Session Report from Program Director Ira Coleman-Palansky

Hi All,

Here is a summary of this past summer at camp, from my vantage point as program director.

Sports (including low ropes)

We had several sports people up this summer. Gabe kicked things off seeing all groups for a ropes session and did some disc activities. Isaiah Turner-Wyatt gave us 10 days of sports activities featuring soccer. Ruth and Olivia followed with 10 days of sports and games. We started off the 3 week session with Natalie Turner-Wyatt (two time national NCAA soccer champion) running soccer programming. Dave K. handled sports, including softball and basketball during the 3 week session, with an assist from Luke H. and Matt B.  A nice mix of activities all summer long.


Lilah handled dance during the 4 week session, with several successful campwide dances. We started the 3 week session with Carllee, then Luke H took over for her. We did miss out on week 7 dance programming.










Val was in charge for the whole summer, with Josh B. for the 4 week session. Vera F-R was also in the shack for weeks 1-5, and Sylvie provided a big lift for a week in August. There were a variety of activities, including pottery and tie-dye. There was a special A&C trip in the 3 week session, and we were pleased to have Joanie Max up for her unique jewelry day long gig.




We had a team of five lifeguards, led by Hana C. Things went well at the lake, from instructional swim in the AM to lots of afternoon swimming. We had a fair amount of boating this summer.





Ira handled the bulk of music sessions, with an assist from Alice during Week 4 and special sessions with Ty Citerman on July 4th, and a special appearance in August from Mike Meeropol.



Drama specialist Julia was able to do limited drama sessions in addition to directing the 14s play- The Hobbit (another smash). Raquel provided some drama games as well.




Our specialists Kaylan and Justin led both individual nature sessions with groups and their multi-day “Project Expedition.” “PEX” as they called it was a 2 day backpacking adventure offered to a different group each week- up to 10 campers spent a couple of days preparing for the trip and then went out for 2 days- ran into some bad weather on a couple of trips, but campers seem to enjoy it and get a great experience.


We had an emphasis on games this summer (it’s usually great programming) and had many people run a variety of games (active, circle, playground, word, drama, etc.)- Raquel, Rachel, Pauline, Mitchell, Ruth and Olivia and some guests all had fun with the campers.

Rec Hall

Campers generally enjoy the hall where ping pong, board games, pool and other activities  are great for both rainy and sunny days.

Cultural Highlights

Our theme this summer was “The People Speak: Telling the Truth, Changing the Narrative.” Some of us feared that it was too unwieldy for the campers to get it, but it turned out to be a great theme. Walter Vega saw all groups for sessions related to the theme. The Olympic teams were The Strike of the 20,000 (sparked by Clara Lemlich,) Ferguson/Black Lives Matter, The Little Rock 9, Trail of Dreams and the East L.A. Chicano Walkout. These proved to be fine teams with narratives closely associated with the summer theme. We reintroduced the theme during Week 5 with our Youth Activism Carnival.

Each session had bunk name activities for all bunks, led by Joanna and then Danny F. UnCOR had a very productive summer leading activities most weeks with well-planned age appropriate activities related to issues of race, gender and class.

Dave R. (a leading member) and Henley, Nathan and others provided weekly Amnesty International issues and those who agreed with the petitions on behalf of persecuted individuals were able to sign.



The CITs, as always, led the camp in a moving ceremony on Hiroshima Day, and also led us at the local Peace Vigil in Winsted.




We had some guests up- Ty Citerman sang with groups, doing Yiddish labor songs, Charlie King did his annual gig, Mike Meeropol sang songs of hope and passion for the camp, and square dance and Pete Seeger aficionado Cliff Brodeur came up to lead a fun evening of dance. Many campers went to an exciting performance at Jacob’s Pillow by Dorrance Dance (exciting tap) and most of camp went to a production of West Side Story in Week 7.


Each night during Share some shule graduates led camp in a bisl Yiddish. We also had a bisl Spanish at Share, leading up to a fabulous CIT production of “In the Heights”, directed by Lulu Fogarty with musical direction by Alison Tupay.

In Week 7 we had a visit to camp from Boston NPR reporter Judy Kogan who did a Labor Day piece on Joe Hill- our 14s campers (they lived in the bunk named after Joe Hill) sang the song Joe Hill and were interviewed for the radio show. Campers were (not surprisingly) quite articulate when interviewed. To listen, click here.

I was quite pleased with staffing- really outstanding group of counselors, and we had overall success with some fine Group Leaders.

Looking forward to next summer,