November Parent News

Hey ILC Parents!  We hope you and your children had a fun, safe Halloween filled with enough candy to last them a lifetime.  We also hope your children SHARE all of their treats with you.  (Otherwise, you may want to pull a “Jimmy Kimmel” and eat all their candy while they’re asleep!)

Normally at this time of year I would express how excited we are to see all of our campers later this month at our annual Camp Reunion at SportimeUSA in Westchester, NY.  Sadly, due to the current state of affairs in our country, we are unable to safely host a reunion for all of our Island Lakers.  If circumstances change later this year then we will re-evaluate at that time. 

Are your children still sharing their wonderful ILC memories with you?  We sure hope so!  Our summer 2021 countdown is in full swing and camp will sneak up on us before we know it.  As of November 1st, only 237 days until Opening Day at Island Lake!  In the meantime, you and your children can continue to view our daily summer photos on Waldo, our weekly videos on youtube, our daily blogs that were written all summer long right here, as well as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts.  We will continue to post on all of these social media platforms throughout the year so be sure to check us out often and “like” our posts.

Registration for summer 2021 is going very well thus far.  I’m happy to report that some bunks are already full!  If you have not yet enrolled your children and have been waiting to see how things progress with regards to the pandemic, feel free to reach out to us to discuss this.  We don’t want you to put off enrollment and risk space availability in your children’s bunks.  The last thing we want to do is turn away our loyal campers because there’s no more space in their bunks. You can enroll your campers with the registration form that we mailed home to you with your monthly newsletter or you can enroll them right here on our website.  Just click “enroll” at the top of this page (or on our homepage).  You can sign up right here online and then we will bill you for the deposit afterwards. 

Being that this past summer should have been our 35th summer that my family, the Stoltz’s, have owned Island Lake, we are excited that the number of 2nd generation campers has been increasing each and every summer.  We’re so lucky to even have 2 siblings whose parents met at ILC as children, got married many years later, and now share their special home away from home with their own children.  Talk about true 2nd generation campers, huh?  The above photo is a group of our 2nd generation campers who were all at ILC during the 1st session in summer 2019.  I posted about this a year ago on our blog and I’d like to continue this annual tradition. We’re so incredibly thankful to our alumni for entrusting us with their children.  We love that they want to continue to pass down their camp experiences to their kids, so this is just one way for us to say “thank you” to them.   Since I couldn’t get an updated photo this past summer, this 2019 pic will have to do for now.

Wow, it’s crazy how the holidays have already snuck up on us, huh?  Enjoy your Thanksgiving with loved ones who are closest and dearest to you.  I’ll be back here in a month from now to post my December blog for all of you.  Until then, ILCUTHERE!

October Parent News

As October sneaks up on us, this past summer is now a distant memory.  It didn’t even feel much like summer since we didn’t get to spend it all together at Island Lake.  With that said, we are happy to say goodbye to summer 2020 as we now look forward to summer 2021.  We’ve already begun planning for next summer with camper enrollments and hiring staff. 

We are looking forward to having our campers join the ILC family and experience all that our camp has to offer – fun, new friendships, fun, exciting activities, fun, new adventures,… oh, and have we mentioned FUN?  That’s what we’re all about at Island Lake and we’ll do an extra super duper job of providing that to all of our campers next summer, that’s for sure.  We know that once summer comes around, our staff will be over the moon thrilled to meet our Island Lakers and take wonderful care of them to provide them with the BEST SUMMER EXPERIENCE EVER!  We just have to get through this school year, as unique and challenging as it may be for many of you.

Meanwhile, up at camp the leaves are changing color and autumn is setting in, however many of our thoughts are still centered on our ILC friendships and experiences of summers past.  Yeah, we know that next summer seems too far away, but rest assured that it will be here before we know it.

We were hoping to host our thrilling, fun, exciting annual ILC camp reunion in November at SportimeUSA but unfortunately, it doesn’t yet seem safe or feasible to do so.  If the situation changes for the better in the coming months, we will be open to discussing the possibility of hosting a reunion then.  We are so sorry because the last thing we want to do is disappoint our loyal campers any further.  However, we have to be smart and diligent with regards to safety and health concerns, so for now, we will have to put our camp reunion on hold.

Hey, if you have not yet registered for summer 2021 but are planning to do so, please don’t toss your registration form aside or place it in that pile of paperwork you never quite get to.  You can still secure a spot for next summer by signing up now.  All families who were enrolled for 2020 were automatically re-enrolled for 2021 unless you requested differently.  For those families who had not yet enrolled for 2020 when the pandemic hit, you should have received a registration form with your October newsletter.  We also enclosed forms for those who chose to receive a refund on tuition.

Well, that’s about it for now.  We wish everyone a safe and spook-tacular Halloween at the end of the month.  Until then, ILC U THERE!

Thank You Bev and Mike Day – September 8th

#thankyoubevandmike

Hi Island Lake families!  As summer draws to an end, it’s still hard to believe that we didn’t spend this season together with your children up at camp.  With safety as our first priority, we appreciate all of your support when we made the decision back in June to keep camp closed.  We are now starting to plan for summer 2021 at ILC, which we promise will be the best one yet!

This past summer would have been our 35th anniversary.  Back in 1986, Bev and Mike Stoltz, our parents, purchased camp to create a unique, incredible atmosphere for children to experience, create friendships, meet people from all over the world, and grow as individuals.  These former school teachers created a home where over the years, thousands of children attended and did all mentioned above:  formed life long friendships, strengthened their skills in a wide variety of activities, gained independence, and grew up in their own unique way.  Bev and Mike always put our campers’ interests first and taught Matt and me (Wendy) to love and care for our Island Lakers as if they are our own.  I thank our parents for building a beautiful home for children and staff to feel safe, cared for, and loved each and every summer.  All children are unique and we’ve learned how to cater to each individual in a beautiful way to help them to excel and succeed at camp.  Our parents took everyone in under their wing and treated them as their own.  They had the biggest hearts and the greatest amount of love to give to so, so many.

We were devastated last September when our father, Mike, suddenly passed away.  It was heartbreaking for us, as well as our entire Island Lake family.  So many former campers and staff flew down to Florida to celebrate Mike’s life and attend his funeral.  The love that we received truly helped me a great deal with the healing process as our family had to come to terms with our new normal.  During this time, our mom, Bev, suffered a terminal health condition that eventually took her life on what would have been our first day of camp, June 27th.  Unfortunately, with our country in its current conditions, we weren’t able to celebrate Bev’s life in the same manner that she most definitely deserved.

INTRODUCING OUR 1st ANNUAL #THANKYOUBEVANDMIKE DAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Bev and Mike have had such an incredibly strong impact on so many lives throughout the years and we’d like to celebrate them on the one year anniversary that this world lost one of two amazing individuals.  On September 8th, we ask all of our campers and staff, current and past, to please post a memorable happy Island Lake Camp photo on social media (Facebook and/or Instagram) with the hashtag, #thankyoubevandmike.  We’d like to start this annual tradition to honor them both and thank them for all they have done for children throughout the years.  Matt and I are so lucky to have had them as our parents and we miss them more than anything in this world.  This is the least we can do to give back and say thank you for all they have done, both for us, as well as for our Island Lake family.

Brighten Your Day: Stories from the Island Lake Camp Community Pt. 3

Just a few more stories from our ILC community to brighten your day and remind all of us just how amazing summers can be! We can’t wait until summer 2021!!

“ILC will always be such an important place in my life as I learned so much about how to be myself and not be scared of others judging me. It’s the best place to learn that it’s “cool” to not try to be cool and that people will love you for you and not the person you pretend to be. I love the freedom we as counselors were given to be creative with major and minor plans, whilst also being trusted to keep everyone safe. The balance is perfect and it provided the best environment for amazing things to happen! Dustin, Matt, and Wendy will always be my hero’s for running such an incredible place and giving me the chance to work there!! – Nick W., former staff

“Island Lake Camp is a place where you can be yourself without any judgment! ILC makes it feel like the world is at your fingertips because there are endless opportunities and new things to try! It’s the best place to grow up because you learn to go out of your comfort zone. If you fail while trying a new activity, you have your counselors and friends there to help you try again. It’s truly the most special place.” – Kelly Q., alumni (attended 8 years)

Going to ILC was always the highlight of my summer because it meant two solid weeks of circus, swimming, horseback riding, and pioneering. I worked with wonderful staff who made sure to befriend a first-time camper and make her want to come back. Special shout out to Tim O. in Pioneering – if you’re reading this, thank you for riding Steel Force with me way back when since my bunkmates didn’t want to. You’re the reason I made sure to go to Pioneering each summer even though I did more and more in the Circus building. It’s hard to believe that my bunkmates and I have graduated college at this point, but I’ll forever miss those cold nights and warm days and all the tears of the end-of-summer festivities. <3” – Olivia T., alumni (attended 7 years)

“Island Lake has impacted my life in a way that I never could have even imagined would be possible. The 6 summers I spent there gave me incredible experiences that I am able to look back on and purely remember the joy and happiness it brought me right when I stepped off the bus. Camp allowed me to make lifelong friends that I share a deep connection with and meet people and counselors from all over the world that bring their own unique personalities into one place where we can enjoy ourselves. There’s a reason why my family has been going to ILC for over 30 years now. Where else can you hang by the lake with your friends, compete in sports with people you’ve never met, and try new things like learning how to ride a horse? Island Lake has truly changed my life, and I think about it every single day. It’s the people that make it special. Island Lake is truly a home away from home.” – Garrison G., camper (6 years)

“ILC has been an incredibly positive force in both my children’s lives. For Alyssa, she had dynamite experiences and has made incredible friendships. I actually think the bigger impact was on Aaron. He is an introvert by nature. You took him in at a young age and I noticed him coming out of his shell, gaining confidence and navigating into activities that gave him joy. I can’t thank you both enough for the impact you have made in their lives and my hope is that it will last a lifetime. Nothing could give me more pleasure if Alyssa and Aaron send their children to ILC and the camp is still being run by you both.” – Jason S., camp parent

August Parent News

Hey Island Lake families!  I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer.  It’s still so sad and unfortunate that we aren’t up at camp with our happy campers watching them create beautiful friendships, learning and enjoying our fantastic activities, and making wonderful memories to last them a lifetime.  I know you all quickly had to scramble to find alternate summer plans for your children.  I hope it worked out well for you and that most importantly, you’re all remaining healthy!

We’ve been doing our best to stay in contact with our campers via Zoom activities that we are running 3 times per week.  Although we are getting a nice turnout, we’d still love to see even more campers join us.  This week we had Magic with Bill, Theater Games with Corie, and Cooking with Dave.  Please share the emailed links to these Zoom activities with your children so they can all participate and have some good ol’ fashioned virtual camp fun.  Next week we will offer Magic with Bill, Art with Poppy, and Pioneering with Gramps.  Again, please share these Zoom links with your children so they can all participate.

I have to say, it doesn’t even really feel like summer since we aren’t all up in Starrucca together.  It’s hard to believe that if we were at camp, we would already be into our 2nd session.  We would have already had some milestone events such as Visiting Day and Changeover Day.  Soon we’d be breaking out into our annual tradition of Color War!  3 days of pure fun as we would break up the camp into 2 teams, themes to be revealed at the moment Color War broke.  We’ll just hold on to those themes for next summer, not to worry.

I miss your children so much this summer.  Seeing what a summer is like without ILC has made me appreciate my home away from home even that much more.  I know this year will fly by and I truly truly hope that we will be able to safely reunite at ILC once again next summer.  Let’s send some good vibes all around to make sure that summer 2021 gets here safely and gets here quickly.  Until then, ILC U THERE!!!

Island Lake Camp Trivia Game

Do you know your ILC’s trivia? Test your knowledge with today’s game! Answers at the end.

  1. What year was Island Lake Camp founded?
    A. 1980
    B. 1968
    C. 1986
    D. 1979
  2. What was the Color War theme for 2019?
    A. 50’s vs 60’s
    B. Horror vs Comedy
    C. Wonderland vs Oz
    D. Disney vs Nickelodeon
  3. Who says ‘Good morning everybody!
    A. Dustin
    B. Wendy
    C. Chris 
    D. Matt
  4. What do we call lunches with DJ Wendy?
    A. Music Lunch
    B. Music Party
    C. Lunch Party
    D. Music Hour
  5. Cooking at ILC is called?
    A. ILC Chefs
    B. The Bistro
    C. ILC PopUp
    D. Cooking Camp
  6. How do we end the summer each year?
    A. Campfire
    B. Bunk dreams
    C. Bunk wishes
    D. Bunk journals
  7. What gift do you receive when you’ve attended camp for 5 or 10 years?
    A. ILC “5-year hat” and “10-year hat”
    B. ILC “5-year jacket” and “10-year jacket”
    C. ILC “5-year flag” and “10-year flag”
    D. Camp“5-year blanket” and “10-year blanket”

 

 

 

 

 

Answers:

  1. C
  2. C
  3. D
  4. A
  5. B
  6. C
  7. B

Brighten Your Day: Stories from the Island Lake Camp Community Pt. 2

We can’t believe the outpouring of messages and memories our camp community has shared with us these past few weeks. Reading them puts the biggest smiles on our faces! Here are more stories from our campers, alumni, and camp parents!

“I always tell people that Island Lake made me who I am in so many ways. To have the kind of independence that camp allows for at such a young age helped me develop a sense of self you just don’t get at home or at school.

I wasn’t your typical camper success story. For the first few years, I’d cry in the bathroom on a nightly basis because I was so homesick. Going to camp was always preceded by weeks of anxiety, but I kept choosing to go back. I loved the format of activities that allowed me to build my own summer, and the kinds of things I had access to like a horse barn, a fully functioning circus, and a water skiing lake. I loved the community of kids and counselors and would pride myself on how many people I could get to know each session. Ultimately, it was worth the challenge of leaving my family and the comforts of my home for weeks at a time to experience all of these things.

Of course, with time the crying on my way to camp was replaced by crying when I had to leave. Tear stained notes from my parents buried in my luggage upon arrival were replaced with bus notes that I would keep close to my heart all throughout the school year. I became a ride or die Island Laker who grew from camper to CIT to counselor to a department head. Even now as a distant alumnus, I still get a rush of excitement when I picture myself walking up Island Lake Road.

On top of all this, the camp I selected when I was 9 years old led me to my husband and is, technically, the reason I have the beautiful family that I have today. After years away from camp I reconnected with Lisa Lee on a visit to ILC one summer. It was Lisa who invited me to join her kickball league that fall and who introduced me to Billy. The rest, as they say, is history. We have two beautiful girls who I hope can walk down Island Lake Road themselves one day.” – Emily S., alumni (attended 10 years)

ILC is by far the best time of the year for my son and I. He loves skating with Dan, swimming with Dylan or acting with Cory! I’m one of the nurses so whether it’s a Med call or getting awakened at 0200 for someone with a fever it is definitely a good experience. Serving the campers or staff is a real pleasure! Matt and Wendy are great leaders and we can’t wait for 2021 and the next Pickleball championship!!” – Kevin W., camp parent and staff

ILC is the first camp that I went to and it was such a great experience for me as a Chinese kid to attend. At first, it was really hard to communicate with my bunkmate but everyone helped me so much and I really appreciate that! And this is probably why I took a 17 hours flight to the US again the second year to see all my friends in ILC. It has been 3 years since I last visited ILC. I really miss everyone there – I miss the Color War, I miss Sour patch a lot as well (oops). I’m preparing for university now and I hope at some point I will be able to visit there again!” – Sally X., alumni (attended 2 years)

“I packed my bags for Island Lake, an eager 18 years old looking to get some experience. Little did I know that 5 amazing summers later because of these experiences I found a career I love. I’ll always cherish those summers and the memories, and hopefully can return one day to my second home.” – Alex M., staff (5 years)

Brighten Your Day: Stories from the Island Lake Camp Community Pt. 1

Late this Spring we made the tough decision to cancel summer 2020. While we know for us this was the right call to make to protect our campers, staff, and families we were still heartbroken. But then came the messages! We received dozens of emails, phone calls, comments, and more from our camp community that just warmed our hearts. 

These are the stories that put a smile on our faces and remind us every day just how impactful summers at ILC can be.

“Oh, gosh… ILC is absolutely where I felt I fit in, where I felt most connected to my friends. It’s where I learned not to be afraid to be silly on a stage, to allow myself to feel really, really excited, and where I felt the safest. I still wear my ILC t-shirts, and can still sing the Color War songs. Most importantly, I’m still in touch with so many of my bunkmates and friends. Even though we’re grown up now and far apart, and even though we may not talk every day, I know that if I ever needed something, my camp friends would be there, and I’m sure they know that if they ever needed anything, I would be right there, too.” – Sarah M., alumni (attended 7 years)

“As a former camper and staff member, I feel like I’ve experienced the best of both worlds. It’s been 18 years since I’ve been back but the memories are still as vivid as ever. ILC truly broadens the vision for young minds and exposes you to things that will remain with you for life. I’m excited for our son to share in the experiences I experienced as a child and then a young adult during his first summer at camp. Here’s to 2021!” – Michael S., alumni (attended 2 years as camper, 2 years as staff)/camp parent

“I have done activities like wakeboarding that I don’t have the opportunity to do outside of camp and have met friends that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. When you have to live with all of these people your age, it is the perfect environment to form strong relationships.– Alex J, alumni (attended 8 years)

 

 

 

“Island Lake has changed my life drastically. The first year I got off the bus I already saw that it would be my home away from home. I have met friends that have turned into family. Camp has so many fun activities that no other place has. I have met my 12 best friends here and Island Lake will always be very important to me. – Sami K., current camper (2 years)

“Where do I begin…I made friends for life and on returning for the second summer I realized it was my family. Camp is such a brilliant experience. Life has its ups and downs but honestly, it was such a beautiful time with both my fellow staff and my campers. My only regret – I didn’t find it sooner. My home away from home will always be 18462.– Joseph R., staff (2 years)

“I looked forward to those summers! It was the place where I learned to explore my passions. At ILC, I developed a sense of freedom and independence and the meaningful memories carry me into adulthood. 20 years later, I still remember camp in the most vivid way!” – Abby, alumni (attended 4 years)

A Camper’s College Essay

I’d like to share with all of you a beautiful college essay written by a camper who grew up with us at Island Lake.  Enjoy reading her essay.  You will feel as if you are taking part in her experience through her words and imagery.

Weightless

Back, forward, up and out, forward, back, set… hup! ​I feel weightless, yet full. Full of what? Adrenaline. Bliss. Life. Ascending higher and higher up the ladder, you’d think my heart would start racing, but it doesn’t. I feel secure. When I’m in the air, I forget about reality. All my fears beneath me… even if it’s only for a few seconds. All I have to worry about is what is happening at that moment; contradictory to how I’ve led my life. I was always taught to think about my future and stay one step ahead. ​If you want a good job you have to do well in school. Don’t post that because future employers might not hire you. Always go above and beyond. While all these things are true, I sometimes forget to just live. I’m always thinking, never doing; except when I’m flying.

​I’ve made some of my favorite memories at camp. Since I was 9 years old, I’ve spent my summers away. My camp is called Island Lake, in Starrucca PA. It’s a sports and arts camp and I chose to spend my time where sports and arts collide: circus. Being a former competitive gymnast, circus screamed home to me. While I’ve rotated through all of the different events, flying trapeze became my anchor; holding me down and protecting me from the unrelenting grasp of my own imagination. Isn’t it ironic how being in the air is what grounds me? Digging my heels into each rung of the ladder on my ascent to the p-board, I repeat in my head ​left right, left right, almost there! I​ ’m at the top. A cool breeze moves a few strands of hair out of my face. I reach for the bar, hips out chest up. A slight bend of the knees and ​hup! ​I am suddenly fully aware of myself. I rhythmically command myself, ​back hard, forward, up and out through to extension! Forward, back, set over the bar! ​In this moment, nothing else matters. The next thing I know, I feel the tang of the net embracing me, holding me, keeping me safe.

I’ve gone through life weighing my outcomes. Thinking of almost every possibility and convincing myself out of almost every activity. ​I’m not friends with them so I’m not going to go. I could fall and get hurt. I’m too antisocial and awkward. ​But where has that gotten me? I’ve become an observer in my own life.

I yearn to feel weightless everyday. To live in the moment and really absorb everything that is going on. I love flying. Not just because of the adrenaline, but because it has allowed me to see life through a different lens.

I’ve learned so much from the circus. Not only about being an aerialist, but about myself. I have learned what it feels like to live life with zest and self fulfillment. To feel weightless. Secure. Life is like a circus; there is so much going on, all the time. That can be overwhelming. Circus, however, has taught me how to take advantage of everything the world has to offer while focusing on my own act and living in the moment; even if that means taking a risk and leaving my comfort zone. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not know what happens next. But what I do know, is that I will be able to handle it.

June Parent News

Hey ILC parents!  This is not my typical June blog that I always post with excitement each summer.  This is usually the time when I tell you that we are so excited because we just arrived at ILC and we are working hard to prepare camp for your children’s arrival in a few short weeks.  This is when I usually tell you about waking up to smell of the country air, the sounds of the birds chirping, and the cool crisp June temps (which are all a nice reprieve from my South Florida humidity and heat).  This is also when I usually remind you to send in all of your forms, set up your CampMinder accounts, set up your Waldo accounts for photos, and start labeling items and packing your children up for camp.

But sadly, in the world we are currently living, we have to put sleep away camp on hold for a year.  It’s heartbreaking,…truly devastating and heartbreaking.  We share in your children’s sadness as this is just as difficult for us, if not more.  As I’ve previously mentioned, my parents started working at sleep away camp in 1973 when they were school teachers.  I turned 2 years old that summer and between 1973 and 2020 my family missed only one other summer when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  Other than that, I have been attending sleep away camp just about every single summer of my life.  Camp is in my blood, it is my bones, and most of all, ILC is in my heart and soul.  I am still mourning the loss of summer 2020 and feel that I’m still going through the grieving process.  I know I will be ok, as will all of you.  We will get through this and hopefully we will come out stronger on the other side.

So what will we do all summer to keep our Island Lakers in contact with one another?  Well, we will Zoom but of course!  We have some Zoom sessions set up for the first week of June and we’ll have plenty throughout the summer months.  We’ll send emails out to our camp parents to let you all know about these sessions.  We’re going to plan some activities with our department heads and some hang outs with our counselors.  We hope all of our summer 2020 campers will join us so we can see all of their smiling faces.

Below are some Opening Day photos from last summer.  These pictures aren’t meant to bring sadness for what we will be missing this summer, rather they will hopefully put a smile on all of your faces as we count down to next summer.

Stay healthy, stay well, and before we know it, ILCUTHERE in 391 days!!!