Let it Snow, Snow, Snow!

Hi All from a snowy Philadelphia! I feel like our winter office has become more like the Poconos, as we have had so much snow around here the past week! Snow, ice, and cold temperatures makes me excited for the upcoming Winter Break, when Robin, myself, and Carli are headed to ARUBA! Will you be in Aruba? Let me know so we can meet up on the beach!!

The last few weeks have been full of travel for me. For Thanksgiving, we took a quick trip to see my in-laws down in Florida. It was a short trip and Carli didn’t do so well on the airplane this time around. She has flown tons of flights before, but it used to be easy. This time the flights were full and she was quite restless! Oh well, at least it was warm down in FL. The following week, Matt Unger, Jcal, Sam, and I went to Las Vegas for a quick vacation with “the boys”. We had a great time and got to see the Criss Angel Cirque Show. It was awesome and he even did a regurgitation act, similar to what our visiting magician, Brad, has done in the past at Canadensis!

Following Vegas, Matt and I went straight to NY, where we met up with Chef David for a food conference. The name says it all- the best one of the year! We got to taste food from 19 different vendors, ranging from cookies to tuna fish (at 9AM!) and everything in between.  We took in many new ideas and even met with the Asian Company that came to camp last year and helped cook dinner the first time we did Asian Night. They have promised to return, and they have reformulated some of their products based on the feedback WE gave them! How cool is there. One new idea we learned about is a Fry Seasoning Station. It may not sound so cool right now, but I bet you will LOVE it this summer! We will be doing this as part of a New Special Night in the Dining Hall for dinner this coming summer!


These are just some of the flavorings they offer!

Chef David is doing well down in FL and enjoying some rest and relaxation before returning to camp for his THIRD season! He was just on a cruise and is headed on another one in January. He sends his best to everyone at Canadensis. He will be back up at camp in late April, to get the kitchen setup and ready to go for Summer 2014!

I know this is now old news by now, but I hope everyone who participated and purchased a Holiday Carewear Box enjoyed the gift! Pam worked really hard at setting up such a great gift, and not only was it great for everyone to receive, but it also helped raise over $2,500 for Canadensis Cares!, which is a scholarship fund to help families at Canadensis. Head on over to Pam’s blog for more info on what was inside this First Annual Mystery Box! And don’t worry if you missed out on it this year, because it will definitely return for Chanukah 2014, with new surprises for all of you.


Hopefully by now everyone has received the 2013 Summer Yearbook DVD in the mail. Special thanks to our incredible media team for an awesome production! It’s nice to be able to relive Summer 2013 by watching a DVD at home, although of course nothing is as good as being up at camp.

Coming Up

Special congratulations to former counselors Jared Sorin (my cousin) and Kayla Chambers (my soon-to-be cousin), as they will be getting married in NYC this coming weekend! Jared and Kayla met at camp during the Summer of 2010 when Kayla worked in cooking and Jared was a LAX instructor. Yet another Canadensis wedding and I am honored to be a Groomsman. Looking forward to a beautiful weekend in NYC and I hear the weather is going to warm up into the 50’s!


Following their wedding, we headed to Aruba for Christmas Week and hope to see some of you there. Please email photos from your vacation to us (info@canadensis.com), Tweet them to us @Canadensis, or post them on our FB wall so that we can see where you are! Don’t forget to pack a Canadensis shirt.

And then in early January, it’s off to Australia/New Zealand. I am going to be in Melbourne, Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Auckland, and Christchurch recruiting the best counselors for Summer 2014. If you live there…I hope to be seeing you!

I hope everyone has a great Winter Vacation and make sure to send us your photos!

18 Months…

18 Months?! What do you think that represents?

Camp is only 7 Months away…thank goodness it’s not 18 months away!

Carli has turned 18 Months Old and boy did that go quickly! From the blog, you can see some newborn photos of her…to today, an 18 month old, Happy and Healthy, Canadensis Baby, or should I say Toddler! Summer 2014 watch out. She is walking and talking up a storm. I have no doubt that she will walk across your soccer leagues, or draw a picture for you in arts and crafts if you let her.

Carli as a Bumble Bee on Halloween, with her friend Hunter. CIT’S 2014 get excited..MICKEY MOUSE!

Last night, Pam and myself got together with some other local camp directors for dinner. It was great to see them, after not seeing our friends since last spring! Everyone said they had a great summer and we went through some of the highlights at each of our camps. One of the directors is uncle to Jordan/Amanda Checkoff, new campers last summer. I had a chance to text with their mom during dinner and I am looking forward to seeing them at NAVE YOGURT in Maple Glen for Canteen on the Fly Philly Style on Sat, 11/16.

But first…it’s Long Island Canteen on the Fly! We hope to see many of you at the CARVEL in Westbury, NY (the Nathan’s Food Court building) from 2 – 3:30 this Monday, 11/11/13 . We will have camp t-shirts with us (brand new design) and of course Ice Cream to eat. So, please do stop on by and feel free to bring a friend along with you to meet all of us.

This weekend we are going to 3 birthday parties! One is Carli’s classmate in school who is turning 2, one is Robin’s childhood friend (who she used to babysit for) who has a son turning 1, and finally my nephew Ben’s 1st birthday! My niece and nephew (Ben and Emily) have come to visit camp each summer and have so much fun up there. You might remember Emily from playing soccer on the pavilion field, to baking cupcakes with Jojo in cooking? Anyway, they love camp as much as we all do and hopefully will spend more time up there this summer, now that they live in Maple Glen, right near me, Robin, and Carli.

Whatever you have planned this weekend, enjoy it! And remember Long Island…see you at Carvel on Monday, 11/11/13!!

Happy Halloween!

Hey Everybody! Happy Halloween, as I sit at my desk here in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Unfortunately, it’s a bit gloomy out, but the good news is it’s in the low 70’s. Nice and warm for everyone walking around trick or treating.

One place not so warm though is camp. I was up there last week and boy was it cold! We are currently working on tons of projects, but as always it’s a little too early to let you in on the secrets just yet. Just know that there are some pretty impressive things that are coming for next summer. Camp looks great and it’s always fun being up there.

From one extreme weather to the other, the week before, my family was down at Club Med in Florida celebrating a milestone birthday for my mom, AKA Grandma to Carli! My niece, nephew, brother, sister-in-law, Robin, myself, and Carli all spent a week enjoying the sun, swimming in the pool, and eating lots of good food. Robin loved the trapeze…I preferred a ground position taking photos! Believe it or not, that’s Robin! I wanted Carli to try it next, but she has to wait until she’s 4!

photo 4


Back in the winter office, we are planning our travels for the year. I will be headed to Australia/New Zealand and London to hire fantastic new staff and meet with our returnees. Then I am headed to France to meet up with some of our French families and introduce Canadensis to a few new families! Robin is looking forward to a quick trip to London with me and we have some cousins there I hope to meet up with too. Throw in a few trips to Florida to meet with our Chef David and see Robin’s family, along with a trip at the end of Dec. to Aruba…it’s alot of flying! Carli is an expert flyer and racking up the frequent flier miles like her daddy! Are you going to be in Aruba during the last week of Dec? Let me know, hope to see you on the beach!

Time for me to head home and trick or treat with Carli! She is going to be a bumble bee tonight, check out photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram later. And finally, don’t forget to post YOUR photos in costume by using #spookadensis. We want to see YOU in costume!

Happy Winter (up at camp at least)!

Whether we want to admit it or not, it seems like winter is officially here! I spent the day up at camp yesterday and boy was it cold. Camp was covered in snow (about 3 inches) and looked absolutely beautiful. The lake was actually frozen as well, although not solid enough to walk in (in my expert opinion). Alot of work is going on this winter and while I can’t say all of the projects, I can say that the Senior Canteen is getting quite a facelift. Well not the actual building, but the area surrounding it. Wait until you see all of the fun things that will now be available while the Seniors are enjoying candy and soda. Our maintenance team is going through each of the bunks and doing our usual routine maintenance and there are some larger scale cabin projects as well, which we will happily announce in the coming months!

Rewind a few weekends and it felt like spring at our annual Canteen on the Fly events. While it was upsetting to have to cancel our Long Island location due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (and no Sandy Rice-Fritsch, Girls Head Counselor we won’t hold this one against you!), our other locations had record turnouts. It was fun to see so many campers and their families and we appreciate all of you coming out and enjoying some ice cream. What did you think of the new locations? We loved them and hope you did too. Carli Forti was there as well and Cara took this amazing picture of her in her absolutely favorite onesie!

Speaking of Hurricane Sandy, I truly hope that all of our camp families have fully recovered from such a major storm. Our hearts go out especially to our families on Long Island where I understand the south shore was absolutely devastated. I have spoken to a few families and it’s hard for me to imagine how much damage there truly is there. If we can be of any assistance at all, please contact us in the winter office. Luckily for us in the Philly suburbs, we had minor damages and power outages which were more of an inconvenience than anything else. Robin, me, and Carli stayed in a hotel for one night near our winter office during the outage and ran into the Paul Family, an alumni of camp who is sending their son for the first summer! It was great to catch up with them there.

In terms of other things going on, all is well here in Philadelphia! Carli is now almost 7 months old, which is absolutely impossible for me to believe and I look back at pics on this blog and facebook and see how small she really was when she was born! Next summer, she will be crawling around camp and maybe walking, so watch out campers…she may join in one of your activities! Please take good care of her when you see her. These days she is loving her jumparoo, which is a contraption that she can jump in, has toys all around her, and has bungee attached so it bounces up and down with music playing. She cracks up and giggles so loudly in this thing, it’s awesome! She is excited for Chanukah (she hasn’t exactly told me, but I am guessing she is) and is going to be getting some great presents! The question is if Robin and I should buy her 8 gifts or one special gift? Thoughts? How about summer at Canadensis? Is that enough of a gift:)

I hope everyone is doing great in school and wrapping up the fall sports seasons. Winter has hit the Poconos…has it hit where you live yet?!

Beautiful weekend ahead…what are your plans?

In the winter office, we seem to have a new “tradition” where during lunch we go around the office and discuss our BIG weekend plans. Unfortunately, it’s rare that any of us have such thrilling and exciting weekend plans. But…starting in 2 weeks, Matt and I will easily answer that question with an excited response of “WE WILL BE WORKING UP AT CAMP!!”. We both move up to camp in <2 weeks and are thrilled to be back in our 5-month home (we are there from late April through late September). So, this weekend is supposed to be nice and warm…what are your weekend plans?

Tomorrow, I will be spending some time prepping the house for our new arrival next month (Baby Girl Forti) and then spend the rest of the day seeing family. On Sunday, I will be participating in the MS Walk in Freehold, NJ on a team with one of my friends. Looking forward to spending some time with her and my friends, before it’s time to pack up and head to camp. And Sunday night, I will be having dinner with Dr. Menkowitz and his wife, Sue! Dr. Menkowitz has been a camp Doctor for a bazillion years at camp and is still continuing in the tradition for the 2 weeks following visiting day. So, an exciting weekend and hopefully I will enjoy some time outdoors.

This past week, I had a belated Passover seder (more like dinner) with Robin’s side of the family and that included campers Allie and Lily Ernst! My family is a little jealous of the Ernst girls because by them being at camp, they will get to see Baby Girl Forti more than anyone else in mine or Robin’s family!! They are really excited for camp and as you can see, Lily bought a special furry, soft, and cuddly sweatshirt with a Canadensis patch on it- AWESOME! They were both down in FL spending time with their grandparents (Robin’s Aunt and Uncle) and doing trapeze and other cool activities. While they were down there, Allie got an awesome airbrushed shirt made of the Indian head, which is certainly not something that’s easy to replicate.

Here is a photo of the 4 of us:

Dinner with Allie & Lily Ernst. What do you think of Robin's belly? She looks great and feels great. Due date of May 26, still on track:)

Yesterday, Brian, Pam, and I met to work on the Programming Schedule for this coming summer. It’s a really fun few days of meetings where we design, from scratch, the Canadensis Daily Program for this coming summer. By redesigning it each year, we get to take the input we get all year long (camper surveys, Senior summits, home visits, emails, phone calls, etc.) and incorporate as much of it as possible into the schedule. I say as much as possible because sorry campers, we can’t schedule each of you for cooking EVERY DAY of the summer!

Well, time to finish up work for the day and head out to enjoy the beautiful weekend. I hope you enjoy it as well!

April Update

Hi Everyone and sorry for the prolonged absence from blogging. I know it’s been a while, but things have been busy busy in both the camp world and my personal life.

In the past few months, I traveled to Australia, had back surgery, have been up to camp numerous times, and oh yea one other thing…Robin is due in May and we are busy planning for our newest addition!

So, to start with…camp is looking amazing. I think I mentioned it before, but with the warmer than usual winter, which of course is bad for most businesses in the Poconos, we lucked out. Our maintenance team at camp has been able to accomplish so much more than usual. Numerous cabin renovations have been completed, the brand-new Fitness Center is just about completed (just need to lay the cool rubbery type floor), additional renovations to the front of the Rec Hall, fences are almost completed at the baseball fields (landscaping begins next), the tennis courts are being prepped for major upgrades, and most exciting…beginning today, the water is being turned on!

Back in the winter office, we are full steam ahead. We attended the annual camp directors conference in Atlantic City. We got new ideas for fun and exciting projects, things to buy, and bonded with other camp professionals who all feel the same passion we do towards camp. We even had a surprise visit from Becky J at the convention center. Neil and I were sitting in a workshop session and in walked in Becky J! So random, but fun and exciting of course. Becky is excited to be a GL this summer at Canadensis and we of course can’t wait to see her up at camp.

Two weeks ago, we enjoyed NEW CAMPER BOWLING, where we got to meet many of our first time campers in the JR/LI divisions. It was a fun day and all of the campers this summer seem so excited to be at camp…well of course they are! Each group seemed to hit it off really well and parents were already making plans for upcoming play dates over the next few months before camp. Actually, not really all that many months left now..Open House is less than 2 months away! Wow.

In my personal life, Robin is doing great. Baby Girl Forti (as Robin has named her) is growing well and weighs over 4 pounds now! Robin and I have been busy shopping for everything- from furniture to onesies and having a blast doing so. I haven’t sent over the onesies to be embroidered just yet with the Canadensis logo, but that’s on my list of things to do soon! Robin says hello to everyone and she can’t wait to be up at camp this summer with our daughter.

Switching gears…Happy Passover to everyone who celebrates! Pam, Dave, Robin, and I spent our 2nd day of Passover in New York City, where we saw JERSEY BOYS on Broadway! I love going to see shows and the last few years haven’t had a chance to see that many. However, in December I saw Billy Elliot which was terrific and yesterday got to see another great show! Of course, there is a camp connection (like everything in life) in that the role of Frankie Valli is currently being played by the Uncle of one of our campers! Skye Kades, a new JR girl this summer, was able to work her magic and helped us get amazing tickets to see her Uncle, Jarrod Spector, perform in the lead role. The music was terrific and Jarrod’s voice was simply amazing. An extremely talented guy! After the performance, Jarrod invited us through the stage door and up to the stage, where we saw a bit of the magic behind the scenes. It was awesome to see and Jarrod was so nice. Pam and I invited him up to camp this summer, so hopefully he will stop by and maybe he will perform in Canadensis Idol? Hey, you never know! Thanks again to the Kades Family for making it possible.

Pam, Robin, and me with Jarrod Spector, the lead actor (Frankie Valli) in Jersey Boys on Broadway!

Hopefully everyone enjoyed or is enjoying their spring break from school. I will be moving up to camp over the next several weeks (well more like commuting back and forth when needed). I look forward to seeing as many of you at Open House…and then the rest of you all on OPENING DAY 2012!!

Australia, here I come

Well, not just yet, but my big trip is about a month away! I will be heading over to Boulder, Colorado (home of the Canadensis Groundhog!) for a few days of my own CAMP, called CampMinder Camp. All of you guys get to spend your summers at camp, so why shouldn’t I get my fun time. It’s only for 2 days, but 2 is better than nothing! CampMinder is the web-based system we use for campers, staff, alumni, photos, videos, etc. It’s an amazing database and so much more and by attending this “camp” session, I will have a chance to collaborate with the owner, support people, programmers, and a hundred other camp directors who all use the same system. We will brainstorm ways to make the system more efficient and learn some of the new features that will be unveiled in the coming months. Of course while I am in Boulder, I will have a chance to catch up with Groundhog and see the town a bit, although I will be heading out pretty quickly to AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND!

I will be interviewing staff from New Zealand and Australia for about a week before returning home to PA. Looking for the best staff for Canadensis is a big job and we find it’s important to try to meet all of our staff face-to-face. Things like Skype make it easier to do remote interviews, but in person are always the best. As is with Boulder, I will have a chance to see many of our former staff members from last summer and from years ago…many years ago!

Which brings me to the reason for my blog post today. I woke up at 6AM to an email from Groundhog with just a picture attached (no message). Usually that means spam, but I opened it and found the picture below.

So, I guess this is proof that yes I was a camper/counselor back in the day at Canadensis. The kid standing behind me is none other than Joel Wiseman, who came from Australia for one summer, along with his mom who was a nurse and his older brother who worked at our lakefront for many years! A few other observations:

  • Camp still uses the same brown dining hall trays. Of course since then we have replaced them, but it’s funny that they are the same style!
  • That birthday cake looks amazing!
  • This picture was taken on our “old back deck” of the dining hall and you can see a tree in the background. That tree was taken down just last winter after getting damaged in a storm. Pretty cool that we built the deck around that tree so many years ago and then rebuilt a new deck around it again! Too bad it’s gone.
  • I am wearing a NJ Devils shirt. Anyone who knows me, knows that I really don’t follow sports, so why aren’t I wearing my favorite shirts of all- Canadensis?!
  • And the funniest, most ironic thing…is that my birthday is in SEPTEMBER, not the summertime! So, I can’t remember why there is a cake in front of me. Perhaps I just like cake and Silas remembered that back then and made one special for me? Or, maybe it was one of camper’s birthday, haha.

Anyway, just thought I would share this photo with all of you.

I also want to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! I will try to pop back on here/Facebook before the holidays, but if not, please enjoy Chanukah/Christmas and New Year Celebrations and of course the best part of this time of year, is that we enter the new year, which means we are even closer to Summer 2012!

‘Tis the season for home visits!

Hi Everyone,

It’s December which means it’s the holiday season, but it’s also the time we get busy doing home visits. At Canadensis, we continue a tradition which began decades ago in which we visit all new campers who are enrolled for the upcoming summer in their homes! These home visits give us a chance to get to know our future campers in their own environment and we prepare them for the upcoming new camper events, including bowling, etc.

So myself, Pam, and Brian have been visiting with campers throughout the months of November/December and will continue to do so all winter long. We have also been traveling to colleges and universities to find the best staff for Summer 2012 and of course the International “Where in the World” trips will begin in January.

Robin and I had a chance to also see campers Ryan & Jake Garfinkle with our now annual dinner over there! I also had dinner with camper David Brucker. Everyone is doing well and really excited for the summer!

Jake and Ryan Garfinkle

David Brucker at Benihana

Here in the winter office, Jcal came to visit! Of course he brought us snacks, including our favorite Crumbs cupcakes! We are busy filming a new episode of Canadensis Today, our annual holiday card, and a few other surprises for all of you.

Hope everyone has a great week and check back soon!

And the newest addition to the Canadensis Family is…

Baby Forti! Robin and I in May will be welcoming the newest member to the Forti Family and even more importantly the Canadensis Family!

We are unsure yet if the baby is a boy or girl, but he or she will definitely be up at camp spending the summer with all of us. And all of you are the big brothers and big sisters. Obviously, our entire family is so excited and we are beginning to prepare for the lack of sleep now (by going to sleep at 10PM!!)

Facebook went wild with the news. We posted it on Sunday night and on my personal page there were over 100 “likes” and over 50 comments, ranging from good luck to “Eric, you better wait on Robin hand and foot with whatever she needs!”. On the Canadensis Today page, tons of shout-outs from alumni, parents, and campers, so thanks to all of you who sent in your well-wishes. And, to save the best for last, don’t forget to visit the BRAND-NEW Official Facebook Page for Camp Canadensis at http://www.facebook.com/campcanadensis

Changing gears, it was great to see everyone at all of our Canteen on the Fly Events! It seems like it is now an “annual tradition” to hold these and it was such a great turnout at all of the locations. We got a chance to hear about all of the great things our campers are up to, details about Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s, take pictures, and eat ice cream!! Cara will be uploading the photos from Canteen on the Fly to Facebook in the next few days, so don’t forget to check back there often!

Speaking of Bar Mitzvah’s, Robin and I were at the nearby deli Pumpernick’s enjoying dinner and we ran into Max and Blake Rapoport’s mom, who sent me this photo from Matt Wiener’s Bar Mitzvah. Congratulations Matt!

Matt Wiener's Bar Mitzvah!

Tonight, I will be having dinner with camper David Brucker in Plymouth Meeting. It has become our annual chance to catch up from the summer and hear all about his school, activities, etc. Looking forward to catching up with him!

Camp is looking great and remember there is a BIG announcement coming real soon about something new at camp! Stay tuned…