Friday, May 22, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Carl Interviews Weronika

The eighteenth installment of our 17ish part series:  Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!

(I've said "ish" since the very beginning. Don't pretend you weren't warned.)

CARL "Camp's Longest Tenured Resident" CARL




(***EDITOR'S NOTE - For this one, "Me" equals "Carl." [As if you weren't way ahead of me at figuring that out because you've already seen like 20 of these and know how all this  works.])

Me: Let me first welcome you to my favorite, and greatest place here in this country. Lets start with...I am Carl. I am one of the oldest employees at camp. I worked in the kitchen on and off since my first summer in 1999. Anything interesting you want to tell about yourself? 

Weronika: Nice to meet you Carl, I am Weronika but some people call me Vicky, I come from Poland and study English philology, this is my second year and I hope to pass all my exams with flying colors! I am studying teaching specialization with American accent (we have this option to choose between British and American) so I am sure visiting the US will improve my pronunciation.  By the way phonetics and phonology is my second favorite subject, after US life and Institutions.

Me: Are you excited/nervous?

Weronika: I am super excited to come to the US! It has been my dream since I was a teenager. Literally I am counting off the days ! When I think about all of the people I will meet or about all of the places I will visit I can’t help myself but just jump like a lunatic.  It will be the greatest adventure of my life so I am also a little bit nervous but only in a positive way.

What I do apart from studying is writing articles for a website created by young people. I write about fashion, architecture & design and lifestyle generally as those are the fields of my interest. I heard there’s a museum devoted to Hemmingway’s work and It would be great to visit it as Ernest Hemmingway rocks if you ask me !

Me: I am a fan of Hemmingway also. You will fit in nicely, we all are a little crazy here in the best possible way. Have you worked in a kitchen before? What are your favorite things to make and eat?

Weronika: Yes I have worked in a kitchen before and it was fun! I guess my favorite things to make are spaghetti, all sorts of colorful sandwiches, fresh juicy cocktails and salads! I am rather a healthy eater and I eat lots of wholemeal food but I would never say no to a pizza or ice creams smile emoticon I also can make literally like 20 different dishes from chicken. Oh and pancakes- yummy! OK now i feel hungry! I definitely wait to try american cuisine- those iconic burgers since I am sure the one we have in Poland are far from what I can expect in the US. Smile Emoticon. 

(***EDITOR'S NOTE: I know for a fact this "smile emoticon" was a picture that the internet converted to text, but I liked the idea of it being typed out too much to change it...)

Me: We have spaghetti every other Thursday day. Its a camp favorite served with a little twist. Hope you don't mind getting messy! You mentioned ice cream so If you were an ice cream flavor what flavor would you be and why? Would you be plain or have toppings!

Weronika: When it comes to ice creams I guess I would be a coconut flavor - simply just it's my favorite, it's sweet but soft, not to sweet and it's of white color- white is pure. How cool is that explanation? Grin emoticon. (***Editors Note: I still love it.)

Me: As cool as a choco taco! How did you hear about camp america and our little magical place?

Weronika: I learned about CA from my friends who participated in the program a few years ago. There were also some brochures distributed at my University.

Me: We work hard in the kitchen but we get a lot of time to join in and experience camp. Past international staff tell us there is not many camps in other counties than America. What do you look forward to experience at camp? I highly recommend and encourage everything!

Weronika: Generally being in an English speaking environment and surrounding myself with native speakers would be a great experience. I cannot wait to just spend time with you all, work hard, learn new skills, learn how to make american pancakes grin emoticon maybe go fishing, I feel like doing anything on a camp would be amazing even though doing the same thing anywhere else would be trivial. I hope to have some fun with doing a role play (it is always hilarious).

Me: You will defiantly be called on for your roleplaying acting skills. Every week we have a talent show. Do you have any hidden talents you will share?

Weronika: Hidden talents? Hmm I think so, but I cannot tell you now- it would spoil the fun!

Me: Well played! We shall see then. Welcome to the family!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Julie Interviews Emma

The seventeenth(finally!) installment of our 17ish part series:  Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!


WATERFRONT COORDINATOR (Oh, yeah. We've been over that.)




(***Editor's Note: Yes, that appears to be Emma eating a scorpion of some sort. Not entirely sure why. Just go with it.)

JULIE: Where were you born? Follow up: Where do you reside now?

EMMA: I was born on the outskirts of London in a beautiful place called Kent, Born here and still live here.

JULIE: How do you spend your days?

EMMA:  I spend my days going to college which is on the famous Oxford Street in London a great location to be a student! Then I'll either go to work or do something fun with my friends such as go to a park, go for a run or walk the dog.

JULIE: What are you studying in school? And where do you work?

EMMA: I am studying Business but I am going to University next year to study Advertising very excited! I work for a retailer called Marks and Spencer's as a sales assistant.

JULIE: How did you hear about camp? Follow up: Once you heard about camp, what made you say, "yes. I want to be a part of this."?

EMMA:  I heard about camp America through my very good friend who did it last year he told me exactly what it is like and to me it sounds Brilliant! Looking forward to being outdoors a lot, meeting and spending time with the children and becoming part of the camp staff.

JULIE: What are you hoping to get out of a summer at camp?

EMMA:  I'm hoping to gain invaluable memories, laughs and learning experiences.

JULIE:What are you hoping you can bring to a summer at camp?

EMMA:  I think I can bring to camp a positive, happy, fun energy!

JULIE: If could choose a celebrity to play you in a made for tv special, who would it be?

EMMA:  I would choose difficult one but Miranda Hart don't know if you would know her but she is extremely funny and makes people smile.

JULIE: If you had your own talk show, who would be your first guest AND what would you ask them?

EMMA:  I would want Michael McIntyre and I would ask him "if he would send me a joke everyday?"

JULIE: I don't know either of the celebrities you mentioned, who are they exactly or how could you describe them?

EMMA: The celebrities are both very funny, popular comedians, very well known in England. 

JULIE: Growing up, what was something you believed that you now realize is ridiculous. For example, I used to think there were squatters living in my garage. 

EMMA:  I used to think my climbing frame outside was a spaceship, I have a big imagination!!

JULIE: I'm also not sure what a climbing frame is...perhaps our term for it is a jungle gym?

EMMA: Yes a jungle gym, haha.

JULIE: What's the best trip you've ever taken?

EMMA:  Last year I traveled Thailand for a month best experience of my life as I meet people from all over the world and I think I grew up and became a lot more independent due to this trip.

JULIE: Thailand! Sounds amazing. What's the most interesting food you ate there? Also, how do you say "hello" in Thai?

EMMA: Had some fantastic food in Thailand love trying new things I think the most interesting food I had was the whole scorpians!! Attached a photo of this. (***Editor's Note: Now I'm entirely sure why. Makes sense. And looks delicious.) "Hello" in Thai is "Sawatdee." Very difficult language.

JULIE: If you were to win the lottery, what would be the 3rd thing you'd buy?

EMMA:  An indoor swimming pool not a must have but would love one as I love to swim!

JULIE: What is your favorite leisure activity?

EMMA:  Swimming.

JULIE: If there was one thing we should know about you, what would it be?

EMMA:  I like to make the most out of everyday and fit a lot in, especially a beautiful sunny day so I will say "yes!" To every activity I can help with. 

JULIE: I'm so excited for you to be coming to camp- you have a fantastic attitude and mindset for the summer:) Your last answer in particular, about fitting lots into a day, is exactly what we do here. We make the joke that summer camp actually extends your life because your days feel longer and more full than anywhere else.

EMMA: Sounds perfect about camp getting the most out of a day, I love to be busy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Matty Interviews Lois

The sixteenth installment of our 17ish part series:  Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!

Matty Dunn
Waterfront Counselor




(***EDITOR'S NOTE: For the interview "Me" = "Matty")

Me: So Lois, seeing as you’re brand new to camp, can you tell everyone a bit about yourself?

Lois: Okay, well my names Lois, can't really shorten my name because it's short anyway but most people I know call me 'Lo' but I think that's because they are being lazy! I love most things to do with fitness and have completed half marathons and various other runs but love weight training the most! I'm a bit of a computer geek and have nearly finished my IT Business Diploma and in September I will be going to Northumbria University to study Web Design and Development. I love meeting new people and taking part in fun activities and trying activities that I haven't done before.

Me: Ahh so you'll love doing the rooster run then every morning! What made you want to take part in the crazy/amazing life that is known as camp?

Lois: I wanted to take part in camp because I enjoy making new friends and challenging myself with new experiences.

Me: Youll fit in perfectly then! What are you most looking forward to at being at camp?

Lois: I'm most looking forward to getting to know everyone at camp and enjoying the whole summer together.

Me: So here at camp, we have the world famous Viking dinner which you can eat with no hands and mostly just using your face, what would your dream Viking dinner be?

Lois: My dream Viking dinner would 100% have to be a homemade lasagne or something to do with chicken and sweet potato fries/mash, they're my favourites!

Me: I'm backing Lasagne as a viking dinner (is this possible Ben? :P ). Following Viking dinner is "freakout" (best dessert ever"), it is usually just a load of desserts in one bowl, what would you put in your freakout?

Lois: Freakout sounds like a dream! Cheese cake is my favourite desert ever so that would have to make up at least 60% of it! Then I would add mars bar ice cream, rolos, smarties, crunchie bars, Hershey, banoffee pie, the list is endless!

Me: Cheesecake would be so good in Freakout!! As I said, at camp, it’s a crazy life to lead. Whats the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Lois: This isn't the craziest thing I have done but looking back now it's funny and I looked dreadful! I done a 10 mile sponsored walk/run dressed a smurf when it was very hot, the paint looked so good at first but I got home and no one had told me how dreadful I looked! I went to get it off in the bath and the paint stained the bath for a good week or two (sorry mum)...

(***EDITOR'S NOTE: Lois's picture now makes much, much more sense...)

Me: Sounds like what you'd look like after leaving the chaos machine (reliving flashbacks of that day…). One final question, at camp, we have the four main animal groups; The Beavers, Hawks, Bears and Turtles, if you could be any animal of your choice, what would it be?

Lois: If I could be any animal I would want to be a fish, they are my favourite by far!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: T-Nivi Interviews Kuba

The fifteenth  installment of our 17ish part series:  Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!









(***Editors Note: T-Nivi was even stranger than usual in his interview, but Kuba was a tremendous sport.)

TYLER: Hey there, Kuba. I'm excited to have you on staff this summer, and I can't wait for it to start. Let's get started, shall we?

Since my last interview, as you can well imagine, I've been hounded by the media to come out with another. My inevitable Pulitzer obliges me to at least follow up with a second even better interview. Please take some time now to cry with joy due to the fact that I have chosen you to be the subject of an interview that will undoubtedly garner a Nobel Prize.

First of all, let's establish that being a man of intellect, I shall conduct this interview in accordance.

1) Write me a haiku telling me what you will be doing at camp this summer.

KUBA: I’m not very good at poetry, but I think this is the best I can do on a Tuesday morning.

Soul and purpose lie

In this window so can I

Teach the kids camp stuff

2. You're leading a hike to Tillman's Ravine hiking at a rate of 5 miles per hour, but your slowest camper is lagging behind at a rate of 3.5 miles per hour. How long until that camper is exactly 1 mile apart from you? And what are you most excited about camp this summer?

KUBA: In 40 minutes the slowest camper will be one mile behind.

Here’s proof I did the math myself-->

(***EDITOR'S NOTE: Good math that I don't understand at all. However, the Camper would really be "NOT AT ALL BEHIND" because we  don't leave campers behind on hikes ever, as we keep a comfortable pace for all...Tyler. Anyway. Continue.)

KUBA: I would say I am most excited about starting to teach the classes, and allow campers to try new things.

3) ¿Cuánto tiempo has estado viniendo al campamento?

KUBA: Since I was asked in Spanish, I will answer this question in 3 different languages.

Creo que por unos 8 años, tal vez 9.

Myślę, że za około 8 lat, może dziewięć.

I think for about 8 years, maybe 9.

4) A camper burned himself in outdoor cooking. What degree is the burn, most likely? And why did you decide to work at camp this year? 
 (***EDITOR'S NOTE - Campers literally never burn themselves in outdoor cooking. Like, never. I don't know what's wrong with T-Nivi.)

KUBA: First of all, a camper wouldn't burn himself on my watch. (***EDITOR'S NOTE - Yeah, Kuba! That's what we're talking about!) If somehow he did, I think it would be a first or second degree burn. (***EDITOR's NOTE: Once again, he really wouldn't.)

The reason why I want to work at camp this year is because ever since I was a camper I've always wanted to become a counselor, and this year I have the chance to achieve that. Also, since I volunteered at camp I wanted to do it again, but for 8 weeks instead of just one.

5) give me you're favorite camp Memory from the passed. (Fix the grammatical errors, and then respond.)

KUBA: Fixed version: Give me your favorite camp memory from the past.

I think my favorite camp memory would be the first time I caught a fish at camp. It was the first fish I ever caught in my life, and that moment made me want to come back year after year.

6) Camp is often viewed as a political mine field, likening the rivalry of the Republicans v. Democrats to Apple Crisp v. Freak Out. Pick a side in this battle of the desserts and explain.

KUBA: Freak out wins by a landslide, it’s a mixture of every dessert you love all mixed into one. Apple crisp is great and delicious, but in freak out you can get all you need in just one dessert.

7) Write out in standard C++ computer programming language a program that would ring the bell at the appropriate times. Or just tell me what your favorite classes were when you were a camper.

KUBA: I don’t know C++, but I have little knowledge in Java so I gave it a try.

Disclaimer: it probably doesn't work

public class Timer {
   public boolean isTime(int time, int bellTime) {
       if (time == bellTime) {
           return true;
       } else {
           return false;
       }//end if and else
   }//end isTime

   public void main(String args[]) {
       int time=7;
       int bellTime=7;
       if (isTime(time,bellTime)){
           for (int i=0;i<5;i++){
           }//end for
       }//end if       
   }//end main
}//end Timer

For my favorite classes though, I always really enjoyed fishing. It was so peaceful and calm, and we could just fish for hours on end.

8) In what ways is Battle for the Island like the Battle of the Alamo? Or just tell me why Battle for the Island is so popular.

KUBA: Battle of the Islands is so popular because there is nothing like it. Just like the Battle of the Alamo, it’s the most intense thing anyone can experience. With a mix of offense and defense it is a game for everyone where anything can happen at anytime.

TYLER: Thank you for your time, Kuba. Your final grade will be mailed to you.

(***EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm pretty sure for answering that nonsense so seriously and expertly Kuba definitely earned an A+/100%/Highest Available Score on Whatever Bizarre System Tyler Nivison Grades On.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Jaclyn Interviews Sara

The fourteenth  installment of our 17ish part series:  Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!

Jaclyn "Beale St. The Interviewee is Now the InterviewER Beale St." Bealer "Beale Street."
Assistant Program Director


Sara Sanchez

Creative Arts "Arts and Crafts" Coordinator

J: So, Sara - since you're a fresh face to camp (we love fresh faces) can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

S: I'm born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona! I currently work as a teacher aid in a middle school special education classroom. I'm almost done with my teaching certificate as an art teacher, so I am hoping to teach in the fall. As for cool stuff that I like to do, I like to draw and sketch in my notebook. I like to ride my bike a lot, and since Arizona is full of mountains I enjoy hiking (I have a pitbull that I take with me on most of my outdoor endeavors). I also enjoy music and going to concerts.

J: That's so great! You'll be coming all the way from Arizona? How on earth did you find our little home in the woods?

S: Well, I am practically family with Alida and Amanda Eddings, they were past counselors and gave me a lead on a really cool opportunity with you guys! So I hopped on it, and it's a perfect opportunity to get away from 120 degree heat during the summer in Phoenix.

J: Man, the camp family really is everywhere. Besides getting away from that ridiculous temperature (I genuinely can't even imagine 120 degrees. Just thinking about it makes me want to jump in the lake) what else are you looking forward to this summer?

S: I'm going to Peru at the beginning of June, so that's the first thing I'm really excited about, and I am really excited to meet new people at camp! Everybody seems so welcoming and nice, so it's getting me pumped to enjoy my summer with everyone.

J: You hike mountains in Arizona, adventure in Peru, and love art and music - I think you're definitely in the running for coolest person at camp.

S: Haha aw! I try to keep life exciting.

J: Trust me - a summer at camp is as exciting as it gets. Right, now it's time for some psychologically-revealing questions. Prepare yourself... if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be? (Sidenote: nutrition is not a factor - at all)

S: First off a really good burrito loaded with beans and rice and filled with other delicious items, hasbrowns! and a large vegan cheese pizza! (I'm vegan haha not by choice)

J: I approve of all of those selections. Vegan not by choice - you've piqued my interest (especially because I'm gluten-free not by choice and empathize with fellow "dietary restrictions")

S: I'm lactose intolerant so it limits me to a lot of delicious items. I will eat meat when I feel like it but it's usually not my top choice. Believe me I sympathize with you on the dietary restrictions!

J: *High 5 for food-limitations* Fortunately, the kitchen at camp is AMAZING and can accommodate for just about anything you can think of - we're a lucky bunch. Now that we've bonded, back to the tough questions. If you could describe yourself in 4 words, each beginning with one letter of your name, what would they be?

S: High five! So the first letter is S, so I can say smart! I try to think I have a good head on my shoulders. Next is A and I can say I'm pretty ambitious and like a challenge. For R, I am respectful, I believe treating others how you want to be treated is important. And my last letter is A, and A is for authentic. I'm pretty down to earth and genuine with everyone I meet.

J: You're good at these! Time for a classic camp question: what is your spirit animal?

S: Haha I like this question! This one made me think, so I asked my students what animal they thought and they said I'd be good rhino. And that's funny because rhinos are one of my favorite animals.

J: Haha! Why do they say rhino?

S: Cause they said I could fight when backed into a corner hahah!

J: What an answer! Watch out craft shop - Sara's coming!

S: Hahah! Nicest rhino ever.

J: Of course - rhinos are known for having a rough exterior and heart of gold. Common knowledge. Since you're going to be the Queen of the Craft Shop, what is the craftiest thing you've ever done/made?

S: One of my favorite things I have made with the kids is this classroom collaboration. The kids brought recycled items and random things that you would find in their pockets. They glued them down and added scrap pieces of wood and put them in a uniform order. The result was a replication of a Louise Nevelson piece! I've done quite a few recycled projects too that involve old water bottles. It's cool because even trash can be pretty. ***Photo is attached***

J: THIS IS SO COOL! We obviously found the right person for the job - especially since we have a brand new class all about upcycling. Okay, last question - what color crayon would you be and why? Feel free to utilize the colors from one of those jumbo Crayola boxes.

S: I know I got really excited about the upcycling class! Hmmm... I would be traditional and choose from the normal 12 pack haha. I would choose a purple crayon, purple is one of my favorite colors, and I own a lot of purple items without even consciously choosing them. Oh and purple is Prince's favorite color lol

J: HAHAHAHA! Sara, I have the feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

S: Haha yay!

J: This has been an absolute pleasure. I am so excited to meet you in real life and for you to meet the rest of our crazy camp family. See you in June!

S: lol for sure! I'm stoked to meet you and everyone else. Thanks for all the questions!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May is a Mighty Fine Month (To Plan for Summer Camp)

Yes, for those of you who enjoy your Camp weather forecast, we've got blue skies and budding trees and a balmy 83 degrees.  

(Winter, I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time. This was well worth the wait.)

A mere three weeks ago our last pile of snow sat in this very spot!

And there's nothing like summer weather to start thinking about (you guessed it) Summer Camp. (And of course, around here we think about Summer Camp in absolutely every type of weather ...but it's more fun in summer weather.)

Nature at the Nature Center.

As you can see from our "Meet the Staff" interviews, we've got a great counselor team assembled, intent on making Summer 2015 another fantastic season at Camp, creating something unique and awesome for our campers here in our little 108 acre home in the woods. We're hard at work preparing the facility, planning classes, designing programs, imagining games,  honing themes, and generally putting our energy into making Summer Camp as good as it can possibly be.

Want to help?

No problem! You can help.

It's easy. Send us a camper!

Baby leaves!

Infantile Foliage! And with that, I'm out of synonyms for leaf. Turns out I only had one.

The best thing you can ever do for Camp is to help more kids experience it. We are at the point (and it's a great point) where we are running Camp with a full staff all season long, and have every single cabin open. That means anytime there's an empty bunk, that bunk signifies a camper who could have been partaking in all the exciting and transformative things going on that Camp week, that empty bunk could be a new best-friend-for-life for the rest of the campers here. We don't want any empty bunks.

I'm betting if you're taking the time to read this, right now, on the internet, in spring time, then you don't need to be sold on the virtues of Camp. But I'm also betting that if you think about, you know some youth, 8-16, who doesn't come to Camp yet...but sure should.

If you're a current camper (or family of a current camper), by referring a brand new camper you're instantly enrolled in our Lantern Family Program, which includes an invite to our 2015 summer Lantern BBQ and discounts for the 2016 season.

But beyond that (and much more importantly), you get to help turn a "kid" into a "camper" and you get to help take care of Camp itself, because nothing ensures a secure future for L.G. Cook more than a full, hustling, bustling, no-empty-bunk-in-sight summer camp.

So! If you know anyone who is interested you can have them visit our website or call the camp office (973-948-3550) for more details or to set up a tour.

Okedokey. Spiel over. For taking the time to read it, I'll reward you with  some more free pictures of spring time.

Green at last.

That is NOT my finger blocking the lens in  the top corner of this picture, that's a spring...umm...nope. Nevermind. That's my finger. 

Getting there! Throw a little more green in the trees and a row of fishers on the shore and it almost looks like summer.

An iceless lake! A beautiful thing.

Happy May! 54 days till Monday, Session #1.