We are so excited that camp has finally started! Camp always tends to feel far away when it ends every summer but now that we are back it feels as though we never left. Timber Ridge, along with the friendships you make here go with you wherever you are in life. That’s what makes this place special! We have a wonderful staff this summer who are so enthusiastic, energetic, caring and patient. The counselors are already building those new friendships that will last a lifetime. The children began their daily activities today and are having a blast. Some went on nature hikes and went biking. Others visited our nature house and saw the neat animals we have including a bearded dragon. Athletics are always a very popular activity and that stood true today as many children participated in a range of sporting activities. We also have a tremendous Arts and Crafts program as well here at Timber Ridge, and a lot of children dived into their creative adventures today; including a set design class in which they will help design and make some of the scenery and costumes for our play this year which will be The Beauty and The Beast! Other children went canoeing while some participated in archery. Finally, some of the children must have been fish in their past life because how much they love being in the pool. We have some tremendous swimmers, but we also have some great swimming instructors who will assist in teaching some of the children different strokes and techniques in the water. Well I would like to talk about even more activities but it is just about time for supper so I better finish up this post. We will check back in again soon! Hope all is well in the “outside” world!!
As we pack the office and take our Pool Operator exam it is surreal that Saturday is moving day. The Peacock has laid 12 eggs and is about to sit and incubate the eggs. The rabbits will be let go to run around camp Saturday. We will be cleaning leaves, painting cabins, figuring out the calendar for transportation and programming. And trying to figure out what we forgot. It is always an exciting time. With one month to make it all happen I am getting nervous. I guess I feel this way every year. This year our precamp group is me, Allison, Matt, JM, Tennis Dave, Jake Daniels, Logan Rumbaugh, Kelly Rubin, Richard and Gracen Eiland. Camp is such an amazing place. Logan has an internship with the Washington Redskins and has to leave in July but he has to come to camp to get his Timber Ridge magic in. Gracen is not coming back at all as she is traveling but just wants to come to camp and work and chill until she has to leave. I spoke to Sandy and Alyssa today from Washington Children’s hospital and they will be coming May 8 to go over programming. So life has begun and everyone is biting at the bit to just spend sometime at camp. It is a busy place, a fun place and something we all need every year to realize life is just not that complicated.
It is a place that we just make it all happen. Last year we made memory necklaces. Everyone found something small to remember their summer and we froze it in resin. A hook and chain was put on it and everyone had a little memory of camp. That necklace made me smile, laugh and cry all year. So this will become another camp tradition. Over the winter I went to a reunion in New York with grown up campers. The love and memories were fresh and wonderful. The people we meet and share our adventures with in the summer are lifelong soul mates. I hope alumni will come and visit this summer at camp. Relive their memories and make new ones. If for some reason old campers or staff have become detached come visit. It will be like you never left. It is also something we all need to feed our soul with the amazing memories and friendships made at Timber Ridge.
Everyone is feeling the magic of camp. Today we heard from Sam McNear and Rachel Mcnear. Sam is coming back for another summer, yes!!!! Rachel is doing volunteer work the first part of the summer and is anxious to join us for the second part of the summer ( her 10th summer). Solly and Peter are getting married May 27 and they want to check on camp the get set up the week before. Jm spoke to Frontier to get his phone on and is packing for camp! Tennis Dave has his boxes packed and is ready for the road! Bill and Bill are roofing the Adult house as we speak. The kitchen is clean and waiting for our move in on April 29. Today the pool supplies were delivered to my house and the Peacock has laid 7 eggs so far for her summer clutch. I know I am rambling but we are spinning with all of the things we need to do to get ready for the summer in just 65 days. June 10 and 11th is family weekend. We are getting R.S.V.P.’s already. It feels like Summer, it smells like Spring, and it is hard to believe how excited we all get every single year as this time arrives. There was an article about the dangers of cell phones this week. How they take over your life and your brain stops working. At camp we don’t need cell phones just songs, laughing, memories and friendships. It is an amazing life and we get to live it everyday all day. The gates are always open for alumni and their guests. Everyone could use a little of the magic of Timber Ridge. Join us, visit us, and take home a memory!
We are so excited to have the staff coming in everyday for summer of 2017. People ask often how we make it all happen below is a sampling of how:
New for summer of 2017:
Anna Cook: Division Leader. Anna played Field Hockey in college, and coached Lacrosse at Sayre School in Kentucky. She played many sports, softball, baseball, Frisbee. She has 14 years of classical dance experience including tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical. During the winter Anna is a middle school Math teacher and has made the choice of coming to our camp and making her mark.
William Adams: Bike director. Bill is an avid lifetime cyclist, member/supporter of Out-Spokin Wheelmen bicycle club and Ohio Bicydle Federation. He coordinates cycling time trial events in Youngstown, Ohio. He is joined by his 5 year old son. Also exciting is his wife , Missy who is a college ceramic teacher and will be joining him for various weeks through out the summer.
Taylor Dennison: Currently a student at Loyola college. She is teaching Soccer. She went to Camp Tall Timbers as a child and excited to be back at Timber Ridge.
Denise Leeper: She will be a nurse second session this summer. She comes with her 3 children. Denise loves camp and is hoping to become a lifer at camp along with her children.
Rachel Inksetter: She is both a counselor and circus teacher. Rachel attended summer camp as a child and is looking to relive her youth. She is also a coach for gymnastics.
ZJMayton: ZJ is a student at Ohio State. Zj is from Idaho where she has played competitive tennis at the State level.
Ivey Rose: Ivy goes to Southern University, Tennessee. Her specialty is nature. She hopes to spread her compassion in small animal care and gardening.
Chelsea Kowall: She is a student from Wilson College in Pennsylvania where she studies everything horses. She is excited to join the equestrian group at Timber Ridge.
Jake Daniels: A former Timber Ridge camper and lover of Timber Ridge. Jake is an amazing musician. He returns to Timber Ridge to relive his camp experience and spread his enthusiasm to his campers.
Ryan is a graduate of Towson University and is a born and raised Marylander. This will be Ryan’s 4th year with Timber Ridge Camp. He began as a counselor working with both the junior and inter divisions, later becoming the Junior Division Leader during his 2nd and 3rd year. In 2017 Ryan will return as the Inter Division Leader, as well as assisting with programming.
In addition to his time spent at Timber Ridge, Ryan has interned and mentored in the Maryland school system, worked in a child care center for 7 years, and is currently a Program Director of a before and after school program.
In Ryan’s own words, “Timber Ridge is my home away from home and there is no place I would rather be!”
Kelli started her camping days back in 2008 as an inter camper. In the years following she has been a camper for 5 years, a counselor in training, and a counselor in the girls senior division. We are happy to announce that she will now be returning for the summer of 2017 as a girls division leader!
As a camper, Kelli’s favorite parts of summer included the circus shows, playing tennis, being by the water, and meeting fellow campers and counselors from all over the world. Kelli takes these passions she learned at camp and continues to develop them in her every day life. She does this by playing collegiate tennis, traveling the world, and improving her safety and supervisory skills at the waterfront and pool. She even recently spent a semester abroad in Spain!
Outside of camp, Kelli is a double major in Spanish and International Affairs at Gettysburg College, where she spends most of her time while not at home in Carroll County, Maryland.
Murray Kramer: Murray has been at camp for over 25 years. His personality is humorous and caring. Murray’s love for children and his ability to guide them and work with them goes beyond Timber Ridge. He works year round with children in a non profit setting. Recently he was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Citadel County School system in Pennsylvania. As Program Director, Murray understands what brings out the best in all children.
Angela Rary: Angela started out at Camp Green Briar back in 2001 where she ran the horseback riding program for 3 years. In 2010 she returned to Timber Ridge as the Horseback Riding Director, and has stayed with Timber Ridge ever since.
Angela has a B.S. in Equestrian Studies and a M.A. in Education. When not at camp, she teaches 8th grade physical science in Loudoun County, Virginia. She is also a certified riding instructor through the Certified Horsemanship Association and an active competitor in the equestrian sports of dressage and combined training.
Angela has brought new energy and professionalism to our horseback riding program, and we expect her program to continue to expand. Her “Horsemasters” program will be back again this year, allowing interested campers to earn internationally recognized certificates for their skills and knowledge with horses.
JM” has been playing at camp for almost 30 years now. He has been involved in professional theater since the age of 6, performing in live theater, nightclubs, movies, creating cartoon voices, and writing 9 original interactive children’s musicals.
While at camp, JM helps create a feeling of play, wonderment, and adventure. He is able to keep everyone on their toes and ready to be goofy or silly when the time comes. While not in the theater or backstage JM can be seen all over camp with an energy level unmatched. When he does relax however, you can most likely find him outside his cabin by the fire pit where company is always
Doc Rader and Stephanie:
Doc Brain and Stephanie are part of our Timber Ridge Family. Their three children, Logan, Alex & Gabby enjoy spending their summers at Timber Ridge as well! Doc Brian has been an Emergency Room Physician for 17 years and continues to do so. They enjoy spending time together creating new memories and exploring new adventures, as well as sharing moments with family and friends. They spend their days at Timber Ridge, walking around checking in on all the children, Counselors and Staff. The Raders are committed to caring for everyone at Timber Ridge not just on a professional level, but on a person level as if they are their own family.
Kathy Knigin R.N.: Kathy met her husband Scott at camp. Scott was a camper for many years before he became a counselor where he fell instantly in love with his wife Kathy. Kathy is an RN who loves children and camp so this is a great combination. He knowledge and heart make the infirmary the perfect place to go , even if you are not ill.
Jeff Jude R.N.: This is Jeff’s second year at camp. He is fun, knowledgeable and loves the magic of Timber Ridge. We are fortunate for his return summer 2017.
Doc and Patty: A great couple with love for Timber Ridge and children. Both have been at camp for many years. Starting as the Tennis Directors and now Doc is the fishing director. His program is always full and successful. Patty does odd jobs around camp and her love for children is contagious.
Circus Matt and Jen: With many years at Timber Ridge. This wonderful couple run the circus program. including but not limited to flying trapeze, standing trapeze, silks, trampoline, fire eating, acrobats and juggling. They run a program in South Florida called Ariel Trapeze Academy.
Stay tuned for more as contracts are in the mail and waiting return. Only 84 days until camp, yea double digits!
Being in the kid business, loving children like I do, sometimes living in the land of make believe, every summer expanding my own personal boundries there is one thing I do understand, “why children do dumb stuff is not so bad.” I can not tell you how many parents ask me “why does my child keep doing something dumb and when will this behavior end?” Define what is dumb and what is socially inappropriate. Well…..the internet, television, and lack of family conversation really does not help with being socially inappropriate. Giving attention towards negative behavior instead of ignoring it and moving on would really leave a more meaningful impression then giving it a life. How often parents tell me how scared they are to send their children to camp. Why, a good camp is the safest place for children. Attention is attention. It is real! At camp attention is almost always directed towards the positive. Our programming allows us to work with the individual child, let them explore and let them explain without failing. It is not about fatal decisions or stupidity. It is about fun. It is about figuring it out. It is about pushing those boundries and feeling good about it. It is about being the best runner, the best tennis player, the best singer, the best horseback rider, the best canoer, the best robotic builder, the best, the best, the best. Every child realizes they are the best! It is about making good decisions and having fun. Camp is no longer a luxury it is a necessity. It is about a child standing up for himself and making real life friends. Thank goodness we are all different, all with different looks and personalities, all amazing. At camp we are one. At Timber Ridge we thrive on being different and succeeding. So parents, we all do dumb stuff. Children have no fear as the internet has taught them that. They are not being dumb they are being socially awkward. However, the fear is real. The inability to express themselves so others love them for who they are not who we want them to be is a big problem. We embrace the differences at camp. We listen to the young people explain why they did dumb stuff and try to explain why it’s dumb. We redirect them, make them mentors not isolate them. We listen, don’t talk. Let them be different and maybe the dumb stuff will end sooner. But…again we all do dumb stuff and we hopefully learn from it. Send you child to camp, tell and show them they are special, use those differences and help the social awkwardness. PUT AWAY THE CELL PHONES AND TURN OFF THE INTERNET at least an hour a day. Put on a comedy and laugh together. Let the miracle of life take over and the dumb stuff will end.
Yes we have so much to do. This has been a year of late enrollment. In the past 10 days we have processed 25 campers The campers are coming from everywhere. We have 66 more to process by the end of next week and counting. Being a fairly small camp this is a large endeavor but we will conquer and win and be organized. Thank goodness it is March. But….I am told a snow storm is coming next the week. The first and it is supposed to be huge. We started the plow today so we are ready! Matt is headed to Florida to recruit staff on Tuesday if he gets out of here, and Allison is headed to University of West Virginia. Staffing is slow but moving. As you all know we hire a full American staff so heading to the Universities to recruit staff is a laborious process. Bill and Bill are already back at camp getting ready and the electricity will go back on next week. Life can move fast but now is the time to start programming for an amazing summer. The rabbits multiplied this winter and are about to be let free to move around camp. The Peacock is doing his dance but it is way too early for that. The chickens are laying over 40 eggs a day. I have 4 cases of eggs in my refrigerator. Soooo, camp and magic has begun. Why anyone is not excited to return to this land of make believe is difficult for me to understand? It is a place where life stands still and beauty is beyond description. Come visit and you will realize what you remembered about this place is a dream come true. Less then 100 days until opening day, let the fun begin!
Hello Timber Ridge alumni, campers, and staff.
I went to camp yesterday to meet Bill and Bill in order to start opening camp. We walked the grounds, made our lists, checked them twice. The rabbits have multiplied and were running all over looking for life. Our male peacock now 3 years old has a six foot tail that is breathtaking. He is starting his courting of the female. The small peacock in the background is a male that hatched last summer. He will not start to get his tail for another year. We are building a new house for him and his sister for the summer. It is hard to believe I will be moving to camp in a little over two months. I guess because winter never arrived it is hard to believe it is almost camp time. Today we planned some new trips for camp. The girls of cabin 18 who are full session campers are going to spend two days in the big apple, NEW YORK CITY, this summer. After so many years at camp they are heading to spend a weekend with Allison in New York. Murray is bugging me for a calendar to start his programming and yes Ryan will be helping him this year add some new activities as well as entertaining us as a new camp character to bring more magic to Timber Ridge. So yes the summer is almost here. I do not know why some people have not made up their minds about their plans for this summer. We hope they will find their way back to their home away from home. Camp is amazing. During the drive I dreaded the long trip through the mountains but once I arrived I knew it was where I belonged and I did not want to leave. Only 101 days until we all meet again! We have a large precamp group this year. Tennis Dave, Logan Rumbaugh, Allison Busky, Kelli Rubin, Matt Guffey, Jake Daniels, Richard, JM, and of course me to start. The list keeps growing as we are excited to be home again!
This weekend Blake Rittenberg put together a weekend to be remembered. He sent out invites to his year at camp and people from all over the country flew, took trains and taxis to relive and love their best friends at Timber Ridge. Time stood still. It all happened in New York City. We danced, sang, played color war, did trivia and loved one another once more. The distance award goes to Jordan Sadaka, all the way from California. But lets not forget Florida, Mason and Madison Wolfe, Logan Rittenberg, Gavi Kantor, Alexis Hyman, Ali Tannenbaum, or Philadelphia, DC and Maryland, Allison Yeager, Kati Sakin, Kaley Harmount, Leia Schantz, Melissa Frohman, Gracen Eiland, Hannah Botelho. Max Gee, Zack Kandel, Sarah Brown, Macki Miller, Brady Miller, Mara Markinson, Jason Klein, Ryan Balick, Marni Friedlander, Andrew Brown, Rebecca Brown, Gillian Danick, Parker Neiman, Molly Wassel, Stephen Cohen, Uncle Fred, Jill and Allison Busky. We started at a crazy restaurant where we dance and ate and just played, Sammie’s Bohemian then the crew minus me went to a club until 4 am. The next night was at the hill, singing, playing trivia, Color War, Beer pong, and just talking and loving. I went to bed they went out for pizza again until 4 a.m. A lot like camp. Time stood still, love for each other intense, and I was so proud to see these young people made it. They are employed, happy, good strong people who give this crazy world optimism. Next year at camp and Blake you are in charge of the welcoming recruiting committee. Wow what an intense wonderful time we had. The feeling is just not describable. There are no friends like those we traveled with at Timber Ridge. Thank you Blake.
Next week Uncle Fred, Allison Busky and myself are heading to New York to a reunion hosted by Blake Rittenberg. The campers, young adults now are traveling from all over the country to see each other and share a few meals, pretend a color war and talk about the best summers of their lives. Now…… these young adults I remember at age 8, 9, 10. 11,12,13,14, 15 and 16. Has time really gotten that far away from us? Blake in particular did not want to return for his CIT year. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had to give him a way out if he was miserable as trying to explain anything to a 16 year old young man is falling on deaf ears. He wound up coming to camp that year and has thanked me every year after that. It was the best summer he ever had a camp and he had many. Young people often say why should I come back to my home away from home? There has to be something I am missing out on at home. Everyone at home tells them often what they miss out on. But…..to explain to a friend at home all that happens at camp every day sounds false. Like it really can’t be true. But….it is and it keeps happening year after year. The memories, the friendships, the love is magnified every summer. How do I know this? Because this is my 50th summer at camp and every year is different and more exciting. Once you get the bug of Timber Ridge, once you experience the addiction, you just can’t let go. Next week will be another adventure. I am fortunate to get to see these young people all grown up, successful, happy campers who have the bug. They are flying in from all over the country to feel the love of Timber Ridge and get their camp fix. Hopefully next time they will all come to camp and relive it there. I am counting the days towards Timber Ridge in the big apple. Love you guys more today then yesterday but not as much as tomorrow! I can not wait to hug all of you next week!
Planes and trains but no automobiles. Allison and I traveled from Paris to Geneva to Rome to Milan to Paris in 14 days. It was an exhausting trip but we met with many families trying to explain why Timber Ridge Camp was best for their child. We walked an average of 20,000 steps a day seeing the beautiful cities we were visiting. On arrival we had lunch with Lynda Aquilar Sarfati and in the end we met up with Tiphany Fliche. Both were campers at Timber Ridge and both now have families of their own. The love we shared was forever and it was wonderful just catching up. It is difficult to explain to American families why Timber Ridge is special. How the individual child is made to feel special. How we work so hard to bring the best out of everyone. How there is not better place in the world for their child to rise above the rest and build self esteem in the land of magic? But more difficult with families from Europe as they do not understand what is going on in this country. They feel we are spinning out of control, are we? At camp life is so much easier. The only politics is when to schedule the next tennis tournament so as not to interfere with MTV night. We think we reached some children and in the coming months we will know for sure. The weather was gorgeous and the people amazing. This Sunday we will be in Charlottesville, Virginia for a camp fair and next week New York City for a small reunion planned by alumni. We must fill the remaining spots at camp before we can start planning the summer. So busy busy busy. Stay tuned for the upcoming newsletter about what is happening this summer at camp. Follow us on our ap and facebook. Don’t miss out on what is happening at your home away from home!