4th of July

Happy 4th of July! I hope you’re all enjoying your holiday as much as we are here at Island Lake. Our campers have really gotten into the patriotic holiday spirit as they are all decked out in their red, white, and blue clothing and accessories. They look amazing! You’ll have the opportunity to see for yourselves in today’s daily photos, as well as below in this blog.

To add to all the glory that this holiday brings, the weather today was absolutely beautiful! We had mostly sunny skies with temps up to the mid 70’s.   Tonight we will be in the upper 60’s to low 70’s for our fireworks extravaganza. We make the 4th of July very special for our campers and staff here at Island Lake. I’ll list for you all that this day entails. Let’s start from the beginning,…

At breakfast this morning we started our 4th of July with Mike Stoltz’s annual speech about how the U.S. beat the Brits to become our own nation but we are now all very good friends. Our British staff stood at the front of the dining room to sing their national anthem. The rest of us then sang the Star Spangled Banner followed by the chant, “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”   For those of you not familiar with who Mike Stoltz is, he’s my dad. Although now retired, he and my mom, Bev, founded Island Lake back in 1986 and are now regular visitors here at camp every summer. (An extra little history lesson for ya!)

Next highlight of the day- MUSIC LUNCH! I played the part of “DJ Wendy” as I spun tunes in the dining room,…ok, truth be told I just hit the play button for each song on my ipod. In any case, the kids had an amazing time singing and dancing to the pop music. Everyone joined in on the fun and didn’t want to leave for their next activity. You can view photos of our music lunch here in this blog. There will be lots of additional Music Lunch pictures in our daily summer photos today, as well.

Next highlight- COOKOUT for dinner tonight! Burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, watermelon, cupcakes, and more were devoured at dinner. Our campers enjoy dining outdoors for our cookouts.

Next highlight- CANTEEN will follow rest hour and then as the sun sets, we’ll put on a ROCK CONCERT on girls campus for all of our campers and counselors to enjoy. We’ll also send off some SKY LANTERNS into the air, which always makes the campers “Oooooohh” and “Aaaaaaahh”.

Next highlight- our huge FIREWORK extravaganza! We pride ourselves in having a fantastic firework show. Our neighbors on the lake even come outdoors to enjoy watching because it’s so entertaining. Our campers all sit together on the hill to enjoy this traditional Island Lake event. We’re looking forward to another great show.

Today’s feature,…patriotic campers at MUSIC LUNCH! Our 8th & 9th grade boys tennis team went out of camp for a match today. Sports don’t stop for the holidays!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful 4th of July. As a reminder, tomorrow is our Lazy Day trip to Dorney Park. For that reason, there will not be a blog posted here. Until the following day when we resume our regular camp schedule, ILC U THERE!

Monday, July 3rd

Am I getting too repetitive if I say that today was another beautiful day in Starrucca, PA? We woke up to temps in the low to mid 60’s but we quickly hit the low 70’s by late morning.  This afternoon was a blistering high of mid 70’s with lots of sunshine. It’s incredible what a temperature difference we have up here versus where you live, huh? I hear it’s a lot hotter south of us here in the Pocono Mountains.

Today was another busy day with sports. This morning our 8th & 9th grade girls went out of camp for big volleyball tournament at another Wayne County camp. Several camps attended so the entire tournament took place in one day by process of elimination. Our 6th & 7th grade girls went out of camp to play in a softball game this morning. Our 8th & 9th grade boys and 10th & 11th grade boys had tennis tournaments at another camp, as well.

Buzz around camp is excitement for tomorrow’s 4th of July festivities as well as our big Lazy Day trip to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom on Wednesday. We know how to celebrate the holidays BIG here at ILC so we’re sure to blow everyone away throughout the 4th of July day. I’m going to keep you in suspense and tell you all about the day tomorrow.

Wednesday morning our campers will hop on coach buses and head to Allentown, PA for a fun day at Dorney. They’ll make amazing summer memories on the roller coasters, thrill rides, kids rides, and huge waterpark. We will have breakfast at camp, feed the kids lunch sandwiches on the way, and then all meet up for a picnic dinner. I won’t have the opportunity to blog that day but I’ll definitely post lots of photos the following day.

Have I made you all jealous yet? Perhaps some of you are reminiscent of your summer camp experiences while others are living vicariously through your children. Don’t worry, Visiting Day will be here before we know it on July 15th. You can be a kid for the day here at camp then.

Today at Island Lake we created a new international holiday. It’s “International Emma Fruhling Piggyback Ride Day”! Emma has grown up with us here at camp since she was a little girl in the youngest bunk. Now she is a counselor in G2, almost the youngest bunk. Our head counselor, Dustin, decided to hand out coupons for kids to trade and then hand in to Emma in order to get a piggyback ride from her. The two of them have been having prank wars since she was about 8 years old, so now it’s her turn to get Dustin back. In the meantime, guess who may have a few sore muscles tomorrow!?!?!

Tonight’s evening activity is ILC IDOL! Once again this summer we will have our own version of American Idol here at camp. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get Katy Perry to come and judge the final rounds! Just kiddin’! We have the preliminary rounds tonight. Our campers will be broken up into their groups to audition amongst them. These auditions will determine who will move ahead to perform for the entire camp in the finale round.

Our special feature today is SKATEPARK! I apologize for some of the blurry images and undisclosed faces but it’s challenging to capture the kids moving in action.  Enjoy these photos and until tomorrow, America’s birthday, ILCUTHERE!

Sunday, July 2nd

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Starrucca, PA! We woke up to sunshine after having yet another thunderstorm last night. This morning the temps were in the low to mid 60’s and slowly warmed up to a perfect upper 70’s. Another great day of weather to play camp in.

Speaking of playing, we had lots of intercamp games here at ILC this afternoon. Our 4th & 5th grade girls played basketball (awww, how cute!) and they won!!! Our 6th & 7th grade boys also played a basketball game here at home. They played amazingly well and also won by a landslide. Now I’m saving the best for last. Our 8th & 9th grade girls played a soccer game(or as our European staff would call it, a “football match”). Not only did they win, but they shut out the other camp 18-0!!!! We are all soooo proud of our Island Lakers today.

I ran an activity this morning with the arts & crafts department called “Chalkin’ & Walkin’ with Wendy”. The kids and I had so much fun drawing all over the new path that leads up to the dining room. You’ll see a few pictures below of our master creation.

My conversation with a 10-year old first time camper today.

Me: Hey “Johnny”! (name changed so as to not embarrass anyone)

He then shows me pictures on his camera of lizards he caught up at pioneering during the activity period that had just ended.

Me: What do you think of camp so far?

Camper: I like it! I like it A LOT!

Me: Do you like your bunk

Camper: I love them!

Me: Do you like your counselors?

Camper: I love them!

Me: Do you like your activities

Camper: I love them!

He then proceeded to ask me to ride in the first row with him on one of the biggest roller coaster at Dorney Park on Wednesday, Steel Force. But wait, not just once, but he asked me to ride it with him THREE TIMES in the front row! I told him we’d try to coordinate 1 time! Gotta love children and summer camp!

Tonight’s evening activity is our super duper much anticipated 1st session SOCIAL! An outside DJ comes to camp to spin some tunes in the gym and get our campers up and boogying all night long. Ok, perhaps they don’t call it “boogying” anymore, but ya know what I mean. Our girls love to get dressed up and do their hair and make-up for the socials. You should see how cute our little girls look! On the boys’ side, if we’re lucky they’ll shower, comb their hair, and put on a clean shirt. Our campers are literally going to put on their Sunday best!

Today’s special feature is TENNIS (& the sidewalk chalking)! The sun shined bright while these kids received instructional tennis out on our courts. I hope you’re all enjoying your long holiday weekend. Everyone here is getting pumped up for our 4th of July festivities. I’ll leave those details to share with you in a later blog. Until then, ILCUTHERE!

Saturday, July 1st

Happy 1st day of July! Can you believe we’re already 1 week into camp? Time sure does fly by when we’re having fun. And fun is indeed what you’re children are having here at ILC so far.

Today we woke up to cloudy skies and it remained that way for a majority of the day. The temps peaked at the mid 70’s and the rain rolled in at the end of snack break. Up until then it was the perfect weather for children to run around playing sports and other activities.  By 3rd minor they were outdoors doing activities once again with some sun beaming down on them.

Our intercamp games have finally begun and they got off to a fantastic start! Our 9th grade girls had a tennis tournament here in camp this afternoon against another Wayne County camp and they kicked butt. We won just about every single match! I’m so proud of our campers. A lot more sporting events will be coming up now that other camps in the area are also in full swing.

I heard a great quote from a CIT yesterday that I just have to share with all of you. So you know how last night was ETB, early to bed, right? Our counselors love this night however, the kids don’t like it all that much because they have to go to sleep early. A CIT (16 year old) who has grown up with us since he was a little boy turned to me exhausted from working so hard with the young boys in his bunk and said, “I never understood ETB in the past. Now I do and I love it!” That was the best quote I heard all day. I’ll try to keep you apprised of great quotes I hear around camp this summer.

Tonight’s evening activity is the Bunk Cup Opening Ceremonies. Bunk Cup will then be officially in session. This evening everyone will be in the theater as representatives from one bunk at a time will come up on stage to present their bunk flag, plaque, and video. I’ll do my best to keep you updated about it throughout the next few weeks.

Today’s special feature is ARTS & CRAFTS! I happen to have caught a lot of kids working on their Bunk Cup flags and plaques during the 1st minor so you can get a peak at some of them below. Enjoy and until tomorrow, ILCUTHERE!

Friday, June 30th

Hello Island Lake families! This morning we had a quick rain shower before wake up call but then it was activities per usual by 1st major. The sun shined through the clouds and the temps warmed up from the upper 60’s to the mid 70’s. It was activities per usual until late in 2nd major when the rain returned. It then rained on and off for another couple of hours at most until the sunshine returned after snack break.

Today I’m continuing my tradition of asking the oldest girls’ bunk, G24, to come to my office to blog about their summer camp experiences throughout the years. Although we have 4 bunks of girls going into 10th grade, many of these specific girls started at ILC at a very young age and have circled around girls’ campus from bunk 1 through bunk 24. Here’s what they had to say about their summers here at their home away from home:

“When I first arrived here at Island Lake I felt strangely comfortable because this is our home. We basically grew up here. Camp has made me comfortable in my own skin. So much happens in 1 week. It’s equivalent to a year at school. I just have a lot to say. I love camp!” –Danielle H.

“Island Lake has allowed us to grow into the people we’ve become today. Whenever the topic of camp comes up at home, none of my friends understand the excitement I feel. They just don’t understand unless they’ve been here.”- Maya S.

“At first when you arrive at camp it’s new and different. By your 2nd day you feel like you’re home. You never get bored. We all found ourselves at ILC. No one would ever understand the close bond we make at camp. The friendships are like no others.“ –Tyler L.

“I believe camp has changed me so much and made me who I am. The things I’m able to do, if you asked 7 year old me she would never believe it. My first year I was terrified of everybody. To think I’ve grown with everyone and become so close it’s crazy.” -Sara R.

“I truly live 10 months for 2 at camp. Throughout the year I always just look forward to camp. It’s all I talk about with my friends. Coming to Island Lake is like coming home to a 2nd family. (Sorry mom!)” –Hallie M.

“I think it’s really crazy how I never would have found my passion in life if it wasn’t for camp. I fell in love with circus! When you first arrive and are in a bunk with a bunch of girls you’re like, ‘oh my god’. But then you get to know them and they become your best friends.” – Nathalie M.

“I think camp has made me a really independent person. I learned how to do so many things I never would have learned at home.” -Julia S.

“I was going to say the same thing as Julia because I’ve tried so many things here at camp that I wouldn’t have tried. I branched out of my comfort zones” –Hannah M.

The girls were troopers and weathered the rain to come to my office at snack break and share with us. Today’s special feature is our photo shoot which is below at the end of this blog.

Tonight’s evening activity is Fear Factor! Remember that reality tv show? We’re bringing it back here at ILC. We’re going to break the camp up into lower camp and upper camp and run 2 separate evening activities. Tonight will be our campers’ opportunity to torture their counselors, who will be the participants. For example, the counselors may have to hold a bucket of water in front of them and then the campers will pour gooey gross stuff on top of their heads and see who can hold out the longest. Tonight will for sure be a lot of laughs.

After evening activity we have our very first ETB of the summer! For those of you new to Island Lake, ETB stands for Early To Bed. This means that the canteen is closed so all campers go back to their bunks directly after evening activity to get a good night’s rest. On a personal note, I have to admit it’s one of my favorite nights of the week. Hehe!  Until tomorrow, our first July summer day, ILCUTHERE!

Thursday, June 29th

After a fun day out of camp for Lazy Day, ILC majors and minors were back in action today. This morning we had a brisk chill of temps in the 60’s with a mix of sun and clouds. I’m happy to report that by afternoon the temps went up to the mid 70’s! Yay! Woohoo! Summer weather is officially here and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

All of us here at ILC hope you’re enjoying our social media updates so you can feel as if you are part of the excitement at camp this summer. As a reminder, you can find us on the following websites:

  1. Daily blogs here on our website
  2. Daily tweets on Twitter (twitter.com/IslandLakeCamp)
  3. Short videos on our Facebook page (facebook.com/IslandLakeCamp)
  4. And of course, our daily photos and weekly videos through your CampMinder account.

Tonight, after dinner, is our first staff meeting of the summer. While our counselors are in their weekly meeting, our campers will sit outside in front of their bunks with our adult non-bunk staff to write letters,…and hopefully those letters will be written home to you, mom & dad (but don’t hold your breath!)!

Evening activity is GROUPS! Here’s a breakdown on what’s going on around camp this evening: BOYS: Group 1- Campfire (they’ll make s’mores sing songs around the campfire,…ok, maybe I’m exaggerating the singing part but they’ll sure enjoy those s’mores!); Group 2- Kong Pong; Group 3- Gaga Ball (with girls group 3); Group 4- Dodgeball. And on the GIRLS side: Groups 1&2- continue to work on their Bunk Cup videos, flags, and plaques; Group 3- Gaga Ball (with boys group 3); Group 4- Theater Games.

Today’s special feature is CIRCUS! Step right up, come one come all to view the photos below. Until tomorrow, when we’ll do it all over again (Groundhogs Day anyone?), ILCUTHERE!

Wed, June 28th- Lazy Day

Happy Lazy Day! Today is our first weekly Lazy Day of the summer. Our campers had the opportunity to sleep in, which many needed, and then we had a big brunch at 10:30am. We had an optional breakfast at 8am for our early risers.

At 12pm groups 1&2 (7th grade and under) went to Binghamton to a big bowling alley there. The kids had fun bowling, bumper bowling, playing arcade games, and enjoyed the snack bar. Groups 3&4 (8th grade and up) went to see Pirates of the Caribbean at a local town. The overall feedback is that they enjoyed the movie and particularly loved the ending.

The sun shined bright today as the temps warmed up to a blistering 70 degrees. I’m happy to report that the temps are supposed to continue to increase another 10 degrees over the next few days. Yay, summer weather is upon us!

Tonight’s dinner was a cookout of burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, and all of the trimmings. Tonight’s evening activity is preparation for Bunk Cup.  All of the bunks in all of the groups worked on their bunk plaques, flags, and videos. Here’s a reminder of what Bunk Cup is all about:

Bunk Cup is a camp-wide activity that will go on for most of 1st session this summer.   Each bunk is its own team. The bunk/team can earn points in just about every activity here at camp. At the end of the session we tally up the points and have a winner on the boys side and a winner on the girls side. Each team will make a bunk plaque, a bunk flag, and a short video. This is our 4rd annual Bunk Cup and the kids are so excited for it.

Today’s special feature is the cookout! Sorry we didn’t post daily photos on CampMinder today but due to it being Lazy Day, we just didn’t feel like it. Just kiddin’! They’ll be posted tomorrow morning. Until then, ILCUTHERE!

Tuesday, June 27th

Hi Island Lake Families! This morning we woke up to some very nippy temperatures. Once our campers returned to their bunks for clean up, a rain shower came through the 18462. It ended during our 1st major and by 1st minor the sun shined and the temps started to warm up. We got hit again after lunch with another rain shower but again, it was soon followed by more sunshine. It’s been a cool start to summer but it looks like that will change very soon.

Island Lake Summer 2017 is now officially in full swing. Our campers are adjusting to their majors, trying out new activities for their minors, and are becoming great friends with their bunkmates. I hope you can see all the joy on your children’s faces in our daily photos.

Speaking of photos, we started to take bunk pictures. Once they’re complete, we will post them in their own folder on CampMinder.

Tomorrow is our first Lazy Day of the summer. The kids get to sleep in later and eat brunch at 10:30am. We will have an optional breakfast for the early birds at 8am. After brunch we will take groups 1&2 (7th grade and under) to a bowling alley in Binghamton. Groups 3&4 (8th grade through 10th grade) will go to a local town to see Pirates of the Caribbean. Dinner will be a cookout at our picnic tables.

Tonight’s evening activity is Taste, Touch, & Smell. We will break up the camp into lower campus (groups 1&2) and upper campus (groups 3&4). Each campus will host their own evening activity. Here is how the game works: The group leaders will call to their stage 5 contestants at a time. The contestants will be campers and counselors. They will then be blindfolded and given a surprise treat. The audience will know what that treat is (it will be written on a whiteboard behind the contestants). The humor will be in what the contestants think that they are tasting, touching, or smelling. Don’t worry, those with allergies will not be given anything that they cannot eat, touch, or smell. The item could be something as fun as chocolate pudding with rainbow sprinkles and marshmallows. This should be a fun evening activity for all, whether they are participants or spectators.

Today’s special feature is THEATER. This session’s shows are Lion King Junior and Pippin. There are also some photos of campers working in stagecraft and costuming. Enjoy and until tomorrow, our first Lazy Day of the summer, ILCUTHERE!

June 26th

Happy first day of majors and minors! The day started off party sunny and very cool but by after lunch the temps warmed up to about 70 degrees. Cool temps don’t really bother the kids, as they were still out and about running around all morning & afternoon. The camp spirit is very high and activities are all in full swing now.

Show rehearsals have started, rock bands have been formed, and dances are being choreographed. Kids are walking around doing magic tricks, making all sorts of arts & crafts projects, riding horses, waterskiing in the lake, swimming in the pool, and some campers are becoming little chefs in cooking. They’re flying in the air on the giant swing, as well as on the circus trapezes. Kids are learning to use the half pipes in our skatepark, the low and high ropes courses are being climbed, and science experiments are being created by children of all ages.   Sports and tennis went on outdoors and in the gym and it was great to see so many kids participating. We’re so pumped for all the action going on here at Island Lake!

Tonight’s evening activities are GROUPS! Here’s a breakdown of what everyone in camp is doing: BOYS: Group 1- Sidewalk Chalking (they’re going to decorate the new blacktop by the dining room); Group 2- Gaga; Group 3- Video Scavenger Hunt; Group 4- Bunk Feud (similar to Family Feud but the topics are all about camp, and with girls group 4). GIRLS: Group 1- Ugly Fashion Show; Group 2- Video Scavenger Hunt; Group 3- start working on Bunk Cup (I’ll get to that in a moment); Group 4- Bunk Feud (with boys group 4).

Bunk Cup is a camp-wide activity that will go on for most of 1st session this summer.  Each bunk is its own team. The bunk/team can earn points in just about every activity here at camp. At the end of the session we tally up the points and have a winner on the boys side and a winner on the girls side. Each team will make a bunk plaque, a bunk flag, and a short video. This is our 4rd annual Bunk Cup and the kids are so excited for it.

After evening activity tonight our campers will head to the canteen for a snack or two and then have the opportunity to socialize there and at the gym. We also opened our Teen Lounge for our campers who are entering 9th grade and older (boys and girls group 4 and CITs). They’ll have access to a television, a soda machine, and couches to hang around and socialize on. The teen lounge is a good alternative to hanging around in the gym and the canteen every night. Our kids seem excited about it, too! What will they watch tonight? American Ninja Warrior or The Bachelorette? Oh, such decisions!

To summarize the first few days here at Island Lake, I can honestly tell you that our campers are having so much fun and are forming everlasting friendships with one another while learning so many skills in their activities. We couldn’t be happier for all of them!

Today’s special photo feature is SPORTS. Here are a bunch of photos from a variety of sports majors today. I know there are a lot of photos to scroll through, more than usual for the daily blog, but we had that many sports activities (and more!) taking place today. Enjoy the pictures and until tomorrow, ILC U THERE!

June 25- 4-Minor Day

Happy first full day of camp! Yesterday’s Opening Day went extremely well with lots of happy campers coming off of the buses. New and old friendships are blossoming already. Campers are bonding with one another, as well as with their counselors, and they are settling into Summer 2017 here at Island Lake.   Be sure to check out our daily summer photos through CampMinder. We also tweet on our Twitter account daily, post on Instagram, and put up short videos on our Facebook page. There’s SO MUCH to check out that’s going on here at ILC.

Today was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL DAY in Starrucca, PA. The temperature hit the low 70’s with a light breeze and it was the perfect day to run around and have some fun. It was our 4-minor day so the kids were busy trying out activities to see what they’d like to sign up for as their majors for the remainder of the session.   Campers took deep-water tests, had sports orientation, pioneering, and were tested for their tennis levels outdoors. Auditions for the musicals went on all day today as well. We’re excited to offer a combination for our older campers of the show, Pippin, along with our circus department. The 2 departments will work together and at the end of the session the performance will take place in the circus building. Our younger campers will put on Lion King Junior in the theater at the end of the session.

Lots of other activities also took place today. Horseback riders and dancers were tested for levels, circus activities were in full effect, our magicians started to learn their skills, our skaters & bladers rode in the skatepark, in addition to all of the other activities we offer here at ILC: magic, video, cooking, rock shop, gymnastics, and more!

After lunch we gave out many 5-year jackets and 10-year jackets to our loyal Island Lakers, both campers and staff. In our daily summer photos through CampMinder we will show you photos of campers and staff in their ILC-wear. I hope this beautiful weather continues so they won’t have to wear these (rain) jackets quite so much over the course of the summer.

After their 4 minors and our snack break, we held our favorite camp extravaganza,…PANIC! It’s a camp-wide game where I call things out over the PA system and our campers have to run into their bunks, find the item(s) and bring them as fast as possible to their group leaders in the middle of their campuses. It can be something as basic as a red toothbrush or more involved like 5 campers wearing 2016 ILC Color War t-shirts singing the camp alma mater. I play music over the PA in between while the kids all sing and dance with their bunks. Ok, I’m not gonna lie. The boys don’t sing and dance as much as the girls! Regardless, Panic was a hit and the kids participated and cheered their bunks on as they ran around having a fun-filled fantabulous time.

Tonight’s evening activity is GROUPS, which means the group leaders take charge and run different activities for their bunks. Here’s a list of what everyone is doing: BOYS: Group 1- Video Scavenger Hunt; Group 2- Gaga Ball; Group 3- Dodgeball; Group 4- Capture the Flag. On the GIRLS side: Group 1- Theater Games; Group 2- Minute 2 Win It (game show that you’ll have to google because I’m not even sure how they play it!); Group 3- Ugly Fashion Show (the girls dress up in crazy funny outfits and have a fashion show); Group 4- Crazy Game (fun active wild game to try to tire them out!)

Below is an array of photos from down at the lake today. Please return to this blog each day, as I (Wendy) will be posting ongoing events happening here at Island Lake. Until tomorrow, ILC U THERE!