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4th of July!!!

Happy 4th of July and Happy Birthday America! I hope you’re all enjoying your holiday as much as we are here at Island Lake. Our campers have completely gotten into the patriotic holiday spirit, 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 partly to mostly cloudy and temps went up to the low 80’s. Tonight we will be in the mid-70’s for our fireworks extravaganza. We’re hoping that the rain will stay away. We make the 4th of July very special for our campers and staff here at Island Lake. I’ll list all that this day entails. Let’s start from the beginning,…

At breakfast this morning we started our 4th of July with our friends, the Brits, standing in front of the camp in the dining room singing 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!” Our kids were pretty enthusiastic singing the national anthem considering it was the morning and they had just woken up prior to breakfast.

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 on my ipod with a pre-made music lunch play list. In any case, the kids had an amazing time singing and dancing to the pop music, camp alma maters, and US themed songs. Everyone joined in on the fun and didn’t want to leave for their next activity, 2nd major. You can view photos of our music lunch here in this blog.  I posted a ton! There will also be lots of music lunch pictures in our daily summer photos today.

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

Next highlight- CANTEEN will follow rest hour instead of our usual evening activity prior to canteen. We do this so that we can put on our firework show once the sun sets. After canteen and prior to the fireworks our rock shop staff and campers will put on a ROCK CONCERT on girls campus. 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 our show 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.

Sports don’t stop for the holidays! Today our 4th & 5th grade girls played basketball here at home this afternoon. Our 8th & 9th grade girls played soccer here at home as well. I had the opportunity to check out the soccer game for a little while and I have to tell you, we have some talented players on this team. I’m also proud to share that our 8th & 9th grade girls won their soccer game, 6-1. Go Island Lakers!

We threw in yet another surprise late this afternoon during 3rd minor. What is normally our most anticipated, most secretive evening activity that every child thinks they can predict the break out for, we decided to trick them and do in the late afternoon. “What was it?” you may be asking yourselves. Why here’s a hint: it takes place down at the waterfront. All parents of returning campers or parents who are Island Lake alumni should know exactly what I’m talking about. Those of you who are new to ILC will for sure hear about this activity when your child returns home. Oh ok, I’ll tell you. It was Revival Night!!! I’ll let your children tell you all about Revival when they get home from camp.

As a reminder, tomorrow is our Lazy Day. Groups 1&2 are going to Sky Zone, group 3 is going to Montage Mountain (waterpark), and group 4 is spending the day at Ithaca. I’ll be on the Ithaca trip where the kids will swim in the gorges and then spend a couple of hours at Ithaca Commons. There at the Commons they will have lunch and do some “Ithaca is Gorges” t-shirt shopping. Since we’ll be out until dinnertime, I’m going to forego posting a blog tomorrow. I’ll fill you in any lazy day gossip on Friday, along with some photos.

Today’s feature: Patriotic campers at MUSIC LUNCH! I hope you’re all having a wonderful 4th of July. Until Friday when we resume our regular camp schedule, ILCUTHERE!

Tuesday, July 3rd

Hi ILC families! We’re now fully into our 2nd week of camp so I’d like to share a link with you to view our week 1 video. It’s a culmination of opening day, majors/minors, and special events. Some of you may have already seen the video via our link on Facebook but feel free to share this link with your family and friends. It’s worth the few minutes to feel like you’re a part of the ILC experience.

Last night at the end of evening activity we had an unexpected drop in the temperatures, some crazy wind, followed by a big thunderstorm. Instead of letting everyone mosey on up to the canteen at their leisure we called them by group and then had them return to their bunks. Once the storm hit we kept a group in the canteen until it passed. We sent the remaining campers back to their bunks for the night once it was safe for them to leave. Hey, nothing like an impromptu ETB!

Buzz around camp is excitement for tomorrow’s 4th of July festivities. We have some great annual traditions planned such as our morning breakfast speech, music lunch, dinner cookout, and then an outdoor rock concert and huge firework display at sunset. It’s always fun seeing everyone dress up in their patriotic colors to represent their countries, Americans and overseas staff. I’ll fill you in with more details tomorrow. I’ll also blog photos of the kids at music lunch all decked out in their red, white, and blue.

I’m happy to report that the temps cooled by 10 degrees today in comparison to yesterday here at camp. The high was in the low 80’s (which now feels cool!) with partly cloudy skies, which made the sun less strong.

Today in sports, our 6th & 7th grade girls went out of camp this morning to play in a soccer game. Our 4th & 5th grade girls also went out of camp this afternoon to play in a soccer game.  I don’t usually find out who won the games when I blog but spoiler alert:  I found out that the 4th & 5th grade girls beat the other camp 4-2.  Woohoo!!!

Tonight’s evening activity is ILC’S GOT TALENT! Yup, you guessed it. It’s just like America’s Got Talent but we’ve limited the audition pool to just our campers. (wink wink) Tonight is the preliminary rounds within the groups. Later in the week we’ll have a final round for the entire camp to enjoy.

Today’s special feature is COOKING at the Bistro! During the majors they made sesame noodles (only sun butter, don’t worry, and we made sure no one had any allergies). During the minors they made magical mystery mugs (individual chocolate chip cakes for each child). Cooking is very popular here at camp but between you and me, I think many kids just like the end results,…the eating part!

Have a great evening and until tomorrow when we celebrate our nation’s independence from our fellow Brits on the other side of the pond, ILCUTHERE!

Posted July 3rd, 2018 by

Monday, July 2nd

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 70’s and we quickly hit the low 80’s by late morning.   This afternoon was a blistering high of about 90 degrees 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 and it hit triple digits south of us here in the Pocono Mountains.

Today was another busy day with sports. We hosted the Wayne County volleyball tournament here at ILC for our older girls. They played fantastic games and guess what? They won the entire tournament! GO ISLAND LAKE VOLLEYBALL GIRLS! Here is a photo of the winning team. We are very proud of them.

In other sports our 8th grade and older kids played tennis this morning out of camp. Our 4th & 5th grade boys played soccer here at home this morning (before it got too hot out). Our 6th & 7th grade boys had a baseball game here at home in the early afternoon as well.

In my office today were 2 young campers, 1 returning and 1 brand new to ILC this summer. They have something they’d like to tell you:

“Island Lake is the best place for kids. I LOVE the people here and the bunk is really nice. WE LOVE ILC!!!” –Aubrey, 9 years old, returning camper (I know her mom is reading this so I hope I just made her day!)

“I love camp. This is my first summer. Everything here is awesome. The science program is great. Tennis is really fun although it’s right in the sun.” (She’s a poet in her spare time!) –Imogen, 8 years old. Aren’t our campers cute?

Tonight’s evening activity is GROUPS. Here’s a rundown of what everyone is doing. GIRLS: Groups 1&2- pool party; Group 3- bunk videos for a near future ILC Film Festival; Group 4- slip ‘n slide water fight (with boys group 4). BOYS: Groups 1&2- kickball (& surprise water fight); Group 3- kong pong; Group 4- slip ‘n slide water flight (with girls group 4).  Notice a theme here? Lots of water activities to keep the kids cool.

Today’s special feature is SCIENCE & FISHING! Enjoy these photos and until tomorrow, ILCUTHERE!


Posted July 2nd, 2018 by

Sunday, July 1st

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian staff and any of you who may be from our neighboring country! We had another beautiful, hot day here in the 18462. We probably broke a record for the number of kids who signed up for free swim at the lake and pool for minors. It’s good to see kids staying active but also staying hydrated, using sunblock, and taking advantage of the water.

Today was Sunday Fun-day here at ILC. I know you look at the pictures and watch the short videos to see all of the activities that take place on a daily basis, but sometimes you don’t know the nitty gritty specifics so I figured I’d share some of them with you. For example, in arts & crafts today amongst the usual ceramics, woodworking, and photography for the minors we also offered red, white, & blue tie dye (since our big holiday is approaching), pop art, bunk decorations, dream catchers, henna (you should see how cool our campers’ look once this is finished!), screen-print, and emoji necklaces. A lot of these activities vary on a daily basis. We offered a great deal more than this in art today but those specific activities stood out to share with you.

Here are some other unique activities we offered today amongst the usual: dance- choreography and strength on the lawn; cooking- they made pierogies, pizza (we have a pizza oven), and yesterday they made chocolate lava cake (yum!); science- giant bubbles & communication engineering; magic- escape artistry; pioneering- hunting for Sasquash (say what???); theater- theater games; sports- sports monsters (for the little ones) & lots of tournaments today.

Speaking of sports tournaments, we had a plethora of them today so here is rundown: 6th & 7th grade boys basketball played out of camp this morning, 6th & 7th grade girls basketball played here at camp in the early afternoon, 6th & 7th grade boys soccer played here at camp this afternoon, and 8th & 9th grade boys soccer went out of camp for a game this afternoon. We’re keeping our kids active for sure!

Tonight’s evening activity is groups. Here’s the breakdown for you: GIRLS: Group 1&2- spelling bee; Group 3- speed dating (with boys group 3); Group 4- speed dating (with boys group 4). BOYS: Group 1- campfire (did somebody say s’mores?); Group 2- pool party; Group 3- speed dating (with girls group 3); Group 4- speed dating (with boys group 4).

Today’s special feature is HORSEBACK RIDING! Enjoy the pics below and until tomorrow, ILCUTHERE!

Saturday, June 30th

Happy Saturday-right-before-the-big-holiday everybody! Or as we call it here at Island Lake, just another beautiful day in Starrucca, PA. Can you believe we’re already one 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.

So remember that cold rainy weather I was “gently” complaining about a few days ago? Well the sunshine god have finally returned my calls after I left them endless voicemails, texts, and Facebook messages. They’re now making up for lost time with warm temps and sunshine. Woohoo! We hit the upper 80’s today, which I’m sure is still much cooler than the temps you’re experiencing back at home. We’re frequently reminding our campers to carry water bottles and to keep applying sunscreen. We have bottles of sunscreen placed in many buildings and departments here at camp so they can even apply mid-major/minor if needed.

Our 5th grade and under baseball boys played a game here at home this morning against another camp. Our 6th & 7th grade boys had a tennis tournament here at camp this afternoon, as well. It’s great to see the sports getting off to a start now that all of the camps in the area are in full swing.

Tonight’s evening activity is a new game for our Island Lakers called, “Taken.” Contrary to the big time rumors going around camp, it’s not Revival Night. I’ll explain Revival to our rookie parents when that evening activity actually takes place. Now back to Taken. Our group leader, Patrick, created this mystery game for the whole camp to participate in all at once. It involves bunks collecting clues about adult staff members who are suspects accused of stealing canteen tokens. The bunks have to perform interviews with suspects and collect clues all around camp to solve this crime. They have all of evening activity to work on this as well as tomorrow. The details of the crime will be revealed at dinner tomorrow so we expect the kids to all debate “who done it”.

Today’s special feature is PIONEERING! Below you’ll see kids scaling the climbing wall, flying down the zipline, soaring through the air on the giant swing, climbing the upper ropes course, and having a good ol’ fashioned water fight to cool off this afternoon. Enjoy these pics and the beautiful blue sky and until tomorrow, ILCUTHERE!

Friday, June 29th

Hello Island Lake families! After a fun day out of camp for Lazy Day, ILC majors and minors were back in action today. This morning the temps already started off warmer in the 60’s with sunny skies. I’m happy to report that by afternoon the temps went up to about 80 degrees! 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 (
  3. Short videos and photos on our Facebook page (
  4. Photo posts and stories on Instagram (
  5. And of course, our daily photos and weekly videos through your CampMinder account. If we have issues linking the videos to CampMinder then we will update you regarding where they will be posted.

As many of you know, every morning at 8am the camp is woken up with our traditional wake-up call. Matt plays music over the PA and then says “Everybody up, everybody up, up, up, up! Rise and shine.  It’s a beautiful day in Starrucca, PA. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the grass is growing. Breakfast, as always, is in 10 minutes. See you there.” I’m sure some of your campers have come home quoting this wake-up call, as the tradition started with my dad 33 years ago when my parents founded this camp. Although the announcement has pretty much stayed the same, the music has changed quite a bit over the years. Matt’s eclectic taste in music can now be downloaded for your listening pleasure. You can follow his ever-growing Spotify playlist as the summer progresses with each wake-up call. Here is a link for you:  Spotify

I am excited to tell you that we started our Wayne County sports tournaments today. We had 2 tennis tournaments, one home and one away. Our 8th & 9th grade boys played here at camp this morning and our 6th & 7th grade girls played at a nearby camp this afternoon.

Evening activity is Fear Factor. The lower half of the camp will play in the gym and the upper half will play in the theater. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this game, it involves kids terrorizing their counselors with gross food, ice buckets, and dirty disgusting things. Should be fun!

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 will 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!

Today’s special feature is WATERFRONT! It was a great day for a dip in the lake and pool. Until tomorrow, our last June summer day, ILCUTHERE!

Posted June 29th, 2018 by

Thursday, June 28th

Happy Lazy Day! Today was 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 and I hear it was a full house.

Groups 3&4 (8th grade and up) departed from camp first as they made their way to Binghamton to a big bowling alley. The kids had fun bowling, playing laser tag, riding bumper cars, playing arcade games, and enjoyed the snack bar.   Groups 1&2 (7th grade and under) then went to see Incredibles 2 at a local town. The overall feedback is that they absolutely LOVED the movie.

Today was a mish-mosh of weather as we experienced a mostly cloudy day, a little bit of rain, and then shortly before dinnertime the sunshine managed to return. Fortunately most of the rain occurred while our campers were out of camp. The temps are finally warming up again as we reached the mid-70’s. It was nice to see the sun and blue sky peep through the clouds once again. I’ve missed it! I’m happy to report that the temps are supposed to continue to increase another 10 degrees over the next few days and the sun will be shining tomorrow. 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 GROUPS. Here’s the rundown: GIRLS: Groups 1&2- ugly fashion show (just what it sounds like. They dress up in silly clothing and make up and have a good ol’ time fashioning it for everyone else); Group 3- pool party (with boys group 3); Group 4- ugly fashion show with boys group 2 but with a different spin. The girls will dress up the male counselors from boys group 2 and boys group 2 will dress up the female counselors from girls group 4. BOYS: Group 1- gaga; Group 2- ugly fashion show with girls group 4; Group 3- pool party; Group 4- capture the flag.

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

Wednesday, June 27th

Happy Wednesday to all of our Island Lake parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd session campers, pets, and friends! Today is Sports Jersey Day here in Starrucca, PA (also known as “Starruccapa”). Many of our campers are “sporting” their favorite athletic teams today whether it be a jersey, t-shirt, shorts, or baseball hat. Enjoy viewing lots of daily summer photos of our campers in their sports wear today via CampMinder.

And now onto our daily dose of the Island Lake weather. Many of you may recall that last summer was pretty cold and rainy, right? We are doing our best to speak with the sunshine gods above to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year but so far they’re sending us straight to voicemail. Unfortunately, the rain started at breakfast time and was with us throughout the whole day so far. It’s been a pretty steady light rain. The temps started in the upper 50’s this morning and only made its way up to the low 60’s at best. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Did I send my child with warm blankets? Should I send more sweatshirts, pants, rainboots, raincoats, and jackets?” Well tomorrow it’s supposed to start warming up and we should have beautiful summer temps by early weekend.

Even with the rain our activities continued per usual. Our sports kids played in the gym, tennis in the hockey rink, pioneering played games in the gym along with waterfront. We kept the outdoor kids active indoors throughout the day. The rain doesn’t affect most of our other activities so it was biz as usual for them. As you’ll see below in the featured photos, arts and crafts stayed plenty busy today.

Tonight’s evening activity is going to be camp-wide feature of the blockbuster hit movie, Incredibles. Since tomorrow is Lazy Day and boys and girls groups 1&2 are going to see Incredibles 2, it only seems proper to show the first one in the series tonight. Tomorrow groups 3&4 are going bowling, but I’ll tell you more about that in tomorrow’s blog.

Please keep in mind that since tomorrow is Lazy Day, we will not post photos on CampMinder. Capturing pics of kids sitting and watching a movie in the dark isn’t too exciting (wink wink). Any photos that we take tomorrow will be posted Friday for your viewing pleasure.

Today’s special feature is ART & CRAFTS! Enjoy the pics and until tomorrow, ILCUTHERE!!!

Tuesday, June 26th

Hi Island Lake Families! This morning we woke up to some chilly temperatures. As soon as the sun rose high in the sky the temps warmed up here in the 18462. The start to summer has been a little cool but it looks like that will change very soon. I feel déjà vu at the moment because we experienced this chilly weather at the start of camp last summer as well.

I’m happy to report that Island Lake 2018 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. You can check out our 5-year jacket and 10-year jacket pics now for your viewing pleasure.

Soooo, our campers have brought quite a variety of unique games, toys, trinkets, and what nots to camp this summer. On the right you can see Sydney and Sutton working hard in my office to put the final touches (and by touches I mean air) into their bunk mascot.

I have a funny story to share with you that I think is going to put a huge smile on your faces. I have an ongoing joke with one of the younger boys bunks and every day is a “free hug” day for them. For instance, Sunday was “Free Hug Sunday” and Monday was “Free Hug Monday.” I decided to switch it up on the boys for fun this morning and tell them my hugs weren’t free today,…ya know, because I don’t want it to get played out in the first week of camp (wink wink). Well these boys acted as if they didn’t care so I told them I was charging for hugs. I then took it one step further and told them it would cost them a canteen token to receive a hug from me. They continued to laugh at me and tell me there’s no way they’re paying me a token for a hug, so I left their breakfast table feeling defeated. I went on with my day, business as usual, and returned to say hello to them once again at lunchtime. The biggest shocker was when a counselor told me one of his campers who I never hugged before (I always ask new “huggees” permission first) brought canteen tokens to lunch so he could receive a hug from me!!!! I was dying! He took them out from his pocket to hand over to me and I gave him a big hug with an even bigger smile on my face. This boy just made my day. I explained to him that I was only joking and I’m happy to give him a free hug anytime he’d like. Following this exchange, much to my surprise, the boys who had laughed me off in the morning all asked for hugs as well! How cute is that? I love camp!  (Disclaimer for anyone who skimmed that paragraph: No money/canteen tokens were exchanged for hugs at any time!)

Anyway, now back to ILC news,…tonight’s evening activity is GROUPS. The boys and girls of each group will be playing together so here’s a breakdown of what everyone is doing:  Group 1- crazy games (variety of games in the gym); Group 2- capture the flag; Group 3- gaga; Group 4- pool party.

Today’s special feature is SPORTS. It’s amazing to see so many exciting activities going on here at ILC. Enjoy these pics and until tomorrow, ILCUTHERE!

Posted June 26th, 2018 by

Monday, June 25th

Happy first day of majors and minors! 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 at the cooking bistro. 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 in pioneering, and science experiments are being created by children of all ages.   Sports and tennis went on outdoors as well as in the gym and it was great to see so many kids participating. Tons of kids were spotted playing flag football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball this afternoon. We’re extremely pumped for all the action going on here at Island Lake!

The day started off very cool but after lunch the temps warmed up to 70 degrees. We said goodbye to the clouds this morning and the skies could not be any bluer right now. The 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.

Tonight’s evening activity is a big camp-wide game of To Tell The Truth. For those of you who haven’t been watching the reboot of this game show on tv, it involves contestants on stage all telling the same personal story to the audience (our campers) and then they take questions from the kids. The audience then has to decide who amongst the panel is telling the truth. It’s light hearted entertainment for kids of all ages.

After evening activity tonight our campers will head to the canteen for a snack or two. There at the canteen, as well as the gym, they will have the opportunity to socialize. Lots of kids will take the opportunity to play 4-square as well as basketball (a big games of knock out). 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 and soda machine to hang out and socialize. 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 many skills in their activities. We couldn’t be happier for all of them!

Today’s special photo feature is CIRCUS. Below are a bunch of pics from a variety of circus activities throughout the day. Enjoy the pictures and until tomorrow, ILC U THERE!