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April 1, 2016
Week 7 Surprises!

For months now, we’ve been telling you to expect some fantastic surprises during WEEK 7 of camp.  We have been deliberating on what would make this final camp week truly unique. 

We decided to look in our suggestion box and we noticed that lots of parents have asked us to do something (anything!) to help their kids be more successful in school.  That's it!  What better purpose for our last week of camp than to help you get great grades in September?  So we are pleased to announce our . . .

Week 7 End-of-Summer Academic Bonus!


December 18, 2015

New Look For the New Year!

While we were getting ready to start a new blog page for winter, I had the idea to update the format a bit.  What do you think of the new look? Most of you probably don't visit our activities page anymore but you'll see some changes there too if you look.  A lot of the individual activity pages have been updated with pictures from last summer. Who knows, you might be internet famous!

In other exciting news, we announced the plans for this summer's Weekend Adventures! All the information including dates, day trip destinations, and downloadable pdf can be found on our Weekend Adventure Page. If you don't already know, Weekend Adventures are weekend-long camping trips for campers who want to spend more time with their CK-NJ friends instead of going home. 


November 20, 2015

We Went Ice Skating With A Bunch Of Camp People And Fed Them Pizza And This Is What Happened!

  So as many of you already know, this past weekend was our 25th camp reunion. Those that were able to make it met up at the Ice Vault in Wayne, NJ for a truly epic afternoon! We had about 250 people in attendance. Many campers, parents and camp staff were ice skating, eating pizza, catching up and sharing memories from the summer.  We also had a few special things planned.


November 6, 2015

Golf, Sword-fighting and Cartwheels...

   At this time of year, we at the camp office spend quite a bit of time looking back at last summer and evaluating how it went. Not only do we have our own notes and observations, but we get some amazing feedback from our campers, camper parents, and staff. It’s great to read about everyone’s favorite memories and what they liked best about camp. Our camp families overwhelmingly rave about how strong our staff is and how they love the overall camp experience. We also get lots of opinions, suggestions, and questions about our constantly evolving camp program. Right now, the what jumps out at me are all the things our people have to say about activities.


October 19, 2015

REUNION!  And all the rest.

Even die-hard camp fans have to admit now that summer is truly over.  Blairstown just had a couple of nights of hard frost.  The school year doesn't feel new any longer (hope you got some good teachers because they're yours 'til June!).  And playing outside in daylight until 9PM is a distant memory.

So summer IS over.  But, wait!  CAMP itself isn't over because we're going to gather soon for our 2015 CK-NJ Reunion!  Invitations have been sent to our campers from last summer and we're hoping the staff who live close enough will be joining us.  The reunion is always fun and we look forward to seeing you on November 15.  We'll have a special CK-NJ reunion gift for you and you'll learn what the new bunk group theme will be for 2016.

In the meantime, we are also getting excited about Summer 2016.  Thinking about summer all the time is something that camp directors do.  It takes a lot of time, planning and work to bring together all of the people and ideas that make summer camp the experience we are all so excited about.

What are we doing these days? 

October 9, 2015

Sign My Petition to Extend Summer an Extra Two Months!

Let’s not passively accept the end of summer! Like many of you out there, I believe that summer is just too darn short!  Just because the leaves are changing colors and the calendar says so, doesn't mean we have to believe it's autumn.  And what about spring - who needs it? We could easily skip it without too many people even noticing.  Sign my petition for a shorter school year and a longer summer!

…If only it were that easy! 

September 30, 2015

Summer is for Camp, Not for Blogging!

I guess that's what we decided because we didn't end up writing any blogs during the summer.  We're having too much fun to stop and write.  So we're making this blog about "the rest of the year".

Camp directors have a lot of jokes about that phrase: the rest of the year.  That's because people outside of the camp world often think that we don't do anything from September through May.  They imagine that either we have other jobs or that we just hang out playing foosball and making s'mores.

May 8, 2015

My Top Ten List

Camp is right around the corner and I can barely contain my excitement!  It's so hard to concentrate and get things done!

Top Ten Reasons I Can’t Wait for CK 2015

10- Rock of July-  I missed the first half last year because I was taking my CPR recertification!  When I finally got there, all I heard from everyone was how awesome it was so far.  I am really looking forward to being a part of the whole event this summer!

April 22, 2015

The Many Seasons of Camp Sign-Ups

Summer camp takes place in . . . the summer, of course!  But, as you know, a few of us work all year getting ready for an awesome camp season.  One part of that work is spreading the word about our camp, talking to interested families, giving tours, signing up campers, etc.

It used to be (in the “good old days”) that most families signed their kids up for camp in the fall or early winter.  That was the season of camp sign-ups.  Well, things have changed and now the season of camp sign-ups is very long, practically the whole year!

Along with this change, we have noticed that each family seems to have its preferred season to think about camp and make a decision for the summer.  We still have those “super early birds”, the ones that are signing up for next year’s camp before they’ve even washed their camper’s clothes the day they step off the bus.  Then we have the “autumn early birds” who want to have their summer plans -- vacation and camp -- finalized before Thanksgiving.

They are followed by what we sometimes call the “school vacation panic birds”, who suddenly become energized about camp decisions right after the long school holiday.  .  .  . 

April 1, 2015

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and Frito Pie

If you’ve been following news in the camp world (and who doesn’t?) then you know that Hillary Clinton recently spoke to about 2,000 assembled camp professionals at the Tri-State Camp Conference in Atlantic City.  Katie represented Campus Kids at this auspicious occasion.

As often happens in these types of situations, there can be lots of positive spin-off after the main event.  For the camp world in general, this has been wonderful publicity to reinforce the importance of camp in children’s lives and the educational and social benefits that result.

For Campus Kids-NJ, we’ve already had a surprising benefit!  Camps were asked to submit some of their favorite traditions, songs, games and foods as part of the celebration.  Of course, we couldn’t resist sharing our Frito Pie recipe.  And guess what happened?  Someone on Hillary’s staff shared it with Bill, who as you may know is an enthusiastic eater, and he liked it so much that he sent it up to the people at Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign and now it’s going to be an official
USA Recipe and one of the recommendations for The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act!

So put on your CK-NJ t-shirts, kids, and get ready to chow down on authentic Frito Pie at an upcoming school lunch.  Be sure to tell the lunch ladies that you are an original CK-NJ camper who has eaten this delightful food where it tastes best: Campus Kids!  They’ll probably give you an extra scoop.

If you’d like the original CK-NJ Frito Pie recipe,
click here.

Hope your spring is off to a good start (despite the snow) and that you are looking forward to summer!


March 19, 2015

Farewell, Winter

I'm going to sneak in this final blog of the winter.  Even though we've found many ways to complain about the harsh weather, I'm still glad to live where we experience four distinct seasons and I wouldn't want to give up any of them, even winter.  So I say "farewell" with a mixture of relief and fondness.

Winter's end means not only that we are coming closer to summer camp season, but that the rest of the world  --  outside our camp office  --  starts to think about summer almost as much as we do!  In particular, those folks who have not made their camp plans, both camper families and staff, are realizing that it's time to make some decisions!

So what happened this winter and what comes next?  Well, we had an unexpectedly high number of camp tours, despite the fact that it seemed to snow every weekend.  And we attended a bunch of camp fairs.  We also got some great work done with staff, both our leadership team and our staff assistants.  We continued to do research and build up our resource library for all of our camp activities.  We reviewed staff applications and references and conducted interviews for both new and returning staff who are in the U.S. as well as other countries.  We attended some great professional development activities, including the Tri-State Camp Conference that ended just a few hours ago.  And we did a lot of marketing, which for us means finding the best ways to tell folks about the value of camp in general and Campus Kids specifically; lots of website activity, social media and advertising.


February 26, 2015

What's Your Super Power?

Hey everybody!

This week we started to send out the introduction letters to the campers either coming back to camp this summer or coming for the first time! When a camper enrolls, one of the first things we send to him or her is a “welcome to” or a “welcome back” questionnaire to get to know him or her a little better, and to then have a brief introduction article in the Sundial about each camper! We’ve started getting our first ones back in the mail, which means we’re gearing up to meet the first round of campers in the next issue of The Sundial! One of these forms came in the most COLORFUL and CREATIVELY decorated envelope we’ve ever seen! This is a picture of the awesome surprise we found in the mail, and we were sure to be very careful when we opened it. After all, we couldn’t just rip it open like a plain white envelope!


February 19, 2015

Can You Hear Me Now?

This past weekend, we held our first meeting of the entire CK-NJ 2015 Leadership Team.  Because our team is spread out over the US and England, we met online using Skype and Google docs to take notes.  We spent over two hours going over our new leadership structure and making plans for the summer.   


February 6, 2015

Moovin and Groovin

Last time I blogged I was coming back from an EPIC adventure in Fort Lee, where I learned a few new tips on what great customer service looks. Since then I’ve taken a few train rides into the city for some camp conferences, been working hard in the office finding new resources to give counselors new ideas for activities this summer, and also working on updating our “Meet the Leadership Team” page on our website.    


January 29, 2015

25 Summers  -- What Does It Mean?


2015 is our 25th summer!  We started our camp in 1991 on our original Hackettstown campus, living all in one dorm, having about a dozen counselors and between 35 and 70 campers at a time.  We introduced a new combination of features to the summer camp world: weekday sleep-away camp, daily individual choice of activities, low-key competitive philosophy, operating a traditional camp program on a school campus that was close to home.  We countered conventional camp wisdom by allowing our kids to make a call home at night and letting parents visit when they wanted to (though very few did).  We also attracted a more diverse group of kids than was typical for a private camp.

January 16, 2015

It's Winter and We're Super Busy at Summer Camp!

   Hey everyone!  We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year's Eve!  We've been back to work for a couple of weeks now and we think things are back to normal.  When we figure out what normal means, I'm sure we will write a very lengthy blog about it. 

  We've been getting ready to introduce the leadership team (watch out for the upcoming issue of the "Sundial").  This year we will be meeting with the team online for training and planning purposes.  I'm really excited to hear all the ideas this new team will bring to camp. 


December 12, 2014

Katie's Epic Journey

   Today I’m back in the office after spending yesterday at an EPIC camp workshop in Fort Lee! I use the word epic not only because I thought it was a great experience and I learned a lot, but because it’s also an acronym in the camping world meaning Emerging Professionals in Camping. At the workshop, I found myself surrounded by people around my age who are also just starting out in the professional world of camping and who want to understand more about camp in general. These workshops and conferences that are organized by members of the ACA (American Camping Association), provide an invaluable opportunity to come together from all different camping backgrounds and learn about new strategies, to share ideas, and to collaborate with individuals who simply just “get camp.”


December 5, 2014

Ready for the Reunion? We are!

The 2014 reunion weekend is finally here!  We can't wait to see you all on Sunday! And by all of you, I mean the current campers and their families from the summer of 2014. Sorry, but we don't have enough pizza and soda for everyone from the past 25 summers.  If you haven't submitted the RSVP, it's not too late!  You can sign up anytime this weekend.  We want everyone there so RSVP online Reunion information can be found here


November 20, 2014

Camp Fellowship

Most campers and staff refer to the camp they attend as “my camp”, which is exactly as it should be.  Camp belongs to every one of us.  Camp is our second home where each person feels accepted and loved and where each is completely comfortable.  For Campus Kids-NJ we are particularly aware of this as we begin celebrating our upcoming 25th summer.  Campus and staff alumni from across the years still know that they have a place at camp, that they could come back and feel like they’ve never left.  That’s “camp fellowship”.

Last night I got to experience another wonderful expression of camp fellowship at a retirement dinner held by the American Camp Association in Pennsylvania (called ACA-Keystone Regional Section).  The career of our friend and 28-year executive director of ACA-KRS, Michael Chauveau, was celebrated at a very nice dinner that, of course, featured a ‘smores buffet for dessert (complete with little campfires for roasting the marshmallows).


The Tea Kettle Is Whistling

The tea kettle has been whistling more times than not this month as the temperatures fall and snowflakes begin to form. Tom and I kicked off the staff assistant interviews last week, meaning we have a little over a month to go before any decisions are made on the final team. During these interviews, one question we’ve asked is “Who from camp do you consider to be a role model or has made a positive impact in your life?” Although the names of the individual counselors vary, the consistency in which they’re described is almost uncanny. Each counselor made them feel safe, made them laugh, and provided an environment that allowed campers to take risks, being taught that the success of the experience has different meanings for each person.  They each also described this sense of mutual respect that the counselors dished out, making the campers feel more like peers rather than children that needed a babysitter.


November 10, 2014
The Camp Staff

The most important thing we do for our campers is staff recruitment, hiring, training and supervision.  It’s a four-part process that takes place 12 months a year and determines, more than anything else, the quality of the camp experience for our children.  It’s what makes camp work logistically and, more importantly, it’s what gives camp its heart and soul.

The cycle starts by defining the positions and revising/writing the job descriptions.  This fall we’ve made some changes to several key positions in camp, which are very exciting.  We also spend a lot of time in the fall talking to staff from last summer, including inviting back those who we know would be awesome returning staff members.  Every returning staff members must be able to articulate why they want to come back, what they will contribute to camp as a returner, and how the campers will benefit by their presence.  We help each returning staff member develop goals for next summer, believing that this is the best way to maintain motivation and focus on the needs of our campers.

Staff recruitment, of course, depends these days on Internet advertising, but many of our best new staff members find us by referral from their friends who are already on the staff.  Our recruitment materials try to convey how truly amazing this job is while also making clear that it is hard work and requires a selfless focus on the needs of our campers.  Many staff are attracted to our camp because of its philosophy, our amazing facilities at Blair Academy, and the fact that their job includes being both a bunk counselor and an activity instructor.  They have a lot of responsibility and variety in their work.  (Having weekends off doesn't hurt the recruitment process!)


This is the official Campus Kids-NJ Blog, where we write about what's going on at Campus Kids year round! Check back often. If you have questions, suggestions, ideas, requests or anything else, we'd love to hear from you: or or

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Related Information

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2011 Photo Gallery

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