Based in upstate New York Camp Lokanda is a large co-ed summer camp with a whole host of facilities based in a beautiful location! Read on to find out more!
Tell us a little bit about your camp?
Camp Lokanda is a premier, co-ed sleepaway camp located in the Catskill Mountains, just 2 hours outside of New York. The camp was founded in 1937 on beautiful land and a lake once owned by the Singer family (inventors of the sewing machine). In 2008, we bought the camp and have continued the traditions that were carried for decades. Our children were 1 and 3 years old in 2008 and have grown up at Lokanda. They are now part of the oldest camper groups, involved in leading the youngest campers and teaching the camp traditions they grew up with.
With our policy of no screens (electronics), Lokanda campers and staff can “disconnect” and learn how to treat others, face to face, with respect and kindness.
The cooperative environment at camp enables our campers and staff to succeed in making and keeping friends, while growing to be thoughtful and kind. We call this “The Lokanda Way.”
How long have you worked in camping?
Both of us went to and loved summer camps when we were growing up. We bought Camp Lokanda in 2008 and have been living the dream ever since!
What’s your favourite thing about camp?
Our favorite thing about Camp Lokanda has to be “The Lokanda Way” which is an integral part of Lokanda’s tradition and culture. The Lokanda Way is about sharing, caring and inclusion. It is about encouraging campers and staff to be helpful, tolerant and sensitive to the needs of others. It is about good sportsmanship on our fields, courts and rinks, so that we enjoy our victories, but not take pleasure in another’s defeat. It is about campers who offer help, support and encouragement to their fellow campers.
The Lokanda Way has existed since 1937 through generations of Lokanda campers and staff, and by practicing it, we are rewarded with lifelong friendships. With so many positive ways to recognize campers and those practicing the Lokanda Way, campers return summer after summer and grow to be mature, well rounded, positive young adults.
When was your camp established?
The camp was founded in 1937.
What’s your favourite special event or evening activity at camp?
There are so many to choose from! Our Top 10 are: Camp Fires, Sports Under the Lights, Counselor Hunt, Scavenger Hunts, Mess Fest, College Day, Color War, World Cup Soccer, Euro Handball tournaments.
What’s the most popular meal at camp?
Definitely Taco Tuesday! Or it could be the homemade pancakes from Ronen’s Lokanda Express truck. Or maybe the fresh donuts we make every week. Or our barbeque night…
Why do you hire international staff?
We love the cultural diversity that our international staff provides to our camp! Nobody appreciates more than Lokanda that “staff makes the difference.” We always have in mind that the camp experience is about people. We invest in people whose primary focus is the happiness and safety of the children. Our staff is hired on the basis of values, passion, skills, and a genuine love for children and we welcome them back year after year.
What qualities do you find the best camp counsellors have?
Our best counsellors have compassion and motivation and a genuine care for the children. A positive attitude and a good work ethic are essential!
The J1 visa is a cultural exchange visa- what would you recommend your camp counsellors visit in the surrounding area to your camp when they are on their days off?
Since we are located only 2 hours outside New York City – that is a must for our staff to visit!! Closer to camp is the beautiful Delaware River for rafting and canoeing and Skinner Falls to hike. If you like shopping, we have plenty in the area! Counsellors enjoy days off at the local mall and Woodbury Commons, one of the nation’s largest outlet malls!
What would be your words of wisdom to new camp counsellors?
Be prepared to work hard and play hard (in that order!) You will get out even more than you get in. Come ready to have a life changing experience and be prepared to never want to leave!