Session 1

Posted by on Jun 30, 2012

Even as the years go by and the faces change, character develoment, friendship building, and learning new skills continues to be the foundation that the Camp experience is based on.  This past week, Ockanickon has seen many of its sons assume new responsibilities.  As has always been our tradition, when senior staff move on, someone  steps up to take their place.  With men like Ezra Schwartz, Joe Hurford, Donny Palmer, Dan Rozov, and Rich Rinaldi moving onto the next chapters of their lives and men like James Otwell (Ranger Head) , Rob Rinaldi (Oneida VC), and Brennan Downey (Program Director) accepting new positions at Camp, there have been opportunities for younger staff members to step up.  Matt Geurtsen and Wayne Holmes have assumed the role of Village Chief of the Cherokee and Seneca Villages.  Former camper of many years and Virginia Tech graduate, Rob Giorgianni has returned to Ockanickon to accept the position of Mohawk Village Chief.  Chris Lawson and Brett Patterson have become the new CIT/LIT Directors and Rich Rupert has taken on the responsibility of Challenge Course Director.  Paul Giovanni has been promoted to the position of Ranger Head.  Greg McCrohan, Rob Love, and Sam Kaubin resume their roles as Algonquin VC, Waterfront Director, and CIT/LIT Director.  It is very reassuring to me to have such fine men leading our Camp and our boys.  These men personify what character and integrity truly means.  Our Session 1 campers were in good hands, as will be the rest of our campers this summer.  As I look at the 2012 CIT’s, I have to wonder which of them will be running Camp in a few years.  It is very satisfying to know that they will be taking up the reigns when their time comes.  May they learn from our experiences  the same way that we learned from those  who came before us.  There are hundreds of campers that are going to learn from this extraordinary group of young men over the next 7 weeks.  Some of these campers will someday become Ocky counselors and the whole cycle will begin again.  It is a beautiful thing to watch boys at Ockanickon be willing to open up to one another, sing Camp songs, be themselves, and to help out the other fellow.  It is more beautiful to watch these boys become men and pass down this tradition to the next generation over and over again. Brent Birchler Boys Camp...

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Ranger Prep

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012

Three days until session two and the first Ranger trip of the summer! Ranger directors Sam, Meg, James and Paul have been preparing for a fabulous adventure! A lot more goes into the preparation for Rangers than you might think. We have spent the last three weeks organizing this summer’s Ranger trips. Between planning meals, sorting packs and supplies, reviewing the trail and river course, and renewing necessary certifications we have been very busy! We have updated the meals we take on the trail and river according to previous campers’ feedback. We got rid of unpopular and unhealthy meals and added some vegetarian options. We made sure all of the equipment is in working condition; we set up tents, tested camping stoves and water filters, and brushed up on our canoe strokes. We now know the trail and river like the backs of our hands; we have found the best water sources and campsites, and know which tricky spots to watch out for. Along with basic prep, we have all taken wilderness first aid, canoeing skills, and lifeguarding/CPR courses. A wilderness first aid course teaches the application of basic first aid skills with minimal equipment while at least three hours away from help. This ensures that we are prepared should the worst happen, though we hope that it will not (knock wood). Although we have been focusing on the necessary Ranger logistics, rest assured we did not forget the FUN! We have a few co-ed surprises that may or may not involve the Ocky Waterfront and a bonfire. There will be plenty of time for song singing, plaque decorating, friendship building that will last a lifetime, gaga, and long awaited showers. Meg is very excited to be joining the Ranger staff this year. She took the trip as a camper in the summer of 2006 and has dreamed of being a director ever since. Hiking about 35 miles and canoeing over 40 miles is a steep challenge. Once she accomplished that goal, she set her sights on higher and higher adventures. Although Sam has successfully completed nine Ranger trips, each one holds a special place in her heart. She looks forward to watching how the trip shapes each group of girls and how the girls shape it into their own. All in all, we look forward to a successful, fun-filled summer of Rangering, and we hope you are too! <3 Sam &...

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A little taste of camp so far …

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012

Over the last couple of days camp transformed into a bustling hub of movement, activity, and laughter. Around every turn there is a group of campers and counselors engaged in the countless programs, activities, and games here at camp. For me, I’ve been dedicating most of my time to Ockanickon, partly because of my involvement in this summer’s newest camp activity, woodworking, but mostly because that is where my heart is. Just in the past few minutes, as our woodworking group walked back from the Ockanickon Nature Cabin we watched the Stockwell Explorers and Matolly Algonquins engaged in both low elements and high elements on the challenge course. The Seneca boys were busy filling their water bottles before heading out to join in on the fun at the challenge course. The Mohawks gathered together to begin their first Boating period of the session while the Oneida’s split their time between Nature and Archery. Roger was already pitching to the Algonquins in a game of Cricketball (a marraige of baseball and cricket). And finally, right as we made our pass through the villages, John Levinson was entertaining a group of Cherokees with some riddles right before their Art period began. On the woodworking end of things, some of our Oneidas and Mohawks have been hard at work in the endeavor to create our very own walking sticks. Yesterday, after selecting the lumber, we began by learning the safe use of whitling knifes, along with how to use a wood file and a hand saw. Everyone has dedicated some extra time to making sure their walking sticks come out great and it looks like tomorrow, after some good sanding, most of us will be ready to apply the first coat of stain. In just over an hour, the Ocky boys are all going to head for showers, put on their best camp tuxedo, grab some dinner, and then head to down to Matolly for the first dance of the summer! Happy Camping! Dave...

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… and so it begins.

Posted by on Jun 24, 2012

Hello all… So here we are. Day one of our Overnight Resident Camps for Boys and Girls. I’m sitting at my desk in the relative quiet… with the exception of whirling exhaust fans and boiling kettles and churning ice machines… and outside… not 40 feet from where i am sitting, the last of our Campers at Ockanickon are checking in at the registration table. This is that “calm before the storm” people always talk about. But what a glorious storm it is. Boys and girls have traveld far and wide… including overseas… to come to our little slice of heaven here in the pine barrens of Southern New Jersey. They have come with pillows and sleeping bags… flashlights and extra pairs of socks. They have also come with the desire to grow and learn from our wonderful Staff. To meet, interact and bond with other children their age as well as those younger and older than themselves. Everyone’s basic intentions and goals are the same… to have a great time… but while we are at it we’ll sneak in a little bit of learning, creating life-long memories and friendships, spreading our wings and exploring our boundaries, mindfulness for others and of our own words and actions… the list of the positive results of Camp could go on and on. But I don’t have much time to expound on all of it… someone needs to go stir the spaghetti sauce… and that would be me. Thank you in advance to all the wonderful counselors who have either returned to or just joined our ranks. YOUR time and attention is priceless. And WELCOME to all the campers, both young and old… seasoned or new. Let’s have a great summer! Be good… Chef Jason (pictured above… this mornings Staff...

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Ockanickon 5K

Posted by on Jun 23, 2012

Over 100 runners showed for the Ockanickon 5K last Friday. This was our 1st night time race held at Camp in our history….so we were all very excited to have such an amazing turnout. A very special thanks to our sponsors; L.E. Roselli’s, New Jersey American Water, Safeguard, and Emergen-C who’s contributions helped us raise more dollars for our Annual Campaign. And of course congrats to our 1st place finisher, Brian Elliott who finished with a time of 20 minutes and 21 seconds. This of course being the 1st Ockanickon 5K means Brian has the course record! We hope to see Brian and all the other racers back next year for the 2nd Annual Ockanickon...

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Just a few more days

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012

I can’t believe it! Staff training will come to an end tomorrow and before we know it, the campers of Lake Stockwell Day will be arriving Monday morning. Although I will be sad to see our training end, I am super excited for our campers to arrive. Our staff has been working hard all week long to learn the ins and outs of their positions, getting to know one another, and of course, learning new songs and games they can teach their campers. Here’s to the best summer Lake Stockwell has yet to...

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