• Adam Rauch

Sleepaway Camp Tour Weekend - Upstate NY Edition

This July, my family had the pleasure of touring two sleepaway camps in Upstate New York. For those of you who are not familiar, sleepaway camp is a place where you can send your children for 4-7 weeks to stay overnight and live with counselors and other campers in cabins with assigned beds, cubbies, and if lucky, ceiling fans! Every day you have new set of activities with your bunkmates such as sports, crafts, music, nature, swim and other electives.


Many people rave about sleepaway camp. In fact, my parents and a lot of their friends met at Camp-Na-Sho-Pa back in 1969 and are still married to this day. A lot of my very good friends have lifelong buddies who they met at sleepaway camp. Some of the best entrepreneurs and business leaders even have stories about their summer camp experiences.


The two camps we toured I remember playing against in intercamps 25 plus years ago. Intercamp is when one camp hosts a nearby camp in a series of sporting events and everyone has lunch together in between the games. Then you trade barbs with the other camp on whose dining room or canteen is better – you know, the important stuff.


It truly was like going back in time to see what I could remember about the layout of the camps, the bunks, field house, pools, baseball fields, etc. My favorite part was going into the bunks and seeing plaques that campers throughout the years hung above their beds commemorating their camp year. Some themed theirs with Bart Simpson from the 1990s and some went as far back as the 1970s. Very cool to see the history of a camp right before your eyes.


We left not knowing if our kids would even want to go to sleepaway camp next year, but it was super cool to expose them to what it is and bring back the nostalgia of my childhood. And since I always like to help people, for those of you who are thinking about sending your kids to sleepaway camp, here a few tips to impart:

1) Pack extra socks and a dedicated laundry bag to clean them in so your kids won’t lose them in the wash. 2) Even if your camp has a no tipping policy, find your kid’s favorite counselor at visiting day and slip them a tip. It goes a very long way! 3) Never go to sleepaway camp with a best friend from home. A lot of kids are different people in camp than at home. So going with an acquaintance or no one at all allows them to establish a new identity that often can’t happen when you go with a best friend from home. 4) If you want your child to get a real education on life, request they sleep next to a counselor. They will be besties by end of camp and teach you things your parents or siblings never could. 5) Always request or tell your child to grab a bed away from the front door and far from the entry to the bathrooms. This will avoid your child’s blankets from getting wet on rainy days or shower time. 6) Fans, fans and more fans. It gets super hot at camp so pack a ton of batteries for those approved fans. Obviously, this does not apply to camps with air-conditioned bunks which is more like glamping than camping. 7) Save all camp t-shirts for later in life. Retro camp shirts are all the rage!