Mitch’s Last Days Reflections- Summer 2013

Well the rain has cleared and our campers are united with their “Winter Families”.  It was an emotional few days to close out the lucky summer of 2013.

During packing day, we went to each bunk and hung up their Bunk Plaque (shaped like a Lego piece), said our goodbyes to each camper and with the final hit of the hammer declared that the kids in that bunk “are part of these walls forever”.

Our final banquet dinner was filled with emotional words, gifts and thoughts. the Final Friday Nite Flix and the burning of the numbers.

What an incredible, rewarding, proud, all-encompassing, nurturing, loving, fun, active and terrific experince for our summer Camp Towanda family.

I wish I had the ability to put into words what really goes on here; to watch each camper (and staff member) arrive somewhat innocently bewildered and leave a more confident, kinder and experienced person…….

It is amazing, many kids show up here crying; and now they are leaving crying!

As we carried the torch to light the numbers (2013), our “tear- jerker” playlist might indicate how we were all feeling…and as the busses departed in the rain, we could hear these songs over the speakers (click here to listen).

We thank our campers’ parents for entrusting us with their precious children; we took the responsibility seriously; loved and cared for them and hopefully, with our incredible staff, made an impact on their road to becoming great adults.

Camp Towanda is a very unique and special place for so many reasons…and each year, it seems so much more important to be a part of it….

We hope everyone enjoys the next 10 months and we can wait to see you soon in June (and hopefully before!)!

2013 4 Reiters

Something in the air tonight…

It’s time for another edition of Mitch’s blog/mix mashup…Camp Towanda updates set to music (we’ve added the You Tube music links for your listening pleasure).  With week 6 getting underway, there is definitely something IN THE AIR TONIGHT.

Greece1YELLOW SUBMARINE. Yesterday actually felt like a Sunday.  Dark, damp and heavy downpours. Actually felt good; giving us a chance to have some rainy day activities , extended rest hour and a little “Bunk-O” before our indoor rainy day BBQ!

Staff presentation of GREASE was fantastic! Great sprit, great sing alongs and then…

The Olympic fever triggered; rumors of psych outs and fake outs have begun. Very intense;
At flagpole line up last night, there was strange delay with the flag lowering bugle…created quite a stir.

Then at tonight’s  show, there were reports that my shirt color, my raincoat, kept changing colors every few minutes… red to blue to red to blue! At the end of Friends, Alma Mater & Taps, the lights went out, Pink Floyd’s ““Is there anybody out there?” intro sounded, the fog horn blasted; kids and staff started screaming and then I simply announced  there was going to be an 8:30 AM Reveille!

You can sense the excitement and anticipation…who knows when, how , where and what??????  Stay tuned..will be in a few minutes?, hours?, days?  Or at all!!!

After taps, I marched the TWEENs through the shadows of the night lights , serpentined around the older kids who were under the basketball lights…into the mess hall, then into the kitchen where they thought they were going to mop and clean; instead, I surprised them with make your own ice cream sundaes; it was all fun and games until Stephanie heard the noise came into the kitchen and we all scattered…hiding under the cook’s table, in the vegetable section and the walk in fridge….Stephanie caught us, but then joined us in the ice cream party… it got crazy as I “distributed” the toppings in an incredible dumping of “way too much oreos, sprinkles and syrup” to the kids…it flowed over their bowls, on their arms, down the table and onto the floor…everyone was laughing in amazement and incredible disbelief…  a great fun ice cream party….afterwards, they marched silently through the night back to their cabins, not getting caught by The Head Counselor, whispering “this never happened”…a secret between, me, Stephanie and the Tweens! SHHHHHHHH.

After cleaning and resetting the kitchen, we did the same thing with the Middie Boys; all the same except, the boys were really sloppy and smelly!

Just completing an OD patrol with Stephanie and Amy, The Girls Head Counselor (HC), we talked about how incredible the aura of camp is, we proudly refer to the special feeling that happens at camp once we pass the visiting day hump…everyone is smiling, feeling good, active, excited and just overall, part of the Camp Towanda FAMILY!

I feel that I am not even coming close to what happens here; there is a bond and sense of being part of something special and welcoming and comforting; that just brings out the best in each individual here.

Okay, I’m actually going to go to bed soon…
Good night Towanda

-I SCREAM Mitch and 2 SCOOPS Stephanie

PS: I actually have fun thinking of Song Titles!

The Heat is On!

sunTHE HEAT IS ON  (Glen Frey)
flyingI really think it is getting hotter everyday!!!  Most activities we are doing are just volleyball, culinary, indoor basketball, rollerblading indoors, gymnastics indoors, general swims…plus Fusion Water (our alternative to Gatorade…staying hydrated, the healthy way.  Check out these recipes and make some at home!)

scubaWAITING FOR THE SUN (The Doors)
The LITS and CITS went to The Binghamton Mets game on Wednesday;  they left at the 5th inning and detoured into a movie theater…I don’t think they cared what they saw; it had a/c!

photo 1

Wednesday night dinner dress code was “college shirt night”.  So in an effort to help further keep the crowd cool…FROZEN Kit-Kats went to those in SYRACUSE ORANGE!

The Lower Camp show of Dear Edwina was HOT in the amphitheater; they were very cute!
we gave out ice pops as the sun set in the Western Sky.

photoSOAK UP THE SUN (Sheryl Crow)
The entire camp went to Dorney Park Thursday; timing could NOT have been better; it is a water park and thats what we needed!  Our supervision is tops and our staff was ready with sunscreen. We arranged for the park to provide easy to get glasses of water at the concessions and gave the kids extra cash to buy drinks.  It was hot, but why not be hot in a water park!  Good times, everyone home safe!

girls poolWALKIN ON SUNSHINE (Katrina & The Waves)
Late reveille today; looks like one more scorcher; I think we will mellow down a bit and just sit in the lake and pool (the lake is warm!!!) for the better part of the day!

Tomorrow is Visiting Day! We are excited to welcome over 2000 people to camp and hope the weather cooperates! Sibling Sleepover is Saturday night (which includes a fun, funny and spirited all-camp evening activity–COUNSELOR TALENT SHOW!)

waterplumSUMMER OF ’69 (Bryan Adams)
On Sunday, we look forward to welcoming our Alumni for the annual BBQ! We have over 90 people (over 21 years old) registered for this special day!

A little rain, or a lot of shine, we know this weekend will be great! Safe travels to all our visitors and we’ll see you at the white rock!


NEW RISING SUN (Jimi Hendrix)

SUMMER BREEZE (Seals & Crofts)



BEHIND THE SUN (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)


LETTHE SUN SHINE (5th Dimension)




I WANNA GO TO THE SUN (Peter Frampton)



TOO HOT (Kool & The Gang)


4th of July Weekend Recap!

stars and stripsWhat an action-packed, HOT 4th of July weekend we had here at Camp Towanda.  Did we mention HOT?  There’s so much to share…where to begin?

On Thursday (July 4th), we started reveille with patriotic fanfare as the Debs and Jets presented the colors at flagpole while the entire camp saluted in red, white and blue garb!

The morning coed-ing activities were fun and entertaining; from sidewalk art, kickball, tennis, volleyball to soccer, ghost and basketball. We all had fun while American Tunes played all day, Lunch featured apple pie and AMERICAN PIE (of course)!

paloozaAfter lunch we had a blast of a live concert in the amphitheater (aka Campapalooza) with beach balls, water hose and red, white & blue ice pops. After the concert , we all achieved our Guiness goal of having over 500 people leap frog (crazy fun) altogether!  You have to watch Friday Nite Flix to see it!

Later in the afternoon, Lower Camp had General Swim with me and Casper (going down the slide) while Upper Camp squeezed in one more co-ed activity!

leap~ leapfrog

Dinner was an All-American BBQ, listening to the Grateful Dead’s AMERICAN BEAUTY Album!  Grilled ribs, chicken, corn and pasta…and watermelon!

After walking our goats during Free Play, we all sat in the amphithetaer (did u see us on the live cam?)

highschoolmusicalAll, under a beautiful setting sun as the audience really enjoyed one of our best plays ever, as Upper Camp presented High School Musical; fun, entertaining and awesome finish to a great day. Did you check out the highlights on Friday Nite Flix?

Milk and cookies and then bed for a well deserved rest before we start up again Friday for a complete day that included inter camp games  (tennis, Lax, soccer and basketball), the Dorm Girls’ Canoe Trip, Services at Sunset Lake followed by awesome and highly anticipated fireworks show (over the lake and set to Tchaikovsky’s  1812 Overture…a camp tradition) to cap off our Independence Weekend celebrations.

chickenFriday (the 4th on the 5th) was an awesome 95 degree day; sweaty activities, fusion water and the misting fan, refreshing general swims, inter camp games and the Senior girls canoe trip!  Even our chickens left the coop!  It was also our annual Silly Name Day!  Ask your kids what their name was?

Shabbos dinner, services at Sunset Lake as the sun set followed by a heart throbbing, enthusiastic and intense fireworks display to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture….man, it was great!services

Want to hear SOME MORE? Saturday we woke up early to another hot day and our S’MORE TOUR for future camp families!  Great to see new families (and some familiar faces–2nd and 3rd generation alumni) experiencing the fun, spirit and life at Camp Towanda!

The Talent Show in the amphitheater was incredible; fun, extreme talent, and amazing confidence that produced audience participation and enthusiasm! I am not just saying this, but it was one of the best Talent Shows we have had in years…..

so much so that afterwards a lot of campers came up to me to ask “when is the next one” which is actually what happens here a  lot. Campers come out of their comfort zone by being a part of the camp community/family…they see and sense that it is okay to get on stage, try a new activity, be a little silly and have fun; while not being judged or ridiculed…this is the magic and support of the Towanda family. This is how the kids blossom here.   And.. keep in mind, that at Camp Towanda, the entire camp is at the evening activity; so that fosters that the little kids know the big kids and vice versa…

pitSunday was a real chart-topper….almost an 100 degrees scorcher!!   Lower Camp enjoyed an extended General Swim; Casper and I “frolicked” with Lower Camp in the lake (which felt warmer than the pool) as we rode the awesome water slide and surfboards with the campers!

All while inter camp games continued with baseball, tennis and basketball games.

Our Grateful Dead BBQ almost got rained out but the thunderstorm just missed us and we were able to squeeze in the evening activity scavenger hunt! It is really great to see ALL ages have good ol’ fashion fun; running around as a group, with their counselors, trying to figure out clues.

As the sun went down last night, it seemed to have taken the humidity finally with it.

Camp is great, we are all bonding, smiling and enjoying, even the simple things.  We hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July weekend as much as we did and be sure to watch this week’s episode of Friday Nite (we mean Saturday Nite) Flix!

Mitch’s Chart-Topping Sunshine Mix


Good Day Sunshine   (Beatles)

Here Comes the Sun        (Beatles)

Invisible Sun            (Police)

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me    (Elton John)

Waiting for the Sun     (The Doors)

Sunday Will Never Be The Same   (Spanky & Our Gang)

Ain’t no Sunshine        (Bill Withers)

You are the Sunshine of my Life ,  (Stevie Wonder)