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You may have read the blog “The Opposite of Spoiled” by Ron Leiber that appeared in the NYTimes in 2014, entitled “Finding an Overnight Camp
Leiber raises five “essential” questions that parents should ask when choosing a summer camp that is truly worth it. Here are the questions from the article and our answers. We think that they truly set us apart, above and beyond others. Read on!
1) “Where are other children going?”
As Leiber says, this is a trick question. There is a natural instinct to send your child to the same camp as his or her friends in the neighborhood. The answer should be that a worthwhile overnight camp has a diversity of geographic areas represented. Overnight camp
Here’s our demographic split: our campers are equally represented in NY, NJ, and PA. Close behind is MD and FL. There is not one city or town (not even one state!) where we draw from, and we love that about our camp families! Camp friends are sacred!
2) “What are the retention figures?”
This is one of our favorites. Once a child starts at camp there is a 90% return the next year. This continues until “graduating” as 11th graders. Our retention rates are truly amazing. The author asks if we do follow up on those few who don’t return, and of course we do. Every camper is an integral part of our camp family. Honestly, the few children who depart before their final year do so for reasons unrelated to camp, a family trip is planned, a team requires practice at home, etc.
The blog also asks the retention rate of counselors and the percentage of counselors who are former campers. Here’s an answer that you might not expect: first as to counselor retention, our standards are high. Counselors are not automatically asked to return, in fact we are very selective about who meets our standards. Also, the truth is that not every former camper makes a great counselor. The transition is not easy. Not every young adult can make the change from being the one who is looked after to the person who does the looking after. New counselors bring new ideas, new energy and a gung-ho spirit, that not every former camper possesses. Our experience and firm belief is that the best counselor team is a mix, new and old. We want the most enthusiastic, positive role models for campers, whomever they are!
3) “What can they do here that they can’t do at home?”
Here’s the beginning of a truly endless list that starts with wake-up and goes till lights-out. Rock-climbing, mountain biking, creek stomping, sailing, canoeing the rapids of the Delaware River. Travel to to play another camp in individual and team sports without having to try out for the team. Play Capture the Assagi, be on a dance team, use a potter’s wheel, join a rock band, hike the Appalachian Trail, go on an overnight, sing in the camp play, cook wood-burning pizza, participate in a bunk skit, link arms with a whole camp, sing songs around a campfire!
And by the way, we try not to do things that you do at home. We avoid amusement parks, bowling, movie theaters. It’s on purpose! You can do that at home with your parents!
4) “What makes your camp unique?”
To us, that really is the most important question. Our camp organization is 89 years old and has been in one family for 5 generations. There are thousands of camps in the USA, hundreds that are old but very few, if any, can say that. Our longevity and track record is truly unmatched. Our facilities are modern but campy. The range of activity choices, amazing. Our camp is staff second to none, filled with coaches and teachers and camp folk. The ratios of staff to campers, almost 2:1. We have a rare range of campers from all over. But it’s our 5 generations and 89-year story of success that is truly extraordinary.
5) “Can you tell me about the ties that bind.”
Here the author was really asking about the soul of a camp. He mentions his daughter, at lineup, watching two staff members honored who fell in love and became engaged at camp. He’s speaking to a sense of self, a sense of identity that links a person to his or her camp community for all of time. All you have to do is look around camp to see ties that bind: from names on courts and fields to names of current and former camp folk on plaques in the dining hall. The ties that bind are Polar Bears Club, songs, cheers, traditions of rope burn, camp fires, Old Timer’s Club, and culminating camp moments. We say it at campfires, and it’s true. Camp isn’t just a place on a map, it remains a place in each camper’s heart. It’s these lasting shared memories that link each generation to the next, and we’re lucky enough to have many camp folk span generations.
Yesterday was AWESOME! Dare we say it was the … BEST REUNION EVER? A big thank you to everyone who came out to party with us on Sunday. Campers, counselors, head staff, & more! Busses were flooded with campers from the New York area, North Jersey, and even Maryland — we were so thrilled with the turnout. Doesn’t it feel great to be back together again? Yesterday was so great, we can’t even IMAGINE how great Summer 2019 will be. We only have 229 more days to wait and see and no, it’s never to early to start counting down. We can’t wait!
Keep the summer alive, all year long!
- Keep in touch with camp friends! Call, text, email!
- Login to Mom & Dad’s parent portal and look at pictures from this past summer and the summers before!
- Come to the 2018 reunion: Sunday, November 4th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM @ The Funplex in Mt. Laurel, NJ!
- Keep up with our Upcoming Events page for events in your area!
- Wear your Lake Owego Camp shirts from this and past summers!
- Watch our Video Yearbooks!
- And don’t forget to follow us: @lakeowegocamp!
2018 Camper Reunion
Sunday, November 4th
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
@ The Funplex
Mt. Laurel, NJ
Transportation will be provided from Westchester, Livingston, and the Maryland area. Stay tuned for more information regarding transportation!
Kyle wrote this letter to future 10 year campers, who’s names will one day be engraved onto our new 10 Year Porch. He shared this letter during our Old Timer’s Ceremony that turned into Frontier Week Breakout. He then shared it at our, 1st ever, 10 Year Porch Ceremony. Following the reading of the letter, we showed a slideshow of photos from the past 10-ish years that define being an Owegan. You can view the slideshow on vimeo.com/lakeowegocamp
Dear Ten Year Porch
My name is not yet lucky enough to be up there next to the Owego legends of the past. However, my future will look something like this. I will start in Boone, and after four years in Pioneer Village, playing Canjam, Nock-Hockey, Fox and Hounds, and Air Raid, I will then make my move up to the Ridge. Three more years of living in a bunk, some easier than others, will lead to me being up on this stage telling my Old-Timers story. I will then return for my tent summer, leading Friday Night chants, Tent Time, going on the Grand Owegan, 100 Miler, and Jetboating in Montreal. I will cheer for my tent brothers during Olympics and Frontier Week, secretly or not so secretly wanting my name on the plaque. I will then come back for my 11th grade summer, go to Costa Rica, and begin my transition to following the path of many ex-campers of years past to becoming a counselor. Then, after a summer of being a counselor, my name will be cemented in Lake Owego history. I realize that my road to getting on the porch won’t be easy. Sure, most days will be filled with sun, rec swim, and chilling in a hammock, but I also realize that my friendships will be challenged, however, I am ready for that challenge.
I am also well aware, that my journey might be more similar to Bill Robinson, Tom Jacoby, Shelly Silver, Bill South, Scotty Myers, Andy Ruddick Phil Smith, and Dave Hannah, where I never spend a day as a camper here but, dedicate my summers to working at Owego.
Whatever my path is to the ten year porch, I know I will need help. Whether it’s a shoulder to lean and cry on, a hand to help me up when I fall, forgiveness for making a mistake, like throwing a rock at a toilet bowl and smashing it, in the shower house, and guidance when I am feeling homesick, please be there for me. In return, I promise to uphold the traditions of Owego, stay true to the Blue and White, and never, ever, I mean, never, ever, let this place change.
Finally, and most importantly, I will always look after the new camper. I will help to pass down the lessons I learned, and make sure they realize how special this camp is. In order to do this, I will make sure to stand a bit closer to them at a campfire, and just the mere proximity to me, they will feel the energy and passion I have for this place.
Future 10 year camper
Three Days of incredible adventure for our Tents. They have waited their whole LOC lives to embark on this trip that includes canoeing, camping, climbing and hiking. They were once three separate bunks and now they combine and bond into one, on this unique journey…”Only at Owego” Enjoy these photos as they launch off! Have fun boys, ahem…MEN!
We Cleaned up the the Pine Forest Tennis Tournament yesterday!
Taking the Championship wins were Jonah Berger in 12U Singles and Ben Kotzen in 14U Singles! Benedict Tessler and Ryan Horowitz in 12U Doubles!
Runners Up included Oliver Carotenuto and Nicholas Levin in 10U Doubles! Hunter Smolowitz and Crosby Johnson in 12U Doubles (way to go Owego in 1 & 2 spots!)! Rom Fradkin and Ryan Boswell in 14U doubles! Jose Garriga and Max Lederer in 16U Doubles!
Seriously amazing job by all players in the craaaaazy heat! WAY TO GO OWEGO!!!
Yesterday was packed with fun! We competed in our 1st inter-camp sports against NJY in
U15 basketball, soccer and ultimate frisbee, and our U13s in basketball and soccer.
Bunk Chippewa headed out on a canoe trip on the Delaware river and Bunk Clark had their overnight- we LOVE overnights!
Lake Wallenpaupack was the spot for our 1st ever Creative Arts Trip with Kurt. They drew the beautiful scenery of the lake, boats and mountains. Top Cooks headed out to Henning’s restaurant for lunch and a lesson in the workings of a real restaurant kitchen.
Freedo took some of our Juniors to Promised Land Park for a Mountain Bike trip. Every weekday we take 2 trips out to Lake Wally for Waterskiing,Tubing and Wake Boarding. Whew! that’s all in one day!
Today we said farewell to our 11th graders as they head to Costa Rica Trip for our leadership program. They will explore and enjoy for a few days and run a camp for children while they are there. Photos will be posted on our website.
More inter-camp sports today with our U11 soccer and basketball teams and the whole camp is headed to Costa’s Family Fun Park!!! Woohoo!!!
Tonight we will enjoy our 1st campfires and the Tents 2018 will reveal their Tent chant for the 1st time!!!!
We are loving every second!!!