Volume LVI, No. 4, December, 2015

Dear Campers, Parents, Staff, Alums & Friends,

Does it seem to anyone else that the holiday season has really crept up on us?  It has to be the beautiful fall weather most of the country experienced the past many weeks.  The holiday ads arrived as early as ever, but it still feels like we’re just careening into December.  That’s a good thing, though!  If this pace keeps up, camp will start like….next week!  Well, maybe not, but it might just feel that way. 

Parenting in the 21st century can sure be a challenge.  The same thing was probably mumbled by parents back in the 1st century, for all we know.  No one has all the answers, and parenting is always a work in progress.  As camp directors, we share some common experiences with your kids that you do, and sometimes having that objective viewpoint provides us with insights about working with kids.  Not to mention, we have our own children too (with whom there have been lots of ups and certainly some occasional downs).  So, in the interest of being helpful, we invite you to read and consider some parenting ideas that we may periodically share with you.  Last year we created a new blog called Kidpaths, though we don’t really advertise it anywhere.  Just recently, the topic of children and anxiety has been on our minds, and we posted a new blog to Kidpaths about that.  We encourage you to have a look. 

If I was to get in my car right now and just step on the gas pedal, it would drive to the airport.  That’s assuming it would have a conditioned response because that is – basically – the only driving it has done these past many weeks.  We’ve had some of the most fun, well-attended, and just plain happy reunions in memory so far.  We are so grateful to the parents and families who have hosted us in Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans, and for the campers, parents, and staff who have turned out.  Of course, the Reunion Video is another Ryan Cohen blockbuster, and that has kept us all smiling and laughing.  One of my favorite things to do at reunions is to watch the kids and counselors watching the video.  You can almost see the memories flashing in front of their eyes as they relive the amazing summer we had together.  This year’s video is particularly impactful in the Trips segment.  When that last photo fades to black, I think to myself, “Who can watch all of that and NOT want to get out on some of these incredible trips??!!”  Our thanks to Ryan for doing his typical amazing job again this year.  If you haven’t seen it yet, just wait.  You are gonna love it!!

We continue to sail along at a great pace.  We have filled two age groups in the 1st Session, and several others are approaching capacity.  2nd Session still has space in all age groups at this point.  Welcome back to the following “old-timers” who have re-enrolled in the past month: JACOB & SAM KLINE of Chicago, IL; AVI HIKEN of Prospect, KY; JOSH ETTINGER, RAYJ RIKIMARU, JONAH SAMSON, JARED SETTLER, and DYLAN STERN of St. Louis, MO; SPENCER VERNIER of Deerfield, IL; BEN ELLIS and BEN GOLDMAN of Glencoe, IL; GRANT KIBEL of Boston, MA; JACK VAN OOYEN of Brooklyn, NY; COBY TEICH of Highland Park, IL; MASSIMO D’AGARO of Northbrook, IL; DILLON ARONOFF, JACKSON SCHNEIDER, and OWEN SHAFFER of Nashville, TN; WILLIAM CROSBY and DAVID WINE of Oak Park, IL; CODY KENDALL of Winnetka, IL; and HENRY & JOE LEVY of Seattle, WA. 

Welcome aboard to the following first-year campers who will join us this summer: JACKSON SHALTIEL of Mundelein, IL; MILES STEIN of Los Angeles, CA, NOAH MASINTER and AIDAN POMEROY of Northbrook, IL; and NOAH COEN of St. Louis, MO.  We’re so glad to have you all with us!!

YO  PARENTS: If you ordered a Memory Book from last summer, it should have arrived by now for you to enjoy. If you ordered a Memory Book but it has not arrived, please let us know and we’ll make sure it gets to you. If you’re not sure if you ordered a Memory Book, let us know and we can look in to it and get back to you. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept Memory Book orders retroactively for last summer.

This is also a friendly reminder that our payment schedule includes a 2nd deposit, which is due on or before January 15th.  That’s more than a month away but we wanted to give you advanced notice.  You can make the $1250 payment online with your credit card, if you wish, by clicking here.  If you prefer to send a check, please send it to our winter office in Tucson.  Thank you!

FLYING TO CAMP?  If your camper will be flying to camp, you can book your flights with Sojourn Travel later this month!  We have group rates in a few cities, but in most areas, the sooner you purchase your ticket, the lower your fare will be.  Sojourn Travel is our approved travel agent, and they coordinate all flights to and from camp.  As soon as their website is up and ready, we’ll send you an email with the appropriate links.

YO STAFF: It’s that time of year again!  We have sent out invitations to return to camp next summer to everyone via email.  Please be sure to read everything we sent you.  You’ll notice that STAFF TRAINING IS 1 DAY LONGER THIS SUMMER, beginning on June 12th for everyone (including CITs).  This extra day will be huge for us, giving us plenty of time to take care of all the ACA accreditation compliance steps, while also affording us the time we need to get you ready for the campers!!!  For trippers, climbers, boat drivers, lifeguards, and Steering Committee guys, we start earlier as well.  All of the important dates are in the stuff we sent you. 

YO EVERYONE!  Reunion tour, 2015-16 continues this month and into the New Year.  Please check the dates below and if you’ll be in the area, come join us!




Thursday, December 3rd

7:00 – 8:30 PM


Saturday, December 5th

2:00 – 4:00 PM


Saturday, December 12th

2:00 – 4:00 PM

Los Angeles

Saturday, January 9th

2:00 – 4:00 PM

Washington, DC

Sunday, January 24th

3:00 – 5:00 PM


PLEASE CONSIDER A DONATION TO CAMP FOR ALL KIDS!   If you are putting together your ideas for charitable giving for the end of the year, we encourage you to help support CFAK.  If you believe in the power of camp (of course you do!) like we do, then you know your gift can provide a substantial life-improving leg-up opportunity to kids who would otherwise never be in a position to experience it.  What you may not realize, though, is how valuable this program is to our tuition-paying campers too.  It is too rare a circumstance when kids of different socio-economic backgrounds can spend time together, have fun together, and learn about each other as just..well….kids!  CFAK provides that to all of our campers and to campers at 4 other high quality independent camps.  And remember, once a child receives a CFAK campership, IT IS PERPETUAL FOR AS LONG AS HE/SHE IS CAMPER AGE!  Just like our other campers, the CFAK kids get to return to their camp summer after summer.  That key component is not cheap, but is so important to their development as strong young adults and to the networking they can do with the other kids.  Thanks to all who have supported CFAK thus far.  We hope you will continue to do so, and if this will be your first time contributing, thank you very much too. 


As we mentioned above, we have just sent out contracts to the folks from last summer, and we expect a vast majority of them will be back again this year.  We get to say “welcome back” to some already!  RICK & HOLLY JONES are back for their 31st summers at camp!  Whoah!  Rick is an art teacher and adjunct college professor in Indianapolis, IN, and he will be back again as one of our Assistant Directors.  Holly, a retired school teacher, is now leveraging her position as the Midwest Garage Sale Mogul.  She will again be our Office Manager.  Summer number 24 coming up for JEFF “MEL” MELROSE who returns as an Assistant Director and CIT Director.  Mel is a 5th grade teacher in Celebration, FL.  And yes…this does mean Andy Melrose will be back as well for another summer of extreme cuteness.  SAM “PICKLES” KAHN is returning to camp for his 16th summer.  Sam teaches middle school in Oak Park, IL, and he will also be an Assistant Director again this summer.   The whole HITCHENS CLAN will be back again this summer.  It is number 13 for HITCH, who is a high school history teacher in Evergreen, CO, and returns again as our Trips Director.  Summer number 11 for CORRIE, who is a high school principal in Denver, and helps out at Waterskiing and other activities and tasks around camp.  And kiddies, Carter and Liam will be with them as well, adding to the cuteness and energy factor.  And, of course, JAKE REUTER will be back again.  Jake has returned to the Rocky Mountains to oversee our Telluride offices.  He has been visiting with new families as he travels, and soon we’ll start checking out some new folks to join our staff.  This will be Jake’s 12th summer at camp. 

But we’re not done, folks!  No, no, no.  Welcome back to BILL MILLER who joins us again for his 23rd summer as our Kitchen Manager!  That’s right, we are destined for excellence in dining once again this year.  Bill lives here in Tucson, and spends his winter months taking care of his grandchildren and bemoaning the New York Yankees. 

Still not done!  Somehow these two got their contracts back to us incredibly quickly.  Welcome back to DUSTIN COHEN who returns for his 23rd summer at camp.  Dustin is 22 years old, and graduates this month from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Waterskiing.  No..wait…that’s not right.  A degree in Sociology and Child & Family Development.  He will again be our Junior Village Director, a cabin counselor, head up our Baseball program and help out with Waterskiing and Rock Climbing.  Summer number 20 (!!!) coming up for SAMMY COHEN.  Sammy is a 19 year old freshman at Northwestern University, currently studying Ultimate Frisbee, but planning to go to medical school.  She will again take her talents to the Pottery Shop as our Pottery director.  She’ll also help out with Disc Sports, Soccer, Waterskiing, and other activities. 


In the Chicago area, TYLER BORSTEIN has been studying Chinese in school.  CODY KENDALL played football, and was finishing up with soccer season.  MYLES ROSENSTEIN is playing volleyball.  ETHAN SCHWARTZ has been keeping up with school work while also playing basketball and baseball.  SPENCER VERNIER has been playing soccer for his school.  EDDIE & CHARLIE TEPPER have both been playing a lot of soccer.  AARON BERNS is swimming on a team.  JEREMY STROUSE is busy with golf, tennis, fantasy football and Tae Kwon Do.  JONAH GERSTEIN has been playing hockey and some fantasy football.  Brother CALEB GERSTEIN is playing hockey and fantasy football too.  ALEXANDER ZLOTNIK is playing on his school’s basketball team.  GABE NEWMAN is busy with golf, tennis, baseball, and – you guessed it – fantasy football.  CHARLIE CARROLL broke his thumb…bummer!  He’s also been playing soccer, basketball, and….fantasy football.  St. Louis finds BEN SIWAK playing hockey and rooting for the Blackhawks…*sigh*.  Brother SAM SIWAK is playing intense baseball, and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah last month. CHARLIE LOVETT came in all the way from LA to help Sam celebrate.  And over Thanksgiving, JORDAN PLOCKER was in St. Louis to visit with Ben.  BRETT MILLER is playing roller hockey.  JOEY FLOM made his school’s volleyball team.  JUSTIN GOLDENBERG has been playing some golf.  OWEN TAYLOR just finished up soccer season, and had a part in his school play.  ZACH HEARST is playing tennis.  ETHAN DEUTSCH’s football team won the league championship, and now he’s into lacrosse season.  Brother TYLER DEUTSCH has started hockey season.  GRANT GARLAND is playing soccer.  TYLER NEWMARK has been doing strength training, getting ready for baseball season.  Brother ZACH NEWMARK finished up baseball season.  JACK KAHN has not just been playing…he’s been living soccer and basketball.  CHRISTIAN SIEVE is on his school’s robotics team, and has been playing soccer and volleyball.  ELI TENENBAUM has been playing soccer, as has LUCAS LEVYDANNY FISCHER has been playing golf and soccer, as has JONAH SAMSONJEREMY COHN has started lacrosse season, and brother ADAM COHN is playing baseball.  RAY RIKIMARU is playing on his school’s basketball team.  MAX PUGH has been playing some guitar.  In Rockville, MD, WILL SEXTER is on a snow ski race team and is also in a musical production of “Peter Pan.”   In New Olreans, Bar Mitzvah congrats to ARI BERK who celebrated last month.  Ari is busy with school and fantasy football.  Brother SETH BERK is also busy with school and playing some baseball.  Cousin DAVID BERK was also there to celebrate with Ari. 


JOSH GLAZER came down from Milwaukee to the Chicago reunion.  He’s the president of his BBYO chapter, and is gearing up for basketball season.  In Chicago, JONAS MONIESON ran cross country for his school team.  JOE BERNS WATSON is playing basketball on his school’s team and is also playing lacrosse.  JONO ROSENBLUM is putting his lifeguard certification to use working as a lifeguard at his local park district.  DAVID HEIMAN spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans.  EZRA WALLON is on the college tour and recently paid a visit to Vanderbilt University.  In St. Louis, ARI SINGER has been playing for his school’s hockey team.  JACK ROSENTHAL played varsity football and his team won the Missouri State Championship!  Wow!  JAKE FLOM paid a visit to PARKER DAWSON out in Denver, and just finished soccer season.  CHARLIE SMOLLER just finished soccer season, and along with WILL COEN, he attended the Chicago reunion.  Will also played high school soccer.  RYAN HEARST is counting the days till camp (we know that feeling!).  ZACH ZLEPPER got his driver’s license, is playing hockey, football, pumping iron and growing a beard?  BRIAN STRAIN is back at work as a school librarian in Denver, after his global tour, 2015.  While on the other side of “the pond,” Brian spent some time with “old-timer” JAMES WOODALI BOETTCHER has moved to Utah and has a job out there. KAREN MC KELVEY is back in Arizona after her cross country road trip, and she is now living in a cabin up in the mountains.  In Cape Town, South Africa, KATHY LEVERTON is recovering after a broken wrist.  During that time of going crazy from inactivity, she spent a week in the Wild Coast and did a little fishing.  She even caught up with “old-timer” JOEL LEMAIRE who has moved to the area with his wife.  In New Orleans, “old-timers” DAVID GAIDAMAK and SCOTT MAYER are Tulane students; David is a sophomore, and Scott is in his first year of Medical School.


BRAVO TO OUR DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BOYS & GIRLS: Devon Bierman – 12/3/2002, Jake Flom – 12/4/1998, Sam Siwak – 12/4/2002, Nate Adler – 12/5/2002, Grant Garland – 12/8/2002, Kyle Gross – 12/9/1999, Andrés Perez – 12/9/1992, Jonah Rosenberg – 12/9/1996, Holly Jones – 12/10/1957, Prestin Cooke – 12/11/1996, Gavin Gordon – 12/11/2002, Alexander Zlotnik – 12/11/2000, Henry Coen – 12/12/2002, Zachary Hearst – 12/12/2001, Bill Miller – 12/12/1956, Daniel VanBuren – 12/13/1984, Harrison Glasberg – 12/14/2004, Ethan Prager – 12/15/2005, Leslie Cohen – 12/18/1961, Charlie Weiss – 12/20/2002, Jack Baruch – 12/21/2000, Michael Kaplan – 12/21/1999, Jordy Mazza – 12/21/2000, Jake Mazow – 12/26/1998, David Pawlan – 12/26/1996, Ethan Gordon – 12/27/2000, Gabe Schultz – 12/27/2003, Andrew Karmin – 12/28/2000, Jeff Melrose – 12/29/1971, Jacob Rosenstein – 12/29/1997, Dylan Teitelbaum – 12/31/2004.

From all of us in our Tucson and Telluride offices, we wish you a very happy Holiday Season and New Year.  If you’re out around the world somewhere and you bump into some camp buddies, please snap a photo and send it to us.  We’d really love to hear about your fun and/or adventurous vacations, and we’d especially love to add that to next month’s newsletter.  We’ll write you again next year!!

Benches up,