we are always looking to expand (Anyone for New England or West Coast?).

There are other ways to #SupportScope, including starting a SCOPE fundraiser in your own community. Visit their website to learn more!

Morry’s Camp

In the summer we swim laps and shoot hoops to help send kids to camp. You can also support this organization year-round through their website and winter events and auctions. Congratulations To Janine and Stephen Rosen (Stephen is Alum) on bidding and winning The Morry’s Camp online tuition bid. Twelve camps (including Towanda) donated a camper tuition to help raise funds for Project Morry. Of all the camps and bidders; The Rosen’s won! We are very proud of their generosity and support!

Vision Walk

You can still purchase a Vision Walk T-Shirt designed by our LITs of 2015 and proceeds go to Foundation Fighting Blindness. Send a $25 check to Camp Towanda. The Spring, 2016 VisionWalk date has not yet been announced…but get your shirt ready!

And thank you to all our camp families that donated during our Holiday Food Drive at the NY Area Reunion! Coming in the next issue of The Towanda Times will be information on our very own Towanda Campership Fund!

Together we can share the gift of camp and pay it forward!

Happy and Healthy Holidays!

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The Homecoming

ff0d5dd4-ee01-401a-8d66-816f91c92ebe-2Can you believe the campers come home this week?! Where did the summer go? As you anxiously await their arrival by bus, plane or car, it’s good to think about where they are really coming from- emotionally.

For seven weeks, they have been part of a constant community, living in a bunk with a dozen friends, traveling in a pack to activities, eating together family style and always in motion. When they return home, it’s good to grant them the space they may need to adjust to a different pace of living and decompress. Here are a few things you can also expect:

No more homesickness, but now they are campsick. Remember when you told them that it’s okay to be homesick because that means they have a home that they love? Well, now get ready for campsickness. Camp is now their happy place, filled with cozy memories of friendship, family and fun. Just like homesickness, they will acclimate and get back into the swing of things. They just need time, space and the support of friends and family.

101701c4-07de-41c2-8dcb-46b26f4b7fa2They mostly want to connect with their camp friends. Even though you may think they want to be with their home friends who they haven’t seen in weeks, you will probably find your campers texting, chatting and connecting with the friends they just left behind. The inside jokes, the rich experiences and life at Camp Towanda are only things they understand together. Their camp friends actually help make the transition easier if they can share, laugh and keep up their friendships in the “off season”.

They have manners and responsibility. At camp, we expect a lot of our campers in order to live together in harmony. They will come home wanting to make their beds and help with chores. Use this as an incredible opportunity and a gift to start off the school year on a great note! Even if their bed isn’t made perfectly, or all of their clothes don’t end up in the hamper, empower them with these jobs and reward their motivation to contribute and help their home family.

b6ac6d11-d2a1-4537-9879-56ca4ce2d7c7They haven’t touched a remote control in weeks! Card games, diablos, yo yos and books have replaced their devices (or appendages) for the summer. It’s a great time to dial back the dependance on electronics. Carve out an hour of the day and call it “camp time”. Have them enjoy technology-free eating, an old fashioned family board game or face-to-face conversation. They can do it! Trust us..when they are unplugged, they function even better!

Before long, you will feel like they were never gone. Parenting is tough and don’t let it wear you down. Keep up the good work and try to make the magic of camp last beyond October.  Before you know it, it will be June again! And we can’t wait to have our summer kids back. We already miss them and they haven’t even left yet.

Here’s another great blog from last summer about homecoming. You can never be too prepared.

About Camp Towanda:

Camp Towanda is an independent, traditional, co-ed sleep-away camp in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It is privately owned, operated and directed by Mitch and Stephanie Reiter (who are celebrating 25 years as owners and directors).  For over 90 years, Camp Towanda has continued to define what camp should really be. Our program offers state-of-the-art facilities, an excellent and professional athletic department, waterfront, extensive arts, drama and adventure programs, and special events.  We are highly regarded and respected as an industry leader and are involved in giving back to various organizations throughout the year.  Camp Towanda is accredited by the American Camp Association and a member of the Camp-Alert-Network, Wayne County Camp Association, Camp Owners and Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Camp Association.

Post-Visiting Day, Week 5 Stride

c8ead8e9-525a-456c-a38a-9c2af91c857aWhen parents come to camp just four weeks into the summer, they say “how could it get better than this!?”. Well..it’s official, we have hit our post-Visiting Day, Week 5 stride! It’s not from the candy (that’s long gone)- it’s all natural, wholesome, organic, incredible, exhilarating, edge-of-your-seat fun!

08d4d4bf-1f38-4d58-a65c-e2f2caebf272-2This week alone, we packed so much in and we all know it’s just getting better from here on out! Casino Night, All Star Basketball Game, Gold Rush, Counselor Hunt, Intercamp games, Backwards Day, Wayne County Championships, waterparks, Inters to Cooperstown, Senior/Club Dorm Trip to Boston, LITs to Niagara Falls, Nationals Canoe Trips, General Swims, Culinary Classes kitchen raids (with Mitch–shhhh) and then our Lower Camp play Annie!

From the beginning of the summer when we had those very wet rainy days, the theme song was, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”. So it was only fitting for lower camp to serenade us and knock our socks off with an incredible production!

3ed9eb5f-fa0a-477c-b2a3-9ab3a6116746The entire camp gathered, as we do most evenings, all together, young and old, boys and girls and staff.  The production (song, scenery and costume), blew us away. Over 140 cast and crew participating, beyond adorable, beyond cute, it was broadway caliber.  The crowd was silent in awe as the cast performed with pride, passion and gusto!

c7df8c0f-ccba-44a7-acab-4c9b6d7e3969On stage, your kids (our kids) had the biggest smiles, their self-esteem and confidence bursting! Some of these same kids were shy and crying upon arrival just a few short weeks ago or clinging onto their parents legs just last week! Amazing what camp can do! This was different than if it was a home school play, because the parents weren’t there, they were in the moment and shining from the stage right up to the full moon, experiencing a big sense of accomplishment for themselves.

7404d253-e566-41c1-b70b-bc7c12a65c37We had never witnessed such a show here before. The crowd rose for an honest unprovoked standing ovation! As tears were running down our faces (honestly), we turned to look at the audiences, and we thought- THIS IS WHAT LIFE AT CAMP TOWANDA IS. This is what you want your kids to get from the camp experience: pride, support, confidence, accomplishment and enjoyment.  This is what kids thrive on, need and get here.

And as if the week couldn’t get any better, we had a couple of fake outs, one of which was pretty convincing! Here’s what went down.. at the end of Annie, we showed this week’s Friday Nite Flix (again on a Saturday) which culminated in a series time traveling movies, followed by the two teams coming up on screen: The Red Dimension Sliders vs. the Blue Time Travelers. The horns blared and “Is there anybody out there” played. Banners were ushered out from the fiedlhouse. They called down Generals and started calling down Camper Captains (CCs)…there was 1 Blue CC, then 2, then 3, and then they went to call down the Red CCs and FAKE OUT!

The fever is hot, the excitement is high; camp is on the move; hitting our stride; this is now the time we start reaping what we sowed!  And it will only get better each day…

 

Why Our Camp Parents Love Visiting Day!

b5124b96-46bc-45d4-ab80-5020ad2910b9Reflecting on Visiting Day 2015, a common theme of the summer comes to mind: Top 10! Back in June we did a video about the “Top 10 Things to Look Forward to This Summer” (which was a tribute to our Letterman video in 2000). What we could have included on that list (for the parents, at least) was Visiting Day, but not for the reasons you may think!

793a123f-14f9-4c30-8ad2-965dbfcc3137Yes, of course it’s amazing to see your kids after 4 short weeks, give them a 10 minute hugs and shower them with dozens of treats, but it makes our list because it’s a chance for you to really see change and growth in your child, with the gift of perspective and time.

It helped that Saturday was a “Top 10” weather day, but overall we have so many parents telling us the many other reasons why it was a perfect 10! Here’s a few we would like to share:

Top 10 Reasons Why Parents Told Us Visiting Day Was a “Top 10 Day”!

  1. The smiling faces of the campers, staff and visiting families, walking around camp with their feet barely touching the ground.
  2. The true brother and sister relationships the campers have with each other and how their friendships are different because they live together, play together and work together.
  3. The nice relationships the camp parents form with each other over the years– from that first summer right thru the last (we saw many camp parents crying from the Dorm, Club and LITs- sad to see this as their last visiting day).
  4. The authenticity of our staff (who we are so proud of). The kindness, the care and the effort you see them put into their job; wanting to get to know the parents of the campers who have been their kids for the summer! From first year counselors to the senior staff and group leaders— there is no greater comfort than knowing your kids are in great hands.
  5. The thank yous our campers give their parents. Not just for all the “stuff”, snacks and Vistiting Day treats..but more importantly “thank you for sending me to this camp”. Not sure there is anything better than true gratitude from a 10 year old.
  6. The joy of seeing your camper the happiest they have ever been. Back at home, parents are proud of grades, trophies and accomplishments. But at camp, parents are proud to see their children happy, comfortable, confident and trying new things outside their comfort zone. As Dr. Michael Thompson said “we cannot make our children happy”, but after Visiting Day, I think parents will agree that camp sure can!
  7. The excitement camper has to share something that is completely their own. Even for alumni parents, there is nothing better than experiencing camp through your camper’s eyes. Getting to experience your child show them THEIR CAMP, THEIR BUNK, THEIR FRIENDS, THEIR WORLD. Because it’s something they can own and take pride in, knowing it’s special.
  8. The possibilities. When you send your kid to camp, in just 4 short weeks you don’t even realize the growth and development that is possible when they are away from home. Imagine what can happen in just 3 more weeks!
  9. The sibling love. Whether your siblings are at camp, enjoyed sibling sleepover or just spent the day together. Camp makes siblings appreciate each other so much more.
  10. The pride in being a part of the Camp Towanda Family. It’s not easy these days to be surrounded by hundreds of families, staff and Camp Directors who share the same down-to-earth values and can spend the day in harmony.  The energy at our Visiting Day is not chaotic, stressful or emotional. It is peaceful, joyful and a celebration that no one takes for granted.

We are going to ride the Visiting Day high right into Trip Week and then who knows, maybe there will be Olympics. Camp only gets better from here on out!!! Oh if you could just be a fly on the wall…

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Wet Hot American Fun!

Week one was off to a very wet but wildly fun start at Camp Towanda. We made the best of the weather, creatively using all of our indoor facilities to the max and the campers and staff didn’t miss a beat. Our Towanda ponchos and rain boots have gotten their fair share of wear and mud GHOST is a new activity here at camp!

984208f8-71bd-480b-9599-dba7bb88a075Even though it has only been a week, the camaraderie, smiles and friendships are as if we have been together a long time already. We have been appreciating the rare glimpses of sunshine, soaking in the fun of kickball, volleyball, basketball, free swim and more! And when the showers rain down on us, we have been seeking cover at indoor basketball, ping-pong tourneys, lego room, old-school board games, treehouse challenges, gaga, indoor arena soccer, Arts & Crafts, dance, Culinary with Chefs Ben, Hannah and Judi, gymnastics, martial arts, play rehearsal, zumba and more. And while the fields dry out we have managed to play lacrosse on the tennis courts because, why not!? We have enough to keep us busy. Rain doesn’t get us down one bit- we are “water resilient”!

8b700f77-4ca2-4077-81c9-267b5878040dOur evenings have been filled with Towanda favorites like talent shows, open mic night, Towanda Open (dizzy bats, pudding pie in the face, messy fun!) and Unique Entertainment Game Show to name a few and capped off with Under the Lights for our Upper Camp and milk & cookies for Lower Camp. We celebrated the July 4th long weekend with our annual traditions of breakfast on the lawn, Campapalooza outdoor concert, record-breaking attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records (this year the entire camp with stuck together with Chinese finger traps), a day of sunshine filled co-ed activities, luau, BBQ and fireworks set to 1812 Overture! The first week really did end with a bang!

2c17a50b-374e-4771-b2cc-90fa662ac633Stephanie and I and the senior staff (Head Counselors, Camp Moms, etc.) spend the bulk of our day out there…in the trenches, managing, observing, directing, participating…at eye level…getting into it. Knowing your kids and their counselors so we can successfully guide and direct them towards a successful experience here at camp.

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We are not in the office, we do not carry cell phones or technology with us…we are in the moment with the campers and staff. We break the cliques, we balance the group, we foster a brotherhood and sisterhood…the road to achieve that isn’t easy, but we have the tools here to be successful…things happen here that just can’t happen anywhere else! Just take a look at our oldest campers- The Dorm & Club!

By now you have probably received the first wave of letters…that’s what we call “old news”!   You may need to read it, take a deep breath and then go out to dinner! We are on it!

Let the excitement, activities, skill development and games continue! Thanks for trusting us to do what we do and thanks for making the tough parenting decision to let us do it!

Check out the first official highlights video of the summer! Friday Nite Flix Week 1: Wet Hot American Summer Edition: FRIDAY NITE FLIX

Quote of the week: “Wow!  Cannot believe how much rain you guys have had but glad to see that it cleared up .  Watching the FNF this week it seems that the rain has not managed to dampen the spirit of camp. That’s amazing.  The kids all look like they are having a fabulous time.  Very impressive given the weather conditions.” – Camp Parent

Day 2 Olympics- Mitch’s Report

photo 3A great day of activities on Day 2 of Olympics. Debs playing newcomb in Tutus (from yesterday’s basketball in Tutus), lots of team spirit, incredibly intense matches on the Football field, soccer field and ghost court. Games going into overtime. Everyone giving it their all. Showing incredible spirit and teamwork. Our Girls Track meet was in the morning and Boys Swim meet in the afternoon. Relay races showing the best of Towanda. Teamwork, supporting each other and win or lose, having each other’s backs.

photo 2One Jet was overheard in the “pit” awaiting his race say “This is a really big deal. It’s my first swim meet”. For so many of these campers, this week is a lot of firsts. Being a part of something big and important, that carries over 90 years of Towanda traditions. Running their first ever track meet with half of camp cheering them on. Feeling they can’t swim freestyle for one seemingly long lap, to knowing they can. It’s awesome to see these young kids jump right in and know what they do today makes a difference and having so so so much fun!

More Alumni Judgies are rolling in upon the shores of our camp. Sharing Olympic history with our campers and creating their own new Olympic memories here this summer as they watch Red Lifeguards and Blue Ski Patrol in action. Seeing how many generations we have here represented is just awesome. And the kids love having them here to share in these traditions that have gone on for decades.

photo 2-1Last night we had our traditional Shabbos dinner, our last one this summer, with the Dorm and Debs doing candlelighting and ushering us in. It is always so amazing to see these two groups at the end of the summer. The Dorm 2014 has served as role models for Girls Camp and now we see the Dorm 2021, 2022 and even 2023 see their future and what they will become. It’s something to aspire to, look forward to, and dream of for the next 7+ years.

Dinner was silent, until Red and Blue did some fun cheers to get their teams pumped for LONG JUMP! We divided the teams at 3 locations last night for efficient long jumping. The kids swung their arms, flew in the air, landed (hopefully without falling- or at least falling forward), and worked as a team to go the farthest!

photo 5After milk and cookies and bed, some groups still had late night games to be played. Inter Girls under the lights soccer and National Boys basketball on main field to name a couple.

Wood collection continued for tonite’s Rope Burning and we prepare for another day of events.

As we enter Day 3 of the 5 days of Olympics, the score is: RED LIFEGUARDS: 1203  and BLUE SKI PATROL: 1321…still, very close and exciting!

Sweet Caroline: Good Times Never Seemed So Good!

aqWhere it began 25 years ago Stephanie and i started at Camp Towanda…seems like yesterday…and we still love every minute of making the Camp Towanda experience the very best for our campers, staff and Camp Towanda family.

Spring became summer
The snow has melted and we continue to get ready for camp; new treehouse, new Dorm Porch, new ski boat, rejuvenated ghost court and the NEW old ghost point lakeside campfire area plus other new things from remodeled bathrooms and a few surprises to an exciting program schedule, awesome staff (lots of seasoned returnees) and all around Towanda-ness!

Hand touching hand
The Big Brothers and Sisters have contacted their new LITTLE brothers and sisters and look forward to this special connection at camp.

Good times never seems so good
Rest up, get ready, get packed, get psyched for the experience of the summer of 2014!!!!

Who’d have believed you’d come along
Thats right, 1st year moms, come visiting day, you will be like, “I cant believe thats my kid”!

Reaching out, touching me, touching you
If you read the Parent Guide, you’ll know that you should have a letter that is waiting for your camper upon arrival; this and other good advice and guidelines are in our Parent Guide!

So good, so good, so good
Your camper is going to grow, flourish, mature, astound and complete you; just let him/her do it…trust us…and don’t forget to read Homesick and Happy.
I also want to share a great documentary that Stephanie and I watched on NetFlix recently; a National Geographic Special: Stress: Portrait of a Killer…This is 58 minutes worth watching. Very enlightening.

Hurting runs off my shoulder
and onto my keyboard; i look forward to keeping parents up to date, informed, entertained with my honest and reassuring emails; consider your subscription ACTIVATED! Typos and all.

I’ve been inclined
So now that i hopefully have your attention……

We have had and have a lot going on in our “camp state of mind”…..

Last month we were at two camp conferences where we meet, share and develop camp related best practices; I led a session about balancing the day while our younger full time staff participated in emerging professional training. A lot of exciting energy continues to come our way as our colleagues refer to us as the leaders in camping; quite a proud testament.

April 10th was the annual SCOPE BENEFIT DINNER; I closed out my 11th year as the journal and dinner chairman and began my tenure as president of the national SCOPE organization; last year we provided the sleep away camp experience for over 1500 underprivileged children while promoting their educational values. Check out www.scopeusa.org

If you can make it, we have our community service VisionWalk fundraiser coming up on Saturday May 3rd at CitiField (Home of The NY Mets). All welcome; wear your Team Towanda or any Camp Towanda T-shirt; for more details contact jared@camptowanda.com or check out: https://www.facebook.com/events/117527918447169/

If you are actually thinking about life AFTER THE SUMMER; i would like to suggest that you consider our awesome Labor Day Family Weekend; by popular demand, parents have asked us for Camp For The Parents; well, this is it….you can invite YOUR friends and family, too.  Check it out at:  https://camptowanda.com/about-camp-towanda/labor-day-weekend.php.

Looking Forward To a Great Summer,

Mitch “I think I Neiled This” and Stephanie “Diamond”
Your Camp Owners and Directors
Camp Towanda

Let the Summer of Lucky ’13 Begin!!

signs  mitchbus  stephhug hughome

June 22, 2013. The longest day of the year as summer officially began and it ended with a fabulous staff show, bonfire, moon rising and milk & cookies.  Welcome back to your summer home.

bearfish

Our campers were greeted by our excited staff, their bunkmates and hugs from Mitch, Stephanie, Bobby, Amy, Michael and Lisa.  Lots of smiles, singing, hugging and cheering in full bloom ALREADY!  The summer of Lucky 2013 is officially here!

We didn’t waste any time on Day 1.  Icebreaker games, like “Bear, Fish, Mosquito” (see picture on the left) helped make new campers feel like old friends within the first 5 minutes!  General swim, spaghetti dinner and free play, followed by evening activity fun!

Sunday morning’s reveille song (after the bugle) was Alan Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”; breakfast with The Beatles featured “Come Together” and Lunch with the Beach Boys busted out with “Fun, Fun, Fun”; only to be drowned out by the Sunday Grateful Dead BBQ (This Week was Built To Last)! Nothing like Camp Towanda music!

topenboys90 degrees of sunshine, activity and excitement was what the day was about! It seemed as if we have all been here awhile already!

From gymnastics to waterfront to soccer and basketball to crafts and zumba to baseball and tennis!

The evening activities included THE Towanda OPEN for Lower Camp; running around attempting different crazy challenges that included the jello toss, pudding eating, dizzy bats and garlic fries! Suffice it to say that we have created the first real batch of dirty laundry….but boy, did they have fun!

 

happygirls

Upper Camp cheered and screamed during their Game Show-like night of what we call UNIQUE ENTERTAINMENT! Bringing together the older campers for social fun, spirit, singing and laughter!

We all put in a full day.  Friendships have begun and/or are rekindled; Today we deserved a late reveille since it was another hot one…and we have all been going, going since arrival!  Stay tuned for more updates on the CT Blog!

greenteam  whereeverybodyknowsyourname   boyscamp  ampetheater

 

Stephanie’s Top 10 Book List For Camp Parents

An interview with Stephanie Reiter by our Social Media Director, Lauren Forman

photo 2 Over the years, our Camp Towanda families have enjoyed Stephanie’s Recommended Reading List for parents.  It is available in the forms & documents section in CampMinder and includes a healthy list of books that Mitch and Stephanie have read and like to share with our camp families.  We have even heard from some parents that they chose our camp because of Stephanie’s amazing reading list!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Stephanie, surrounded by some of her favorite parenting books (and there are dozens, if not hundreds).  I enjoyed watching her eyes light up as she recalled how each of these books had a profound impact on her approach to parenting and being a Camp Director.

As a parent myself, I was eager to get a peek inside Stephanie’s library as she shared with me her years of experience as a mom of two boys, and her insights and observations as a Camp Director for almost over 25 years.

We hope you can find some “Rest Hour Time” to read a few of these inspiring gems:

STEPHANIE’S TOP 10 BOOK LIST FOR PARENTS:

  1. For parents of young girls: Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher: An accurate perspective on what girls are going through today.  The Girl Within by Emily Hancock: Identifies the period between 8-10 and the onset of adolescence.
  2. For parents of boys: Raising Cain by Dan Kindlon: Insight into the psyches of boys and how adults can help them flourish.  The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian: Insight into what boys need to become strong, responsible men.
  3. For parents with two or more kids: Siblings without Rivalry by Faber and Mazlish: In so many ways, at camp bunkmates are just like siblings in the Camp Family.  We apply many of these ideas to help our camp brothers and sisters get along.
  4. For parents to read before sending their kids off to camp: Homesick and Happy by Michael Thompson and The Summer Camp Handbook by Chris Thurber.  Both of these books are great if you are feeling a little anxious (which is normal) about sending your child to camp for the first time.  These books help you remember what a gift you are giving your child.  How you should be proud of yourself that you made camp a priority for your family, and how time away from parents helps kids grow.
  5. For campers to read before coming to camp (only if they want to!): Off to Camp by Myra Pravda.  This is a Camp Towanda favorite and helps kids prepare for the summer camp experience.
  6. For a calmer approach to parenting: Blessings of a Skinned Knee and Blessings of a B Minus by Wendy Mogul.  Oh, how I loved these books! The first is for parents of younger children; the second is for those with teenagers. If you only read one book, make it one of these!  Based on Jewish teachings of the Torah, these books provide answers to raising self-reliant and compassionate children in a culture of competition and materialism.
  7. For how to reap the benefits of camp, year-round: Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy  This book is a bit of a throw back to how people parented years ago… when we were less fearful and overprotective and gave our kids more freedom to be independent.  Camp is a wonderful outlet where kids can reap the benefits of being “free-range” while still in a very safe environment.  It’s the way the world used to be…or should be!  It’s an interesting perspective and a good read!
  8. For parenting in today’s world: How to Raise Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World by H. Steven Glenn & Too Much of a Good Thing by Dan Kindlon.  Good for parents who are challenged by raising kids in a self-indulgent world.  Opens our eyes to the difference between being a good friend and a good parent.
  9. For bully-proofing our children: Take the Bully by The Horns by Sam Horn.  Unfortunately, we now know as adults, there are always going to be bullies in life.  This book teaches and empowers your children how to be bully-proof.
  10. For kids (and for us to remember what it’s like to be a kid!): Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, by Carol McCloud, Oh the Places You’ll Go!  by Dr. Seuss and Growing Up Is Hard by Dr. Laura Schlesinger.  All three of these have a wonderful perspective and great life lessons. I would encourage you share them with your children and read them yourselves.
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With Stephanie’s bookshelves filled with so much more than just parenting books, we had to ask her some more questions about the other books in her collection.

 4 Quick Questions for Stephanie

  1. What book changed your life? The Mind Body Prescription by Dr. Sarno.  For so many years I experienced very bad back pain.  This book was recommended to me by a Senior Staffer at Towanda and literally changed my life.  It helped me realize the powerful connection between the mind and the body.  Thanks to this book I can now say I am PAIN-FREE and have such a deeper understanding of myself (without undergoing any medical intervention).  Crazy, but true!
  2. What books do you want to read next? The Great Gatsby (before the movie comes out) and a book about the artist Cezanne.
  3. Have you ever considered writing a book?  After reading The Mind Body Prescription, I would love to write something about how TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome) presents itself in children.  I see so many children experiencing physical pain related to their emotional stress.  I would love to give children these tools to live free of pain…and just be happy, healthy kids!
  4. With all of your creative endeavors, what are you currently working on? My website! I am so thrilled to be a part of a new online gallery called Gallery Sprout where you can see all of my work and read about what inspired me to create each painting.  I cannot wait to get to camp this spring and paint a little before we kick it into high gear! You can visit my new gallery here.
Visit our Pinterest Page, where you can find links to all of these books and more camp inspiration!