Summer 2016… Already?

The Camp Interlaken office is definitely buzzing.  We have wrapped up Summer 2015 and are deep in the throes of Early Registration and Fall Recruitment for Summer 2016.  Our Early Registration fleeces have arrived, and camper applications are streaming in.  It’s exciting to see how many of our Camp families have already signed up for another Best Summer Ever at camp!

Amidst the buzz and hype, we are also busy setting all of our goals for 2016 – including registration goals.  I’ve been pouring over numbers from the past few years at camp; I want to make sure that we are setting realistic and attainable goals, continuing to provide opportunities for our camp family to spend their summer on Lake Finley, AND have new campers join our camp community.

Sas and CarolineSetting these goals is not just about the numbers, thankfully.  It’s also about the experiences we’re having, the memories we’re creating, and the learning, growing, playing and fun that’s happening at camp.   So, in addition to staring at excel spreadsheets and summoning my somewhat dusty math skills, I’ve also been connecting with current camp families (both parents and campers) and hearing their camp stories, what they’re excited about for Summer 2016, how they describe Camp Interlaken, and why they choose (or chose) us as their summer home.  A few of the families even said I could share their sentiments in this blog!   This week I have some amazing thoughts from some of our camp parents who have already signed their children up for camp.  Next week, I will share with you some of the excitement the campers have for Summer 2016.

Mara Gollin-Garrett, who lives in Minneapolis, MN, shared with me that “If it weren’t for Camp Interlaken, I would not have been able to connect to my ‘Jewish-ness’ the way that I have over the years.  Camp taught me so much more than I ever learned in religious school or even Hebrew school.  I always felt closer to my heritage after being in the Camp environment.  Watching my girls embrace learning about Jewish culture in an environment that champions differences and inclusiveness has been so fulfilling and I know I’m giving them a great opportunity to grow into respectful, unique individuals.”

Lauren London and her husband Zach send their kids to camp from Ann Arbor, MI.  Lauren shared, “Zach and I chose Camp Interlaken for our kids because CIL made a tremendous difference in Zach’s life.  His years as a camper and counselor there made him into the person he is today, and we wanted to recreate that rich experience for our children.  The staff at CIL is like family.  We know the kids will be at home there and supported in every way.  We simply can’t imagine a better place for them to be.”

One of our new camp parents told me that she is “excited to sign up Talia for a Jewish and kosher camp outside of Texas so she will experience cooler weather in a beautiful forest area, as well as have the opportunity to meet a broad range of teens from different states.”  Michelle Lurie, whose daughter Talia will be in 9th grade Sha’ar this summer also made sure to mention that “we like the idea of the waterfront activities, along with the wonderful selection of arts that you offer.  In particular, we know that Talia will enjoy a camp that offers a theatre component.”

Joan Kazan is local to Milwaukee, and not only has a camper at camp but is the parent of a staff member.  She shared that, “In 2010 we moved our family to Milwaukee from Cleveland, and 3 years before that, we moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland. When it came to looking for a summer camp for our youngest child Andrew, who had never been to overnight camp, we were looking for a place that could become a second home for him. After living in 3 cities in three years, we wanted Andrew to join an extended “village” of Jewish kids and staff that would nurture him and help him adjust to his new community. We were looking for a camp experience that blended the perfect amount of Jewish-themed events, celebrations and activities with secular camp programs. We were so impressed with the wide variety of activities that would be at Andrew’s fingertips, from waterskiing, to the rowdy, crazy, yet warm and wonderful Shabbat celebrations, to tennis, tushball and so much more. The perfect camp had to have a down-to-earth feel in a beautiful setting on a picture perfect lake. It was a lot to ask for but we found it all at Camp Interlaken. Andrew started in 5th grade, 3 years later, Andrew’s sister Molly invaded his camp experience by joining Camp Interlaken’s staff as a counselor/life guard/swim instructor. In 2014, after graduating from high school, Molly got off the bus along with her campers as a first year Interlaken counselor who had never set foot at Camp Interlaken. She bonded with her first year campers in this very unique way. Now both Molly and Andrew are hooked. Camp Interlaken is a huge part of both of their lives and we couldn’t be happier.”

This is definitely one of the best parts of my job!  I could talk about camp forever to anyone who will listen (or even pretend they’re listening), and so these conversations have certainly been a highlight of the past few weeks.  How fun for me that I get to continue this all year long!  I am looking forward to all the opportunities for experience-sharing, camp talk, and Summer 2016 excitement over the coming months.