Friday, January 29, 2016

International Edition


Wait one second.

What's going on here.

Oh no.

This is not our Flag Pole!

This body of water is NOT Lake Shawanni.

These aren't our birds!

This isn't the road past the cabins!

That's not the Dining Hall!

And that's definitely not Jim!

This can only mean one thing.

I'm in London again.

Yes, it's the end of January and that means it's time for my annual trip across the Atlantic to find our next batch of international counselors with the Camp America organization. 

My friend Brian, who runs a camp in New York was with me. It doesn't matter which camp. You can't go there, you already have a camp!

Camp America gave us a nice reception, high above the skyline. Camp America is the best.

And then the main event! The Camp America recruitment fair.

Applicants were lined up around the block (and around the Abbey)...

Looking forward to come inside...

And discover which of the many camps in attendance...

Would be their future summer home.

This is our table. Oooh. This looks nice. I want to go to this camp. (Wish granted.)

All right!

No more waiting!

No more suspense!

Time to meet the brave and exciting international counselors of 2016!

Meet EE Counselor, Hannah!

Meet Hannah ridiculous-style. 

Meet Creative Arts counselor, Olivia!

Meet Olivia, ridiculous-style. 

Meet Waterfront Counselor, Ben!

Meet Ben(s) ridiculous-style. 

And meet Grace, who will be Kitchen Staff!

And of course, meet Grace ridiculous-style.

It was great to get to find, meet and hire these fantastic folks in person. We already can't wait to reunite in a few short months on this side of the pond here in Stokes Forest, for a whole summer of fun. 

Welcome to the Camp Family!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quite the Announcement

I am now handing this blog post over to our intrepid Camp Director, Jim Tavares.


Many years ago during summer camp I sat around the campfire with my fellow staff members and talked about what I would do if I owned my own camp. That was over twenty years ago, but I still talk about it from time to time. I have been here at Lindley G. Cook for 15 years. In that time, I watched a number of young people meet at camp and become great friends, and I have even seen a few of them get married! 

I have watched Ben grow from a counselor to a Program Director. I have seen campers grow and become staff. And I have seen the program grow as a result. I’ve had as much freedom to form the program as any camp owner would have had. But it isn’t the same thing.

The old 4-H camp that I was the director of before L.G.Cook in Upstate NY
closed around 2005. It was bought a few years later, and the couple that bought it put a lot of work into it, but haven’t been as successful in running the program as they had hoped to. I have maintained a relationship with them, and shared my dreams of successes for this camp with them. 

They offered me the opportunity to buy their camp. This is a once in a
lifetime opportunity that I can’t pass up. So I will be leaving
L.G.Cook and starting my own camp program. Leaving here is hard, and I
have so many fond memories, but I am excited to have the opportunity
to create a whole new program from scratch, using all of the lessons
that I have learned over the past 30 years of summer camp. It will be a new camp program with an old camp heart.

I know I am leaving the camp in good hands, and many of the senior staff and Ben are stepping up to the challenge of continuing on what we all have created. I know that they will not only keep the program going, but take it to the next level. I will still keep in touch and help out as much as I can, and will contribute to the Campfire Council. I will keep in touch with everyone, and will continue to be a part of camp…just in a different role. 

It has been an amazing journey over the past 15 years. Much of what has happened here could never of happened without the love and support of many people. I want to personally thank all of you, and hope that you will continue to be just as dedicated to Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp as you have been during my time here.

Thank you for the opportunity and the trust you have given me over the years. If you're ever up north in Lake Pleasant, NY, stop in for a cup of coffee and reminisce over the times we have shared here. I would love to show you the new (old) place.

And remember, as the camp song Linger says…”And as the years go by, I will think of you and sigh, This is goodnight and not goodbye”.

- Jim



The title of this post was not lying, that was quite the announcement. 

I can't believe I had to hear about this for the first time on the Camp Blog! (Kidding. I heard about it slightly before the Camp Blog.) 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at the Camp Office. (And I'm sure this is something we'll probably continue talking about.)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow Camp

I am now fulfilling my yearly off-season obligation of sharing what our beautiful 108 acre woods look like all covered in the season's first lovely/substantial snow.

Obligation fulfilled.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Camp Course - Disc Golf Project

Announcing our exciting facility improvement project for 2016!

The first phase of our CAMP COURSE DISC GOLF PROJECT.

Not only fun to aim at, Disc Golf targets are perfect for leaning on during the Nothing Ceremony.

This project will include the installation of permanent targets, tees, and a course design matching the existing and natural Camp terrain. 

We've got a great partner, Jay Roosa from the Skylands Flying Disc Club, who is designing the course for us. He's got a tentative blue print for our first 9 holes (and plans for the second 9 to wrap around Lake Shawanni and back toward the Dining Hall).

One of the exciting things about this design is that the first four holes tour the players through "Camp central", but after that it swings through some beautiful, and currently underutilized sections of L.G. Cook. It will be a great way to get the most out of our 108 acres, and give campers the opportunity to appreciate even more natural parts of our facility.

We are currently fundraising to make this project possible! We have already raised enough for the first few targets, and are shooting to have the majority of the first 9 holes completed for this summer. 

Tyler "T-Nivi", our Summer Camp Logistics Coordinator (real job title), and one of the Disc Golf enthusiasts behind this project is running a fundraiser for our next basket here. All donors get to suggest a nick-name for the hole on the course that will feature that basket. Visit here to make a small donatation! 

We're also looking for individual donors who might be interested in sponsoring a DiscCatcher basket on their own (and would also get to name that hole of the course).

In addition, we will be holding our Spring Opening Day on April 9th, which will be a big service day on Camp. We'll be doing a lot of work on the project on this date, so if you'd like to plan on coming and helping put the course together, that'd be great.

Disc Golf has been called "a walk in the woods with purpose", and we think it is something our campers are going to enjoy for a long time to come. 

We'll keep you updated as this project progresses, and please get in touch if you'd like to get involved and help make it a reality.

(Our official project letter is below.)