Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Welcoming Wednesday (Part Two)

Here we are with our second post for Welcoming Wednesday!

The next staff I would like to introduce (or re-introduce) is Judi Zollweg! Judi will be returning for another season with us and will our Camp Clerk.  Last summer she was a jack of all trades and the camp would not have run without her. We are hoping her organizational skills will help us to get our camp store off the ground! When she isn't at camp she is a teacher at the Frankfort-Schuyler School. She has been a part of the camp for many years and we appreciate all the hard work she does for camp! Judi is also a member of the campfire council.

The next staff member is also a reintroduction- Kathleen (KAT) Walsh! This summer she will be running our wood working program and trying to keep out of trouble. In the off season she has helped with many projects and has volunteered for the Manor House Restoration, building screens for the Rec Hall, and fixing stuff around camp.

She attended camp many years ago, and has always been a strong advocate for  campers and staff alike. Last summer she ran the arts and crafts program and helped us to create a wood working class for campers. We are looking forward to another summer with Kat! And like Judi, Kat is on the campfire council and is volunteering for the summer!
Please join me in welcoming (or in this case re-welcoming ) these two staff members!!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Welcoming Wednesday! (Part 1)

Do you know what day it is? It's Welcome Wednesday- What is that you ask? Each Wednesday we will introduce a few of our summer staff to everyone.

This week I have the pleasure of introducing one new and one returning staff members.

Courtney Gleichauf will be returning as a counselor for another year. always one to help the campers, she helped us raise money this winter by jumping into the lake for the Freezin for a Reason fundraiser.

Here is what Courtney has to say about herself.

I have recently graduated from Greece Arcadia High School and plan to attend Keuka College, majoring in biomedical sciences, in the fall.

In my spare time I enjoy to play lacrosse with my friends and family as well as coach for my local K-2 boys lacrosse team. I also play tennis whenever I can, sports are my hobby!

I have taken 6 years of American Sign Language, making me fluent in the language. Alongside that I intend to minor in ASL studies in Keuka.

Can’t wait to see and meet new people at camp this summer!

Another one of our female counselors, Madisyn (Maddy) Zimmer , is new to camp and will be joining us this summer.

Here is Maddy's bio.

My name is Madisyn Zimmer, but most people just call me Maddy. I am currently studying to major in outdoor recreation. This will hopefully put me on the path to even more careers in a camp setting like Camp Sacandaga. I am very excited to be working at camp for the first time this summer. I am excited to be able to give kids an awesome camp experience and to work with my fellow counselors.

I am so excited to have them on staff this summer!!! Please join me in welcoming these folks to our staff team! And join us next Wednesday for more staff introductions!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Not your typical weekend

I had it all planned out for the weekend. I had an Air BNB rental arriving on Friday, I was going to give a camp tour Saturday morning, and I was going to drive to Watkins Glen, NY to be a part of the Carnival at Hidden Valley 4-H Camp.

I got my start in camping at Hidden Valley many years ago, and I wanted to give back to a place that means a lot to me and created some of the founding principles of the program I run now. I was suppose to be a celebrity chef and cook chili, and I had everything here to cook it up and bring it for the event.

And then the storm blew through camp.

We lost power late Friday. I reached out to the Berrios family who were driving up from the Bronx to let them know about the storm. At that time the estimates for the power to come back on seemed really good, so I wasn't concerned. Mr. Berrios' response? "Sounds exciting. Were still about an hour away. Thank you for letting us know. See you soon."

When they arrived it was very dark, but I had set out battery lamps and gave them a tour of the Annex. Since they arrived after 10 pm, they pretty much settled in for the night. It's a good thing that the Annex has propane heaters that don't need electricity to run. 

I went to bed with every expectation that the power would be back on in the morning...I was wrong.

When I woke up, the power was still out, so I got out the coleman stove and got the coffee going. I also heated up water for hot cocoa. Berrios were up, I cooked bacon and pancakes (with everyone's help!) We then took a walk around camp and I gave the family a tour. I kept trying to check the weather and look for updates as to when the power would return. 

 As I saw posts on facebook and got more information, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go to the carnival at Hidden Valley. The family on camp took precedent, and I couldn't see leaving them here without power. Also when power is restored, I have to go around camp to make sure everything comes back on and that there are no issues.

The family decided to take a trip to look around at the mountains and do a few other things. I worked fixing the tin on the roof of one of the cabins that got bent in the wind. When the family got back, they played catch and relaxed in the sun.

half way through the day, cell service went out. Apparently the cell tower had a battery back up- but it doesn't last that long. But it wasn't an issue. We survived without our phones, and I got a chance to relax without looking at my phone every 5 minutes to see if there was a power update.

That evening we had a great meal of steaks and chili (yup, I made chili on the coleman stove, since I had the ingredients ). And I got the campfire set up for Stories and Smores. We even had Jiffy Pop popcorn!

It was a wonderful way to spend the night. There is nothing like telling stories around the fire! Even the children had a story or two to share! I want to thank Judi and Chris Jakubowski for being here and helping with the food and the campfire. 

I especially want to thank the Berrios family for being such troopers! Most families would have gone home after the first night. But their sense of adventure and awesome outlook made it a great weekend. They are a great family and are raising two amazing children.
I know that they came as Air BnB guests, but they are now a part of the Camp Sacandaga family. I hope they get the chance to come up again. And we may even see the the young ones here during the summer camp program!

I can't wait to see them up north again. And I hope there is power the next time they visit. 

But even if there isn't power when they visit, we still will have a great time!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

First Campfire of the Season

A young Ben and his cow
Last Night we had an awesome meeting planning a new and exciting event this spring. But that is not what this blog is about! It's about what happened AFTER that meeting.

Since I left Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp I've kept in touch with the new Director there, Ben Clawson. I've known Ben for a long time, ever since he was a young counselor reading stories to campers in cabin 7. (long story about Ben being in the wrong place for the right reasons....)

He was a counselor, a volunteer, a drama staff, and even was the assistant director. Eventually I hired him on as the Program Director, and over the years we have worked together to make the camp there a great place to be.

Much of what has happened at his camp is because of all the struggles and work we put into the place. Ben now has a great place, a wonderful wife and little boy, and a cool dog named Woodrow. We have been wanting to get together to catch up in person, but this time of year is difficult for camp directors. And with his new family, we never seem to be able to find the time.

So I sent him out a message asking what he was doing last night. And as luck would have it, and with the stars aligning, we decided to have a skype campfire to catch up.

I built the first fire of the season, set up the call and we talked. And we talked...and we talked The skype call was for over an hour, and then we chatted on the phone for probably another hour, reminiscing about old staff members, sharing ideas for programs and just catching up. And of course I threw in some sagely old director advice from time to time.

I get a kick out of some of the things he is dealing with. Maybe it's karma, or maybe it's just the good old fashion passing of the torch, but he has to deal with many of the things I had to deal with back in the day. And he is handling it well. I feel a sense of pride with where he is taking the camp, and how well the program is going.

But the conversation isnt a one way street. Ben has been a sounding board for many of the issues I deal with here. And he is always quick to support my new camp program (even though he thinks that I am a little crazy for doing it). I appreciate all the help he gives and all the advice he shares.

Camp, no matter what camp you go to, is all about relationships. Even the staff build great friendships. I am still friends with many folks from when I was a counselor back from the days I worked at Hidden Valley 4-H Camp. As a matter of fact, I am going there this weekend to help with a fundraising event. Those friendships that campers and staff make can last a lifetime! That is why I started this camp, and that is why I work hard to make sure all children (and staff) have a place where this can happen.

Ben and I decided that we will do the skype campfire more often. And who knows, we may even meet up in the fall after the dust settles from the summer. Camp friends are friends for life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Slice and a Story

How the humming bird created the night sky.
This year I was invited to the Slice and Story program at the Edinburg Common School in Edinburg NY. They provide pizza for the children and have adults read stories. I was one of the guests last year, and I really had a great time.

This year they asked me to be the first reader in the cafeteria before the children would be divided up to go to some of the classrooms. What a great honor!

But what to read? I could have read the Lorax by Dr. Seuss, or We're Going on a Bear Hunt by  Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. I could share one of the many stories from the American Indian Myths and Legends. Not sure what to do,  I reached out to the Summer Camp Professionals Facebook group (what a great resource!). They had so may great suggestions. The stories they gave me were amazing!

I finally settled on a selections of stories and drove down to the school for the program. I was greeted by Andrea Fort, one of my old summer staff campers and staff member, and a current member of our campfire council. We had a chance to catch up, and she informed me that the group was a little younger than I originally anticipated. Most of the students were 2nd graders and under, with a few 4th graders thrown into the mix.

 I decided to read "How the Hummingbird Created the Night Sky". I started out reading the script, but as the children got into the story, I started to embellish and have some fun with it. I do love telling a good story.

We had some time at the end of the presentation (about five minutes), so I decided to kick it up a notch with a rendition of "Going on a Lion Hunt!" For those of you new to camp, when I was a young director I started "Going on a Lion Hunt" as part of the campfire or during rainy days as a way to entertain the children (and staff). It became a camp favorite. Even my Mom wants a copy of it to watch!

Unfortunately, when I moved down south and tried to do the lion hunt, it wasn't well received and I stopped doing it. It was replaced by the song "Princess Pat", which became one of the favorite songs at LG Cook 4-H Camp.

When I returned to NY and Camp Sacandaga, it was quickly revived (the alumni wouldn't let me get away without doing it at least once), and now I bring it out once in awhile.

What is the Lion Hunt? To make a long story short, it's a trek to take a picture of a lion. Unfortunately my mother in-law is in tow (I'm not even married!). It has tall trees, crazy squirrels, bats and all kinds of adventures that are acted out as we look for the lion. I wont spoil the ending, so you have to visit to see it.

Anyway, I decided to perform the lion hunt with the children. I always smile at how the children react, but I find it even funnier when I see the adults reacting. (Especially to the mother in-law parts).

As things tend to go when I start telling a story, instead of a five minute lion hunt we went 15 minutes. And the kids were definitely wound up afterwards. I probably should apologize to the other readers who had to deal with kool-aid filled, riled up little lion hunters.

It was so much fun!. And it has sparked an idea for late May and early June. I will be doing free campfire story programs during the week for local families. Watch our facebook pages for details! Maybe I will throw a lion hunt in there a few times.

Thank you Edinburg Common School for the opportunity to participate in such a great program.

Below is a snippet from the lion hunt. We are still at home getting coffee to wake up before we go out.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Camp Sacandaga Might Save Your Child’s Mental Health

How your child spends their summer may be vital for their mental health.

A study by The Washington Times reveals that heavy cell phone use can be a catalyst of mental
illness, social disorders, and cancer. The proposed remedy: A 28 day rehabilitation where the young actually sit in front of each other in an attempt to speak face to face.

Luckily, Camp Sacandaga provides a traditional camp experience in which campers are required to “unplug”, forgoing all technological uses for the duration of their stay.

Campers will spend their free time enjoying technology-free activities such as:

Perform in skits and talent shows
Participate in all camp games
Swim in the pool
Sharing stories around the campfire

The culture of camp Sacandaga is designed to create a fun environment where your child can hone their social skills and make life long friendships. With the vast majority  of children engaging in heavy use of cell phones and other technologies, genuine social interactions are becoming scarce.

Camp Sacandaga’s traditional camp experience will provide your child with not only a fun, memorable summer, but also become a major stepping stone in your child’s journey to independence and self discovery.

Have your child join us this summer!

Friday, March 16, 2018

It was a bad day...

We all have them. Bad days. Times when things don't go right. And then we have even worst days. Yesterday was that day for me.  (Sorry if I go off of the normal camp script...sometimes I talk about personal stuff)

The last few month have been kind of rough. I could talk about my mom being in the hospital. She is out now, and my sisters and I are working so hard to make sure she is comfortable and cared for. She is getting better, but it's a long road.

But we all are getting older. (my family and I) And getting older is not all it's cracked up to be. As Mr. Bossard told me last week..." Well, your at that age when you go to more funerals than weddings" . Seeing your family members getting older isn't easy.

Then of course I could talk about my car. When I traveled the 3 1/2 hours (one way) to see my mom in the hospital, my car decided to remind me that it had over 185K miles on it, and it was on it's last legs. On the way home from my last visit with my mom, the transmission decided that it needed a union coffee break at the intersection, of course right in front of a State Trooper. ( the trooper was cool about it...he just waved me on as I limped along with my 4-ways on). Fortunately through sheer luck and tenacity I was able to limp it to the service station, and finally get it back home. I know that it is now parked forever.

Did I mention that just two weeks ago the brakes on the truck blew out. I'm glad we had that one day that was in the 50's, because I was able to crawl under and replaced the line. What I saw while I was under there? Well, it wasn't pretty. But that truck is what we use to call  a "winter beater" or a "farm truck". I never expected it to be anything else than a truck to move stuff around camp and to get lumber from Stevenson's Lumber, which is less than a mile from camp.  It isn't what you would call reliable transportation.

I could talk about the stresses of trying to get a small camp off the ground. There are bills to pay, the lease to worry about, staff to hire and campers to get, and that is a major undertaking. And if I could just get people to understand that I am better at working with young people rather than I am at writing with good grammar, well that would help. But it all is a lot of stuff...

But I have become accustom to juggling lots of stuff. That's what camp directors do. We juggle and wade through the chaos...never letting it show that it bothers us.Because we can. Because we have to. Because we love what we do, and what we do is important to the children that we work with.

And then...

Last week my oldest dog Shadow, who has been ill and dealing with getting old, stopped eating. She had a injury on one of her back feet early January that didn't seem to want to heal. I did everything, and finally it seemed to get better, Then, and I don't know  how, she got a sore on the other back foot, that also did not want to heal. It made it hard for her to walk. Then both feet started hurting her.  I started to have to carry her in and out of the house

She had been having issues before this, but it was compounded by the injuries. Her eyes were having issues, and I could tell she was having a hard time seeing. Her health was declining,and she slept most of the time. I was in constant contact with a friend of mine who is a vet, and we both knew that it was close to her time.

Shadow and I have been together since the fall of 2005. My older dog Samantha needed a friend, and we found Shadow at a rescue shelter. I will go more into Shadow's story in another blog, but needless to say she was an awesome camp dog.

puppy shadow- fall of 2005
Yesterday, my companion, my friend, my dog passed away. I was here for her in her final moments. And I hope I helped her to make that transition. I don't know.

I know that it was her time. And I know that she wasn't well. A friend tried to console me by saying "She is in a better place..."

Well, I disagree. There is no better place than sitting in the sun in the summer at camp, under the spruce tree while a camper is petting you and a bunch of kids are laughing and playing . This was the best place for her.

Sorry, I have tears in my eyes as I type this. She was there for me in the best of time, and the hard times. She loved being outside at camp, and hanging out on the porch.

I miss her already.

But I have to think about my Mom, the girls (Gwen and Gabby), camp, my car and all the other stuff. And I have to keep juggling. 

So, yes. It was a bad day.... Tomorrow may may get better, but for now I need a moment from juggling...

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

An Unplugged Camp

During the cold months I often take the time to research different things. I find new staff training activities to help build my team. I create lesson plans for new classes at camp. And I look over articles of things that impact the children I work with.

One thing I have noticed in researching different ideas is that cell phones are having a major impact on the kids of today. In a recent article at the website The Conversation , the author "found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors."

All sign point to the amount of time the youth are spending on their phones. 

The author also "found that teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide."

Wow. Since around 2000 I have been working hard to keep cell phones out of camp. Many people thought I was crazy, but I knew that if we could just get the campers away from their phones for just one week, they would start to have those meaningful interactions they need!

For a long time I struggled with the policy. Parents wanted immediate contact with their kids. Campers wanted to text their friends about what was happening to them. And I wasn't sure if I was just being an old man about it.

Then one day, while conducting interviews at my last camp for a program director, one of the candidates had the opportunity to chat with a group of girls from a teen cabin. The candidate asked what the campers what they thought about the policy...(I think the candidate didn't like the policy and was trying to get feedback to support that position). I though "Oh no! here we go. They are going to blast the cell phone policy!"

What happened next surprised me....

The teen girls said they LIKE the policy! Sure, it was hard to give it up for a week, but they actually liked to be away from their phones for a week.


I was caught so off guard!

So we started to ask why. Here are some of the reasons that I gleaned from that conversation.

  1. They had a break from their parents. Yes, even campers need some time to gain their independence and just be a kid. Having their parents constantly asking , "where are you?" and "what are you doing?" often would interrupt what they were doing at the time. They liked the feeling of freedom.
  2. They talked face to face rather than texting each other. If you have been anyplace where a group of teens gather, they tend to be glued to their screens and text each other, even if they are sitting next to each other! But the teens said they like sitting, and talking, and interacting. Without being distracted with the phones.
  3. They were force to deal with each other. On their phones, they could text behind each other's backs. The teens liked it that they felt everything was "out in the open". It's hard to be a bully when you have to be face to face.
  4. It was like a vacation from their phone. Yes, they missed being connected, but there is something about being in the woods and out of contact for awhile.
Now this doesn't mean that at the end of that same week those campers rushed to their parents to get their phones to dive right back in.... But for a brief moment- a brief window of time, they had a chance to just be a camper.

That same year I took it a step farther and had the staff store their phones outside of their cabins in a spot on camp. I set up a charging station, and a place to secure their phones. I was finding that instead of talking with the campers, they would be on their phones in the cabins.  It was sending a mixed message to the campers ,and it wasn't helping them to be good counselors for the campers.

It's a hard stance to take, but I really feel that we provide kids (both campers and staff), with an oasis. A brief time away from the constant buzz of the world. A chance to be face to face with each other, and to gain those social skills they sorely need. The staff have been telling me that it's hard, but it helps them to focus on camp rather than whats happening in their friends twitter feed. The biggest problem they have is getting their parents and friends to understand that they don't have their phones on during the day!

When someone tells me that the kids of today aren't the same as we were back in the day, I disagree... I see kids being kids when freed from the tech.  I watch them sit in a cabin making friendship bracelets and braiding each others hair while talking about pop stars. I see campers making up a game in the rec field, and getting covered in dirt, sweat and grime. I see campers holding out their hands and helping other campers. I see children giving a hug to their friends when they are homesick. I see all of this because , in part, we get them off those phones.

So I guess I will continue to be a grumpy old man and not allow cell phones on camp.

 The complaints of a few are drown out by the laughter of campers.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

6 Reasons Why Camp Counselors are the Future Leaders of America

According to a Huffington Post  news article called Camp Counselor as Modern-Day Superhero, a former camp counselor, now turned writer said "While my life as a camper shaped me, it was being a camp counselor that defined me. This was my first significant leadership role."

Traditional camps that provide an experience based around fun are hard to come by these days, especially ones that offer leadership responsibilities and freedom to their camp counselors.

Camp Sacandaga is true to its roots and provides the educational setting for counselors to learn and grow to become the future leaders of America.

There are three key principles that are strongly drilled into both campers and staff alike: kindness, respect, and responsibility. With these core philosophies, it provides the proper instruction to become respectable, productive leaders in life.

On top of providing a traditional, fun camp experience, Camp Sacandaga provides counselors with the proper training to excel in the summer sessions, as well as skills they can apply to their future endeavors. Here are six examples why camp counselors will be the future leaders of America:

      Responsibility. Counselors are responsible for the campers assigned to their respective cabin. Therefore, they must learn to care for and lead these campers throughout their time at camp.
      Leadership. By being in charge of a cabin of campers, counselors must lead by example. This trait wraps tightly with responsibilities, since leaders have a lot of duties to their work and their peers.
      Freedom. Being away at camp for about a month during the summer comes with the freedom to be on their own. This proves they are mature enough to take care of themselves on their own and manage themselves.
      Time Management. As counselors, they have the duty of making sure their campers are on time for camp activities and meals. Leaders must know deadlines and important dates, and only by setting aside time will the task be complete.
      Scheduling. In a traditional camp, campers are given various activities to partake in. Counselors must learn to schedule and plan accordingly.
      Appreciation. Counselors working at the camp for the summer are in it for many reasons, but it is always important to appreciate the work that is done and strive for growth.

Camp Sacandaga is a true traditional camp that provides an amazing experience for both campers and counselors. Not only is it for wholesome fun, but it can provide useful insights towards shaping a future leader.  

Article written by Stephanie Son.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Moose Mug

So as I am busy at work advertising  and finding wonderful folks to work here this summer, I often need a little boost to get me going. Of course, the boost I am talking about is coffee!  I've got  french press, a coffee maker that grinds the beans before it brews, a espresso maker and a Keurig. I use the Keurig the most with one of those reusable filters and my own coffee.
As you may have guessed...I LOVE Coffee!!!

The mug I use changes from day to day, but on rare occasions in the winter, and almost every day in the summer, I use one mug...

THE Moose Mug.
I know I was given the moose mug by staff at LG Cook 4-H camp, but for the life of me I can't remember why. It isn't the first time I got one from staff.  I've had other mugs like the Tigger mug that I use to use  at the camp way back when it was owned by 4-H . I actually got that one from the staff of an outdoor education center, Horizons for Youth, which is no longer around. I used that mug for years before the moose.

But the moose mug has seem to stay around the longest, and is one that always seems to spark conversation with parent at check in day. It is a "vintage" mug that was made by Birchstone Studios out of Maine. You can't get them anymore.

How do I know that? 
The first moose mug...
One day, way back when I was working at LG Cook, I came back from a weekend and some very worried staff came to me with a small plastic container with shards of ceramics in it.... apparently a "chipmunk" had knocked it off the fireplace in the dining hall. When I investigated further I noticed that one of the Dining Hall lights was knocked askew and a few other things were broken or out of place. I am assuming that someone was kicking around a soccer ball inside and well, that was the end of the mug. I never found out the truth, but staff were really broken up about it. I never knew staff were as attached to the mug as I was. I knew staff like to joke around about it, and would sometimes hide it or hold it for ransom, but it always found it's way home. It was weird, but I actually felt something was missing.
Amanda's home made Moose Mug
I guess I was moping around because Amanda Eddings, one of our amazing arts and crafts staff , took time from her busy schedule and made me a "temporary" mug.
I was so moved by the gesture. I couldn't drink out of it, ( the inside glaze wasn't the kind you are suppose to have in order for it to be safe to drink out of) but it was special all the same. 

They were able to get a replacement for it, but years later the mug got broken again. I think it got dropped, but I wasn't too concerned about it. I could just go online and get another one. Until I tried to replace it. Apparently it is a "vintage"mug that isn't made anymore. Eventually after a long internet search we were able to find a replacement. I've tried to find other ones, but have never been able to find the large one like the one I have now.

This isn't the only mug I have gotten from the staff at LG Cook. I got a huge rattlesnake mug the year I was catching rattlesnakes around camp (LG Cook)...there was a drought that year, and they would come down to the lake for water). I would get a radio call, get my bucket and a stick, and would gather up the snakes and take them out back into the woods. Staff thought I was crazy (which I probably was), but I felt good about letting them go where they would be safe and sound.
I use the moose mug now at camp almost exclusively, although I sometime have a different mug each day just to throw staff off. At the end of last summer I was given a camping mug by staff here at Camp Sacandaga. It may not be a moose mug, but it holds just as much meaning an sentiment as all the other mugs do, if not more. You see, the staff last summer was our first full hired staff, and they did such an amazing job setting the foundation for staff to come. I will always remember and cherish the mug, just like I will always cherish those few.

 I am getting ready to hire staff for next summer. We will have twice as many counselors, and we hope many more campers. Watch for future posts about staff and camp.

I hope you are staying warm with thoughts of summer camp. If not...Have a cup of coffee! It tastes like summer!

Mug Hall of Fame.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Wow, It's been awhile since I was able to post in the blog. Between keeping the camp clear from snow, recruiting campers and all the local committee meetings, I've had a hard time keeping up with things.

The main thing I have been working on is getting children to come to camp. Heads in Beds!  It's how I spend a majority of my time.

You see, without campers, our camp can not survive. And this is the year where we need even more campers just to make ends meet. We need that base of campers in order to ensure that the camp will be here in the years to come.

I have reached out to folks to help get the word out about camp. ROOST and the Adirondack Experience has been re-posting many of our facebook posts. The Adirondacks Speculator Region Chamber of Commerce also has been working hard to make sure people see what we post. We have been sending out camp photos with quotes and have been trying many different things just to get people to know we are here.

I have people offering many suggestions to help. And we appreciate every bit of advice and support. Some ask for flyers to post around. Some want brochures to put at locations around camp. Others want more pictures and quotes sent out. We will be doing all those things.

But we also did some research. We knew that the American Camp Association has done studies that state that over 80% of camp families learn about the camp through word of mouth. When we looked at our campers from last year , we found that 86% of the new campers heard about camp from a family friend or relative!

We need to get out there and talk up camp!

The only way we will get those "Heads in Beds" are if folks like you get out there and let people know that camp is here, it's a great program and that their kids will have an experience that can change their lives. Many of you know how camp has impacted your lives. Its now your turn to pass that torch and let people know about camp.

We already have a HERD program for our families. If they recommend one new camper, and the new camper registers, we give recommending family $50 off their next registration, and $50 for each additional recommendation. The new family just needs to let us know they were recommended by a camp family by answering the "How did you learn about Camp" question when they register. If a camp family recommends 5 campers- they get a whole week for free!!!

We have been working on an additional program, and Alumni HERD, where alumni could recommend children and get $50 donated to a campership fund, with 5 referals getting a full campership given in the name of the alumni who helped to recruit the campers. Or we may offer a weekend rental of the Annex ( It is still a work in progress, and we will roll it out soon. I would appreciate any input you have.

So how can you help? 

  1. Sharing is Caring! When you see something posted, you can re-post it. Sometimes things in the facebook group won't share- not to worry! I re-post most things on the business page ( You can share them from there!
  2. Want more of the memes? (the cool camp photos with quotes on them). We have them hidden on our camp webpage at Got ideas for more pictures or got really cool quotes? send them our way.
  3. If you want flyers, I can send you out what I can get. Brochures are a little more expensive, so I try to not send them out as much, and we haven't seen a major return on that expense.
  4. Keep talking with friends and families!.  Share stories of your experiences, talk it up and let people know how much it impacted your lives.
  5. If you know of people or organizations that would like to donate to help children come to camp...let me know. I can go out and chat with them.
 Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, and for supporting camp!

 And now some gratuitous pictures of camp in the snow...