Hello Again BLC Parents,
It was great to see so many of you for a wonderful Visiting Weekend!
The Song Contest – as you probably know – was won by the Inters.
Camp has rebounded well from your visits. The traditional “slowdown” following Visiting Weekend was mild, if at all. Counselors maintained their energy and campers their enthusiasm. Laughter still abounds.
Our Seniors are home after multi-day trips to Boston (Sr A’s), Philly (Uphill C’s), and Montreal (Downhill C’s). The burden on trip leaders leading teenagers into cities is enormous, and we are thankful for their talents and efforts.
Next, our Inter B’s head to Cooperstown on Sunday to Monday. Some self-selected Inter A’s are taking a day climb to Giant Mountain (of the High Peaks, NY) on Monday. Our Sophs have half-day hikes on the schedule.
Friday night was our annual Ten Year Party that Mieks Gersten hosted at our home. There were an incredible 60+ invitees.
Today was our Carnival, which included a Halloween theme with bunks dressing up together and prizes for the best/most creative costumes. Our older Seniors led the event with help from our older Sports Academy girls.
Tomorrow features the final day of Olympics for our Sophs through Inter A’s.
This next week will have our Five Year Party with approximately 190 campers and staff invited. FYI, we also had 90 first-year campers this summer.
Also at some point this week, GREEN and GRAY will BREAK! As always, this is the most anticipated 4 days of the summer.
We will check back with you next week with final week plans and reminders about your boys’ return back to you.
Thanks for your support. We wish to reiterate, if you ever want to speak about anything – no topic is off-limits – please contact us. We will always speak forthrightly to our parents.
Have a Great Week,
Richie G for Max and Andy
Dear BLC Parents,
This past week was a big one. Lots of action and even a bonus one day of Green and Gray. We now put Green and Gray away until some time in August when it will re-emerge for 4 more days. The score is Green: 6.5 and Gray 8. There were many well-played and close events, but the highlight has to be the Senior C basketball game that went into overtime on a 3 pointer with 3 seconds left by Ayden Khalid and then 3 baskets in the last 10 seconds of overtime: A tough basket with 10 seconds left by Max Frei put Green up by 1, then a well-defended basket with 6 seconds left by Cal Murphy gave back the lead to Gray, and then a long 3 at the buzzer- again by Ayden Khalid which won the game for Green. (You can see video footage from this event and many others on our @BrantLakeCampNY Instagram Page under the “G&G ‘22” highlights on our profile.)
ONE WEEK UNTIL VISITING WEEKEND! AFTER reviewing the below changes, updates, and reminders, we are asking EVERY FAMILY to please fill out this Visiting Day Form (linked here) by 12PM on Wednesday, July 20 (required for entry on Visiting Day).
NEW! Testing & Submitting Test Results: Given the uptick in Covid in the NYC area, we are going to require proof of TWO negative antigen tests for all visitors.
For those attending the Uphill Senior C Graduation on FRIDAY, JULY 22:
- Proof/photo of a negative rapid antigen test (can be a home test) MUST be sent to [email protected] on Tuesday, July 19. Please include the names of the visitors (i.e. who the tests are for) and of the camper you are visiting in the email.
- Proof/photo of another at-home negative rapid antigen test, taken on Friday, July 22 between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, MUST be sent to [email protected] by 5:15 PM on Friday, July 22.
For those visiting on SATURDAY, JULY 23:
- Proof/photo of a negative rapid antigen test (can be a home test) MUST be sent to [email protected] on Wednesday, July 20. Please include the names of the visitors (i.e. who the tests are for) and of the camper you are visiting in the email.
- Proof/photo of a negative at-home rapid antigen test taken between 8:30 PM on Friday and 8:30 AM on Saturday must be presented to BLC personnel upon arrival for your visit Saturday morning.
For those visiting on SUNDAY, JULY 24:
- Proof/photo of a negative rapid antigen test (can be a home test) MUST be sent to [email protected] on Thursday, July 21. Please include the names of the visitors (i.e. who the tests are for) and of the camper you are visiting in the email.
- Proof/photo of a negative at-home rapid antigen test taken between 8:30 PM on Saturday and 8:30 AM on Sunday must be presented to BLC personnel upon arrival for your visit Saturday morning.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] or call 518-494-2406.
Review of Visiting Timing: Visiting on Saturday and Sunday will begin at 9:45 AM. Please do not arrive before 8:45 AM, but do keep in mind we will need to check your Covid test, give you your name tags, and give you a warm welcome and visiting expectations prior to 9:45 AM, which is when you will see your children. Visiting will end at 3:30 PM.
Families with Two BLC Campers: Remember, you may only visit for one day. You have a few options: split up parents, or have one son join you while watching the other son’s activity. Lunch hour will be together. We strongly hope that your sons will make their song contest rehearsals.
Note, a change in plans: We have decided to end visiting at 3:30 PM even for those visiting two campers. We feel that ending visiting for everyone at the same time, including for those with two campers, allows for our traditional end-of-visiting waterfight- which takes precedence over the extra hour of visiting. Sorry, we hope this is not too disappointing.
We ask you all to PLEASE WEAR MASKS when indoors with others. The health of our camp community depends on it.
Senior A’s: On Saturday, Senior A’s will be taken by bus to either Tops in Bolton Landing or the municipal center off of exit 20 in Lake George, leaving camp at 10:30am, so you can expect them at approximately 11:15am. The bus will pick up Senior A’s (along with the Uphill Senior C’s) at the same locations at 8:30pm to bring them back to camp. If a parent of a Senior A has never visited Brant Lake Camp and would like to, they can come to camp at 10am on Saturday for a visit before taking your son out of camp for the day.
Uphill Senior C’s: On Saturday, all Senior C’s will be taken by bus to either Tops in Bolton Landing or the municipal center off of exit 20 in Lake George,leaving camp at 8:30am, so you can expect them at approximately 9:15am. The bus will pick up Uphill C’s (along with the Senior A’s) at the same locations at 8:30pm to bring them back to camp.
Note, a change in plans: The graduation ceremony for Uphill Senior C’s and their parents/siblings will take place at BLC’s “Chill Vibes” (lakeside) on Friday, July 22 at 8:00pm (instead of 8:30pm).
Downhill Senior C’s: On Saturday, all Senior C’s will be taken by bus to either Tops in Bolton Landing or the municipal center off of exit 20 in Lake George, leaving camp at 8:30am, so you can expect them at approximately 9:15am.
Note, a change in plans: Downhill C’s and their parents/siblings are invited back to BLC’s “Chill Vibes” (lakeside) on Saturday at 6:00pm for a cookout, followed by the graduation ceremony from approx. 7:15-8:30pm.
Conflicts with visiting a sister at Point O’ Pines: If you have a Saturday visiting day conflict with Point O’ Pines, you may visit your BLC camper on Sunday, July 24 instead. We will have full visiting day programming for them. If you need assistance working out a conflict, please let us know.
In Case of Rain: There will still be visiting on Saturday and Sunday, but the timing and, of course, activities, will be adjusted. If the forecast looks bad, we will contact you with the adjustments on/about Wednesday.
Again, we are asking EVERY FAMILY to please fill out this Visiting Day Form (linked here) by 12PM on Wednesday, July 20 (required for entry on Visiting Day). If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] or call 518-494-2406.
We also wish to share two articles. Hope you take time to read them. The first is a Washington Post opinion piece by Dr. Leana S. Wen, which dovetails with BLC’s thinking around Covid. Additionally, some of you may have seen the interesting article on the importance, history, and evolution of summer camp in The Wall Street Journal last Saturday.
See you soon!
Hello BLC Parents,
Two weeks have now passed and camp is moving on all cylinders. While each day seems like a lifetime for the first few days to a week, now the next 2 weeks until Visiting are likely to fly by quickly.
Not much to report. We are healthy, the weather is good, the lake has warmed (some), and activity still abounds. Our Seniors will take their first overnight trips this next week. We have had a few intercamp games and tournaments. We will have each group take at least one day trip out of camp before visiting weekend. We have had a brother-sister/brother-brother visiting, and on the 4th of July all our groups had a social interaction with Point O’ Pines.
Morale is high! We have secured places twice a week where only our counselors can go for socializing and relaxation. On their days off, counselors are free to go where they wish with us strongly encouraging outdoor events.
Many of you have had your first phone calls and hopefully they were informative and positive. Feel free to contact us to discuss if you have any areas of concern.
Visiting Day Reminders: Only parents and siblings are allowed this summer. Families may visit on either Saturday or Sunday. Proof of a negative test taken the morning of Visiting will be mandatory (rapid at-home tests are permissible). We will also expect you to test 3 days prior to visiting. (If you happen to test positive, we will arrange for you to visit after you recover.)
“Pro Day” for prospective campers are on for the Thursday and Friday afternoons prior to Visiting Day. Check in with [email protected] if interested!
Until next week –
Hello BLC Parents,
We hope you have had a good week. We have had a very good one here at BLC. Lots of playing, smiles, laughter, less homesickness than most years (and those cases dissipated quickly or have become far less frequent). We have had tons of activities and fun.
I told our counselors during orientation that the goal for the first few days of camp is no hospital trips and that they would likely feel overwhelmed, but for the past 104 years, a sense of calm and consistency will emerge anywhere from day three to day eight. We have had no hospital trips and a feeling of calm emerged this year on day 5 (Thursday).
We have had great weather. Nice days and cool (a few cold) nights. We’ve completed the necessary physicals, and our many first year campers have “learned the ropes” and are fully assimilated into the groups. Thankfully, Covid has stayed away. Friday marked our first day trips and intercamp game, and the start of our counselor days off and nights out. This next week, we have some trips and more intercamp games for our Seniors. We look forward to brother-sister visiting and co-ed events with our sister camp, Point O’ Pines this week. We plan all to be outdoors and Covid-sensitive – but, of course, will also need some good fortune.
KEY STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION
To clarify for you all, our extensive key staff that is available for you to contact if needed is:
Frosh, Soph A’s, Soph B’s, and Junior A’s
Director: Andy Berlin ([email protected])
- Frosh & Soph A’s grouphead: Mani Cadet ([email protected])
- Soph B’s grouphead: Alexa Minion ([email protected])
- Junior A’s grouphead: Jon Rothman
Junior B’s, Inter A’s, and Inter B’s
Director: Max Gersten ([email protected])
Assistant Director: David “Cuts” Cutler ([email protected])
- Junior B’s Grouphead: Joe Patrick, and Assistant: Thea Gersten ([email protected])
- Inters Key Staff: Rhods Dafydd, Tarik Hamer, Finlay Mann, Jake “Swirls” Bernstein, and John Vaslowski
Assistant Director and Head Counselor: Zach Cohen ([email protected])
Administrative Assistant: Nick Maske ([email protected])
- Seniors Key Staff: Tom Finnigan, Joe Russack-Baker, Kofi Hope-Gund, Evan Allred, Gonzo Crespo, Cole McKissock
Office and Health Center
Assistant Director and Office Administrator: Jen Gillet ([email protected])
Health Center Coordinator: Julia Hall ([email protected])
VISITING DAY UPDATE
This is a conundrum. As you surely know many camps have canceled their visiting day this summer. We have made the decision to HAVE visiting day. There will be some adaptations, a couple we are announcing below (to give you time to plan, or adjust plans, accordingly) and others we will communicate to you next week (i.e. more of the specific logistical details). We look forward to welcoming you; and, of course, your children look forward to seeing you.
No one has a perfect view on how to best deal with Covid. No one can please everyone all of the time. We make decisions as best we can, looking at the best information available and using our intuition and judgment/experience as camp directors. My good friend Jim Delany, former commissioner of the Big Ten, says often to me that the 90-10 decisions are easy, the 55-45 decisions are not.
(Preliminary) Adaptations to Visiting Day:
- There will be mandatory testing for parents prior to coming. (Additional details and logistics to come later.)
- The day will be completely outdoors. We have plans if it’s raining (not a change in date/rain date) that we will alert you to closer to the day should the forecast indicate it’s likely.
- Parents that have two or more campers at BLC can only visit one day (either Saturday or Sunday) this summer, but their visiting day will end at 4:30pm instead of 3:30pm. (We will make an additional adjustment for those who have one of two/three campers in Senior Camp; we will contact those families separately to provide that information.)
Adjustments to Senior Camp Visiting Day
- All Seniors will be allowed to leave camp during the day on Saturday. There will be expectations for all when out of camp.
- Senior A’s parents will not visit their sons at camp. We will deliver your sons to you by bus on Saturday morning, and pick them up that evening to return to camp. (Details of the drop-off/pick-up locations and exact timing will be worked out with you at a later date.) If you have never been to BLC before, we will give you the option of picking up your Senior A on Saturday morning and getting a tour of camp.
- Uphill Senior C’s will not be allowed to leave camp on Friday night. We will have an outdoor graduation ceremony for our Uphill C’s at 8:30pm on Friday, which we welcome and hope the parents of our Uphill Senior C’s will come and attend at camp. On Saturday, we will deliver your sons to you by bus in the morning, and pick them up that evening to return to camp. (Details of the drop-off/pick-up locations and exact timing will be worked out with you at a later date.)
- Downhill Senior C’s will not be allowed to leave camp (for dinner or to sleep out) on Friday night. On Saturday, we will deliver your sons to you by bus in the morning. We will have parents drive their kids back to camp on Saturday night so they can attend the outdoor graduation ceremony for the Downhill Senior C’s at 9pm on Saturday. (Details of the Saturday morning drop-off location and exact timing will be worked out with you at a later date.)
As a reminder, Visiting Day for Frosh, Sophs (A’s & B’s), Juniors (A’s & B’s), and Seniors (A’s, Uphill & Downhill C’s) is on Saturday, July 23. Visiting Day for Inter A’s and Inter B’s is on Sunday, July 24.
Of course we are open to your positive and negative feedback.
Speak to you next week!
Richie Gersten, Executive Director
Green & Gray 2021 was everything we could imagine, and more! Relive the magic through our Green & Gray TikTok Reel!
@brantlakecamp Green and Gray 2021 #blc104 #blcfamily #thebrantlakeway #theblcway ♬ The Business – Tiësto
Be sure to follow @brantlakecamp on TikTok and continue to experience #TheBLCWay!
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, President of the Child Mind Institute, sent his three boys to Brant Lake Camp and has been a willing and generous advisor and sounding board to me over many years.
Reading his new book, The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety, reinforced the deep-seated confidence I already had about how beneficial camp is to the growth of children. Below are messages, advice, paraphrases and quotes that I gleaned from the book. Many of the suggestions in the book can easily be fostered by a top-quality sleepaway camp experience. Some of these, I think, are uniquely and especially addressed at Brant Lake Camp. – Richard B. Gersten
The job of a parent is to raise children who can eventually stand up on their own and be healthy and productive, “grow into adults who can function in the world, live independently, seek out their own happiness and know what they are good at.”
Parenting is a hard job- It’s okay to get a break by sending your child to something like sleepaway camp.
Negative tracking (only noticing what is wrong) and confirmation bias (believing you are always right) are harmful.
- Shoot for a 3:1 ratio of appreciation to criticism
- Be kind to Be Kind
Magic of Positive Reinforcement
- Meaningful praise is emotional sustenance for kids
- Specific language is better than general
- Praise behavior not accomplishment
- Every time a child demonstrates perseverance, expressiveness, compromise, hard work, notice it
- Criticism should be like a gentle nudge
- Catch your child being good
Use language they understand
Use a consistent tone
Ask about their interests
Give to Get
Praise the good
Active ignoring (“choose your battles”)
Recruit kids into conversation by appealing to their interests- something they feel confident about, best of all, something they feel smarter than you about.
Laughter is a medicine; smiling does make you feel slightly happier.
Never tease your child
If you want to raise future independent, competent adults who aren’t afraid to take on challenges, DO less for them as children. Support them with instruction, encourage them to try, but allow them to fail and then guide them to look at what happened so they don’t repeat mistakes
“You can’t put a Band-Aid on a social rejection or a failure experience. There is no instant fix when a twelve-year-old is suddenly cast out of her friend group… You can’t protect a child from the trials of life. But you can give your kid armor by teaching him to advocate for himself, and thereby develop the grit he needs to survive and succeed.”
THE GROWTH ZONE
- Maximal learning and growth happen in the area just outside the Comfort Zone, when the child is reaching and stretching to acquire new skills … just beyond their curingrent capacity, not too far from where they already are –> inspires kids to become independent problem solvers and self-motivated learners.
- It is important to understand that process- how we scaffold a child to work hard, be kind and compassionate, express himself- is more important than outcome.
Hovering within reach of our kids to help them when they face the slightest hurdle,
“helicopter parenting, concierge parenting, snowplow parenting- indicate a parent’s fear of failure and rejection for their child”–> Doing so is “swooping in” as opposed to SCAFFOLDING
“Playing the same game with the same coach and the same team was stifling her and blocking potential growth that might be found elsewhere”
“The greatest risk to an overprotected child is not a bruised elbow. It’s holding back her social and emotional development…”
- Brain is wired to seek out what’s new, what’s different
- Be consistent
- Consequences don’t have to hurt to work
- “What’s really going on when a teen slacks off is just developmentally appropriate, typical testing behavior”
- ‘You scaffold by rewarding good behavior and correcting bad behavior”
- An under 25 year old’s brain is not developed enough to make executive decisions and be appreciative of the consequences of their actions.