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!!!

Summer 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!

Sincerely,
Wendy, Ricki, Matt, and Bev

P.S.  Please click the link below and watch this video 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruwAHG0QqQ4&feature=youtu.be

May Parent News

Hey Island Lake Families!  Wow, how did May sneak up on us so quickly?  With spring in the air, excitement is building and summer 2020 is right around the corner!  Yay!  Our hope is that we will be moving up to camp by early to mid-June.  If we are cleared to do so then at that time all correspondence should go directly to our summer address.  We will keep you apprised via email with all of these specific dates.  

We are happy to report that we had the opportunity to pay it forward and donate to The Cooperage Project in Honesdale, PA.  By doing so we provided over 250 snack bags for families who need some extra assistance during these challenging times.  We got involved with the Cooperage Project by participating in the #CAMPSDOGOOD Challenge as you can see in the photo to your right.

Although there is still so much up in the air with regards to the Coronavirus and the starting date of camp, we are moving forward and we are still preparing as if we are to start camp on time on June 27th.  Therefore, if your child is enrolled for summer 2020, please be sure to fill out his/her Profile and Transportation Forms right here on our website.  All forms were due on May 1st.  If you haven’t yet taken care of these forms (whoopsie!), please do so right now.  Just click the “CampMinder Login” on our homepage (islandlake.com) and enter your email address and password.  If you have not yet created a CampMinder account, click “First Time Users- Create Account” and follow the directions. 

It is imperative that we have a Medical Form on file for every child attending Island Lake this summer.  We understand that many of you have not been able to take your children to see your pediatrician for their annual visit just yet.  Please do not worry about the May 1st deadline for this form.  Just be sure to fill it out in its entirety and then send it to us prior to your children’s arrival at camp.  The Medical Form cannot be filled out online so please use the form that we mailed to your home a couple of months ago.  If misplaced, click the following link for a copy: 

https://www.islandlake.com/pdf/2020/Medical-Form-2020.pdf

The form is located on our website under “Island Lake Families” then “Forms & Mailings.”  As a reminder, you can mail the completed Medical Form to our NY winter office until late May/early June.  After then, please mail the form to our summer address at camp.

Attention all new and returning Island Lake families!  By now you should have received an email regarding all of our “Spring Mailing” information.  Included are your Parent Handbook, Camper Handbook, Activities Handbook, Medication Policy letter, as well as an Open House flyer.  These handbooks and flyers are available for you on our website under “Island Lake Families” and “Forms & Mailings.”  Whether you are returning or are new to the Island Lake family, please make sure you and your children take a few minutes to sit down and read these forms and handbooks thoroughly as we always add new information.  

Are you a returning ILC parent who has not yet signed up your child for this upcoming summer?  We understand your apprehension to enroll for camp at this time.  However, some of our bunks are now completely full.  We truly do not want to turn away any of our devoted campers.  Feel free to give us a call to discuss enrollment.  If you don’t have a registration form handy, click “Island Lake Families” at the top of the page and then click “Forms & Mailings” and print the “2020 Enrollment Form.”  You can mail, email, or even fax it (yes, fax machines do indeed still exist!) directly to our NY office until the end of May, upon which you can then send it to our summer address at camp.  For faster enrollment, you can simply scan/email the registration form to us at info@islandlake.com.

To all current Island Lake families, we are still hopeful that we will be able to open camp and provide your children with a wonderful summer experience.  If your children are enrolled with us then you are receiving our emails in which we are keeping you up to date on the status of camp based on all of the information we are receiving from the CDC, ACA (American Camp Association), and the state of Pennsylvania.  If you are not yet enrolled, please send us your children’s registration form so we can add you to our mailing list.

To all prospective families, feel free to contact us if you have any questions after browsing our website:  914-769-6060.  As of approximately June 1st or shortly there after, you can contact us at 570-798-2550.  In the meantime, let’s keep the countdown to Summer 2020 going, keep your fingers crossed, keep the wishful thinking alive, and keep on shouting at the top of your lungs, “ILC U SOON!” so it can all come true!!!