End of Day 1 Olympics- Mitch’s Report

c56efd08-8192-4569-a54a-4c24d799c85aAttention RED fans, Attention BLUE fans,

Okay Olympics Day 1 is done. Judgies and Generals are still meeting as I write and the sing scenery and plaque crews are still working late.

The WOW factor of breakout was the talk of the morning; everyone just realizing how cool (or should I say “cold”) it was…how incredible, how exciting, how suprising and how much a part of it they were.

And then the day really got started…

e09edf0e-4003-40dd-bca5-28102a982280As we left breakfast, the maintenance crew was on the main basketball court, shoveling, blowing and sweeping the 3 inches of snow (looked even more incredible in the morning light) onto our mini golfcart dump trucks and then dumping it all into one big pile.  It took several hours to clean, then power wash and scrub the court clean for the first game of the afternoon.  The snow pile actually now sits at the far side of the court, off in the grass.  We are not certain how long it will last!

01206c21-d022-488b-a5dc-5e78992f4703Once the adrenaline of Breakout filters through every bone in one’s body, it helps transform that excitement into a spirited commitment; virtually taking all the ingredients and experiences of the summer to produce the ultimate in sportsmanship, friendship and positive energy.  This is what I saw today…an incredible air of passionate happiness and joy……exactly what we all have been striving for since everyone arrived way back in June. Camp Towanda, at it’s finest!

b560aff4-8389-4fa5-8045-2e1aca7600acUnfortunately I am unable to capture all of the activities and events of the day as I was at GHOST reffing some incredible matches. The thing about GHOST is it really defines what Towanda is all about. Simply; it is fun to play, it doesn’t matter what your level of skill or ability is; as everyone is important to the game (even spectators) and you are never out…..  there is a lot more to it (123 rules in fact)—but it is the most INTENSE and loved sport at camp.

Speaking of intense, we had an enjoyable traditional silent Olympic dinner (the entire mess hall silent), which concludes with entertaining cheers.

Then evening event was tug of war; which was also very exciting; follwed by some late night soccer and basketball games.

773a8285-7280-473b-a796-47ba9770499eSo, at the end of day 1; with still 50 points still to be tabulated, the score is an incredibly close RED LIFEGUARDS 309 and the BLUE SKI PATROL, 300!!!  How about that!

Day 2 is on the horizon. More reporting from the field…

Good luck Red Team.  Good luck Blue Team.

Olympics Day 1: Rain or Shine…Game on!


A little rain doesn’t stop Olympics!!!

Despite the gray skies, mist, rain and damp chill; NOTHING stopped ALL the CAMPERS and STAFF from wanting to get out on the fields to play!

rainIn between heavy downpours, we got in most of the scheduled competition between The RED ZOMBIES and BLUE CLONES.

From my vantage point as the Grand Master of Ghost, I witnessed the best match ever of Debs & Dills, playting with their heart and soul in the mud and drizzle…to a tie-breaker; the same was true for the Tweens and the Middie Boys.  An intense coed LIT best of 5 went the distance through rain and mud as well.

girlsThe thrills, the cheering and the concentration was wonderful!  From the coaches to generals to the amazing judgies (consisting of over 65 visiting alumni)!

The reports are that all activities were the same intensity and spirit; From volleyball, soccer and indoor basketball to Gaga and softball!

ghostIt is so evident that all that our camp is about comes to fruition in these latter days of the summer; the camaraderie, the respect, the reaching for one’s personal best, the becoming comfortable outside of one’s comfort zone and the genuine pride, sportsmanship and deep friendships are making this OLYMPICS indicative of why we are all here.

soccergirlsIt is a proud feeling that I see and sense on everyone; including the alums that have just showed up; they see it, too!

At the end of Day ONE, there is just a 2 ½ point difference between the teams…how about that?

ghost2Songs of the day played here: TIME OF THE SEASON by the Zombies and and WE ARE ALL CLONES by Alice Cooper.

Today will be beautiful! Cool in the low 70s… a great day for the track and swim meets and tug of war!! PULL, THAT, ROPE!!!!

Good luck Red Team. Good luck Blue Team.

Things are heating up at Camp Towanda!

So, the weeks leading up to camp were damp, chilly, cold and raw up here in the rolling countryside of NorthEastern Pennsylvania…and we dreamed of hot summer days…there is no doubt that the summer has started off…..hitting 90 everyday so far!


The spirit, friendships and smiles represent a feeling that we all have been here for a long time while it has really been only 4 full days so far! If you were a fly on the wall, you would not believe it!

From the Dorm Girls dressing up for Maniac Monday to the Club Boys dressing up for “Half Christmas” on Tuesday (a celebration they concocted). They even played Christmas music all day, which psychologically cooled us off.

icecream mitch

The younger campers look up to these groups as if they were larger than life…and everyone else supports and gets into that!

We extended lunch hour on Tuesday for make our own banana splits  (D-LISH)…the perfect way to chill out on a hot day!


We’ve squeezed in General Swims whenever we can. Casper, the camp dog,  lifeguarded at the Tarzan Swing (making sure every single camper that dropped into the lake was safe).

Tuesday night, Steve Max returned to camp for his entertaining Simon Sez Show that got the whole camp involved!


On Wednesday, Stephanie and I hung out with the Debs & Dillies and the Jets…they are sooo cute and lovin life at camp!

The Culinary Classes at the Farm made sushi, spring rolls, brownies, and banana cake .  Really, impressive!  Recipes coming soon!

We also had a heavy duty downpour at lunch on Wednesday so we extended mess hall time with a classic rock tunes dance party!  Playlist coming soon!


Lower camp groups experienced real down to earth nature classes today with our resident guru, Nathaniel!

Last night, I reffed an intense GHOST game between the Middie and Junior boys…wow! Fun, excitement and intense play!

We had to use the GOAT ALERT ALARM system this evening as our “goats”, you know, our 2 miniature horses named Horsey and Donkey…escaped. What a scene with Casper and The Campers trying to round them up. Hey! Hay!

Afterwards, the LITs had a pizza party in the canteen. The CITs, who are excellent (also) ; enjoyed the sushi leftovers.

And The Dorm Girls were off campus at their Canoe trip.

zumbaCamp is moving; the kids are grooving, the counselors have begun days off and we are enjoying every minute with the kids; Camp Towanda is truly a very special family.


Occupy Mess Hall, Bunk Feast and Fort Night!

After taking 5 days off from my daily Blog and judging 5 days of Ghost games, I’m back! (thank you to my Olympic news correspondents for their excellent coverage).

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Olympics ended a near tie and the we had a real honest to goodness Lazy Day….almost!

Monday started off with NO reveille and then an on campus porch breakfast; very relaxing…the kids got to catch up, mellow out and hang out after 5 incredible Olympic days… then we had lunch and planned a fun co-eding afternoon.

But the campers kind of OCCUPIED THE MESS HALL and had their presidents attempt to enforce a full morning and afternoon LAZY DAY. Well, after a sit in on the floor of the dining hall (no 5 second rule applied) and an impeachment of the Camp Presidents and 5 year club presidents; the lame duck former Presidents of 2011 rose from their retirement to negotiate a peaceful compromise for a great afternoon of more lazy day, canteen for everyone and a general swim!!!!  The people of Towanda reunited and all was well.   Monday evening was a nice, casual dance party.

Tuesday morning started with an HC hosted special early morning thank you breakfast for the Group Leaders; followed by an 8:45 AM reveille.  Co-ed acxtivities in the morning along with bunk plaque signings (can you believe we are already signing the bunk plaques? where did the summer go?). The afternoon was the jubilant 90th annual logo awards (everyone gets something).  Last night was one of the favorites: Bunk Feast and Fort Night!

In the late hours of the evening, some secret late night campfires for the older groups as reflections, traditions and thoughts of next summer rested against the sounds of crickets during a relatively cool late summer night.

We wake up this morning and go to the Wayne County Fair….. deep fried Oreos, sheep shaving, dizzy rides, pig races and bbq chicken stuffed pretzels highlight the day!   The whole camp is at the fair and it is fun to watch the older campers with the younger campers!  We love this day, too! Pssst, the first time I will be off camp property since orientation!

As Stephanie and I continue to reflect on this summer, I wanted to share this wonderful letter we received today:

As you know, we have travelled the world and watched our children experience growth, love, hardship, beauty, amazement, devastation, enlightenment, struggle, challenge, adversity, uniqueness, diversity, perspective, and so much more.  I would like to think that our travels have helped mold the kids they are today, and how they show up at camp.

But what I have witnessed from afar this summer outshines anything I have seen in both of them before and after our journeys around the world.  Their attitudes and perseverance has surpassed anything I have seen at home.  As sometimes reserved and/or private (shy) they both tend to be at school, it seems to have no existence in camp.  From trying out for plays and sports teams, running for president, leading girls’ sing, letting ‘drama’ and fearful bunk placement roll off, excelling as leaders, and giving their all- both my son and daughter have soared above my expectations, which honestly tend to be quite high .

Camp is truly their happy place. Thank you for bringing out the best in both of them.

With so much gratitude,

We get many letters from parents on a daily basis and we appreciate it; thank you so much, we are truly honored, proud, humbled and take the responsibility seriously.

From the home office in Honesdale, PA…we’re off to the fair!!!!


Day 1: What’s your favorite color?

Day 1 of Olympics was off to a spirited start! Cheering has reached an all time high for the summer and is sure to continue over the next 5 days! Every event begins with the chant: “G-O-O-D-L-U-C-K we wish you all good luck today!” And is reciprocated by the other team with a chant of thanks. That sets the tone for the games and the amazing displays of sportsmanship we are seeing! Although the camp is divided in red and blue, the campers are supporting all their friends and bunkmates. The Debs/Dillies, Middies, Juniors, co-ed LITS and Counselors (and Casper) all had the privilege of playing GHOST on Day 1! Mitch is holding court there with his expert team of Judgies and is in his glory! The Tweens had Newcombe (slide out and rotate!), the Junior/Inter Girls and Dorm played great games of soccer (yes–one girl did play stopper wearing a blue tutu!)…if that’s not intimidation, what is!? Who needs the London Games, when you can watch riveting beach volleyball from the Senior Girls, Dorm, Club and LITS (future Misty Mays and Kerry Walshes here at Camp Towanda!). Jets and Cadets were pumped up at the Gaga court and were called up to the flagpole this morning!  The National Girls and Inter Boys hit it out of the park at their respective Softball games and the Nationals and Senior Boys were in the [end]zone at Football!  A full day of activities, rest hour tennis matches, wood collecting for rope burning (long sleeves and long pants), and more.

Our American Pie bugle call rang at lunchtime…people still got chills remembering the breakout from the night before.  It now takes on a whole new meaning! At dinner, each team got the microphone and had the floor.  The Red Jesters pulled pranks. The Blue Royalty were prim and proper. The scores (so far) were announced and it was a 10 point spread between the teams!!! An even match.  What will today bring?

Last night was Tug-O-War on the soccer pitch! Intense match-ups and creative cheers and chants from each of the teams as they approached the rope.  The final pulls were made by the Judgies vs. the Generals.  Who do you think won? The teams retreated to practice their songs and team meetings before light out and taps.

Today is the girls’ track and boys’ swim meets (where we are sure to see future Ryan Lochtes, Missy Franklins and Usain Bolts!). We are looking forward to hearing the sides cheering on their teams to the finish lines!  Did we say everyone is cheering? “What’s your favorite color?” “A little birdie in a tree, said something very true to me”, “Thunder-thunderation”, “The team is in the huddle, the captain’s at the head”, “The cookie monster says”, “Split the V. Dot the I. Curve the C. T-O-R-Y. Victory victory let’s repeat it!”.

Many alumni from all different generations have returned to step in as Judgies. It’s great to have them back at camp, outfitted with Judgies Olympic books, whistles and tradition!

Day 2 is on! The sky is blue. It’s a perfect day for Olympics!!!

Good luck Red Team. Good luck Blue Team.

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

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!!!!

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!