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.


Lucky Strike Reunion Recap!

Wow! What a REUNION!

It was great to see all those who were able to make it to our November Reunion at Lucky Strike this past weekend! Can you think of a better Saturday than to be with your camp friends? Well, take that and mix it with the Summer 2012 FNF Highlights, some arcade games, bowling and tasty pizza and you’d be feeling pretty LUCKY!

How did everyone bowl? I think I saw Casper score a turkey…well, it was that or he was chasing one! Either way the Thanksgiving spirit was in the air and you could definitely sense the love and feel the power of the Camp Towanda family. Along those lines, thank you to those that were able to support and contribute to our Hurricane Sandy Relief Food Drive…. it was a great success!

The FNF highlights were amazing as everyone crowded onto the lanes to get a good view on any of the 13 ginormous HD monitors! It’s hard to think we will be able to top the fun and excitement we had in 2012… but I’ve got a feeling we will be Lucky in ‘13, for the NEXT BEST SUMMER EVER!!!  But until then, be a part of the excitement with our Offical Facebook Fan page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @CampTowanda, check out our Pinterest page, listen to us on Spotify and don’t forget to practice your knockout skills with your new official CT basketballs!

Camp Towanda Wayne County Results

The Summer of 2012 was a home run for Towanda Athletics!

Campers of all ages proudly wore their Towanda uniforms to compete in the Wayne County and Intercamp Tournaments. While we are always proud of the many championships and trophies we brought home to camp this summer, we are even more proud of the sportsmanship and respect that our campers show during these events.  Congratulations to our Champions, Winners and of course to everyone that put their hearts into every game they played.  You rocked the field, the court and the county!

Here are the Wayne County Tournament results from the 2012 season:

  • Boys 10th/11th Grade Baseball Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Boys 5th Grade Basketball Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Girls 10th/11th Grade Lacrosse Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Boys 10th/11th Grade Lacrosse Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Boys 7th Grade Soccer Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Boys 10th/11th Grade Team Tennis Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Girls 7th Grade Softball Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Girls 8th Grade Soccer Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Boys 7th Grade Lacrosse Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Girls 10th/11th Grade Soccer Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Girls 5th Grade Soccer Wayne County Champions 2012
  • Boys 7th Grade Baseball Wayne County Champions 2012

So bye bye Miss American Pie

Mitch shares his reflections on the last day of camp and the summer that was, in his emotional last blog of the summer.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to……

One hot day; packing; emotional; items without names; nailing the bunk plaque onto the wall forever; one last american pie; one last flag lowering; final banquet; emotional words; reflections; moments; long lasting thunderstorm; a super Friday Nite Flix inside the field house; rolling thunder; tear jerking songs (Long & Winding Road, You’ve Got a Friend, Time of Your Life, Friends theme, Elton John’s Friends, Our House, Imagine, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Lean on Me, Homeward Bound, In My Life, Circle Game, So Far Away and Landslide—to name a few); burning of the numbers in a surreal setting as the Dorm & Club led camp in a final “Friends, Alma Mater and Taps” as everyone stood arms around shoulders looking through the open amphitheater doors as 2012 burned on the hillside while the rain poured down; followed by one last milk & cookies—and then boys camp bunk time before bedtime while the girls sang some more songs- all to make for a bittersweet end to an incredible summer for our children.

Reveille sounded at 6:15am today.  We all have smiles and tears for all so many reasons we accomplished as one big family.

I will share with you some of what I said at last night’s evening line-up:

“I’ve always said that the trouble with camp is that it ends. It ends for the summer and then for some, it ends forever. Although perhaps it means saying goodbye to friends you won’t see for 10 months, if ever again …that might mean that decades later, the memories,  the smell, the sounds of camp remain the BEST of what you have known.

From singing American Pie, to last night’s show, to all the activities, fun and friends…….

So, as we prepare to leave our summer home, summer family, Stephanie and I wish you all only the best of health, happiness, prosperity and goodness…..

It has been a great summer… has been a pleasure watching each and everyone of you personally, grow, learn and discover things about yourself you did not realize you could do, become an important person in our camp family….

And as we all go our separate ways, don’t forget that everyone here at lineup right now takes a bit of Towanda with them, even if you will never be back here…..   thank you, we appreciate all that we have done together this summer of 2012; we will miss you all… call me, maybe!!”

And then during the banquet, towards the end of the evening, I added something like this:

“I consider myself one lucky guy to be in the position that I am in as your Camp Director, I never take it for granted; I try my best and always want everyone to do the same.

I hope that you find something you love and then with some luck, be able to make it your career and then you’ll never feel as if you are working;

Camp Towanda is my home, my life, my family, my business, my passion while at the same time is all of our summer home.

I could not do it without the support of Stephanie and all that she contributes, especially behind the scenes. Keeping me and the senior staff balanced, healthy and clear.

I could not run camp without her  and without my 2 winter sons, Brandon and Jared, who realize and also contribute to all that goes into planning and running camp before and after everyone gets here.

To our amazing senior staff, counselors, KMP, office, laundry, drivers…and everyone…we are ALL Towanda!

Thanks again.”

To our camper’s parents, I say thank you for entrusting your chidren to us; we will miss them tremendously; enjoy them for 10 months; after a brief rest, we’ll be ready to get geared up in just 315 days when “I BET camp will be great in LUCKY 2013”!!

Signing off,

Mitch & Stephanie

PS: Did anybody my blog posts this summer?

P.P.S. Towanda Times is hot off the press…get our final summer issue here:

Towanda has talent…and a lot of HEART

What another great day… we ALL went to the Wayne County Fair. Hot, blazing, 90 degree fun!  Everyone with a  smile, cotton candy, chicken wing pretzel sandwiches or member of our ever-growing non-exclusive root beer mug club!

We had a dance party in the amphitheater as warm-up to the talent show. Of course, the dance party is only to classic rock; I get chills when the whole camp is singing the words to COME TOGETHER, BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP and SWEET CAROLINE!

The Talent show was hysterical, warm and entertaining; so many great acts, but I have to tell you; rather, WE have to tell you about one very special moment.  Picture this…

Two of our 9 year old girls from G-2, cheered on not only by their bunk and groupmates, but the entire camp, on stage, with the spotlights beaming. They single handedly brought down the house while at the same time created a new camp song, one for the ages….  Titled “Fall”….

Oh my, we were all mesmerized…… they wrote this on behalf of all the campers:

Olympics is clashin’
I’m surrounded by magic
Mitch and Casper have passed
You guys have to face it
Something is special to us
Camp Towanda
Big dreams are finally here
Why don’t you come and start to play
Soccer and basketball cover the Towanda Times
That’s what we want
But if you could go inside this camp
Then, you will see…
Camp Towanda won’t let you
Fall, fall, fall
Camp Towanda won’t let you
Fall, fall, fall
Camp Towanda won’t let you fall.
If you could look inside this camp
You will see Camp Towanda won’t let you
Fall, fall, fall
Camp Towanda won’t let you
Fall, fall, fall
Camp Towanda won’t let you fall
If you are new here, what do you do?
You make new friends; then, you come to Bunk 2
Friday Night Flix
It’s the best out of this
We don’t have a favorite pick
I know you’re a light sleeper
I’m kind of getting weaker
For getting you to sleep here
Upper camp: Hershey
Lower camp: Dorney
We can do it for the dreams of…
Music in Olympics
Rope Burning
You’ll have the best time of your life
I’m seeing some Ghost & Gaga
In the All-Star race, gonna run real far
Just for a reminder…
This camp won’t let you fall!!

Nothing else to say, but it has been a great summer.

Standing Ovation MITCH and A Shining Moment STEPHANIE

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!!!!


Letters from Parents

Throughout the 2012 summer, we have received hundreds of wonderful emails from parents, capturing the Camp Towanda experience through their eyes (and their children’s).  We wanted to share a few of these letters with you:


Dear Mitch & Stephanie,
How do you do it?  Are you sure there is nothing in the water or bug juice up there?  As a first year parent at Towanda, we received a letter from our child today proclaiming, “Camp is now my 2nd home.”  While I can’t wait to have my baby back on Friday, I am now certain that whatever has been going on at camp this summer has had a remarkable and lasting impact .

Thank you!

Letter # 2:

Hi Mitch and Stephanie,

I have wanted to write this since the first week of camp, but every time I went to start, something new happened at camp, or I got an even better letter from my daughter than the week before, so I thought, I should just wait to write this until she gets home, because every week seems to bring her  camp experience, and ours as parents, to an even higher level.  But now with only days left until when I planned to send this, I can’t hold it in anymore…  THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE CAMP TOWANDA.  OK, that said…

I will tell you that from the first day we signed her up for camp, you have made our family feel like family.  She has always been very attached to us, doesn’t really love to have sleepovers out of our house, prefers playdates at our house, and in the past has had some transition issues with new things.  You made the transition to camp absolutely seamless.  Of course she was nervous when she got on the bus, but she was so prepared with all of the information and hand holding that you provided, she got on the bus with a big hug, wave and a smile.

Of course we were nervous those first few days.  And then we got the first letter…  “I am having SUCH a good time.  My bed is so pretty!  I’m friends with everyone in my bunk.  ”  Next (our favorite) was a fill in the blank…  Biggest surprise so far – “I don’t miss anyone and I do not want to go home”.  What I like most about camp – “Everything”.  What I like least about camp – “Nothing”!!!

They only got better and better from there.  And then we saw her on Visiting Day, and she exuded confidence and happiness that I had never seen in her before, as well as a new level of independence that she could not have achieved at home.  Plus, the campers and counselors in her bunk were all AMAZING.  What an incredible group of down-to-earth girls and counselors and CITs who were absolutely wonderful with them.

What is so amazing about Towanda, is that it truly balances it all.  The need for kids to develop friendships on their own, develop independence, learn new skills in sports, arts, and more, to feel comfortable enough to just be kids and be themselves, and just have FUN – and that balance is SO hard to find.  There is a depth and richness in your program that I don’t think exists anywhere else.  Because it works for the athlete, the non-athlete, the outgoing child, the more reserved child, it is a remarkable formula.

When I look at her smile beaming in all the pictures, it’s more than just happiness, she looks so RELAXED.  So comfortable, and with the pressures of school, and activities, and social things, and all the other “stuff” kids have to deal with throughout the year, I can see on her face that she truly got a needed break from it all.  I can see on her face that Towanda will be for her what it was for me – a special home away from home that she will always treasure.

I spent 9 wonderful summers at Towanda and all I can say is that you have honored the traditions and history of Camp Towanda and then made it even better.  I am so happy for my daughter (and soon my son in 2014) that they will have this experience.

And I am so happy for us, as parents, that we can give our children the gift of Camp Towanda.  Twenty three years since my CIT summer, my favorite childhood memories are from Camp Towanda and my camp friends are still my closest of friends.  We really do share something that no one else can understand.  And nothing makes me happier than knowing that my children will have their friends and these amazing memories that will last a lifetime.

So this is as long of a “thank-you” as I’m sure you wanted, but to say that the summer exceeded our expectations would be an understatement.  We are overwhelmed.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you,


Dear Mitch & Stephanie,

Please share this with parents considering camp for next year.

If you have a parent who is questioning whether or not Camp Towanda is for their child, send them my way because I would NEVER have thought my daughters  would be able to separate and love camp the way they do!   I mean never!  They are different here at Towanda!  Confident, willing and happy to try new activities and new friends; separate from home!

Truly amazing….words cannot express our gratitude.

2 Very Happy Parents (write that instead of our names)!!

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