Sleepaway camps create memories

Katherine Lombardi

As the sun rose above the horizon and illuminated the chirping birds in the trees, junior Clare Toman of Spring Lake Heights woke up with her tent mates. Regardless of whether their day would consist of archery and boating or rollerblading and rock climbing, it would be another exciting time in the lakeside woods of Pennsylvania.

Toman attended Camp Moseywood, a Girl Scouts camp located in White Haven, Pa. in fourth and fifth grade. She said she enjoyed the camp’s various activities, as well as being on her own without her parents.

“I’ve always been into camping and being outdoors,” Toman said. “And it was fun to have that sense of independence.”

Going to sleepaway summer camp encouraged her to spend more time outdoors, Toman said. She now camps on her own every summer since attending Camp Moseywood.

Some students attend camps with specific themes or focuses. Sophomore Madison Vigdor of Manalapan attended a Jewish sleepaway camp in elementary school. Vigdor said the camp had multiple traditional activities, but involved religious themes as well.

“We did basic summer activities like swimming, sports and arts and crafts,” Vigdor said. “But because it was a Jewish sleepaway camp we also had Shabbat services.”

Despite their fun activities, sleepaway camps can also present difficulties. Sophomore Emily Toro of Manalapan attended an intensive ballet camp at Suny Purchase College in New York during the summers of 2015 and 2016.

Toro said the biggest struggle was the separation from her family and home environment, but it was a positive experience nonetheless.

“It was hard to live in a place where everyone is unfamiliar,” Toro said. “But I wouldn’t rather stay home because going away is a great opportunity to expand one’s worldliness and skill sets.”

Vigdor said that while she would rather not attend again as a camper, she has interest in becoming a camp counselor.

“I remember how amazing my counselors were and they made the experience great,” said Vigdor. “I’d love to do that for other kids.”