I never actually introduced myself since our Media Specialist Sam Luxemberg was working on the blogs and Instagram posts on a day to day basis, but my name is Adam Fogel (also known as afogs), and I am the Communications Director / Videographer here at Camp Seneca Lake. Since #CSL2019 has come to an end, I figured it would make the most sense to take a look back at what the campers and staff have done here over the last 49 days of Session 1 and Session 2 as a whole.
Session 1 kicked off and everyone was HYPE! I felt like I did back when I was a camper as the buses from Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Maryland, and New York City stormed the camp, filling it with excitement and positivity. The staff had been working hard the last week prepping for the arrival of campers, and we were all so happy to see them since #CSL2018. Watching the campers see each other for the first time since last summer was so heartwarming, knowing they were about to have one of the best summers of their life. As the session kicked into gear, everyone was in the full swing. Both campers and staff were finally ready to explore the daily activities we offered, such as athletics, pool, music, waterfront, and so much more. Mass Program kicked off on July 8th, and the theme of Greece filled the whole camp. With the Appeasements as the signature programs, Hoplite’s Aspis as the long term project, and The Muses as the breakout portion which consisted of creative, athletic, and intellectual events, the campers were able to show off their skills in a fun and competitive way! The program came to an end after 29 hours of hard work and the Wisdom (blue) team declared victorious! Mass Program ended with some crying of happiness from winning or sadness from losing, but the one thing that made me confident in the camper’s sportsmanship was the constant “Good Job” and “You did so well” between each other on all different teams. Following Mass Program was another one of session 1’s signature programs: Fight Song. Each year, both campers and staff are hungry for the title of Fight Song champion as they work hard and long over 2 weeks to win the trophy. With this summer being one of the best fight song performances from all villages that I have seen in a long time, Seneca declared victorious after many years of waiting for their 3rd win. Congratulations to Seneca and the rest of the villages for creating fantastic fight songs! Make sure to check out our YouTube Channel over the next few months to see the release of each village’s fight song video in our normal style AND 360! Following Fight Song, the session ended off with the Tuscarora Final Banquet with having the theme of Shrek! With fun activities before the meal, along with the crazy theatrics performed by Tusc, everyone in camp was so proud of the hard work and dedication that Tusc put into that meal, with many hours of working on every aspect of the meal from the decorations, to costumes and food choices! Following the banquet was the conclusion of the night with our end of session campfire, where we sang camp songs and cried together, knowing that the time of session 1 had concluded.
Session 2 started and it was an interesting transition. Nowadays, many campers who are not in their Tuscarora summer come for both session 1 and session 2, so many faces returned, but many new ones arrived as well! Just like at the beginning of session 1, everyone felt rejoiced and positive as friends who haven’t seen each other for just under a year reunited with glee. The cheering in the dining hall roared as both new and returning campers were finally at the best place on Earth once again, and everyone was ready for the next 3.5 weeks, knowing it would be very memorable. One of the first big events we had in session 2 was Israel Day. Our staff from Israel wanted to show the rest of camp what it means to be an Israeli, so they all put together an entire day filled with activities and events to show everyone what some of the Israeli culture consists of! Activities included making shakshuka (a traditional Israeli dish), Israeli dancing, Israeli Defense Force training, and much more! The evening ended off with our own Eurovision competition, in which each age group of camp created their own dance and lip-sync to an Israeli song and performed it to the rest of camp! The campers and staff both enjoyed all the activities and festivities offered to everyone, and CSL thanks our staff from Israel for working so hard over the last few weeks to put it all together! Following Israel Day, Color War XIII broke to the campers. The highly anticipated event started off in the Onondaga Recreational Facility with the Generals and Captains of the program walking in through the garage door on the stage, followed by the village of Tuscarora entering in from the sides. Screaming and cheers erupted from the campers, as they waited ALL YEAR for this program. To save energy and to get ready for tomorrow, the Color War Committee sent everyone to bed and proceeded to fully start camper engagement in the program the following morning. Over the next 2 days, everyone was in full Color War mode. There were 5 main pillars to Color War XIII: Clashes (Village based athletic breakout events), The Puzzle (Long Term Project), The Show (Performance), The Medleys (Athletic, Creative, and Intellectual breakout events), and Signatures. Over the course of 50 hours, every single person put all of their effort into whatever they were assigned to. Whether it was the Puzzle, the Show, or the Medleys, we are so proud of all the skills and creativity showed throughout the program and are amazed at the results of the program after its conclusion. After all is said, the Blue team did take victory, but just like Mass Program from session 1, the amount of “Good Job” and “You did so well” that I heard proceeding the end of the program was music to my ears, as the sportsmanship between both teams was high and positive. Following Color War, the Tuscarora campers geared up for their triathlon. Many of them were nervous, as they weren’t confident in their ability to swim, bike, then run after one another. As their training periods increased prior to the event, they started to feel better about their abilities. On August 16th, 49 campers started and finished their 2019 Tuscarora Triathlon. Throughout the whole event, everyone was supporting each other by cheering them on or running with them. They showed to the rest of camp what it means to be in Tusc that day - overcoming hurdles that one doesn’t believe they can overcome and showing continuous support to one another no matter what. Next up after the Tusc Triathlon was Campstock 2019. Campstock allows for both staff and campers to show off skills that they probably did not have the ability to before the day of campstock, whether it be in the form of dance, singing, or even stand - up comedy! All the acts were fantastic and we are happy and proud of those who performed during Campstock! After 3 full days later, the campers and staff reunited in the dining hall earlier today for the final meal of Summer 2019. Sad music was played and tears streamed down people’s faces, which means only one thing - summer 2019 has officially concluded.
During the last Friday night Shabbat service, one of our Tuscarora campers Zoleigh B. gave a speech about her 6 summers at Camp Seneca Lake, and I feel this represents everything about what camp has to offer to campers here and why Camp Seneca Lake has a special place in everyone’s heart.
“Camp is one of the only places in the world where I am completely sure the connections and friendships we made will last forever… Some of these people I’ve known forever and are now my actual family! These people will always be a shoulder to lean on. Camp Seneca Lake, you have taught me to push my limits, expect the unexpected, and to love unconditionally. Thank you Camp Seneca Lake, I will cherish you forever.”
See You Soon,