EBR Camps Blog

Month: March 2013

Staff Spotlight: Welcoming Nicki Alpern To CECBR!

Quick Hits:

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Favorite Band: Maroon 5
Hobbies: Traveling, Dance, Zumba
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Book: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am from Boca Raton, Florida and I love spending my summers at camp! I have spent 17 summers at a sleep away camp in the Catskills as a camper and staff member. I have dabbled in a little bit of everything at camp, from camper to junior counselor, counselor, group leader, and assistant programming director. I started out as a shy 8 year old at camp and little did I know how much camp would shape me into the outgoing and adventurous person I am today! I spent the past two years teaching English in Madrid, Spain. It was an amazing experience to live, work, and travel abroad and I know that I have camp to thank for that!

My hobbies include dance, cheerleading, zumba, traveling, and playing with my dog Kylie. I love being active but if I may reveal a secret, I’m not athletic at all! Camp has taught me that you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it!

What are you most excited about?

I am really looking forward to getting to know the girls of Blue Ridge and learning about the culture and traditions. I am also looking forward to sharing my camp experiences and stories. I’ve heard amazing things about the CECBR community and am very excited to become a part of something so special.

What is your favorite camp quote? Camp is like a joke you have to be there to get it. (it’s so true!)

Favorite camp moment:

It’s so hard to pinpoint one favorite moment! There are just too many! Sometimes, it’s those moments just sitting around laughing over nothing with your camp friends which are the best ones. Also I found watching my former campers grow up to be amazing counselors a very rewarding experience.

What is your favorite camp meal?

Hands down, French toast (with extra powdered sugar), but barbeque is a close second!

What is your favorite camp activity?

I enjoy anything that involves dance and I love zumba! I also like gaga and a game called BBG – it’s a mix of basketball and kickball!

Catching Up With Equinunk Head Counselor, Gil Kreiss

We caught up with Equinunk Head Counselor Gil Kreiss to talk about the summer, his love for camp and more! Check it out:

What is your favorite camp moment?

The first evening’s flag pole line up, is the first time the whole camp lines up around the flag pole. This is such a special time to see the new campers faces as they take part in a tradition that has gone on in camp since day one. The returning campers have taken their “NEW” place.  I get to speak to Camp Equinunk as a whole for the first time, making announcements and some very important introductions of key staff and of course, our Directors Richie and Adam.  The moment continues as we enter the Mess Hall for the first time and have our first meal.  The energy is stupendous and when the seniors start to sing, it is truly amazing!.

Any advice for anyone new to Equinunk?

Be prepared to have the time of your life.  Yes, you will need to be ready to be away from your parents for the first time, but the family at Equinunk that awaits you will welcome you with open arms and make you feel right at home.  Be open to trying new activities, meeting new people and experiencing new things.  If you are open-mided, then the 7 weeks at Camp Equinunk are going to race by quicker than you can say “sign me up for next year!!”

 Are there any special events you are looking forward to this summer?

There are a few annual events that I truly look forward to, The Hamen Hockey Classic, Square Dancing and Premi’s BBQ’s. This will be the 6th annual  Hockey Classic and it seems to get funnier and better each year! To see the staff play roller hockey is pretty incredible.  These guys get out there give it their all even though they have little to no ability to skate. The game itself can be one of the funniest all camp events. For square dancing, Sue and Lou Flago bring such a high level of excitement even when just their names are mentioned.  Now add in the camp atmosphere of campers dressing up and the night becomes a big costume party with incredible square dancing with a world renowned caller.  The NIGHT is SPECTACULAR!!!!!   Last but certainly not least, I am also looking forward to Premi’s BBQ. Anyone who is lucky enough to ever have Eric Premisler cook for them at camp would most definitely say that they always look forward to Premi’s cooking and that the event is something to cherished.

 What keeps you coming back?

The true sense of family that I feel when I walk onto the campus keeps me coming back each summer. Right away I feel like I am home and everyone surrounding me is my family. I hope to make everyone that I come in contact with at camp feel the same way. I hope to help the staff have a great summer and also facilitate a great summer for the campers.  I come back year after year because I truly enjoy being at camp and want to continue doing a job I started a number of years ago and keep improving at it each and every summer. I try to challenge myself all the time to be better and if I take on that philosophy, the staff I work with sees that, I’m sure that they will work harder to ensure the campers have an amazing summer.

 What does “we live for this” mean to you?

We Live for this – means to me that camp is an important part of my life and my family’s life.  We all enjoy camp and think that the experience we all gain from being at Equinunk and Blue Ridge is invaluable.

Catching Up With Blue Ridge Head Counselor, Lori Scheck!

We caught up with Blue Ridge Head Counselor Lori Scheck and asked her some questions about Summer 2013 and camp itself! Check it out:

What are some of your favorite camp moments?

One of my favorite camp moments every summer is watching each camper walk down the Social Hall floor during formation of Group Sing.  Seeing all those huge smiles is incredible and the sheer excitement is so apparent as each camper makes their own contribution to Sing. The returning campers are so happy to be taking part in another Sing, however, it’s watching the first year campers which makes the moment so special for me. The looks on their faces are priceless, knowing that they have now become part of the history and tradition of Blue Ridge.

Any advice for anyone new to Equiunk and Blue Ridge?

I would advise all new campers to try something new, perhaps something they never even thought that they would do. And, do this with new friends! It might be swimming in the lake, or climbing the wall, or trying out for a show. Even if you are not sure if you will like something…give it a try and ask a friend to do it with you! We will be there supporting you and cheering you on

 Are there any special events you are looking forward to this summer?

All of them!! It’s hard to pick just one. Whether it’s Sports Day, Tribal Day, Square Dancing, or Colorwar Sing…They are all very special in their own way. What these all have in common is that we come together as a camp and experience these events together, and I get excited each and every time. What keeps you coming back?

The entire experience and essence of Blue Ridge is what keeps me coming back. It all starts with the campers and counselors . Then mixed with the lake, sunshine, spirit, meals in the Mess Hall, general swim, traditions, and flagpole line-up (I could go on and on!) it all comes together and I keep coming back for more.

What does “we live for this” mean to you?

“We Live For This” means that there is an ever present special feeling of being connected to an awesome place – A home that I can return to every summer. I feel so fortunate that I can help create a place where others feel that connection and special feeling.

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Richie: Super Bowl XLVII Learns From CECBR Super Summers 1920-2013

We are often reminded that imitation is the greatest source of flattery and what we saw on Super Bowl Sunday merely mirrors what we see every summer at CECBR.

Our feelings were mixed watching the final game of Ray Lewis’ 17 year Hall of Fame career, because at CE and at CBR we treasure and place greater value on the virtues of integrity and humanity, rather than just applauding excellence in sports or other activities.

We weren’t too concerned when the Baltimore Ravens threatened to turn the game into a “blowout” after jumping off to a 28-6 margin, because, we’re always confident that some campers and counselors will hit their stride once they transition from home to the nurturing, warmth and fun that camp has to share with them. Just like the 49ers, they grow with confidence every moment, and make a mark for themselves as well as enriching everyone around them by summer’s end.

The unusual 35 minute power delay seems scripted from the 2011 Upper Senior Basketball Game when a spectator accidentally hit the light switch in the Social Hall and it took a little less time (only 20 minutes for us!) for the fixtures to power on. It reminds us of when an idea pops into our heads at camp, it’s like a lightbulb going on as we realize it’s time to begin an unsolicited act of kindness that makes everyone and everything around camp a little brighter.

Football, not withstanding, Beyonce’s half-time performance received great reviews, much welcomed after criticism of her recent lip-sync White House performance of the National Anthem.  She was determined to show the world that she “lives for this” and brought authenticity, humanity, and warmth with her song-sisters, Destiny’s Child.  Generations singing and cheering in the Blue Ridge Mess Hall realize the value of singing with camp sisters, a solo of many, enriches the passion, quality and depth of sisterhood.

We’re a camp of young and older, new and less new, so we were all certain that the 49ers rookie quarterback  and his Ravens  seasoned counterpart would lead with distinction and give us a “game for the ages”, just as we all make every camp season a “summer for the ages.”


WE LIVE FOR THIS!…Inspires, makes us think, makes us laugh, makes us cry, makes a difference in our lives. Gives us courage to try, to pick ourselves up after falling, to venture forward and follow our dreams and an adventure, to allow the story to unfold and love that we’re all in it together.

These emotions are all stirred and sweetened every year at the Oscar ceremony as we saw last week at the 85th annual Academy Awards.

If some of you thought I was referring to camp and not the Oscars, what if the leading movies were filmed at camp?  What if??  Well, they might have looked a bit like this……

Argo, a great Color War theme, whether in Blue, Red or Gray/Grey with terrific break possibilities.  Imagine as speeding trucks chase a plane trying to prevent its take-off, portraying courage, imagination and commitment to our camp brothers and sisters and never forgetting someone or leaving a friend out.

Life of Pi, a compelling drama with a young(er) Chuck Porazzo cast in the title role on a raft at the new CBR waterfront, with a whistle and a clipboard as he stargazes in 3-D at endless CBR summer skies.

The historical Lincoln, a three plus hour movie that plays like a seven week summer memorializes the struggles of the Presidency and the Congress. It depicts them coming to grips with historical differences recognizing every voice regardless of their perspective and viewpoint. Set in the Senior Quad overlooking the lake, the Blue and Grey uniforms of the Union and the Confederacy could be updated by Morton’s and Everything Camper.

Les Miserables, like EBR, is about transformation, singing and cheering.  Gavroche, the youngest child, soars with his rendition of Little People and help saves the moment with his valiance and courage.  The show stopper, One Day More, is the anthem for every PC and every Upper Senior for wanting one more summer. The themes of Les Mis and CECBR transcend generations and are kept alive through all of our voices.

Flight, with Steven Gelobter, aka “MCW”, playing the pilot as he inverts his damaged plane for an amazingly safe landing as Color War breaks and even more surprising, the sheets land perfectly on Lehrer Field.

Zero Dark Thirty, dramatizes one woman’s unyielding efforts and commitment to stand up and be counted while putting much at risk in order to follow and be true to her beliefs. This is a time honored Blue Ridge theme we see summer after summer.

Silver Linings Playbook’s Oscar winner, Jennifer Laurence, trips, falls and triumphs just like in the movie as she receives her award in Hollywood.  At CECBR, we know our friends and counselors are always there to help pick us up and cheer our next victory.

However, my recent Oscar-worthy favorite moment was from 2012, Moneyball. A towering baseball player is awkward, fearful and reluctant to go for the extra base. Finally, after summoning the courage to try after a big hit, he trips rounding first base and slowly crawls back untagged. The first baseman as well as his coach are laughing and clapping. They’re cheering him and encouraging him to get up and run because the ball he never saw traveled 100 feet over the fence for a homerun.

Like all the Academy Award nominated films, everyone at CECBR  makes our hearts grow bigger, gives us strength as they stand by our side, makes every day an adventure, every moment a precious laugh and every day an uplifting story.

So…. the homerun or the Oscar goes to the entire CECBR Family 2013!!!