11 min read

January Kingswood News

By AllyCKW January 9, 2024

Dear families and friends,

When the calendar officially turns to the new year, in camp language, summer is right around the corner. It may seem like we’re months and months away to the average person, but for us camp people, despite Kingswood currently being buried under snow, there’s a ton to do to get ready for the summer!

As we welcome in 2024, the uncertainty in the world trickles down into camp, leaving us with open questions. 

Will we run our regular Israel trip for 12th graders? Will our North American parents feel safe sending their teens on the trip? 

Last year, 60 Israeli campers were with us at Kingswood. Will they be able to come, and will our Israeli parents feel safe sending their campers to America

In 2023, 30 Israeli staff were a part of our team – Do we hold summer positions for returning Israeli staff currently in uniform, called back for reserve duty?

It’s hard to believe these are the questions we’re asking ourselves and discussing with our families and staff, but the challenges in the world make being together at camp this summer even more important, no matter where you’re from. As we teach campers, we can hold multiple emotions at the same time. We can be working on backup plans to address the unknowns, and still be super excited for what’s ahead. When it comes to Summer 2024, there is already so much that we’re psyched about…

A new, 5th ski boat will be waiting in the water when campers arrive in June, so every camper will be able to tube, waterski, and wakeboard even more than before! We’re adding a daily soup and sandwich bar at meals, and we have a new AquaJump trampoline for the lake ready to go. A third GaGa pit will be landing in a yet-to-be determined location (suggestions are welcome!), and we’re introducing Skateboarding and Fitness as new electives. Toilets at Upper Fields may be the most requested camp improvement of all time, and finally in our 111th summer, it’s happening! 🙂 Thanks to the popularity of last summer’s Session I rainy day program, Kingwood Raindance Film Festival, we’ll be introducing Video as a bunk activity, and we’re adding more Inter-Camp Competitions and Tournaments within camp at Upper Fields.   

Last year’s introduction of Independent Studies for Chalutzim was so successful we’ll be expanding the program, where our teens are encouraged to break out beyond the typical camp schedule to create a personalized learning experience that speaks to their interests and passions. Last year, for example, as a culmination of a journalism project with our media team, two Chalutzimers learned the basics of sports reporting and got to cover an away game at another camp! 

We’ll continue to share updates like these through the winter, and we’re only a call or email away if you have feedback, or an idea you’d like to chat about. Just like the Camper Feedback Box we introduced at camp this summer (thanks Zach D.!), we know the best ideas come from you – our camp community. 

Personally, I’m flying in from Israel tomorrow to be at Launch on Sunday, and I can’t wait to see many of you there! Still, as a camper who lived 7 hours away from my childhood camp and could rarely make the big annual reunion, don’t worry, we’ll make sure NOTHING fun happens, 😉 OK, I can’t commit to that, but know that we will be missing you BIG TIME! Plus, the first day of camp is only 167 days away, but who’s counting? 😉

With so much love,

Coming soon to a City Near You

We’ve been on the road since the summer, meeting up with old friends and connecting with new campers in New York, Florida, and across Massachusetts! 

Mitch, Beny and  Samy L., and Sammy S. take a break from jumping at the Florida Reunion.
Robby reconnects with Lila, Harper and Jack C. at the Florida Reunion.

We had so much fun a few weeks ago in Florida, and this weekend, we’ll be back together Sunday, January 14th in Boston! Check out our social feeds for videos from some of our awesome staff coming in for the event, including Becca and Rachel – Olim and Tsofim Unit Heads from ‘23 returning as the heads of their same units for 2024! Let’s see which unit will show up in full force- Chalutzim, Bogrim, Tsofim or Olim?!

Staff Announcements

Did you know that every person who works at Kingswood is re-interviewed each year, whether it’s their first or their 21st summer? Putting together the staff team is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with each person adding to the community in their unique way, whether it’s the loud and crazy specialist always on stage or the quieter counselor who’s always there to listen. It’s so important to us that we have the right combination to build the best team possible.

We also care about each staff person and take their growth seriously, just like we do for our campers! So in each interview, we take the time to process their last summer and their year so far, think about how they want to grow, and set goals for the upcoming summer. Working at camp is a crash course in so many skills needed in life, like time management, flexibility, working with different kinds of personalities and cultures, and problem solving, so we want to be sure that while our amazing staff are hard at work creating the camp magic, they’re also “working” on themselves. See, working at camp is the best summer ever…AND is so much more than a ‘fun summer off!’

Now that it’s January, interviews are in full swing, and on any given day, Jodi, Mitch, or Joelle could be chatting with up to 10 of 15 potential staff! Talk about getting pumped for the summer – there’s not much better than the contagious excitement of camp staff in the winter. 🙂 Now, give it up for the first round of introductions for our AMAZING 2024 staff team!

Arielle Lieberman can’t wait to return to her second home for summer number 12! Arielle is back for her 3rd year on staff, and cannot wait to be the Assistant Unit Head of Tsofim. When Arielle isn’t at camp, she’s studying Management with a Health and Industry minor at Bentley University, in MA. Arielle’s already thinking about how unreal Summer 2024 is going to be, and has started planning all the exciting things she and her campers are going to do in and out of the bunk!

Sammy Scampoli is back home at Kingswood for her 11th summer, and her second year on staff. Being back on Woods Pond was never in question for Sammy – every year she can’t wait to be back at camp where she looks forward to seeing familiar faces. She loves that at Kingswood on staff there are always new friends from around the world to meet too!

During the year, you can find Sammy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in MA, where she studies Architectural Engineering. Not just a water-lover at camp, Sammy’s on her school’s swim and dive team, and says she’s constantly thinking about new diving techniques and swim electives she can bring back to camp.  She can’t wait to see everyone on the dock this summer!

Do you know someone great who you think should work for camp?! From our counselors to specialists, from chefs to nurses, our staff members are all problem-solvers, team players, and hard workers who love working with children! Apply here today.

A Taste of Camp at Home

If you follow us on social media, you might have caught camper Eliana S. making the Kingswood latke recipe for Chanukah last month. For this edition of The Kingswood News, we’re sharing another favorite recipe – Chocolate Balls!

Go on, make them this weekend, and drop us a line to let us know how they taste! We’d love to share your culinary creations, so snap a pic and share the chocolatey magic with us here.

Tapping into Traditions…

During camp, a favorite tradition for many campers is waking up early on Saturday mornings for The Big Swim. While the rest of camp is sleeping in, eager campers come down to the docks ready to jump into the crystal clear and calm water of Woods Pond. “It’s my favorite moment of the week,” says director Jodi, who tried to make it every week this past summer, but missed twice, and has set a goal for ‘24 to make it every week!

Campers can choose between swimming a shorter distance from dock to dock, or they can choose the longer version, across the lake and back.  “Our lifeguards are alongside the campers in boats and on paddleboards cheering them on, even doing the swim with them,” said 2023 Waterfront Director Alex Heaps “When campers doing the swim across the lake would reach me on the boat at the turnaround point, I could see their determination, and it would make me so proud of them.” She went on to say, “Every week I looked forward to cheering on the swimmers and seeing them reach their goals.” Later that day, at lunch, we recognize the swimmers, and shout out the best times of the week. Who’s in to swim across the lake in 2024? 

‘23 Waterfront Director Alex Heaps encourages campers at the turnaround point for The Big Swim.


Alumni Spotlight: Donald Adler

In 1999, when Donald Adler ran off the bus for his first year at Camp Kingswood, he was so excited. His sister had been going for years, and he was finally old enough to join her. ”Everything was so new and exciting,” he remembers, “but I hadn’t realized I would be the only camper my age!I was the youngest camper there! I was only seven years old, but I was so happy to be there,” said Donald.

Donald recalls his first summer coming with some moments of homesickness during his first few days, but it quickly went away as he connected with his bunkmates and started to make friends. He remembers making his best friend vividly, “Auren was my first friend at camp. I remember everyone loved him, and when my counselors introduced us to each other we realized how similar we were.” Little did they know that they would still be best friends 25 years later! Auren and Donald went on to live together in New York City after camp, traveled internationally, and continue to be friends today.

After his first summer, Donald knew camp was the place for him. He continued to come back to his second home in Bridgton, and finally was old enough to be on staff. “When I was a camper, I thought of my counselors like the gods and goddess of the Earth! I was so excited to be on staff and I knew I had to rise to the occasion and be that person for my campers,” said Donald. “My friends and I from that very first summer looked at each other with excitement in our eyes and couldn’t believe it was our time to be on staff.” Donald came back every year from 1999 – 2011, spending his last two summers as a Zohar counselor and part of the program team.

Being on staff was an unforgettable experience for Donald, and planted the seed for so much of his life path since. “The social skills I learned at camp made me not have to worry about it for the rest of my life. It really set me up for everything from meeting and living with new people at college, and being surrounded by a bunch of different personalities.” said Donald. “At camp, you learn to adapt to so many different types of people and how to connect with everyone.”

Donald credits camp with so much of who he is today, and emphasized the importance of the social relationships that can only be developed in the intimacy of camp. “I was able to socialize in a way that made me grow up,” he says. “Living with and being around so many kids my age was new to me, and it made me connect with people in a way that was different and better than at school.”

Today, Donald is a Senior Social Content Producer at Bravo and E Entertainment, where he does all things social media, hosting, and interviewing.

Donald credits so much of his success from the skills he learned while working at camp, and his love for Kingswood will always be with him“I’m the biggest advocate for camp, and I feel like everyone should be able to know what it’s like living 10 for 2.”

Then vs. now: Donald and his camp best friend Auren in 2006, and in 2023 celebrating Chanukah together.

We love sharing stories from alumni whose lives were impacted by their time at Camp Kingswood. Know an awesome alum like Donald who has a story to share? Reach out to ally@campkingswood.org. 

Mazel Tov

Mazel tov to Tsofim camper Mia E. who earned a lead role playing Clara in The Nutcracker last month! Mia is embodying courage by performing on stage in front of hundreds of people. We can’t wait to see her dancing on stage at the Gym and Dance Show in Summer ‘24!

Mia E. performing as Clara in The Nutcracker.

Mazel tov to Chalutzim camper Hannah F. who is fostering puppies rescued from kill-shelters AND working with her school service club to raise money for less fortunate people in her community. Hannah is living the values of responsibility and community and we’re so proud of her!

Hannah F. with one of her foster puppies!

Let us know about your big news! Reach out to ally@campkingswood.org to be featured in our next newsletter.

Spread the Camp Love

Have a friend you think would love Camp Kingswood? Put us in touch and see how it benefits you, them, and your camper! Check out the details here.

That’s a wrap on the January edition of The Kingswood News. We’re so excited for what 2024 has to offer for us. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook where it’s summertime forever!