Month: December 2016

A Few Resolutions for a New Year

I’m a big believer that you can start something new, turn over a new leaf, or give up something every time you wake up. Each new day offers an opportunity for change or time for reflection if you take it as such.

There are a LOT of big moments at camp!

We hear a lot of about these ideas at this time of year.  It is a big moment – a new year seems more impressive than a new day or month. But, if you focus and work on getting better at something each day, every day, it will happen. As Jerry Seinfield says, just don’t break the chain.

That said, these few days are great for reflection in a larger sense. There is no homework or tests that demand your attention. Families and friends get to spend a bit more time together. It can be a relaxing time to think… if you take it.

Some Camp Resolutions

Because I’ve been on a plane a bit lately, I’ve had a few moments to review the year and think about next year. So, without further ado, here is your humble camp director’s top five resolutions for Summer ‘17:

  1. Jump off every structure (you are supposed to) at camp at least once. *I’d like to apologize in advance to our outdoor adventure and lifeguards teams for the work I’m about to give you. Think of it as good practice!
  1. Make sure the office, kitchen, maintenance, and cleaning staff members laugh each day.
  1. Play (at least!) one game of gaga every day. Jinter 5 girls… I’m
    coming for you!
  1. Create a new (and enjoyable) slushie flavor. The CITs ’16 really set a
    high bar last summer. I’m going to have to get creative here.
  1. Live each day with GAC.

Hmm…. I’m pretty happy with that list. There are some challenges, some fun things, and lots of ways to connect with our incredible community. Game on!

So, how about you? Will you take a few moments today, tomorrow, or the next day to think on the year behind and the one ahead? I hope so.

A very interesting person once said, ‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.’ Let’s strive, together, to make next year great. Think on the past year and take those lessons to live out in 2017.

Now… Go out there… and be…. AWESOME!

The Importance of Tradition

Ah, what a wonderful time of year. Kids are out of school, there is a festive feel in the air, and families and friends are gathering. It’s a time filled with tradition, much like camp.

Tradition plays an incredibly powerful role in summer camp and Weequahic is no different. Small (going to bed talking about our daily ‘happies’) and large (Tribals and Olympics), Weequahic is filled with tradition.

The traditional aspects of camp bind us together, give us a sense of personal belonging to the same ‘tribe.’ Our traditions are different than other camps and from home That is one of the reasons Weequahic feels special – we do things in our community not enjoyed anywhere else.

Traditions Change

We have been helping families build great humans since 1953. The Lustig and Seffer families built a camp deep with tradition and caring and fun. When Kate and I arrived in 2009 for our turn to carry the torch, there was so much good to enjoy.

And, there were a few things we wanted to change.

Campfire, one our most important and enduring traditions, was our first change. This change also led to my first… disagreement, let’s call it… with our beloved Camp Mom Judy.

“So, where do we hold campfire,” I asked CMJ on my first day at CW. “Behind gymnastics,” she responded.

Huh? I mean, it’s got a nice hill and good grass but… the gym?

After asking about 15 fewer questions than I should have, I bulldozed ahead and said, “Well, we are going to hold it at the lake instead.” This went over like a lead balloon with CMJ. Sure, as director, it was my right to make the change. However, I did not lay any groundwork for CMJ to see it from my point of view.

Thankfully, the kids and staffed loved the change (after about 3 weeks), and it’s become the only place we could think of holding one of our important traditions. (Yes, CMJ did come around. And, yes, I did apologize for barreling ahead.)

Traditions Feel Eternal

One of the beautiful things about traditions are that they feel old and unchanging. Because of this, you feel they have the mark of wisdom.

Does it take our beautiful setting to make it work? Does it take the 120 foot tall spruce pines or crystal clear lake? Our great field space and fun dining hall? While these aspects of camp are great, they are not the drivers of tradition.

Truly eternal traditions are those which rest upon an idea and our common belief in that idea. For us and the fantastic young men and women with whom we work, that idea is creating an amazing experience for everyone we meet through gratitude, attitude and courage.

What does this mean? It means as long as we have the right people, we can have a great camp in an open parking lot. Sure, it’s a lot easier to have an amazing experience in our incredible setting but it’s really not that necessary… but really, really nice.

Your Traditions

This time of year is rich with tradition. Some families celebrate Christmas while others celebrate Hanukkah. (Some families have created their own traditions at this time of year.) While these traditions now involve gifts and gear, when you boil them down to their essential purpose, they are both about celebrating a miracle with those who feel the same as you.

The celebration of your tradition doesn’t change whether you are looking out window at snow coming down, the palm trees flowing in the breeze, or buildings lit up with the holiday spirit. You, and those around you, connect with each other and the tradition binds you closer.

We hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to getting everyone back around Sly Lake to enjoy the traditions we’ve built together in the past and see what new ones we build for Summer ’17.

Camp Weequahic: Forever Changing, Yet Exactly the Same

Camp is one of those things that meets campers exactly where they are. It has this unique way of providing campers with exactly what they need, sometimes before the campers even know they need it. Camp has a way of being the perfect combination of excitement and relaxation and has been that way for over 70 years.


In 70 years, a lot has changed at camp, but a lot has stayed the same. Over time, camp has transformed to meet the needs of the campers who come each year. The lake has always been central to the camping experience; even before jet boats were invented. The style of bathing suits may have changed, but the memories created in the lakes stay the same. The cabins may have been without porches then, but the stories and late night conversations inside of them were as special then as they are now. The camp has seen many upgrades throughout the years, but the feeling that camp gives campers throughout the summer never changes.


If campers from last summer were to sit down with campers from 50 years ago, they would have a lot in common. They would be able to trade stories about competing in Olympics, and they would be able to bust out the lyrics to some of the camp’s most popular songs, songs that haven’t changed since day one. They would be able to reminisce about the delicious camp lunches, the campfires, and all of the different sports and activities that filled up their days at camp. Even though a lot of time has passed, campers from 50 years ago would recognize camp as a place where they felt cared about, understood and accepted. Campers from last summer would be able to talk about new facilities, updated cabins and high-tech classes and workshops, but would be familiar with the overall feeling of acceptance and encouragement that is the foundation of Camp Weequahic.


Camp must change in order to meet the needs of the incoming generations of campers. It must have a sense of flexibility and growth to cater to new campers while holding on to its foundational values and traditions that have made it the camp it is today.  Camp is constantly changing and improving, but as always, is committed to being a place of friendships, fun, and life-long learning.