Friday, April 29, 2011

Camp Games For A Cause!

We'd love for current and former Liberty Lakers and friends ages 17 or older to join our team for "Camp Games for a Cause!" Camp Games for a Cause will bring together hundreds of camp alumni and friends on May 21st, 2011 at Columbia University in New York City. The event is being hosted by the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey. ACA NY/NJ is a private, not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of summer camp experiences for children and is one of the largest networks of camp professionals in the country.

Camp Games for a Cause participants will compete in a day full of traditional 'camp color war' events that range from wacky relays, basketball shoot-outs and tug-o-war to team cheer,dance offs and so much more! Proceeds from Camp Games for a Cause will provide low income children with positive summer camp experiences through scholarships, trainings and program support.

Here's the schedule for the day:
Registration: 10:00 am - 10:30 am
Opening Ceremonies: 11:00 am - 11:25 am
GAMES: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Lunch/Pep Rally: 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Mega Relay/Closing Ceremonies: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

**Team Captain Chris Jorge will be coordinating transportation into the city for all participants**

To sign up for the event:
(1) Go to
(2) Under the visitors section click "Participant Registration"
(3) Agree to the Waiver/Agreement
(4) Click "Join a Team"
(5) Select "Liberty Lake Day Camp"
(6) Complete the registration form

If you have any questions about Camp Games for a Cause, contact Program Director Brandi Carnivale,

If we all do a little, we can make a BIG difference!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

9th & 10th Grade Leadership Program: What's New for 2011?

Believe it or not, the start of Camp is less than 2 months away! All hands are on deck in the LLDC office and on the grounds, getting ready for our 10th Anniversary Summer--which promises to be spectacular! We’re making several improvements to our 9th grade LIT Program and 10th grade CIT Program to make the summer of 2011 better than ever for our teens! Here's a list of some of these new and nifty changes-
  • The 9th and 10th graders are now it’s own Division-known as the “Leadership Division.”
  • The Leadership Division is going to have three Division Leaders-myself (JBZ), Erin Walton, and Terri Southerland-a newcomer whose experience as a teacher and running Boy Scout Camps will be a valuable addition to the program!
  • The new area for trainings, arrival and dismissal is the Vista! We're moving on up! (Although the Leadership Lagoon will be missed.....)
  • Staggered internship period schedule -Giving CITs & LITs more of an opportunity to assist at electives and interact with the children!
  • More “CIT Only Time” -- For the first time ever, our CITs will meet together for arrival and eat lunch as a group! We recognize that teens need time to "chill" and we're giving it to them!
  • Weekly Awards --Every week we will announce 1 male and 1 female “LIT of The Week," as well as 1 male and 1 female “CIT of The Week.” Of course, winners will receive something nifty for their efforts!
  • CITs will have an extra training period! One dedicated to leadership and camp counseling skills and the other focused on community service and challenge games! More tools for their leadership toolboxes!
  • The CIT Trip this summer will be a SLEEP OVER at a Camp in the Poconos! It's sure to be an action-packed and fun-filled adventure!
  • A new and improved training program that will be more interactive and hands-on than last summer's. Program participants will grow as individuals and leaders....and have fun doing it!
  • More opportunities for community service in support of our newly formed Liberty Lake Foundation and assisting with our ongoing efforts to prevent the warehouse project from being finalized.
Feel free to send us any suggestions that you may have for the summer by commenting on this blog article or e-mailing us,

The Countdown to the Summer is ON! I better start looking for my whistle.....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Launching the Liberty Lake Foundation

"It Takes A Village"

We take this statement very seriously at Liberty Lake.

For the past 10 years, Liberty Lake has been at the forefront of youth development in our area, providing a safe haven of experiential education, growth and leadership opportunities for thousands of young people throughout Burlington, Camden, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey, as well as Philadelphia and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania.

In 2010 we made a commitment as an organization to be more intentional about our contributions on a local level. We have formed a 501c3 non-profit corporation, and are organizing our resources and ideas to focus more on our local communities than ever before.

As Youth Development Professionals, we know that children are our most precious resource and deserve to be nurtured and encouraged to reach their fullest potential. Outcomes research has shown explicitly that the skills learned in a Summer Camp setting are a vital part of the learning experience. Besides improving social skills, it is now proven that children who attend Camp return to school in September scoring higher on tests, and graduate at higher rates than their peers.

The Liberty Lake Foundation will be hosting its first ever event, Community Health Day, on Saturday, May 21st from 11 to 4. Admission to the event is FREE and it promises to be action-packed, fun-filled and informative! Click here to learn more about the event!

Also be sure to check out the Liberty Lake Foundation's Website to discover the ways in which you can partner with us to make a difference!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


How many of you reading this were literally FORCED out of your house as children to play for 2-3 hours at a time to do whatever? My guess would be MOST of you. My mother used to actually add the charming phrase, "I don't care if you throw rocks at each other!" to make her point- My brothers and I were going outside, and there would be no discussion about it.

Today, how many of you grown-ups force your kiddies outside for 2-3 hours at a time with no specific play-date or plans? My guess would be VERY FEW. Why is this? Play is something that we as mammals were meant to do- it's totally natural. Just watch a bunch of children left on their own- or puppy dogs for that matter. We were meant to play- outside, by the way.

This past winter we had over 40 inches of snowfall in the Philadelphia area, yet in my cute little cul-de-sac with school aged children in most every house- I did not see one snowman. So there I was shoveling my driveway outside, while all the children in our neighborhood were inside watching TV, playing video games, on the internet, or texting. Including my kids, by the way.

In the book "The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children", author David Elkin outlines how childhood traditions are going the way of the dinosaur- Hop scotch, hide and seek, and games we played as kids are being forgotten. At Liberty Lake Day Camp, some of the most popular activities include playground games like Wall Ball, Ga-Ga (a form of dodgeball) and 4-Square- Because kids have never, ever played them before!

1/3 of schools in the USA have less than 20 minutes per day of recess. In my children's school, Physical Education is on a two-week rotation with Computers, Spanish, Art and Health. And forget about AFTER-school- with hours of homework, sports practice, music lessons, karate, dance- when is there even TIME to play?

We have created a society that limits play for our children.  According to Best Selling Author, Psychologist, and ACA Board Member- Michael Thompson, reasons for this include:

  • The loss of social capital that modern children have
  • The loss of true neighborhoods in which neighbors actually know each other's names, the loss of time (see above)
  • The need to be a GREAT parent (including over-scheduling your kids), and ambition/homework (see Wendy Mogul's Blessings of a B Minus). Too many parents have irrational fears that their kids will get snatched outside- According to my friend Lenore Skenzay, author of "Free-Range Kids", statistics show that the world is actually a whole lot safer than it was back when we were kids.
  • Another threat to free play is organized sports- Just because children play sports, doesn't mean they know how to PLAY (or eventually work) with one another, and it contributes to the average child spending 101 minutes being around from place to place each day! 
The Kaiser Family Foundation study on SCREEN TIME shows that children age 8-18 years old spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes devoted to screen time each day. This translates to an average of more than 53 hours per week! Today's children have the lowest rates of play ever; coupled with the highest rates of depression- coincidence? And don't forget increased obesity, stress, anxiety, ADHD, social incompetence, and a loss of contact with nature.

In many ways, Summer Camp has become the antidote to modern society. Campers come to places like Liberty Lake so that parents know they are safe, and so kids can flourish learning the real-life skills that schools don't teach, like: Creativity, Collaboration, Responsibility, Leadership, Critical Thinking, Communication, Adaptability, Flexibility, and what it means to be a Good Friend. Places like Liberty Lake create an extraordinary world that inspires children to believe that anything is possible, and that their potential is limitless. 

Summer Camp is a step back in time- no cell phones or video games- where social networking involves actually speaking to people face to face, and being someone's friend is much more than an online acquaintance. Camp is the REAL DEAL- and without their parents around, children learn the kind of social independence that many kids won't get until they go away to college. Most of all though, children learn to PLAY, just like the old days. They get to enjoy their childhood doing things that children have done for thousands of years- playing with one another. We need to give our children lots of sunshine while they are young- Because as we know, they are going to need it later!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

(less than) 100 Days to Camp!

Spring Greetings Liberty Lake Family!
The snow has melted, the grass is starting to turn green again, so let's get this started!

We are hosting a 10th Anniversary Pre-Camp Get-Together at the beloved Rita's Water Ice of Mt. Laurel,Next Sunday, April 10, from 12 noon to 3pm.  We'll be giving out FREE WATER ICE, as well as a variety of prizes from our 10 Year Prize Box!  We hope you can stop by- Click Here for the official flyer 

Recently I put together a three-part workshop series at the American Camp AssociationConference which I help oversee.  The workshop discussed the implications of recent research done by top corporations and universities as to the 21st Century Competencies which our children need to succeed as adults.  New studies are all showing that the top skills needed for kids are NOT the Three Rs that we learn in school.  Ground-breaking studies like this one:, show that our instincts are correct. Our children need the APPLIED SKILLS which we teach and learn every day at CAMP:
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Responsibility
  • Leadership
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
So from this point forward at Liberty Lake, when we ask ourselves: Why are we here at Liberty Lake?  The answer will be much more concrete and intentional than just FUN.  We are here to help people grow into the best people they can become, and every program and activity at Camp will follow through with that mission, and the applied skills outlined above.  We are adding two more skills that we feel are important at Liberty Lake: Inspiration, and What it Means to be a Good Friend.  

  • Work has begun on the New Driveway Entrance, we hope that it will be done by the summer, but the Turnpike folks are not very predictable.  Rest assured, our old driveway will function up until we cross over to the new one.
  • Turtle Town, our magical little village for our little campers is taking shape down at the far side of the lake, on the other side of the boat docks.  Casey and Brandi have lots of great ideas!
  • The telephone pole has been delivered for one of our two exciting New High Ropes Adventure elements- The Pamper Pole!  You can look up videos and pictures online, but a quick definition: Campers climb to the top of a tree/pole (tethered to a line), and jump (known as the Leap of Faith) to a trapeze swing- a very exhilarating activity, to say the least.  And that's only ONE of the new elements we're installing!
  • Our new and improved Website has been getting a LOT of views from families old and new.  While we are opposed to electronics IN Camp, we have embraced new technology and social media OUT of Camp- giving our families the opportunity to stay connected with LLDC the other 9  months each year.  Check out the SummerZone for links you need for the Summer, our Cool Virtual Tour, Liberty News and the Liberty Blog for the latest info.  For you Facebookers, we are all about our Fanpage, with Weekly 10-Year Photo Albums, and more: 
  • We've officially formed a 501c3 for the Liberty Lake Foundation for Youth.  This organization provides scholarships for underprivileged children to attend camp, and supports other like minded, LOCAL youth-development organizations.  We are reaching out to our local schools, making ties with guidance departments, PTOs, and school administrators.  More info and opportunities to follow!
  • The We Love Liberty Lake Coaliton is getting stronger in our fight against the warehouse development adjacent to us.  While the economy has given us a window of reprieve, our battle rages on as the DEP is about to give water management approvals and permits for an area that readily floods and will effect Liberty Lake.  We are working on a new website, but you can check out/sign on to our Facebook Cause Page, and our coalition site:
  • TEXTCASTER Emergency Texting System- Click Here to Login and activate your account, and enable us to contact you in the summer- This service will ONLY be used for Emergencies, not promotion or Color War pranks.  Register as many cell phones as you'd like to receive the emergency notifications.
  • It's our 10th Year Anniversary,I and we have lots of great celebratory ideas- including new T-Shirts just for this Summer!  Wait until you see the design- it's very cool.
  • More Landscaping Beauty in and around the main Camp area, including an irrigation system to keep the grass green, and a bigger, shinier flagpole and flag (see pix on Facebook Fan Page).
  • The final stage of Changing Rooms- so ALL are new and nice!
  • Beautiful New Fence and Railings all around the pool area, SandLand and more.
  • Beautiful New Concrete all around the pool deck, out to the Woods, up the driveway, and by the Snack Shack.
  • Ga-Ga Tournament Finals will be held on the Amphitheater Stage!
  • Yes, our CAMP ROCKS- and it's also our Camp Musical in 2011- with April!
  • The 9th and 10th Grade has broken off and become their own division.  The Leadership Division  Last year we have over 100 little leadershippers- and this year looks to be the same.  We are VERY PROUD of this dynamic program, and hope that you all consider it when your time comes! 
  • GOLD RUSH will be a surprise event this year, like Color War But that's all I'm allowed to say.
  • We're building a GIGANTIC GARDEN behind the office!  It will be an elective, and we will be growing vegetables, herbs and more- to be used at both the cooking elective and the LLDC lunch time Salad Bar!  Come get your hands dirty with us~
  • New Spirit Calendar Events: Luau, Renaissance Day, Jersey Shore, Bang the Drum, Magic the Gathering, Chinese New Year, Green Day, Bubbles and Balloons, Halloween Day and more. CLICK HERE for Latest Spirit Calendar
  • May 21 Community Health Day.  Lots of fun Camp activities, plus all kinds of health-related groups and activities, plus food, games, etc.
  • June 4, 5, 11, 12New Jersey Renaissance Faire @ Liberty Lake- Come to our Magical 2nd Season, where King Arthur and his legendary Knights of the Roundtable turn Liberty Lake into a Medieval village full of jousting, comedy, turkey legs and more!
  • June 8, 6-8pm, New Parent Orientation
  • June 14, 6:30-8, Parent Meet and Greet 6/14/11
  • June 20, First Day of Pre Week
  • July 4, Independence Day, Camp Closed
  • June 27, First Day of Regular Season
  • August 4, 5:30-7:30, FAMILY NIGHT
  • August 19, Last day of Week 8
  • August 22, First day of Post Week.
  • August 26, Last Day of Season
As always- If you have any questions about anything, please just Email or Call us!
And of course... SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG!

Andy Pritikin and the Liberty Lake Year-Round Crew