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.

Where are they now? Alumni Spotlight-5th Edition

wherearetheynowIt’s that time for another edition of Camp Towanda “Where Are They Now?” We have four new alum sharing their fond memories and stories about the camp we love!  We are posting these in the order they come in, and this week we happen to have a double dose of Dorm ’99 girls! Plus a former Olympiad from the ’90s and someone from Club ’02.

Please keep your entries coming and send to lauren@camptowanda.com.  We have so many more great ones to share with you!

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Matt Levy


  1. Dorm / Club Year:  Club 1994
  2. College Attended?  University of Pennsylvania (Wharton); Tulane University Law School
  3. Current Career:  Anheuser-Busch (Business Services Center, Project Management)
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way?  Yes.  Socializing with people from all walks off life.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity?  waterskiing
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? 1994 olympics (won Olympiad); or watching Marc Penziner “street luge” down the hill from boys camp to the infirmary
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song.  “Devils arise with brimstone and flame; we’re here tonight to stake out our claim.” (1989 Red Devils)
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? take lots of pictures
  9. Fill in the blank: When I hear American Pie I think of Camp Towanda!

Michelle Goldblum

  1. Dorm / Club Year: 1999
  2. College Attended? The George Washington University
  3. Current Career: Founder of I AM. creative, a full service brand strategy, brand development, design & marketing agency specializing in the mind/body/spirit, wellness, self-empowerment, self-improvement space.
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? 100%. 3-minute showers have continued to be clutch in my life.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? Senior Year Canoe trip… Olympics ’99… Tweens & Juniors Tropical Paradise.
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? First kiss and getting camper captain (is that so horrible and cliche to say?)
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song. Go down,  Moses,:  Way down in Egypt’s land, tell old pharoah, let my people go!
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? 2 months is so incredibly short. Don’t worry about what bunk you are in. Don’t worry about being the counselors favorite. JUST PLAY and laugh and be happy to be outside.
  9. Fill in the blank: When I think of walking up the grassy knoll, see someone in a british soccer jersey, watch fireworks, hear American Pie or eat french toast, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? I wish i remembered the rules for ghost to be able to answer this question!

AJ Axelrod

  1. Dorm / Club Year: 2002
  2. College Attended: Vanderbilt University
  3. Current Career: Management Consulting
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? My first college roommate was a camp friend as are many of my lifelong friends. It helped me adjust to the communal living aspect of college.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? everything
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? Becoming a camper captain (My father and I are the first father son combination) and rope burning but there are so many small moments that stand out too.
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song. the last 2 lines of American Pie, I was always hungry by then.
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? Do everything you can possibly do, get in a little bit of trouble, but not the serious kind. If you’re a boy, chase more girls it’s good practice for later in life and the girls are really in charge anyway. Stay in touch with your counselors. When you’re 20+ they don’t seem so much older than you and you may seem them all over the world if you travel. I’ve seen counselors in Colorado, NY, London and Sydney Australia.
  9. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be?  I would ban boxing out on the jump to start the match. I used it to win the jump all the time. I would also ban sacrificing yourself to become a ghost.

Rachel Berkman Bloom 

  1. Dorm Year: 1999
  2. College Attended: University of Michigan
  3. Current Career: Private Equestrian/Athletic Tutor, Judith Ripka South Florida Representative
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? Towanda helped me learn to be independent.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? It is too hard to pick just one! Maybe DJ nights. OH and when we had an all camp water fight and gold rush. Trip days, the list goes on…
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? My first Olympic breakout in 1993
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song.  Our entire Tween/Junior girls sing cheer and march – I still know every word! Tweens and Juniors take the stage, time to prove we are the best, sing is here and there’s no doubt that we’re gonna beat the rest check it out!…
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? Enjoy every second of every day, and take a lot of pictures and never lose them.
  9. Fill in the blank: When I smell a particular summer night , see my old camp shirts in my drawer, watch Wet Hot American Summer, hear American Pie (of course) or eat milk and cookies, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? If I could add one rule to ghost it would be that people walking by can be considered ghosts and brought into the game for one throw.

Where are they now? Alumni Spotlight- 4th Edition

wherearetheynow

Our Alumni Spotlight CAMPaign is back with 5 new alum sharing their fond memories and insights about the camp we love! Please keep your entries coming and send to lauren@camptowanda.com.  We have so many more great ones to share with you! 

rossprussin
Ross Prussin, Camp Towanda Club 1993

Ross Prussin

  1. Dorm / Club Year: Club 1993
  2. College Attended? University of Colorado at Boulder
  3. Current Career: Equity Derivative Sales
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? Yes, it taught me to better adjust to having my own independence. And the networking skills I learned are unequivocal. I can play a mean game of Jewish geography.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? My favorite camp activity would be either intracamp sports or rope burning
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? 1986 Breakout at the waterfront (Red Explorers vs. Blue Emperors).
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song.    ….I learned what love and friendship really meanTTT…..
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers?  Enjoy each and every moment at camp and savor each day because one day when you are old like me, you will still only want to be in one place when each summer rolls around.
  9. Fill in the blank: When I think of Bill Alexander, Jerry Maze, Byron and Bill or Al Foley, hear Billy Joel or eat Corn Pops, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? Or if you are from the Pre-GHOST era: if you could add an event to The Great Apache Relay, what would it be? I would add a hot dog eating contest to the Apache Relay. There should definitely be some sort of eating contest in there.

Maxx Rapaport

  1. Dorm / Club Year: 2003
  2. College Attended? Indiana University
  3. Current Career: Sales Planner at the National Football League
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? It’s all about communicating with people, finding a common ground, and building relationships. That is also the way I view sales.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? Rope Burning. The best times at camp where down time, shooting the breeze on the porch with your bunk mates, or going for a walk during UTL.
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? Winning Rope Burning was a big one, watching my sister get CC was huge.
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song. C-L-U-B, you know who you want to be…
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? Say “yes” to everything. You aren’t better than anyone else in the bunk. Strive for relationships, especially with with BOB, Pelton and Z.
  9. Fill in the blank: When I think of the happiest times in my childhood, see my camp friends or girlfriend, watch Ferris Buller’s day off or any of the BYOC movies, hear American pie or eat peanut butter and jelly, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? GHOST is perfect as it is.

Brooke Gomberg (now Brooke Weissman)

  1. Dorm / Club Year: Dorm 1997 ( I am pretty sure, oye)
  2. College Attended? University of Wisconsin- Madison
  3. Current Career: Luxury Director, Hearst Digital Media ( a division of Hearst corp). Oversee Beauty for the digital women’s division covering brands such as: ELLE.com, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmo, Marie Claire, Redbook & Good Housekeeping and cover all beauty advertisers for the brands
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? Camp Towanda helped me learn how to adapt to others. For example, in the real world you are faced with challenges everyday; such as personality differences and disagreements. Learning how to live, and work together with others allowed me to learn how to adapt to changing circumstances and be the best person I can be.  I also used to be very homesick when i was younger, thinking that it would never go away–but never giving up and sticking something out always has the most amazing results!
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? Without a doubt, Tennis. I used to be good!! And Olympics of course
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp? Being named a camper captain of Olympics and then a few years later, General!
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song. “Kings and Queens and Bishops too”
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? Cherish the friends and the memories you make–some of my best memories were at camp!
  9. Fill in the blank: When I think of ___Hershey Park____, see___my old towanda tees_____, watch___wet hot american summer_____, hear _revelee________ or eat __chocolate chip cookies________, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? I was in the ghost era, but I need a brush up on the rules. Are you allowed to go back in once you are out?
jessicahartman
Jessica Hartmann, Camp Towanda Counselor 2007

Jessica Hartmann

  1. Counselor 2007
  2. College Attended?: Skidmore College
  3. Current Career: Surgical Coordinator, Plastic Surgery Department at Boston Children’s Hospital
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way?  At camp, you learn to live with a bunch of people from different backgrounds and home rules, but while at camp everyone learns to live together and abide by the rules of camp.  You may not agree with everything, but you make it work.
  5. What was your favorite camp activity? Gymnastics!
  6. What is your most memorable moment at camp?  I went with the girl’s gymnastics team to a meet at Camp Wayne, and we were recognized for our sportsmanship.  I was so proud of our girls and how well they represented Towanda!
  7. Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song. “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name – Camp Towanda!”  And “Love will pervade us though miles separate us”
  8. What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers?  Enjoy every moment of camp and appreciate being surrounding by people who genuinely want to be your friend and want the best for you.  Your camp years will be over before you know it.
  9. Fill in the blank: When I think of hot summer days, see the Scranton PA sign , watch the Baseball All Star game, hear American Pie or eat chocolate chip cookies that are never as good as Jonesie’s, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10. If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? Ahh!  I don’t know – I always had trouble keeping them all straight to begin with!

Risa Rabinowitz

  1. Dorm 2005
  2. College Attended: University of Michigan
  3. Current Career: Graduate School
  4. Did Towanda help prepare you for the “real world”? In what way? YES. I learned that it is impossible to be successful in everything when you are trying it for the first time; new experiences are a good thing and should be embraced; folding socks is both important AND practical.
  5.  What was your favorite camp activity? My favorite camp activity was soccer!
  6. What was your most memorable moment at camp? My most memorable moment at camp was during the last few weeks of Dorm summer. I accidentally threw out an envelope filled with cash that my mom and dad had sent me to put in the bank for the last few camp trips. I got out of the shower and was about to get dressed for dinner when I saw an envelope filled with the same amount of money on my bed–my dorm sisters each chipped in and replaced every dollar for me. That was when I realized that I was part of a group of girls that would do absolutely anything for one another without being asked.
  7.  Give us a line or two of your favorite camp song. YOU BOTH KICKED OFF YOUR SHOES, MAN I DIG THOSE RYTHM AND BLUES!!!
  8.  What words of wisdom would you share with today’s campers? Don’t be scared to keep going back to camp for as long as you can. People who say that “it is time to become a part of the real world,” don’t understand that Camp Towanda is as real as it gets.
  9. Fill in the blank. When I think of Dip n’ Dots, see fireworks, watch kids playing knockout, hear taps, I think of Camp Towanda!
  10.  If you could add a rule for GHOST, what would it be? If it is after lunch, and sloppy joes were served AT lunch, you are not allowed to aim at someone’s stomach.

Missed an edition of Camp Towanda Alumni: “Where are they now?”? You can check them all out here on the blog

https://camptowanda.com/blog/category/alumni-spotlight/

And don’t forget to join The Camp Towanda Network on LinkedIn!

Why Sleepaway Camp is Good for Kids…and Parents!

So can you believe your kids are coming home THIS WEEK?! Where did this summer go?! Thank you so much for entrusting us with them this summer.

We have watched them grow leaps and bounds, thrive in ways you could never imagine, make their own choices and try new things.  We also watched them navigate challenging waters, advocate for themselves, tumble but not fall and SOAR.  The power of Camp Towanda is truly magical!

marnieI’m sure as you reflect on the summer that was, you also feel as parents that you learned some things about yourselves…especially to our first time parents.  How far you have come in the past 7 weeks?  From tear-filled sunglasses on June 22nd to now, as you anxiously await the return of your changed child.  They are older, braver and more independent.  They return home more confident, compassionate and respectful.  What is it about camp that makes that all so possible?  Part of it is because they are in the “No Fly Zone”.

It’s no secret that this generation of parents has been dubbed “The Helicopter Generation”.  With all the information and access we get to our kids’ lives for 10 months of the year, we are able to influence so much in their lives (of course from a place of love).  How liberating (and a little scary) did it feel this summer to lose that control?  Three of my favorite books, “Homesick and Happy“, “Free Range Kids” and “Blessings of a B Minus” helped me manage ‘helicoptering’ my own children…but I have to say….I think sending your kids to sleepaway camp is absolutely the best cure for helicoptering!

runningBack in June, do you remember worrying that your child should not be in a bunk with “Jane” and you were so concerned that you called and emailed camp a dozen times? And now Jane and your daughter are arm in arm in nearly every photo? Or that you wanted your son to have extra time at lacrosse because that’s the only sport he likes…and now he wants to play tennis and take an art class in the fall? Or you were so worried that your daughter was sending home letters that she was so homesick and last you saw, she was on stage singing her heart out and wrote that camp is amazing.  Or you wanted to send up special food because your son only eats bagels at home…and now he is insisting you make chicken patties as his homecoming meal!?

dadThis is the magic of camp…kids discovering new things about themselves.  Making mature observations and choices about friendships without their parents’ influence.  You can only imagine how far they have come!  But I applaud you for how far you have come too! While they were coping with feelings of homesickness, you were coping with feelings of ‘childsickness’.  When you get your Child 2.0 back home with you, will you let them tumble, but not fall? Will you be the safety net but not the harness? Will you let them be okay in their own hands?  In the past 2 months, you have done these things by sending them to camp.  You should be proud of them.  And proud of yourself.

with girlsThank you again for the incredible honor it is to be your child’s Camp Director with my husband Mitch.  We take being Camp Parents and your parenting partners very seriously.  Please keep us posted in the off-season about their successes, accomplishments and achievements no matter how big or small.  We share your joy in their growth and look forward to cheering them on from the sidelines, until June 2014 when we get a front row seat!

Enjoy the week!

Stephanie