COVID-19 Update: Camp Closure for 2020

Dear Island Lake Parents,

In our 35 years of owning and running Island Lake we never thought we would have to send this letter. Due to restrictions placed on our operations, Island Lake will be unable to open this summer. We are heartbroken by this.

The guidelines that have come out from the American Camp Association and their consultants say that social distancing is a recommended guideline for 2020. Island Lake cannot be Island Lake with these restrictions so we have made this difficult decision.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in a phased reopening; Red, Yellow, & Green. Wayne County is currently in red which means stay at home. When it goes to yellow there are restrictions in place that will not allow us to open. The Green Phase has yet to be defined; the rules currently say follow current CDC guidelines. We are sure those will include distancing and mask requirements through the end of the summer. In fact, the criteria that will be used to move a region from the Yellow Phase to the Green Phase are still not determined. A region could be moved back to yellow or red if there is a resurgence of the virus meaning that even if we don’t have an outbreak at camp the Commonwealth could shut us down.

To give you an idea of how important camp is to us, for Matt this will be his first summer not at camp since 1985 and second since 1972. Wendy has also only missed one summer since 1972 and she was very young at the time. The worst decision that we could make would be to open and then have to close because of an outbreak at our facility or in our region.

COVID-19 has changed all of our lives in some way. As adults, we have all had different emotions and difficulties dealing with this pandemic. It is impossible for us to understand the emotions our children are going through as a result of this decision. We were so hopeful to be able to have our campers come to camp and erase some of their fears, anxieties and day to day worries with good old fashioned fun. We are heartbroken that summer will not be a reprieve for them, and for you.

As stated in an earlier email, all registrations for 2020 will be honored for 2021. Campers who would have been entering their last year as campers will still be allowed to be together, as campers, for 2021. If anyone would like to be a CIT, they may choose that option. Please hold off on letting us know your decision until we ask for it. We are still absorbing this in our minds.

It seems surreal to be writing this to you and I’m sure it seems the same to be receiving it. I press the send button with great sadness. We wish you and your families health and happiness in the coming months. And of course, ILCUTHERE 2021!

Wendy, Ricki and Matt, Bev

P.S. Please watch the video below with your campers. It is with heavy hearts that we put this together, along with making the decision, to not open Island Lake this summer. We wish you all good health and happiness this summer.

Sports & Arts Center at Island Lake menu Menu

Island Lake Dates, Fees, and FAQs Island Lake Dates, Fees, and FAQs

2021 Dates & Fees

To be announced.

Campers At island Lake


Where is Island Lake located?
Island Lake is located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, on the border of New York State. Our 550-acre camp is only about 2 1/2 hours from New York City.
Where do campers come from?
While the majority of our campers come from the eastern seaboard between northern Virginia and southern Connecticut, we have many who come from all parts of the United States as well as from abroad.
Where do staff members come from?
We travel to universities all around America and Canada in order to hire our staff. There are staff members from many other areas including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. All staff members are thoroughly screened before hiring.
What type of program do you have?
Island Lake is a non-traditional camp. The children choose all of their own activities while at camp. Campers have six 1-hour activity periods each day. Three are Majors, which they will participate in at the same time daily. The other three periods are Minors and are chosen each morning at breakfast. This gives the campers an opportunity to experience the large variety of activities we offer.
When are Majors chosen?
Majors are chosen at camp with the assistance of the program director and group leaders. Campers keep their majors for the length of the session, although changes are permitted.
What type of evening activities do campers participate in?
Each evening we provide a special activity for campers. It may be our own staff or campers performing; it may be outside entertainment that we provide; it may be a group participatory activity that their group leader has planned such as a treasure hunt, game show, or social.
What is a "Lazy Day?"
Lazy Day is one day of the week when there are no regular activities. Campers are allowed to sleep late. Brunch is served late morning, and then we have a special activity planned such as going to a movie, bowling alley, roller skating rink, or we may bring a group of entertainers to camp. This gives the campers a break from their daily activities.
Do campers have to wear a uniform?
There is no required uniform at Island Lake. All campers are given a camp T-shirt when they arrive at camp that is to be worn for sports or on out-of-camp trips. Otherwise campers wear their own clothing. We do provide a clothing catalogue from an outside company where you may purchase items containing our camp logo if you choose.
What kind of transportation is provided?
We provide bus transportation for campers to and from camp. Luggage travels with the children. We have bus stops located in Queens, New Jersey (Paramus and Livingston), Westchester County, Philadelphia, and Newark Airport (for flying campers). The camp experience begins at the bus stop facilitating the transition to camp life.
Do you offer any religious services?
Our camp has no religious affiliation. We will provide transportation to local houses of worship if requested.
Is tutoring available?
Yes, we offer tutoring in a variety of subjects based on personal need. There is no cost involved for this service.
Are there any extra fees in addition to the regular camp tuition?
The camp tuition is all inclusive. This fee includes the regular camp registration, program of instruction, supervision, room and board, canteen, transportation to camp-sponsored activities, day trips, normal camp materials, laundry service, insurance, gratuities, and transportation with baggage from our bus stops.
Does my child need extra spending money?
All camp activities and off camp trips are included in the tuition. Sometimes, the campers wish to have a few extra dollars to buy snacks or souvenirs on these trips. If you wish to send your child with extra spending money, we recommend no more than $50-$75 per session. This will be more than enough. Your child may also wish to use this money to purchase additional items in our canteen.
How are the bunks assigned?
We group campers together based on the grade they are entering in the next school year. Each bunk has approximately 12 campers and 3 counselors. Bunk requests are always honored.
What happens if my child would like to extend his or her stay?
If your child falls in love with camp, which we are sure he/she will, and your child wants to stay for another session, we will be happy to accommodate you upon availability.
What types of meals are provided?
Meals are served cafeteria style in our dining room. Breakfast consists of a hot meal (pancakes, waffles, eggs, French toast, etc.) and approximately eight different cold cereals. Drink machines include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk, and juices. Lunch and dinner consist of two or three hot entrees, one of which is always vegetarian, and plain pasta. We also have an extensive salad bar with all of the trimmings plus cottage cheese, special salads (egg salad, tuna salad, pasta salads), as well as soy butter and jelly, bread and butter, fruit, and dessert created by our own bakers. We are able to accommodate all special dietary needs and our dining room is nut and peanut free. You can't go hungry at Island Lake.
What is the canteen and how does it work?
Each night, we open our canteen to provide the campers with snacks before bedtime. Among the items available are hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, soda, ice cream, nachos, hot pretzels, and assorted candy. Each item in our canteen costs one token. We will provide each camper with enough free tokens to cover the cost of one item each night. If a camper wishes to purchase additional tokens at a cost of 75¢ each, they may do so on the canteen porch.
Can I send my child packages?
You may certainly send packages to your child during his/her stay, but we ask that you please do not include any food. This helps us to keep unwanted wildlife away from the bunks. Please share this information with any friends or family members that may send your child a package while at camp.
Will I be able to speak to my child on the phone?
While at camp, we allow each camper to have one phone call per session. Each spring we will send information in the mail regarding how you can set up a time to speak with your child. As a general rule we do not allow phone call appointments to be made for the first week of each session to allow the campers a sufficient amount of time to adjust to camp life. Of course, if you have any concerns about your child or need to contact us for any reason, you can always call the camp office to speak with your child's group leader, or our directors.
Will my child have access to E-mail?
Campers are allowed to receive e-mails but they will not be able to respond. You will receive instructions on how to email your child through our website. E-mails are distributed daily along with any other mail that the children receive. We do not download attachments or visit other sites to retrieve mail such as e-cards. All mail is distributed after dinner.
What if my child is on medication or becomes ill at camp?
Our modern infirmary is staffed by a doctor and 6 registered nurses. Any child on a regularly scheduled medication, such as allergy medicine, will have their dose brought to the dining room by our nurses at meal times. There is no need for most children to come to the infirmary for their medication unless it is a nighttime med. There are two sick-calls each day when campers can be seen by the doctor or speak to the nurses. We always have a doctor and nurse on call 24 hours a day. If a child must be kept overnight in the infirmary, goes on an antibiotic or other regimen, or needs to be taken to an off-site medical facility, you will be contacted by a member of our infirmary staff.
Who does my child's laundry?
Our staff picks up each bunk's laundry once each week and returns it by dinnertime that same day. All clothing will be washed, dried, folded, and delivered by our laundry staff.
How secure is your camp?
Our camp facility is guarded 24 hours a day. All vehicles entering and exiting camp must stop at the main entrance security post to be checked in or out. Remember, your child's safety and supervision are our first priority at Island Lake!
Is there a Visiting Day?
Yes, we have one Visiting Day about three weeks into our first session.. The day begins at 9:30 am and is over at 3:30pm. We have a full schedule of activities and events in camp along with a beautiful buffet lunch for all to enjoy. Bring your sneakers; you can be a camper for the day! Parents are allowed to take their children out of camp for the day but they must be back by 3:30pm. Campers who are in camp for only second session do not have a Visiting Day.
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