As a Camp Director there are few greater joys than seeing one of your former campers living their dream. Last night, Scott, Deena and I had the pleasure of witnessing one of those moments.
Twelve long years ago Scott Brody, Owner & Director of our overnight camp in NH, began working on a passion project. The goal was to help create and pass federal legislation that would allow summer camps access to FBI fingerprint background checks when vetting possible volunteers and employees. Criminal background checks are an essential part of a multifaceted screening process that includes personal interviews, reference checks, past employment checks and education verification. Comprehensive criminal background checks can deter those who intend to harm children from even applying for staff and volunteer positions in youth-serving organizations.
Last week the K&E Office made an eventful trip to Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning we were honored to have coffee with New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a friend of the summer camp industry. During our time together Scott discussed with her the importance of her helping to maintain the J-1 Visa program. For more than 50 years the J-1 has enabled students from around the world to work at sleepaway camps like ours, and is something this Presidential Administration intends to eliminate. As Legislative Chair of the American Camp Association Scott has worked extremely hard on lobbying our nation's leaders to maintain this cultural exchange program that has benefited generations of campers and counselors.
Our annual Senior Camper Winter Weekend just ended and it could not have been a better event. About 80 of our teen campers, counselors and leadership team spent the weekend hanging out together at our sleepaway camp in New Hampshire, and from start-to-finish it was all about fun times and good friends. We played in the snow and on the ice, ate delicious meals together, and just loved being with people who mean so much to us all. But we have a sneaking suspicion that the X factor in why this was such an extraordinary time was that we asked all of our teens to turn their iphones off and give themselves the gift of a weekend cell phone holiday.
So what did our campers do on this second day of our Senior Camper Winter Weekend?
- Woke up to a gorgeous NH winter morning!
- Had an delicious gourmet breakfast
- Went skating and walking around our beautiful lake
- Played a game called "Broomball"
- Tried ice fishing for the first time
- Went sledding all over our campus
- Hung out in an igloo big enough to hold 6 people
- Ate a whole lot of bbq chicken pizza
- Had a fabulous game of football with our counselors in the snow
- Worked on all sorts of art projects
- Played heads up, ping pong, cards, foosball, chess, and backgammon
- Paused to enjoy an incredible winter sunset over our lake
- Sat with our camp friends and talked the way only lifelong friends can with each other
- Laughed and giggled a whole lot
- Had a Mexican fiesta for dinner
- Celebrated 5 of our friends' birthdays
- Had a sing-a-long with Scott as he played guitar
- Road around in under the night sky in a horse drawn sleigh
- Watched an incredible fireworks display
And maybe most important of all...
Went more than 24 hours without even touching our cell phones and pretty much had the best time possible!
It's the start of our 17th annual, totally amazing Senior Camper Winter Weekend at our summer camp In NH!
At 11am this morning the journey began, and it always feels to me like a trip on the Hogwarts express (minus the owls and chocolate frogs). About 50 Kenwood and Evergreen campers and counselors and I boarded a private Amtrak train car at New York's Penn Station and headed north. Every year on this trip I love watching how it literally takes seconds for our kids and staff to get back into "camp mode". Campers and counselors were hugging and laughing and kind to each other, and it felt like Kenwood and Evergreen even though we were standing in the middle of an NYC train station.
Our annual Super Bowl Bingo Cards for our camp friends around the world are here and ready for you to download, print and play! This year we've made 18 unique cards to help you enjoy Sunday even more. As you watch the big game mark off each square when you see something happen that corresponds with your card. Get five in a row and you win! If you use them and like them please let us know.
Topics: super bowl bingo
"Our community is about the people and the times we spend together. We could have Camp in a parking lot if we needed to!" I think I first heard our camp's Owner/Director Scott Brody proudly make that claim almost 20 years ago, and it feels as true today as it did then. Just this past weekend almost 200 of our campers and counselors got together for a party in Stamford, CT and within minutes it felt like we were back at Camp...minus the beautiful weather and bucolic campus. I always find it incredible at an event like one of our reunions to stand back and watch how excited and happy everyone is to see each other. There's so much hugging and jumping up and down. And as we've written about in recent blogs, even when our leadership team is in other countries to interview potential new staff members former counselors take time out of their busy lives to see their Camp friends and help our community pick the best new recruits. The friendships formed at our sleepaway camp in NH are deep, meaningful and truly last a lifetime!
This weekend we hosted our biggest camper reunion of the entire year! Almost 200 campers, and a whole lot of counselors and parents gathered at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT for an evening of hanging out with camp friends. It's so incredible to watch how excited everyone is to see each other after months apart, and how quickly they jump back into the closeness of their camp friendships.