This will be my second year returning to Timber Lake Camp, having worked as the ‘Program Assistant/Media Specialist’ in 2013 I was invited back again for the summer of 2014 due to my success at the camp. Timber Lake Camp is a 500 acre sit located in the Catskill Mountains in New York State, only a few hours drive from New York City. The site consists of two spring-fed lakes, three hockey rinks, three basketball courts, a gymnastics hall, recreation hall, two baseball fields, a baseball park, olympic heated swimming pool, fitness centre, outdoor adventure area, art shack, amongst boasting a huge range of additional facilities.
Timber Lake is part of a family of camps catering for children ages 7 – 16. It is seen as the parent camp for the entire TLC family; in addition the family includes: Tyler Hill, Timber Lake West, North Shore, Hampton Country, North Shore School. Timber Lake and Tyler Hill are both 8 week resident camps, Timber Lake West is a 4 week resident camp. The day camps are situated away from the Catskill Mountains, with North Shore Day Camp and North Shore Day School both situated in the heart of Long Island’s Gold Coast, whilst Hampton Country Day Camp is tucked away in the heart of the East Hampton.
The state of the art facilities at Timber Lake Camp are just one of many reasons why it is one of the most expensive summer camps to attend. Campers will be spending upwards of $12,000 for 7 weeks of sports and activities. The camp fosters values of sharing, integrity, responsibility, and respect in a friendly, fun and safe environment. One way Timber Lake achieves this is through a reward scheme for campers known as ‘STARFISH’ (Sportsmanship, Tolerance, Appreciation, Respect, Friendship, Integrity, Sensitivity, Helpfulness). This scheme promotes positive values to create a warming atmosphere that sees a 95% returner rate. Timber Lake promotes the following mission:
To teach children the skills of making and keeping friends, while building their self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience.
Jay and Mindy Jacobs are the directors for the camp, the couple are also owners of the entire TLC family. They make the camp very much a family affair, clearly demonstrating the background behind the values of the camp. Jay Jacobs was a camper from 1967, since then he has worked his way up from counsellor to head counsellor before becoming the owner/director in 1980. Renowned in the camping industry he was appointed Governor on the NY State Health and Safety Council. He has also served as President of the NY Section of the America Association, President of the NY State Camp Directors’ Association, and Chairman of Summer Camp Opportunities Provide an Edge. Mindy was also a camper and became director of the Girl’s camp in 1982.
A typical day at camp consists of the following:
My role at camp sees me work as part of a small team known as the ‘Programs Department’. We are responsible for all extra circular activities in camp along with organising all special events and tournaments. Effectively if it isn’t a usual period on the time table then it comes down to us. My input in particular is running all of the media on site, ranging from speaker setups to entire productions. Last year I spent a lot of time running speaker setups for microphone and music play out, with some more complicated setups a few times each week. Sometimes leaders of each age group will ask for certain setups for their activities, other times it is purely the decision we have made as a department (i.e. Carnival Day).
I absolutely love the ever changing and active nature of my job, it is never a dull day. As I am the only one to thoroughly understand the technical equipment it means a lot of the responsibility for running these events falls on my shoulders. Judging by last year the two other members figured out logistics and organisation whilst I focused on bringing in the relevant technology, this year I anticipate having more involvement in the organisation as I can boast experience.
This summer should line up to be even better than the last. Now I have experience of working at the camp I intend to push the boundaries of my department further than they ever have. I really want to see the media improved on the camp as it is often forgotten, I want to show how amazing the events can be and prove why the department needs more investment to continue to make each and every event better than the last. This will be a fantastic summer!