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

Staff FAQs Staff FAQs

Staff Having Fun with Kids
What makes Island Lake special?
We pride ourselves in providing an environment rich in experience, attention, fun, and individual achievement. We are a unique camp in that our campers choose their own activities and do not travel with the bunk from activity to activity. Therefore, all of our counselors are specialty counselors, teaching in any of the various activities we offer. Additionally, Island Lake is unique because of the bonds that form between the campers and the counselors. You are almost guaranteed to make friendships that will continue for your lifetime. Our counselors tend to go home after the summer with a feeling of growth, accomplishment, and a love for children.
Where is Island Lake located?
Our camp 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. We are within driving distance of Boston, Philadelphia, Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse, and Niagara Falls for your days off.
Where do campers and staff come from?
Our campers come predominantly from the northeast. We have a large number of campers from other areas of the country, as well as from overseas. We travel to universities all around America and Canada to hire our staff and we also travel to England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand each year. There are staff members from many other countries including Eastern Europe and South Africa.
How many periods do I teach each day?
Bunk counselors teach five of the six 1-hour periods per day. Every bunk counselor is guaranteed a period off each day.
How do the nights and days off work?
You will have three nights off per week with no curfew. You will also be given five days off during the course of the summer. Since you have no curfew, you can leave camp the night before your day off and return by our 8am wake-up the day after your day off, making days off 36 hours long.
What are the meals like at camp?
We serve cafeteria style in our dining room. For breakfast, we offer a choice of cold cereals, as well as a hot entrée such as eggs, pancakes, waffles, etc. For lunch and dinner, we offer several main entrees, one of which is always a vegetarian option. There are fully stocked salad bars at every meal. Substitutes are always available as well as a choice of beverages including juices, milk, and hot chocolate. Our own pastry chef provides us with fresh rolls, breads, cookies, and cakes at each meal, giving Island Lake some of the best camp food around.
What are the bunks like?
The bunks are very spacious. There are 3 counselors and about 12 campers in every bunk. Our bunks are all double bunks, which means that they share a bathroom with the connecting bunk. The bathrooms consist of six sinks, four showers, and four toilets, equally split between the two bunks. Our bunks have cubbies, hanging space, and dressers, with electrical outlets between the beds.
What is the weather like at camp and what kind of clothing do I need to bring?
During the day, the temperatures are generally in the 70's and low 80's Fahrenheit. At night, the temperature can drop to the 50's and 60's. You need to bring appropriate clothing for cold, warm, and wet weather. We provide you with clothing and equipment guidelines.
Will I have to bring anything for my department I will be working in?
The camp will provide most equipment, but we ask that you bring anything necessary to teach the activity you are instructing. Some examples of things to bring are:
Tennis- tennis racquets
Sports- equipment for your specialty
Music- instruments
Dance- music to choreograph dances
How much money should I bring for the summer?
This solely depends on what you want to do on your days and nights off. Everything at camp (food, laundry, and lodging) is paid for. You will want spending money for your time off.
Will I be able to get an advance during the course of the summer?
Halfway through the summer you will be able to get a pay advance of $200.
Will I have access to the internet and phones while at camp?
We have a separate room in the office set up for staff use of computers and telephones. You can access this room on any of your periods off or nights off.
Will I be able to utilize any of the other activities on camp?
Absolutely! During your time off, you are welcome to explore any of the other departments on camp.
Is there a staff lounge?
You can spend your time off relaxing in our staff lounge. It is equipped with a television, DVD player, pool table, beverage machines, and washing machines and dryers.
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