Letters from the President and Camp Director


Letter from President Billy Rothberg

President Billy Rothberg with his grandkids at Camp Kinderland

I recently attended two functions where many Kinderlanders were present. One was a sad occasion; a Shiva visit with the family and friends of Danny Leiner. The other was a joyous event; a book launch party for the authors, Mickey and Dick Flacks. Danny’s family has a long history with Camp. The Flackses have a deep connection with Camp. It was there that their romance started more than half a century ago.

At these functions I saw a number of Kinderland people from many generations. There were Danny’s bunkmates actively engaged in catching up with each other. There were three generations of Danny’s family most of whose history includes Camp. There were many family friends who also went to Camp. At the book party there were a number of people who knew Mickey and Dick from their days together in Camp. Some had not seen each other for many years.

On both of these occasions I witnessed the warmth, love, and affection that was conveyed from one to the other. I went to Camp in the 1950s and was a CIT in 1959. Most of my closest friends are people I went to Camp with. All of this made me reflect on what it is about Camp that we come away with these lifelong friendships.

Camp has evolved since its founding in 1923. It is, in many ways, a different camp today than it was 95 years ago. But one thing continues- the sense of community and commitment. Camp’s core values of respect and compassion, community, diversity and social, economic and racial justice is the thread that binds us.

Eight of my grandchildren were in Camp this past summer. I am glad they have the opportunity to experience what I and so many others have over the last 95 years on Sylvan Lake and in Tolland. I am grateful to all the many people who have worked so very hard, over the years, to make Camp Kinderland the special place that it is.

– Billy Rothberg


Letter from Camp Director Cindy Zingher

Camp Director Cindy Zingher at the 2017 August Carnival

I am so happy to say that once again, our campers report that they had a fantastic summer. This is due primarily to both the very rich programming under the guidance of Ira Coleman-Palansky, as well as the dedicated, compassionate and caring staff that we have.   I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to see everyone put their hearts and souls into making sure that our campers are treated with love and respect. I watch with such great pleasure the relationships between all who are at camp form and grow.

Our theme this summer was “The People Speak: Telling the Truth, Changing the Narrative” The Olympic teams were The Strike of the 20,000, Ferguson/Black Lives Matter, The Little Rock 9, Trail of Dreams and the East L.A. Chicano Walkout.   As always, these teams created amazing murals and shared their learning as they performed their skits, dances and cheers.   There were so many unique and special highlights this summer which you can read about in Ira’s 2018 program report.
Beyond the summer, we also had a very special camp reunion this past winter where we had a folk dance led by Lilah Hixson. Our benefit weekend was a huge success with so many past campers and staff reuniting, sharing their memories and reconnecting to camp once again. Thank you to all who worked on this and a special thank you to Deb Barall for your continuous generosity.

I am always so grateful for our Camp’s year-round staff (Dennis, Cindy T, Mike, Ira and our newest staff member, Joey Perr – Development and Community Outreach Coordinator) and our board. Each of them works tirelessly to help make camp the success that it is.