March Madness!

Hello Canadensis!

When I go to the camp website, it tells me that there are more than 100 days days until camp!  Still in triple digits, I know, but the month of March for us here in the Winter Office can definitely be described as March Madness for a number of reasons.  First off, we are really in the heart of our staff recruitment season, getting the chance to go out on the road to meet so many people that are interested in working at the best camp on the planet!  A few weeks ago, Cara and I headed to the Midwest for a week’s worth of recruiting in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  While there, we met somewhere between 80 and 100 applicants.  In addition to getting to meet all of these new candidates, we got to see some of our amazing former and current staff members.  While on the road, we saw Paige Rottschafer, Chris Lotz, Tim Kilcoyne, Ben Krogmeier, Emily Doher, Chelsea Culter and Ricky Hohn in Michigan.  We then saw Mike Millinger, Mike Morrisette, Laura Bryan, Briana Stewart, Dan Ricken and Andi Riemersma in Ohio.  We also had dinner with Middle Camp Girls Head Counselor Sandy Fritsch and family (including camper Noah Fritsch) in Pittsburgh.  Here are some pics from our trip…

Chippewas in the House! Current and former staff members from Central Michigan joined Cara and I for dinner. From left to right (top row): me, Chelsea Culter, Ben Krogmeier, Chris Lotz, Paige Rottschafer and Emily Doher. In front are Tim Kilcoyne and Cara.

Me and Cara with Mike Morrisette and Mike Millinger out to dinner on the Bowling Green State University campus.

In addition to our trip, Pam went to Arizona and England to interview counselors.  She was also in France to meet some prospective international camp families.  Eric hopped on a plane to Australia for a counselor search, too.  It is definitely safe to say that we travel to the four corners of the map for some of the best counselors around!  Of course, there are many returning counselors in the mix all ready and set to return for Summer 2013!  On top of that, be sure to check out Cara’s blog for profiles on our amazing crop of CITs for this year!

After meeting so many people and knowing which staff as of now are returning, we are in the process of putting the whole staff “puzzle” together.  It’s a long, but very enjoyable process as we know a great counselor can make such an impact in the summer for our campers.

The madness continued in the best possible way a few weeks ago, when Summer 2013 unofficially started with our annual Leadership Weekend held in Plymouth Meeting, PA.  This is where all of our head staff, including Head Counselors, Programming and others, join for two days to talk all things camp, from the daily schedule to special activities to brainstorming different ideas, including events like trips, evening activities and Color War!  As usual, the weekend was a complete success, a whole lot of fun and really got us all excited for the upcoming summer.

Also to get you excited for the upcoming summer if you haven’t seen it yet is the NEW VIRTUAL TOUR online, which can be found directly on our updated homepage which now will work on tablet and phone devices.  Go to www.canadensis.com and check it out!  It will definitely make you think summer is just around the corner as you move from each 360-degree photo of camp.

Our new homepage now features an online tour with 360-degree photos of many of camp's facilities. The Virtual Tour can be found right under the "12" picture. Check it out!

Of course, there is the actual March Madness, otherwise known as the NCAA college basketball tournament, which also happens to be one of my favorite events of the year.  When the bracket gets announced, we will e-mail our camp families and staff, letting them know how to enter their picks for this year’s competition.  Who will win this year and what strategy will they use?  Maybe we should get some insight from former winner, Cara Corradetti?  Hey Cara, “How did you win this thing a few years ago?!”

For our camp families, March Madness might mean starting to think about preparations for camp!  For our new families, have you scheduled an appointment with The Camp Spot to get your Canadensis clothes?  Also, all families should check their account on our website as many new camper forms have been put up there for you to complete.  With all of this, give our winter office a call if you are having any difficulty logging in.

As is usually the case this time of year, so many home visits to tell you about.  So, here we go!

In Syosset, NY, I got to hang out with Ashley Shogan and Jesse “Shogee” Shogan.  For Ashley, this is her five year honor jacket summer as she will be joining us as an Upper Senior Girl while she welcomes Jesse to camp for his first summer as part of our Upper Junior Boys division.  Currently in 3rd grade, Jesse spends most of his year playing left wing and center on his traveling ice hockey team, the Long Island Gulls.  He also plays in a basketball league in the winter and a baseball league in the summer.  Jesse is a huge WWE fan and has been reading the WWE Encyclopedia.  On top of that, he plays bass in the school orchestra, likes to read and his favorite subject is math.  This summer, he is very excited for hockey, hondas and the rock wall.  Ashley, now in 8th grade, takes a hip hop dance class with an upcoming recital in the Spring and she also enjoys softball and basketball.  Recently, she had a get-together, an annual thing, for the girls in her bunk, last year’s Girls Bunk 16.  She always loves seeing camp friends and wanted to send a secret message to her camp sisters, saying, “I’m wide awake!”  Here is a picture…

Me with Upper Senior Girl Ashley Shogan and Upper Junior Boy Jesse "Shogee" Shogan.

In Cherry Hill, it was great seeing the Herskowitz Family, who will now have three campers at Canadensis…Alexa (9th grade; Super Senior Girl; 7th summer), Jake (5th grade; Upper Inter Boy; 4th summer) and Justin (2nd grade; Lower Junior Boy; 1st summer).  Now in high school, Alexa is busy with soccer, squash and track school teams at Penn Charter and has also had a few camp get-togethers throughout the year.  She wanted to also give a shout out to the Girls of Bunk 20 from Summer 2012 as well as Dani Corradetti, Alex Feigin and Jessie Thick.  When she gets to camp (which she told me she never stops thinking about), Alexa can’t wait for her overnight, the college tour and just being a Super Senior!  Jake has been busy with a number of sports as well.  He plays linebacker for the Cherry Hill Knights in the fall, plays on the Phantoms Roller Hockey team in the winter and will be playing lacrosse in the Spring.  He also has had a few sleepovers with camp friends this year.  Jake wanted to say hello to his camp friends of Boys Bunk 10 from Summer 2012.  This year, he is excited for the CHL, the Summit, the new water slides, tennis, cooking and fishing.  Both Alexa and Jake are excited that their youngest brother Justin will be joining the fun, too.  Justin plays goalie on his ice hockey team, the Voorhees Gladiators.  He also plays roller hockey for the Phantoms.  On top of that, he plays football in the fall, baseball and basketball.  When he comes to Canadensis, he is ready to play in the CHL, go fishing, the ATVs, Color War, tennis and cooking.  Here is a pic…

Me with the Herskowitz Gang (from Left to Right): Upper Inter Boy Jake Herskowitz, Lower Junior Boy Justin Herskowitz and Super Senior Girl Alexa Herskowitz.

In Short Hills, NJ, I spent some time with Justin Green and Samara Green.  Justin returns to camp for his 3rd summer as part of our Lower Inter Boys division while Samara will be at camp for her first year in our Lower Junior Girls group.  In 4th grade, Justin is very busy with his traveling soccer team, the Millburn Blast, where he plays both left midfield and defense.  He also works out with his trainer during the week.  He loves hanging out with friends, watching movies and playing video games.  He wanted to give a shout out to Boys Bunk 5 from Summer 2012 and had a secret message for them as he told me to mention “Joey the Kangaroo” in my blog.  Justin is looking forward to hondas and Color War this summer.  As for Samara, currently in the 2nd grade, she is taking a hip hop dance class and will be having a recital in the Spring.  She is also in the mouse chorus for an upcoming performance of “Cinderella.”  Samara takes a fashion class where she has made all kinds of projects from pajamas to shirts to bags.  She loves art!  When she gets to Canadensis, Samara is ready to try gymnastics, cooking, fabric arts, jewelry, cheerleading, pottery and yoga.  Both Justin and Samara told me about their recent amazing trip to Turks and Caicos and all about their wonderful two dogs, Rafa and Roger.  Here is a photo…

Me with Lower Inter Boy Justin Green and Lower Junior Girl Samara Green (and family dog, Roger).

In Tenafly, NJ, I got to chill with Max Selver, who is currently in the 3rd grade and will be in our Upper Junior Boys division for his first summer.  Max spends a good part of his year playing defense for his travel ice hockey team, the EFC Eagles.  Max also plays tennis, likes to bike ride and loves to ski in the winter.  He just recently went on a ski trip in Utah.  Recently, he took up taking the piano and takes lessons.  Max filled me in that he loves to read fiction and sci-fi books and recommends any book in the “39 clues” series, “Chomp,” and “Wonder.”  Max also let me know that he just finished up a very cool lesson on the solar system in his school and did a report on the planet Mars.  In Summer 2013, Max is really looking forward to making a whole new bunch of friends, trying new activities like waterskiing, playing in the CHL, woodworking, archery, rocketry, canoeing and Color War.  Here is a picture…

Me with Upper Junior Boy Max Selver.

In Merrick, NY, I got to see Julie Pulewitz, who will be back for her second summer in the Lower Inter Girls division.  Now in 4th grade, Julie plays defense for her soccer team, the Dynamite.  She also just finished up her second back-to-back season of being undefeated in her North Merrick-North Bellmore basketball league.  Julie also let me know that she recently won an award for the Reflections Program in Literature for her school.  Julie wrote an essay in which she had to describe the “Magic of a Moment,” in which she chose to write about a event that happened during Hurricane Sandy.  She also presented the essay at her school.  Julie has had a few sleepovers with camp friends this year, one in which she told me she stayed up until 4:30 am!  She also wanted to say hello to the Girls of Bunk 5 from Summer 2012.  This year, she is excited for activities such as swim team, glass fusion and woodworking.  Here is a photo…

Me with Lower Inter Girl Julie Pulewitz.

In Bellmore, NY, I got to see first time camper Alyssa Feig, who is in the 2nd grade and will be in our Lower Junior Girls division.  Alyssa spends a lot of her time rehearsing and performing in a number of different musicals.  She has been in plays such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Schoolhouse Rock.”  In the Spring, she will trying out for “Once on this Island.”  Alyssa also takes a dance class and will be performing at a recital in the Spring.  She also loves art, making string bracelets, painting nails and braiding hair.  Her favorite TV Show is “Shake It Up” and she is even entering a dance competition for that show where the winner gets to be on the program.  This Summer when she comes to camp, Alyssa is ready for all of the great programs in the Art Center, the camp musicals and making a whole new bunch of friends.  Here is a picture…

Me with Lower Junior Girl Alyssa Feig.

In Merrick, NY, I saw Brett Wolin, who is currently in the 4th grade and will be in our Lower Inter Boys division for his first summer at Canadensis.   Brett plays on both a basketball and flag football team.  He likes to play X-Box and games on his computer, too.  Brett told me that he is a big fan of the New York Giants and New York Yankees.  He let me know all about a recent trip to Aruba in which he got to go snorkeling.  Brett also likes to play with the family dog, Jake.  When he gets to camp in June, he is ready to try all of the activities on the lake, basketball, gaga, woodworking and going on his division’s camping trip and making S’mores.  Here is a pic…

Me with Lower Inter Boy Brett Wolin.

In Yorktown Heights, NY, I met up with Jayme “Jamz” Lerman and her family.  Jayme is currently in the playoff season on her basketball team and also keeping up with her tennis lessons.  She has met up with her camp friends a few times since camp ended and can’t wait to get back to the 18325 to hang with them for another great summer, which will be her sixth summer as part of the Upper Senior Girls division.  Jayme and I spent a lot of time reminiscing and telling great stories from all of her summers at Canadensis.  Coming up, she will be going on a vacation to Puerto Rico.  Here is a picture…

Me with Upper Senior Girl Jayme "Jamz" Lerman.

As always, we love getting pictures from our camp families, letting us know what is going on with them throughout the Fall, Winter and Spring months as well as hearing about any bunk reunions or camp get-togethers.  In this blog, there are a few to share with you.

In February, Andrew Wagner celebrated his 11th birthday up at the Great Wolf Lodge near camp.  For the occasion, several of his bunkmates joined in on the fun for a weekend of water slides, mini golf and good food.  Here is a photo that was sent to us…

Happy Birthday Andrew! 2013 Upper Inters (from left to right): Eli Levi, Andrew Wagner, Reid Wollock and Max Wittenberg take a break from the water slides at Great Wolf Lodge.

In Syosset, NY, Devin Lefkowitz invited some camp friends to his house for a sleepover.  I was fortunate enough to even stop by and see all those in attendance.  While there, the boys played outside, played video games and ping pong.  A few hours later, they went out bowling and apparently ate an abundance of food.  Here are some pictures…

Me with 2013 Lower Inter Boys (from Left to Right): Devin Lefkowitz, Joey Feldman, Drew Talarico, Idan Jaffe, Ozzie Pearlman, Avery Gilady and Sam Kanterman.

The boys having a good time!

I got a photo sent to me, informing me of a great sleepover for the Girls of Bunk 9 from Summer 2012 that was held at Stella Scheier’s house.  I didn’t get many details, but from the look of this picture, the girls were stylin’ and profilin’…

The Girls of Bunk 9 from Summer 2012 had a sleepover. From left to right: Madison Wolfgang, Sage Snyder, Elizabeth Wachtel, Lexi Hunn, Stella Giobbio, Stella Scheier, Molly Phillips, Lily Ernst and Jenna Nurick.

While on vacation in West Palm Beach, FL, campers Haley Greenspan and Marshall Greenspan ran into former hockey counselor and group leader Andrew “Geo” Giannone.  Marshall happened to be wearing his Canadensis T-Shirt and was spotted by Geo, who said, “I used to work there!”  Small world.  Here is a photo that was sent to us…

Upper Inter Girl Haley Greenspan and Lower Inter Boy Marshall Greenspan were spotted by former Canadensis staff member Andrew "Geo" Giannone, who now works as a manager at one of the resorts down there.

Finally, we hope to see many of you this weekend at our Long Island Canteen on the Fly, which had been rescheduled from the Fall.  Here are the details…

Well, that’s all of the blogging for now.  Next week, our winter team will be in Atlantic City, NJ for the Annual American Camp Association Tri-State Camping Conference.  There, we always come away with good things that we incorporate into our summer.  We’ll post some pics on our next blogs.

Have a great day!

-Brian