01 Jul Sunday Morning Chapel Service

It is a tradition to gather as one Camp on a Sunday each Session for a joint Chapel Service. Co-Site Director Cannie Shafer welcomed campers, staff and visitors to Cubberely Grove named for a long-time Camp Doctor. Dr. Cubberley was also a devoted nature enthusiast who relished living in a cottage on the banks of Tripp Lake. As a fitting memorial to his many years of service, the Cubberley and Susqueuannock families created Cubberley Grove at the Waterfront.

While gathered in this tranquil setting, Cannie used a pepple, rock and a boulder to highlight the difference in perspective of challenges we face every day. She encouraged all to take a moment to consider the relative size of every issue in our lives. If the problem is the size of a pebble, perhaps it would be best to set it aside. When encountering rocks or boulders, it is best to devote more effort and concentration to address the problem.

In closing, Cannie read an excerpt of a famous poem perfectly suited for this reflection:

“Please grant me the serenity and the patience to accept the things I can not change, the courage and the perseverance to change the things I can – and the wisdom to know and understand the difference.”

Click here if the slideshow is not displayed

21 Jun Pre-Camp Reflections

Written by Head of S4B Andrew Hano

I do not have to look at a calendar to know we are in the final days until we leave for Camp. No, there are other indications about what time of year it is. Looking in all the desk drawers for black laundry marking pens; the hundreds of iron-on “Hano” labels lying around; packs of new socks and underwear, boxes of new shoes; and piles of clothes and sports equipment signal the approach of camp like the turning of leaves in October brings the fall season.

As we prepare to leave for camp and I contemplate renting a Uhaul to transport all this stuff there, my wife and I ask the question, “What do we really need to bring?” I began to think about some of the best and worst things I brought to camp in the past. There must be some item that bore the four letters of my last name that inspired envy among the other campers. Of course, there had to be something so useless I could not believe my stupidity for using valuable space bringing it with me.

Topping the “Best of” list has to be a lamp. I remember it vividly: a black toy train with an arm that unfolded upwards holding the lightbulb. I brought it for the first time as a CIT in the Lodge. That lamp transformed reading at night after the cabin lights went out. No longer was it necessary to clamp my flashlight between shoulder and head at the perfect angle to see the pages of my book, only to readjust every time I turned a page. I would compare it to talking hands free on a cell phone! The train lamp found its way to camp (and later college) for the next eight summers.

The “Useless” list is a little more difficult. For example, the weather for a summer can render something completely unusable, like a fleece last summer when the temperatures never seemed to drop below 85. But I do remember the rubber rainboots that made their way with me my first summer. I did use them…on a hiking trip through a gorge. As if slipping across wet rocks all day was not enough, I reduced the raging stream to a trickle carting most of the stream water back to camp inside those impermeable rubber rainboots. Ever since, an old pair of sneakers have proved far more practicable than those rubber rain boots.

As the piles begin to grow, and you have to sit on the trunk lid to get it to close, survey what you have chosen. Now, tell yourself, “Keep the reading lamp, and leave the rubber rain boots at home!”

See you all soon!


01 Aug First Week of Second Session S4G Reflections

The opening week of Second Session is a special time for all of us on the S4G staff. Second session campers began arriving early Sunday morning while the full-season campers returned back from a fun weekend at Lake Ontario. We got off and running with two days of World Games, announced our Orange and Blue teams and began those games. At camp the weeks seem to fly by and before we knew it, the weekend was upon us.

Saturday was our celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Susquehannock Camp for Girls, so we started with a special Morning Meeting. We are so grateful to our guests, Dede and George Shafer, Mary and Jim Powell and Cannie Shafer. As many of you know, Dede and George Shafer ran the girls camp for many years, so it was a special treat to hear them talk about all the planning and work that went into the creation and running of a new camp. Mary and Jim Powell told us stories, punctuated with songs. They taught us songs that we had not been singing for the past few years; if you have never experienced Mary and Jim leading songs at camp, you have missed out! Cannie Shafer, who was the original Program Director at S4G, told us more stories and really helped us understand our part in the history of the girls camp.

Usually I try to write a recap of the events of the week, but this week, I had some difficulty. S4G had their Once-In-Every-25-Year Dog Show and it was so funny, sweet and above all else, fun! Campers and counselors were assigned dog breeds and competed against the other breeds in several events. This is an activitiy that definitely needs to be experienced to be understood! The stand-out moment of the show was when the judges commanded the dogs to play dead. The Dalmations, Golden Retrievers and Poodles all followed the commands, but the St. Bernards followed their instincts and ran to the other breeds to perform CPR. If this does not sound funny or even fun, it must be because you weren’t with us on Saturday. Please click over to the galleries and look at the creative and funny photographs from the Dog Show.

All of the games and activities on the weekly schedule provide the framework for a healthy, fun summer, but it is our strong friendships that we make here that touch us forever. It is the people who support us, laugh with us, cry with us as we go through our days here that keep us coming back. I hear the campers talk about this all the time and I see it every day here at camp. The singing, the laughter, the joy and the tears. The games, the clinics, the meals, the competition.

All of these things are the parts of camp, but the sum is truly greater than the parts. I see the difference that camp makes in the lives of all of us and I hope that you recognize it as your daughters, sisters, and friends return home in a couple of short weeks from now.

31 Jul First Week of Second Session S4B Reflections

As he did during First Session, Head of the Boys Camp Andrew Hano offers a reflection on the past week:

The boys at Camp Susquehannock learn a lot of skills each summer. Just today I observed campers practicing lay ups in basketball, forehands in tennis, and stick handling in street hockey; all valuable skills for an athlete. Despite its importance, there is one skill we teach that is dreaded by many campers: swimming.

We have a young camper here in his third summer. When he arrived three years ago he could not swim and was afraid of the water. The swim instructors worked tirelessly with him the past two and one half summers. First he learned to hold his breath and go under water. The he had to float on his back. Next, he was taught to glide, then a modified breast stroke. He was able to swim a few strokes with his face in the water, stand up, take a breath, and swim a few more strokes. He swam 25 yards with a kick board. He swam 25 yards without a kick board. Every step of the way his body was rigid with fear and anxiety. There were a lot of tears and there was a lot of tough love. Last week he passed the camp’s basic swimming test, the 500 yard swim.

Two days ago I watched him swim confidently across the free swim area to the floating dock which is anchored in 16 feet deep water. The smile on his face radiated pure joy. At that moment I paused to think about the significance of knowing how to swim. I feel as if I have known how to swim my entire life. I have taught countless children, including my own two, how to swim. Swimming provides hours of fun and exercise. Yet there are so many people who never learn to swim.

We say the Lake is the most fun place at camp and certainly the most dangerous. So we train many of our counselors to be lifeguards and we teach our campers to swim. Learning to swim is not a full guarantee to safety in the water just like a great jump shot is not a full guarantee to play professionally; however, the personal health and safety benefits of knowing how to swim are critical to living a well rounded life. A smooth lay up or powerful forehand may earn an athlete recognition and awards, but swimming saves lives.

18 Jul Third Week S4G Reflections

Head of Girls Camp Trish Pearson offers up perspective after the third week at S4G:

It is hard to believe that we have completed the third week for the first session of Camp. As we continued teaching and learning skills this week we were fortunate enough to have a lacrosse expert join us for clinics on Wednesday. Kim Richter, a former lacrosse player for Tufts University and a lacrosse coach in Philadelphia, led special lacrosse skills clinics for all the S4G campers. The campers and counselors enjoyed learning from such an experienced teacher and utilized their new knowledge and skills in the lacrosse game for Orange and Blue in the afternoon. Thanks, Kim, for being a part of S4G’s 25th anniversary!

This action-packed week also included an optional overnight at The Pines campsite. Participation in this overnight was overwhelming and the optional overnight continues to be a highlight for the campers and counselors alike. The girls enjoyed special Optional Overnight Banana Boats after hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. The counselors also made pancakes for breakfast before everyone returned to camp for a morning dip in the lake to clean up.

This week we had our Gold Medal Competitions. The events include the Decathlon, Regatta and Gold Medal Tennis matches. Campers took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in these events. Even in the midst of their competition, however, the girls cheered their friends and competitors in the tradition of Camp Susquehannock. The other big camp competition that took place on Sunday was the Horse Show. Campers from S4G and S4B showed off all the hard work they had done to learn while many other campers came to watch and cheer. We are so happy to have had these opportunities this week to give the campers the chance to learn how to compete with grace and display their sportsmanship in these competitions. The awards ceremony will take place in the final week of First Session and medals, ribbons and awards will be given.

There are so many other things that happened this week, the campers went to a Binghamton Mets baseball game, the S4B and S4G campers joined together in a brand new full camp Orange and Blue game, the older campers went on the Canoe Trip down the Delaware River, and even more! Be sure to check out the photo galleries to see even more of the fun that makes time fly at Camp Susquehannock.

18 Jul Third Week S4B Reflections

Head of Boys Camp Andrew Hano offers up perspective after the third week at S4B:

My family is a Susquehannock family, almost. During four of my 25 summers spent at Camp my two children have been here as well. My wife Erica is unable to spend the entire summer here because of her job. During the year she often gets lost at dinner conversations about Camp because we have a particular language all our own. How many of the following can you identify? Feel free to add to the list by commenting on this post or on Facebook, or on Twitter.

The Club and The T.O.
Bs and Cs
Bug Juice
Chicken Feed
Steak feed
MC Fireball
Gigantus Ball
Super Mongo Goofy Relays
Razzle Dazzle
“You Gotta” Regatta
King’s Cup
Susquehannock Dew
The White House
Soap Day
Energy Check!
Buddy Check
Words of Wisdom
The Circuit
The Shafer Arena
(The Importance of) Sundays and Wednesdays
Cinema Susquehannock
the Study Hall Ghost
Hitching Post
Serengeti Plains
Sha La La
Lucky, Lucky
Loyal Guard

10 Jul Second Week S4G Reflections

Head of Girls Camp Trish Pearson offers up perspective after memorable and historic week at S4G:

Camp is in full swing! Our second week opened with our traditional Fourth of July activities. The girls were divided into Red, White and Blue Teams for the morning and they did cheers, ran the “Yankee Doodle Dandy” fun run and made a human flag. In the afternoon, both S4B and S4G met for a Fourth of July address and the Pledge of Allegiance and then were divided into co-ed teams for the Field Day. The teams held a spirited competition with culminating in the Tug-O-War competition. After all that work on the fields under the sun, campers enjoyed a swim in the lake and cookouts.

This week the campers also went on their overnights this week. These camp-outs provide the girls with a fantastic opportunity to experience the outdoors in a special way. Cooking out, singing songs, telling stories and sleeping under the stars are the basic ingredients, but each camper returns to camp the next morning with their own story about the camp-out.

The biggest highlight of the week was 1986 Day. We chose this day to commemorate and celebrate the 25th year of S4G. Dede and George Shafer, Mary and Jim Powell and Cannie Shafer all shared some old S4G traditions and we all learned so much about how the girls camp was founded from the people who were there. Mary and Jim Powell led us in some classic S4G camp songs and we enjoyed a historical skit about the Pioneer Counseling Staff. Tarryn Rozen, a former S4G Head of Camp led us on a “Bear Hunt” to round out our 1986 Day morning meeting.

Another special guest, Shelly Flint, gave watercoloring clinics and the campers and counselors also created new posters for the S4G dining hall to commemorate 25 years of S4G. After lunch, the campers were divided into teams who then competed to create a raft from natural objects and four feet of twine The raft had to support one camper and bonus points were added for aesthetic qualities included in the construction of the rafts. The winner of the competition was the “Natural Beauty” team, narrowly edging out the “S.S. Marina.”

We invite all of the illustrious alumnae of S4G to send us your memories of camp so that we can share them in our celebration of 25 years of S4G during the second session of camp.

10 Jul Second Week S4B Reflections

Head of Boys Camp Andrew Hano offers up perspective after another amazing week on the Hill:

One of the most lasting experiences a camper will have is the friendships he will make at Susquehannock. Let’s face it, the camp community is an ideal environment for developing close and long-lasting friendships. After spending several weeks sharing a living space, eating and playing together, campers will form strong bonds. These friendships are unique because they transcend all boundaries; race, religion, home, language and even age.

I have few friends that are closer to me than my camp friends. Some were my cabin counselors. Some are the guys I worked along side of as a cabin staff member. Some were my campers at one time. Others are the guys I met upon returning to camp full time three years ago. They represent a diverse group; however, we have one thing in common, Camp Susquehannock.

In the grand scheme of things, spending three, four, even seven weeks out of a year with someone seems insignificant. There are ten months between the closing day in August and opening day the following June; more than enough time for a friendship to fade. Yet, camp friendships endure because the quality of the time spent together at camp builds relationships that are deep and meaningful. At Susquehannock we rejoice together in the highs, cry together in the lows, and share a passion for camp.

There is no magic elixir made from the clean, clear waters of Tripp Lake that we secretly add to the ice cream. The recipe is much less complicated. Simply add a bunch of boys together on a beautiful Pennsylvania mountaintop and allow them to mix for three to seven weeks. Afterwards, enjoy the friendships for the rest of your life.

04 Jul First Week S4B Reflections

As we mentioned in the last post, we turning over the TLT once a week to the Heads of both Camps to offer a reflection on the previous week.  Here is Andrew Hano’s reflection on behalf of S4B:

Ask your son and he will tell you Susquehannock has the best looking, most intelligent, and most athletic campers. But, what about the staff? I can tell you they are the most empathetic, enthusiastic and cooperative staff. Notice experience is not mentioned; that’s because even our “new”staff members are returnees with plenty of Susquehannock experience.

A Camp Susquehannock counselor’s days are jam packed. Most rise to the sound of first bell in the morning and a cabin full of sleepy young faces. A select few are already awake for an early morning run or swim. Following breakfast they oversee the beautification of their cabins. Then it’s a morning packed with instructing everything from soccer and tennis to swimming and archery. Supervising Rest Hour after lunch is far from the nap that many counselors long for.

When the call for all coaches, players and officials to report to afternoon activities is announced, some counselors are energetically pacing the sidelines encouraging the kids, while others are racing up and down the field officiating. Afternoon free swim requires the full focus of some, while others are on the hill top playing impromptu games. Then again after the evening meal coaches and officials are called upon to join campers in another round of Orange vs Blue competition. Bells ring to let counselors know it is time to get the campers ready for bed. When young heads finally come to rest on pillows, counselors are found on doorsteps or lying on beds enjoying a few moments of relaxation before drifting off to sleep themselves.

The energy that surges through these young men is endless. They are not professional educators; however, they possess an ability to engage campers mentally, physically, and emotionally. Counselors are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, tending not only to the athletic development of campers, but teaching life skills that will benefitcampers long after their summers at camp end. I look forward to an exciting summer and consider myself lucky to work with great kids and a great staff.

03 Jul First Week Reflections

We’re starting a new feature this summer, turning over the TLT once a week to the Heads of both Camps to offer a reflection on the previous week.  First up, Head of S4G Trish Pearson:

We began our 25th summer at S4G with many fond remembrances of summers past and anticipation of the summers to come. Old camp friendships picked up where they left off and we welcomed new campers to our family. The stellar S4G staff not only worked to prepare the facilities for the season, these young women devoted themselves to creating exciting activities focused on providing our campers with a wide experience of teamwork, creativity and appreciation of the natural world.

We have enjoyed beautiful, sunny days and cool nights these first few days and activities began with World Games on Monday with campers playing on all fields in mixed age groups. After the spirited competition of the day, the teams presented cheers. For those of you who have not experienced these cheers, they provide some of the highlights of each camp session. To celebrate the the founding of S4G in 1986, the Pink Team presented their conception of cheers from 1986, 1996, 2006 and the future.

After World Games, the Orange and Blue teams were announced and the competition for the session began with highly competitive games. This year, the head coaches of the Orange and Blue teams, Clare Mahoney and Holly Bailey, presented each of their team member with a reversible, orange and blue, pinnie to wear during the games. We have already seen close competition and the winner of the competition will be announced at the always memorable Orange and Blue Banquet during the last week of camp.

I am deeply grateful to be a part of the Camp Susquehannock family. In our conversations among the S4G Staff, we continually reflect on how fortunate we are to have a part in the growth and development of the campers. Every season, we see these young women face challenges and opportunities. We recognize and celebrate their determination and successes and look forward to sharing it with you as the camp season continues.

-Trish Pearson