May Kingswood News

By AllyCKW May 3, 2024

Dear Kingswood families and friends,

With Passover in the rearview mirror, camp is just around the corner! We blinked, and summer is upon us. Before the month’s end, the water and electricity will be turned back on, our year-round team will be moved up to camp, Bowie, Murray, and Joelle’s new furry friend Peaches will be running across the TAFKADI, and our super-cool new Ninja Warrior Course will be complete. (That’s right, in case you haven’t heard, read more about it below!)

It’s about to be Summer 2024, and I, personally, cannot wait. For all the obvious reasons, but this summer camp feels mission critical. Camp is the one of the most important gifts we can give our children in a regular year, but this year it feels like an urgent need. Not to exaggerate the importance of camp, but I don’t think I’m being dramatic when I say that a safe, loving, Jewish space has never felt more necessary. For sure for our campers, but just as much this year for our staff. I’m craving our camp community, so I can only imagine how a staff person in the Israeli army or a staff on any college campus is craving camp right now too.

In a few weeks, I’ll be waking up to the mist rising off of Woods Pond, finally back at camp for the summer with our Admin Team – Joelle, Mitch, Ethan, and Ally. For us, as a remote team, reuniting at camp looks pretty similar to Bogrim girls getting off the bus – lots of hugging and laughing, the way camp should be! When we arrive it’s usually still freezing out, with hats and coats still required to work in the office, but by a week or two later, the sun is shining, the leaves are filling in, and we’re back to our favorite summer meeting space, a picnic table outside. On June 1, our first few staff will arrive to help open camp as part of our Pre-Camp Crew, and from there it’s a blur as the staggered arrivals of supervisors, specialists, and counselors add layers to our incredible summer team. We will be so ready on June 23 when we come to greet our First Session campers!

If you’re the parent of a new camper and you won’t make it to a New Family Night, you can watch a recording of this week’s virtual meeting here.

All forms are past due, but you know what you’re not too late for? Purchasing new camp gear at our online store for camp! 🙂 At camp, most of the items in Canteen are not available in our online store. We’ll post a blog once camp is underway to show parents what’s for sale at Canteen.

You’ve probably heard that we introduced a new program this year for rising 1st – 5th graders called Mini-Camp, August 14-16. This taste of camp is the perfect introduction for a younger sibling or cousin of a camper who wants to come for a full session next year. Mini-Camp will lead into Alumni Camp, so anyone who’s an alum with future campers – this week is especially made for you. 🙂

Want to know what’s been happening all year? Click here to read past issues of The Kingswood News. If you haven’t already, follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook, and make sure you’re all set with CampInTouch and the Campanion App to stay connected all summer long.

Moving forward, parents, this will begin the weekly Shabbat-O-Gram you’ll receive from me every Shabbat throughout the summer. While we communicate a lot of ways during camp, this is the one time each week I send a note to you as the camp director, sharing stories or observations that let you into the behind the scenes of camp, giving you more of a taste of the ‘why’ than the ‘what.’ During camp sessions I aim to send them on Fridays, but know that when it comes on a Saturday, it just means I’m way too into whatever I’m doing in person with campers to go sit at a computer. 🙂

Shabbat shalom,


Facility Update

We’ve kept quiet about this project because we wanted to be sure it could happen in time for summer, but when buses pull in this summer, we will have a BRAND NEW NINJA WARRIOR COURSE!! Ninja warrior training has become one of the most frequently requested activities we don’t have, and we know some of our campers even train at home. We’re so excited to be building our course in time for summer! Campers will all have the opportunity to try it out as a bunk activity, and Ninja Warrior training will be offered to all ages as a new elective. We’ve even hired two Ninja Warrior coaches! WHO’S EXCITED?!

Meet the Unit Heads

Drumroll please…introducing your 2024 Unit Heads and Assistant Unit Heads! This group of leaders is made up of experienced teachers, social workers, and very experienced counselors who can’t wait to give our campers the best summer of their lives. This squad ensures the health, happiness, and well-being of every camper in camp, and they serve as the camp director of their unit.

Staff Announcements

Let’s give it up for some more amazing returning staff members…

Rosa Stern-Pait is back as Chalutzim Unit Head and we couldn’t be more excited! It’s her 10th summer at camp, and she’s counting down the days until she’s back on Woods Pond with her Chalutzim campers. Rosa is currently living in New Orleans, where she is working on her career in the independent theater scene and just started working on her first play. You can also find her hanging out in New Orleans with ‘23 and ‘24 Tsofim Unit Head Rachel Huggett, where they’ve been brainstorming about how they’re going to make 2024 the best summer ever.

“Rachel and I just recently read ‘The Jews of Summer’ by Sandra Fox, and we were so excited about it,” said Rosa. “I was so inspired by the book, and it made me want to dive deeper into traditions this summer and learn more about why camp is so important to kids today.” We can’t wait to see you this summer, Rosa!

Aaron Cohen is ready for his second summer on staff, and his 10th at Kingswood! Aaron lives in Denver, where he attends the University of Denver, studying Construction Management and Real Estate Development. “I received my Real Estate license in Massachusetts this year, and I was really proud of myself for that!” says Aaron. “My dream is to move back to Boston and build sustainable real estate in my community, making all buildings carbon neutral.”

When Aaron isn’t studying, he spends his days skiing with his camp friends Henry Matar and Evan Karen (all returning for ’24!) Aaron is excited about camp and is making it a personal goal to connect with as many campers and staff in camp as he can this summer. “I’m going to learn as many names as possible in the first few days so I can make connections with campers and staff right off the bat!”

Aaron will be a counselor, and we’re so lucky to have him back at camp.

We highlight just returners here in The Kingswood News, but you can read introductions for all our new staff too on Instagram and Facebook!

Webinar for Camp Parents

“Preparing for a Successful Maine Camp Summer”
Dr. Tracey Brenner, Clinical Psychologist, Maine Camp Experience (MCE)

May 9, 1:00 PM ET

Camp Kingswood parents are invited to join parents from other Maine camps for this upcoming webinar to help parents prepare for overnight camp. Register in advance here for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing access details.

Alumni Spotlight: Scott Neas

Each generation leaves their mark on the next. For this month’s Alumni Spotlight, we’re featuring a humble camp icon – Scott Neas!

During the summers of 1990, ‘91, and ‘93-’03 Camp Kingswood was Scott’s home away from home. “Summer at home wasn’t great,” said Scott. “Camp was a place where I got to get away from everything at home, and be a part of a community. A community where everyone was helping everyone out and coming from similar Jewish backgrounds.”

After missing out on the summer of 1992, Scott knew it was a huge mistake and didn’t want to miss camp again. Being a camper was transformative for Scott, but being on staff was even more meaningful for him. He says the relationships he created with his campers and co-staff shaped him into the person he is today.

“My boys in my cabin were like little brothers I always wanted,” said Scott. “I loved those boys and I still do.”

Scott remembers having these boys for years, looking forward to seeing their growth each summer. He remembers playing games in the cabin and winning cabin clean up year after year. (Is it coincidental that in Summer ‘23 Bogrim boys also won cabin clean up?!)

The relationships Scott made with friends like Mike Askensae, Alan Barish, and Wyley Scherr were unmatched. They spent their days on Woods Pond entertaining all of camp during play intermissions, pulling harmless but memorable pranks, and creating bonds with their campers, who Scott fought to have in his bunk every summer. (Shoutout to the boys of S1 and S2 during the years of ‘98 and  ‘01!)


B5 Session 1, 1994

Scott tried to incorporate some of the lessons he learned from his counselors into his work at camp. From his counselor Jake, he learned, “There is never a reason to fight. If you must, it should be to protect yourself, protect your family and protect your friends.” He says it’s a lesson that has stuck with him to this day.

As a staff person at camp, Scott learned so much that carried with him beyond camp. “I quickly learned that with becoming a role model, there were responsibilities. Campers looked up to me, and because of that I had to be the best staff person I could be,” said Scott. Whether he was serving tables or choosing to spend his days off with his campers, Scott embraced the role, working to set a good example for everyone around him. Twenty years later, Scott still has that reputation at camp!

To the staff of Kingswood today, Scott asked to share a message, “Be the best counselors you can possibly be, set a good example for the campers, and keep the Kingswood spirit going!”

Scott Neas and Wyley Scherr during the Summer of ‘99.

Who’s coming to Alumni Weekend 2024 to reminisce about the good ol’ days with Scott? Register today using this link. We love sharing stories from alumni whose lives were impacted by their time at Camp Kingswood. Know an awesome alum like Scott who has a story to share? Let us know!

Tapping into Traditions: Camp Swag

Awesome camp swag is a long-standing tradition at Kingswood. Throwing on your favorite camp hoody is extra cozy because it’s a reminder of the community and spirit of camp. While we’ve never been a uniform camp, we’ve always loved our swag. “We got two shirts every summer when I was a camper,” said alumni Bessie Sadownick (Greenberg). Bessie attended Kingswood from 1986-99. Growing up in a small town, Bessie says she loved coming home from camp and showing off her new shirts. “I was the only person from my town who went away, so when I got home I felt a sense of pride wearing my Kingswood clothes.”

Bessie, daughter Emma, and husband David, rocking their Friends Of Kingswood swag.

That’s one of the best things about camp swag even today, right?! You get to wear it and show it off to all your friends and family who don’t know what camp is. It’s a conversation piece!

Bessie remembers camp shirts being worn specifically for out-of-camp trips, but they go on to mean so much more with age. “I still wear all of my shirts. My kids are always asking about them, and knowing that all my friends from camp have the same shirts makes me want to show them off even more.”

Bessie’s collection of camp shirts turned into a t-shirt blanket.

Camp Gear for 2024

Is that the Old Rec on those PJ pants?!? This summer at Canteen, campers will find their old favorites and new editions like these super cool Kingswood pajama pants with actual pictures from camp!

Visit the online Kingswood Store and snag some new Kingswood gear before camp starts!

A taste of Kingswood at Home

Can you believe we’re 51 days from Summer 2024?! It’s time for campers to start thinking about what electives to try! This month, we’ve got some Kingswood-themed ‘This or That’ games for you. Fill them out, and share them with us on Instagram or Facebook, we can’t wait to see!

Mazel Tov

Our Mazel Tov section is the best place to celebrate big moments together when we’re not at camp to cheer you on in the Dining Hall. This month, we’re excited to celebrate awesome camp people. First, we’re celebrating Kingswood Alumni Hallie Boviard on her engagement! Mazel Tov, Hallie!

Next, let’s celebrate Bogrim camper Danielle M. who had the lead role of Patrick Star in her middle school production of The Spongebob Musical in March. Mazel Tov, Danielle! We can’t wait to see what you bring to the Old Rec this summer!

Last but not least, give it up for Brooke K. who became a Bat Mitzvah on March 16, 2024. She celebrated with Kingswood friends Emma H., Danielle M., and Alexa D. Camp friends are the best, aren’t they?!

Let us know about your big news! Reach out to Ally so we can share your accomplishments with the whole Kingswood family.

That’s it for the May edition of the Kingswood News. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook where we’re counting down the days until we’re together for Summer 2024! (Only 51 to be exact!)