Thursday, May 26, 2016


Happy SUMMER Weather, Camp Family!

To celebrate the return of wonderful, summer heat (Bealer says it's already too hot...she's very wrong...) and to wish everyone a happy and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend, we want to share some snapshots of last weeks SPRING FAMILY WEEKEND. (Very Special thanks to Don Smith for ALL of the pictures included in this post.)

We advertise this weekend as "Summer Camp For the Whole Family", and we think it ended up being exactly that.

We started with an opening campfire complete with...

Summer Staff !

Singing Campers!

Singing Summer Staff, nonetheless!

Yes, a real live campfire!

The Camp rules! Talkin' respect! Talkin' kindness!

Then talkin' more campers singing some more, no matter how tired they were...

And then we got up first thing the next morning to start singing all over again.
Enjoyed a morning flag-raising...

And followed it up with a hearty breakfast.

Provided by our summer kitchen crew, plus Heather! (Honorary Kitchen Crew.)

Then it was a day full of spring-time summer-time activities.

Activities like Shooting Sports! Fun for campers...

And parents alike.

Hosted by our good friend Keith.

And activities like fishing!

Hosted by our good friend Shaun.

Which was a lot of fun too.

Even though we didn't catch a single fish.

Just kidding, Shaun!

We caught lots...

And lots of fish!

And after we caught them, we even released them. (Mostly so we can then catch them again.)

We also had some snacks,

And enjoyed plenty of quality time cruising...

And floating...

On serene Lake Shawanni.

Most of all, it was a fantastic couple days in the woods introducing new friends (and welcoming old ones back) to what it's like to spend some time here at 4-H Camp.

And you know for sure the Camp Dog had a great time too, getting acquainted with all the new members of our Camp Family.

We hope everyone has a lovely holiday weekend, we hope you'll join us for future Family Weekends at Camp as well. 

 We'll be holding our Spring Weekend again next May, but you don't even need to wait that long! 

We'll be having a "1/2 Family Weekend" on September 17th and 18th to do some more fishing and a whole bunch of hiking, to celebrate the Centennial of the Nation Park Service with NJ 4-H. More details soon!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Meet the Staff of '16 - Volume XI - Wojtek Interviews Carl

Wojtek: Hello Carl, I'm Wojtek, please do not mistake me for Wojciech(also known as Patrick - I'm looking at you Sue!) you met last year. We're separate people and it's just a coincidence that we
share last name. Definitely! Separate people...
Let's get back to the point! Where are you from Carl and how long have you been working at the

Carl: I am originally a Sussex County local living under the beautiful high point mountain. I went to
University in Providence, Rhode Island where my camp career started way back in the summer of
1999. In 2004 I handed over the kitchen to Joan and moved to Sunshine factory of Tucson, Arizona.After about a six year hiatus I asked if it was possible to return. I was welcomed back with open arms and drive the 2500 miles every year with to make apple crisp and to cut a rug at the epic Friday night dance.

W: I have to say that your apple crisp is delicious.
(Side note: Did I just expose that this won't be my first time at Camp? Well, I guess I didn't fool
anyone. :) 2500 miles? That’s a long journey! There is nothing that tells how amazing LG Cook is more than stories like yours. You must really enjoy Camp to drive all the way from Tucson. Except for Camp Dance, what else makes you come back every year? What are you looking forward to most about this summer?

C: A lot makes me come back. The biggest is that when I leave in June it's already 110 degrees! You
can cook a egg in your car in that heat! My favorite is the staff. I always like seeing how the grow and work together as the summer
progresses, becoming a close knit family. It's great working with international staff. I am thrilled the
camp has hired more and more since I first started. I love learning and sharing each others cultures.
The campers! Especially the special diet campers. I like trying to match everything the regular campers get. Nothing better then seeing the excitement of someone that never had something before because they are allergic or a disorder. Nothing worse then not able to eat a dessert but to watch everyone else enjoy it. It's a labor of love!
The last would be the beautiful surroundings. I grew up in these woods and town. It's good to see
family and friends I would not get to see again living so far away. Some times you will see me at night weekend day just being outside and listening to the wind blow through the trees. That is what I enjoy and can't wait to get back to! Not to mention the cabin 4 or 5 talent show skits! They are amazing!

W: I couldn't agree more with you. I'm particularly happy that you mentioned internationals because
that's what I want to ask another question about. International staff I'm a part of is hired through
Camp America which is an organization focused on cultural exchange. That means we have an
additional task during the summer - sharing our culture. I know you had an opportunity to work with many people from all over the world. What do you think is the main difference between domestic and international staff?

C: In my experience the international are a little timid or shy at first(except Peter I don't think he's
ever been shy a day in his life [Editor's Note: This is confirmed]) but after the culture shock are the most eager to participate. That's why I always stress to the international kitchen staff to participate as much as possible outside the kitchen. Enjoy the beauty and fun are camp offers. Other then that international staff are usually a little more laid back, a lot more thankful, and willing to try new things.

W: Let's leave camp for a while. You are going to a Halloween party. What are you dressed up as?

C: A teddy bear! It's my spirit animal!

W: Let's go back to the mountains. Camp is going to be different compared to last year. One session
more! New themes! I'm super excited about Colour Wars. It sounds like a week-long BFI! Isn't that amazing? What are you the most excited about for Camp 2016? BONUS question: What are you the most disappointed about and why is that not having me in the kitchen this year? :D

C: I am excited for the biggest yearly change, the staff. I love sharing one of the best and rewarding
jobs and places to work. This year we have many old campers completing the circle after being
campers for so long now take their role as councilors. We have have a great group this year. Can't wait to see their transition. I never am sad or disappointed in coming back. It will be different without Jim this summer but I know Ben will/does an amazing job making sure everyone has an amazing and safe summer. [Editor's Note: Thank you, Carl. It'll be a way easier job with your help!]

W: Staff is going to be amazing. No doubts. I have only one more question for you. Let's use it to play "what if?" What classes would you choose if you were able to spend a week at the camp as a camper? Which theme would you like to experience the most?

C: I definitely would be signed up for archery. I love and want to get better shooting a bow. I also
would be on or in the lake as much as possible swimming and fishing to of my favorite things. Theme-wise I love the spy week and am excited for color wars. We haven't run that theme in a while and a lot of special things have been kicked around for it. I also like the non-theme "best of camp" we usually run at the end of camp. I know I would just get to meet as many new friends and try as many new things I would never do outside of camp! Its safe and encouraged here not only to the kids but for the staff. I was a very shy and not very confident in myself. Going to camp and sports helped but becoming a staff member here broke me out of that shell. I hope to share that experience always.
I have a few questions for you. What are you excited to see and eat since the last time you were here?

W: It's going to be amazing to see this beautiful lake again, chat with returning staff and meet new
people in the team. When it comes to food, viking dinner is something I'm super excited about. Spaghetti with meatballs followed by freakout.

C: Is there anything you didn't get to experience you are looking forward to?

W: I didn't have the pleasure to experience chaos machine, but I can't decide if I want to. Being
covered with lake mud doesn’t sound like fun but at the same time it does. :) Something I'm looking forward to the most is teaching my first class.

C: What made you switch from the kitchen staff to become a counselor? 

W: Last summer thanks to Ben and other staff members I was able to participate in many camp
activities in my free time. I quickly realized how rewarding working with kids is. That's why I did my best to come back as a counselor.

C: Summer is coming soon and I can't wait to see you, my friend! I know for sure you will do great in your new role.

W: I can't wait to see you too!

Carl + Wojtek

Together Again in Summer 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016

Meet the Staff of'16 - Volume X - Kristy Interviews Heather

Kristy: Hi! So how long have you been the camp secretary for?

Heather: This will be my eighth summer at camp, but my seventh year.

K: Were you ever a camper at camp?

H: No, unfortunately I wasn’t. I wish I was though; it looks like a lot of fun!! How long were you a camper before you applied to be a counselor?

K: Hm, this will be my seventh summer at camp! I was a camper, a CIT, then a junior counselor for two years. So what made you want to work at this particular camp?

H: Well when I interviewed, I interviewed in front of like seven people, the board of New Brunswick. I wanted to work in a place that was like family. I wanted to work somewhere where I could feel comfortable and like I was making a difference. 

K: Nice! I feel like camp is family, too. What’s your favorite thing about camp?

H: I don’t know if I have a favorite thing, but my favorite season for camp would be summer (for summer camp, obviously!) I like having the windows open, hearing campers singing songs, people running by… It makes things go a little faster, a little easier. So what made you go from volunteering to staff?

K: Hm, well I was a junior or volunteer counselor for two summers and I loved it. A week just wasn’t enough for me so I wanted to experience being a counselor for the entire summer! It was so much fun and I really wanted to be at camp for the entire summer!

H: Do you think you will have a hard time transitioning from a volunteer to an employee?

K: Well I think that it won’t be too hard. I’ve been a camper at camp, then was a counselor in training, and then a junior counselor for two summers as I said before. I didn’t think the transition was bad at all, in fact, I liked it a lot. I’m excited for this new position at camp and think I can handle the transition pretty well.

H: That’s good! It’s good to be confident in what you’ll be doing. What’s your favorite part about camp?

K: There’s so many but my absolute favorite thing is that camp is like family. When people say camp is like family, they’re not kidding! Everyone is so welcoming and inviting, no one judges you, and you can be yourself! I love that camp is like my second family.

H: Have you been to any other programs here at camp?

K: I went to leadership weekend for the first time this year! I really liked being there and glad I could make it. I got my mind back in camp mode and I got to meet some great people who will be around this summer.

H: Do you see yourself becoming a coordinator or just being a counselor and then moving on from there?

K: Well, I’m really excited to be a counselor this summer. I’m not sure if I’d want to be a coordinator though because you don’t get as close of that one on one experience with campers. I like being in the cabins and getting to know my campers! Hm, so let’s see. How about a random question… What’s your spirit animal and why?

H: I don’t know… I used to think it’s a wolf, or like a deer. I know it sounds weird, but yeah…

K: My school mascot is a stag!!

H: Yeah well they can take care of themselves but they also have that nurturing side where they can take care of others too. Deer are just running roads!!

K: Haha nice! What are you looking forward to most this summer?

H: Seeing a lot of returning staff. A lot of them keep coming back. The kitchen staff have come back year after year, even years before me! It’s nice to see everyone coming back, their families, and new faces who will be coming to camp and working here!

K: Uhmm so.. any other questions for me?

H: What’s your favorite theme for this year?

K: Well I’m most excited for chaos week because I’ve never been to a chaos themed week yet! (Can you believe it??) But out of the weeks I have been to, I’m looking forward to smorgasbord the most. My last year volunteering (two years ago) was this week and I really enjoyed it. It brought camp all together and was really fun to do “campy” activities. I’ve never done the wish boats before but it looks really pretty and I’m pumped.

H: What’s your favorite class?

K: Well, out of what I’ve taken so far, it would have to be outdoor cooking. I mean, you get to eat! What’s better than that?

H: Are you bummed that it’s not offered this year?

K: Wait, what??

H: Yeah, it’s not it’s own class this year, but don't worry! It’ll be incorporated elsewhere, like our brand-new "Trail Guide" Class.

K: Oh, cool. Well, I guess you learn something new everyday.

H: What’s your favorite class that you’ll be teaching?

K: I’m really excited to teach repurposed art. I think it’s so cool that you can turn junk or what others might throw away and turn it into something cool that you can show off.

H: Nice! Well, every year that you were here, I was in the background doing something. I’m the boring side of camp.

K: (side note) I don’t think she’s boring and we definitely need her! She’s, in fact, very important at camp!! (*Editor's Note: Thanks, Kristy! We all agree!)
Well I look forward to seeing you at camp this summer!

H: It’s only two-ish months away! Can’t wait to meet everyone too!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Meet the Staff of '16 - Volume IX - Aaron Interviews Nurse Tosti

(*Photo from deep in the Camp Archives, of course.)

(*Photo from very shallow in the Camp Archives. Of course.)

Aaron: Why don't you start by telling us the role you have at the 4H camp in controlling some of the chaos?

Lauren: Surprisingly enough, for as much chaos that goes on at camp, my job is not all that chaotic. I can contribute that to all the other staff members. Although I don't have a course area officially, I think I have the best job at camp because I have help from every other person on camp. Everyone is a part of my course area! It's all the great staff members that make my job so un-chaotic.

A: I have rightfully trusted you with my life (health) in summers past, why should the campers? (answer at own risk:) )

L: Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think one of the unique aspects I bring to the camp is not only do I have years of experience working as the health director, but I experienced all the other stages of camp. I was a camper, a CIT, a volunteer, a counselor at the waterfront, and now the health director. I see and understand camp from a variety of angles and that is why it is so natural for me to react to any type of situation.

A: What in the world keeps you coming back?

L: Everyone is family whether you knew them from years past or are meeting them for the first time. This place attracts a certain kind of soul, so even if the faces are different from one camp season to the next, the feeling is the same. I love that about camp! You have been coming to camp for years too! What about you? What keep you coming back?

A: Imagine a world where after you work (mostly) hard throughout the school year, and then when the Summer rolls around, you get to go swim in a lake, eat camp food, and make nearly infinite new friends...and get paid to do it. Besides that, I had been a camper at LG Cook for about ten years and my biggest regret throughout that experience has been missing out last year -- somehow I ended up working behind a cash register at a super market, something I never want to do again in the summer.
Do you have a favorite memory of all time from camp?

L: Oh gosh! I have so many favorite memories. I think one of my favorites though is a really small piece in the camp storybook that no one may remember, but it's one of my favorites. I think it was outdoor BBQ night and a cabin had brought bubbles. That night the lake was so calm that the bubbles were gently floating on top of the water. Soon other cabin began sitting on the side of the lake and we all just watched the bubbles floating on the water... in complete awe and silence. It was a magical moment. What's your favorite moment?

A: In extreme contrast, my favorite memory was not a beautiful quiet moment, rather a moment of absolute chaos. As a camper I LIVED for capture the flag, and when a series of flag throws from teammate to teammate ended in me running a big flag out of a different teams zone, no one could wipe the grin off of my face. I can only hope I am anywhere near as fast as I was back in the day. :)If I were a camper, and I wanted to win over your friendship, what would I have to do?

L: That's a simple task! I like when anyone says hi to me in the infirmary when they are passing by to go to class or something. Just a wave or a quick hello makes my day. Also, who doesn't love a friendship bracelet...just sayin' :)

A: As a note, I reallllllly hope I cannot see my arms under bracelets by the end of the summer. Anyways, who is the single most interesting/amazing/notable person you have ever met, and why?

L: I've never really met anyone famous, but the most amazing/interesting person to me was my grandpa. He was so good at telling stories and he knew anything there was to know about the outdoors!

A: You are stuck on a deserted island and are forced to survive for a week, what three items do you bring?

L: Hmm, OK I'm pretending that I already have what I need to survive and then maybe I happen to have a little extra packing room in my survival bag for some entertaining things...I would bring a yoga mat because I love to do yoga every day. I even do yoga when I am at camp and campers can join too it's called Golden Eagle Yoga and it is one of the morning activities you can pick! I would also bring my dog for some company and he is just oh so cute! And my last item would be some sort of music player because I love a good dance party! What would your three things be?

A: As someone who spends a lot of time in the woods leading trips, I am very tempted to say water purification kit, sleeping bag, and fire starting supplies, however, under the same guidelines as you, I would bring a set of drumsticks to make music on everything, a frisbee because that is the only sport(?) I have skills in, and a portable stove, because food and eating are superrrr important. What is your favorite camp food?!

L: I love when there is granola and those yummy strawberries at the breakfast bar! I will load those on over some yogurt and I know its going to be a good day! Do you have a favorite camp food?

A: Freakout.

(***Editor's Note: Freakout. The definitive, one-word dessert based answer to end ANY interview with. FREAKOUT, indeed.)