Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reunion 2014 is right around the corner!

Gather around the (indoor) campfire, visit canteen for some of your favorite summer snacks, grab a friend and snap a picture in a photo booth and brush up on your Ruach songs... you never know when we'll bust out the Moose Song or Baby Shark!
Join us for our summer 2014 camper reunion on Sunday, November 30, 2:30-4 pm at the Newton JCC! 
Reunite with old friends, make new ones and see some of your counselors, too.
Questions? email
See you at reunion!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Shabbat Greetings from Kingswood (June 27, 2014)

Shabbat Shalom, Camp Kingswood Families and Friends!

As we kickoff another fantastic summer at Camp Kingswood-- our unit heads, staff, and even some campers will be sharing with all of you little glimpses into our Kingswood universe. Today's Shabbat message comes from Annette Dzidek, Bogrim Unit Head.

Bogrim campers Ava and Sofia along
with their counselor Gabby
Opening day at camp was a great success and the Bogrim are all settled into their cabins. The rain yesterday didn't stop us from carrying on with plenty of fun activities around camp.  It was awesome seeing campers reunite with old friends and see new friendships begin. Last night, the Bogrim started off this session with a beach party at the waterfront.  Beach balls and frisbees were flying while music was blasting and our campers were showing off their amazing dance moves.  We all had a great time.  After a long, sunny and warm day (finally!), we look forward to celebrating the first Shabbat of the session together.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Preparing my camper for a great summer at Kingswood

By Marni, Camper Parent
Marni and her daughter Abby (Kingswood Camper!)

My ten-year old daughter, Abby, is leaving on June 25 to spend 3.5 weeks at Camp Kingswood and she is so excited, which means that I am so excited too!  Most of the parental pre-camp prep revolves around making sure Abby has all of the “stuff” she needs, which includes all of the clothing on the list Camp KIngswood provides, necessary toiletries and sunscreen, and proper stationary and reading materials.  I have already ordered washable labels with her name on them, taken the opportunity to go through her clothing to sift through what still fits and to determine what we still need to purchase. I unearthed her duffle bags from the basement which still hold her critical camp-only items (clip-on fan, clip-on book light, random bunk games, leftover stationary, laundry bag, sheets, sleeping bag and comforter) to be used once again this summer.  This week we will begin taking out her clothes, labeling them and making sure she has some of those precious thematic items that will add so much fun to her summer – tie-dye t-shirts for “Tie-dye Fridyes,” nice outfits for Shabbat, a backpack for the Funtown Splashtown outing, something red-white-and-blue for July 4, etc. (for new campers, please note that she had NONE of those things last summer and had an absolute blast).  

Last but not least, instead of focusing on how much we will miss Abby, we look at the camp video, reminisce about great memories from last summer, mull over which activities she will try this time around, and guess which musical the camp will produce in the first session.  I know that even though we tried our best to send Abby with everything she needed last summer, we probably forgot some things and she barely used half of what we sent - she had fun because of friends, activities, freedom, ruach (spirit) and all of the other delightful things kids can only find at overnight camp.  Therefore, much more than collecting all of the “stuff” she needs during these last two weeks, we are gathering excitement for what will surely be another fabulous time at Camp Kingswood!   

Marni and her family live West Newton, MA. Marni's daughter, Abby is an incoming 5th grader and second year camper at Kingswood.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Camp America: Bringing staff from the UK to camp!

Every summer Kingswood brings a handful of energetic, talented and excited young adults from the United Kingdom to work at camp. Through Camp America- a leading staffing agency for international staff looking to work at summer camps in the states, we've hired a fantastic group of staff members who are eagerly counting down the days until they board their flights and head to Bridgton (via Boston, of course)! We asked John- a first time staff member coming to Kingswood from Camp America, to share with us a little about why he decided to come to camp this summer. Meet John!

Check out that Camp America tshirt!
Hey! I'm John, I'm 22 and I come from a small town in Cheshire, England. I applied to Camp America this year because it is something that has always seemed very appealing to me; the thought of going away for the whole summer in a completely new environment surrounded by amazing new people, cultures, accents, adventures and so much more has to be the most exciting thing you could possibly do right? Personally I can't think of a much better way to spend your summer. Plus not only will we (Camp America staff) have the best some of our lives, but we get the opportunity to make the kid's summers the best they have ever had and leave an impact and a head full of memories that will last a lifetime. This has to be one of the most rewarding opportunities I may ever have offered to me. I want to make sure I do everything I can to leave my mark at Camp Kingswood this summer!
I still don't know quite what to expect from camp, I have heard different things from different people about camp and so far they have all been good, but I guess some things are best being left in the dark to find out for yourself because that's what makes it all the more exciting! But I could not have had any better help or guidance so far to prepare for camp leading up to the trip from all the members of Camp Kingswood leadership and all the counsellors I have spoken to during the build up.

In less than 3 days from now I will be on that flight and waving goodbye to the UK and writing this has officially got my stomach doing somersaults, so bye for now I guess and I shall "see y'all real soon"!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Meet our Zohar Assistant Director!

Kingswood's Zohar (brightness/splendor) program is a fully-integrated inclusion program for campers who are developmentally challenged. Last year we were recognized as a leading Jewish organization committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities by the Slingshot Organization! We have a fantastic team of specially trained counselors that work with the Zohar campers.  This year's Zohar Director is Julie Tanguay- who many of you may recognize from previous summers.  Julie will be joining us at camp second sessions after she gives birth to second child in the next week or so! 

Julie recruited a fabulous Assistant Director who has been working with her and our Zohar families all year and she cannot wait to be at camp with all of you this summer.

Meet our Zohar Assistant Director: Ally Pequita!

What’s your camp connection?:  I have no previous connection to camp. I am a “newbie”  I met Julie Tanguay through work and we hit it off very well and she said, “I think you should come to camp and help out while I am out.” and I said, “Sure-sounds great!"

What do you do when you’re not at camp?: I do too much!  I am a mother of two. My daughter is 6 and my son is 5.  They keep me very busy and I keep them very busy!  I help my husband coach their soccer team.  My daughter and I take dance (tap and jazz).  My husband and son play hockey. When my family is not going in all directions we are usually Geocacheing, running, or riding our bikes.  For work, I am a BCBA consultant for school districts and I am adjunct faculty at Bay Path College.

Favorite camp activity: I'm not sure yet!

Favorite camp food: SMORES!!

What are you most looking forward to this summer?:  EVERYTHING!!!!
Anything else we (the greater Kingswood family) needs to know?:  I am excited and really hoping and looking forward to being part of a great team and a successful summer.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Turning OFF Technology and Turing ON Personality

By: Traci Stratford, JCC Camp Kingswood Assistant Director

As I write this, my iPhone sits on my desk to the right, Outlook is open, a new email
reminder pops up in the bottom right corner of my screen every few minutes and the Kingswood’s  Facebook and Twitter pages are open in my web browser.   I am constantly connected to technology- tweets, texts, likes, Instagram, Yelp, the game 2048 and the constant ‘bing’ when a new email arrives in my inbox.  Technology has become a cornerstone in the way we live our lives and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Unless… the user is spending the summer at Camp Kingswood.  We’ve made our camp “screen free”- no iPhones, Gameboys, DSii, iPods, Kindles… nothing with a screen.  We don’t deny that technology is important and we’re looking forward to blogging, Facebook posting, tweeting and photo sharing all summer long from Bridgton.  These intentional technological communication methods are simply to share with those not at camp, the amazing things happening at Kingswood when we’ve unplugged for the summer.  The real question to ask is why deviate so drastically from what has become the norm in our everyday lives?

Steve Baskin is the owner/director of Camp Champions, a partner of Everwood Day Camp in Massachusetts and Camp Pinnacle in North Carolina as well as an American Camping Association (ACA) Board Member.  I came across a Ted Talk Steve gave in San Antonio last year.  If in your hours of Internet browsing you watch one video today—I hope this is it.  Steve articulates exactly why Kingswood has made the decision to disconnect  and allow the true power of the camp community to shine in absence of technology. 

Enjoy - and i’d love to hear your feedback and comments. As I mentioned, I’m always connected.

An 11 minute video -- now a short one minute read:

  • The average teenager spends 53 hours a week looking at an electronic screen; 11 hours texting alone.
  • A fulfilling life starts with interpersonal, face-to-face connections that require the following skills - all of which require practice:
o   Empathy
o   Reading other people
o   Body language
o   Intonation
  • Research by the Partnership for 21stCentury Skills found college and high school graduates are entering the work force with a deficit of skills; they do not have the skills necessary to be successful in a world defined by flux and change.
  • The research stresses the importance of the following skills (all of which are learned at camp!)
o   Oral communication: the ability to listen and persuade another human beings
o   Collaboration: the ability to get together with a group of people, some not of your choosing, and agree on a goal, plan and execute that plan (sounds like a typical day at camp)
o   Creativity
None of these skills happen by accident

Camp is the most immersive and intentional experience for creating and growing these skills. Camp is the only place where you can get elementary school kids and teenagers to log off and put down their technology—and they love it! This is what genuine connection feels like!  For 16 hours a day at camp we unplug. We’re together with other human beings. Nonstop.

Camp isn’t taking technology away...
Camp teaches the skills to be able to turn off technology and turn on personality

TedX Talks. (23 January, 2013). Unplugging our kids: Steve Baskin at TEDxSanAntonio. Retrieved from 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Meet Two More Unit Heads!

In addition to Eitan and Annette, we are really excited to introduce our two other summer 2014 unit heads. Both are new staff members who are eagerly looking forward to joining our great camp community for the summer!

Meet Julie!

What’s your camp connection?
My husband and his whole family were Kingswood campers and this summer will be my son Jacob's 2nd summer at Kingswood! My other son Eli will also be joining us this summer. 

What do you do when you’re not at camp (off season)?: 
I've been a speech language pathologist working over the years with both children and adults. I like to cook and both bake and decorate cakes. Nothing fancy...but definitely FUN!

Favorite camp activity: 
I don't know yet....I haven't been to camp in a loooooong time! Probably something that involves singing and archery!

Favorite camp food: 
I'm hoping for s'mores!

What are you most looking forward to this summer?: 
I can't wait to be outside all summer long! I'm really looking forward to watching the campers enjoy new experiences as they get to participate in activities that are not typically available during the school year. 

Anything else we (the greater Kingswood family) needs to know?:  
I like to pay things forward and hope to be contagious in that way ;)

Meet Jesse!

Unfortunately we don't have penguins at camp... yet...
What’s your camp connection?: 
This is my first time at camp. I was introduced to it by Julie (Tanguay), the Zohar Director- who was my professor this last semester. 

What do you do when you’re not at camp (off season)?: 
I am a speech and language therapy assistant for a public school system. 

Favorite camp activity: swimming

Favorite camp food: We will have to see....

What are you most looking forward to this summer?: Making lots of new memories!

Anything else we (the greater Kingswood family) needs to know?: This will be my daughters first time at a sleep away camp too. I can't wait for her to make memories too.