More Than Ever,Your Child Needs Summer Camp in 2021
Why Summer Camp?
In today’s fast-paced world, where many of our children are over-scheduled and under tremendous pressure at school, camp is a place to decompress, leave digital and social media behind, establish deep personal relationships, and connect with the natural world. Children expand their potential by getting away from home and embracing their independence, seeing old friends and making new ones, playing sports, swimming, hiking – and just having fun in a safe, nurturing environment. Parents can be confident knowing their children are gaining valuable physical and social skills, becoming increasingly self-reliant, and building on the values you teach in your home. Honesty, integrity, compassion and respect are but a few of the values that permeate the cultures at Camp Takajo and Tripp Lake Camp.
Choosing the right camp for your son or daughter is critical. Spending several weeks away from home will have a significant impact on your child’s life. Takajo and Tripp Lake’s program allows meaningful relationships to develop naturally over time, fosters an unhurried approach to skill development, promotes deeper learning, and inspires confidence. Campers have time to figure out the give-and-take of living, playing, and making decisions within a tight-knit group.
“Especially now, when resilience is such an important trait, a longer season allows your son or daughter to engage in camp within the normal ebb and flow of daily life,” explains Jeff. “They learn to navigate manageable challenges. They learn valuable lessons in teamwork and, at the same time, have many opportunities to flex their independence. At the end of the summer, children feel a profound sense of accomplishment that carries over into the school year and beyond.” Camp Takajo and Tripp Lake Camp are committed to traditional seven-week camping, but do offer a four-week option for first time campers and for families with extenuating circumstances.
As we continue to navigate theses extraordinary times, the toll on our children is incalculable. While the academic challenges are substantial, the social and emotional harm is even more worrisome. Children are missing normal, daily opportunities to develop critical interpersonal skills that can only flourish through direct interaction with their peers. Much of this takes place in school, but the loss of other activities – sports, clubs, parties, even simple exercise - are equally important and cannot be replaced by online learning and zoom calls. More than ever, children need to leave the confines of home (and their parents!) and flex their independence, revel in the sheer joy of playing outdoors, and experience the fulfillment that comes from learning new skills and forging new friendships. Summer camps are uniquely positioned to create a bubble and provide a safe, nurturing community where children can regain much of what they’ve missed from months of home-schooling and restricted activities.
Jeff Konigsberg owns two summer camps in Maine, Camp Takajo for boys and Tripp Lake Camp for girls. With four children of his own, Jeff is keenly aware of the questions facing today’s parents in this uncertain environment. Under the best of circumstances, sending your child to camp for up to seven weeks takes considerable research - and ultimately a leap of faith - to find the best fit for your child and for your family. Now more than ever, trust in a camp director’s judgment and experience is paramount as you consider camp for your son or daughter this summer.
All this for how much?
“Next to my wife and children, I have no greater love than my work in camping,” says Jeff. Summer camp truly becomes a home-away-from-home for your child and a safe haven, away from the rigors of school, homework and extracurricular activities. “Our camp community is a family. When your child attends Camp Takajo or Tripp Lake Camp, you become part of my family, and I will always treat you as I would my own.” At camp, children learn invaluable skills that serve them well throughout their lives. When deciding on a camp, Jeff offers this advice, “Don’t choose a camp for a summer. Choose a camp for a lifetime.”
During the summer, Jeff is in Naples, Maine, running Camp Takajo. Founded in 1947, Takajo is renowned for the quality of its programs, facilities and staff. Through an impressive array of sports, activities and special events, the camp’s fundamental emphasis is on building character in boys as they mature into young men. Jeff has a unique perspective in camping and has lived it from every vantage point. His father attended Camp Takajo in 1947. Jeff started at age nine in 1970 and hasn’t missed a summer since. After nine years as a camper, Jeff returned as a counselor, later became a group leader, and after college worked for six years as an associate director before purchasing the camp in 1988. He has remained true to the core traditions of Camp Takajo while introducing innovative programs that challenge and stimulate today’s boys.
Jeff’s sister, Leslie Konigsberg Levy, is the director of Tripp Lake Camp in Poland, Maine. Leslie was a Tripp Lake camper in the 1970s. Founded in 1911, Tripp Lake will celebrate its 110th Anniversary this summer. Tripp Lake offers a broad array of team and individual sports, performing and visual arts, waterfront and outdoor living skills. The goal of Tripp Lake Camp is to offer programs that teach an appreciation of nature, instill a sense of pride in belonging, and provide girls with opportunity to challenge themselves and master physical and social skills through a wide range of activities.
Who are the Directors?
Building Character through Example
“When you enter Camp Takajo,” Jeff explains, “you pass through our entrance arch where the Twelve Arch Ideals are posted. Integrity, honesty, loyalty, and courage are among the ideals I learned to appreciate and understand when I started as a camper at Takajo in 1970. To this day, these are the guiding principles by which I conduct myself as a husband, father, friend and camp owner. Every summer at our Opening Council Fire, I introduce the Arch Ideals to our camp community and stress that these are just words unless we choose to implement them in our daily lives. Through all the sports, activities, and special events, our emphasis is always on building character in young boys as they mature into young men.”
At Tripp Lake Camp, says Leslie, “Everything we do at camp is imbued with what we call the Spirit of Tripp Lake.” This spirit infuses camp with a sense of sisterhood in which older campers look after younger ones, in which traditions and responsibilities are passed from one generation to the next, and in which campers are encouraged to act with integrity and compassion and always do the right thing. “These lessons were imparted to me when I was a Tripp Lake camper, and I have always tried to live my life by them.”
"At the end, boys and girls feel a profound sense of accomplishment both in their relationships and in their skill development.”
Camp Takajo and Tripp Lake Camp are steeped in tradition. Their programs and activities, top-notch facilities, and outstanding counselor staffs are renowned in the camping profession. Camp Takajo was founded by Morty Goldman whose roots extend back to the early 1900s and the beginning of summer camping in the United States. Morty’s vision for Takajo was to create a well-rounded summer camp program in which each boy could develop independence and self-reliance in a nurturing, supportive environment. Morty believed in a structured program geared to develop age-appropriate social, emotional and physical skills.
Tripp Lake Camp was started in 1911 by two sisters, one of whom ran the Bettelheim School for girls in NYC. They chose Tripp Lake’s idyllic location in Poland, Maine, for its serenity and beauty, dubbing it “The Promised Land.” Since 1999, when Leslie became the director, TLC has retained the same core mission on which it was founded: to provide a nurturing, supportive environment that enhances a girl’s sense of value and self-worth.
Why Maine? The rugged, natural beauty of Maine is epitomized by its expansive rocky coastline, towering pine trees, mountains, and pristine rivers and lakes. It offers children a wealth of opportunities, not only for sheer enjoyment, but also for learning important lessons in self-reliance, the essence of teamwork, and respect for our natural resources.
Rooted in Tradition
“While we pride ourselves on the quality of our programs and facilities,” Jeff adds, “a camp is only as good as its staff. We are blessed to have experienced veterans in every important administrative role at both camps. These are educators who love camp and love children, and they have blended their ‘real lives’ with camp so they can be at Takajo and Tripp every summer.” The counselor staff at each camp is a mix of former camper standouts and college students who have the qualifications and experience to teach a specific activity. But, Jeff asserts, “A counselor is hired first and foremost for his or her ability to relate to children and to be an exemplary role model.”
Takajo is known for its exceptional facilities. Set among towering pines, the magnificent setting overlooking Long Lake inspires awe at the natural beauty of Maine. Six to eight campers live in a cabin with two counselors. Each of Takajo’s three age divisions has its own age-appropriate fields and courts. Among its athletic facilities are seventeen tennis courts, three outdoor basketball courts, three soccer fields, two lacrosse fields, two baseball fields, and two roller hockey rinks. The waterfront has two eight-lane swimming areas and a large sandy beach for group games. Water activities include sailing, canoeing, water skiing and wakeboarding. Even if it rains, Takajo doesn’t miss a beat, thanks to two indoor Field Houses, a Playhouse, the Main Lodge, two Rec Halls, a Movie House, Art Center, Music Woodworking Shop, and Photography lab. The Dining Hall is spacious and air-conditioned, with yogurt and fruit bars every morning and salad bars at lunch and dinner.
Camp Takajo Virtual Tour
Tripp Lake Camp Virtual Tour
Like Takajo, Tripp Lake Camp is in a picturesque, rustic setting, with lush green fields and an expansive waterfront overlooking Tripp Lake. Girls live in cabins positioned in a circle on the campus so younger and older girls have plenty of opportunities to interact. In addition to extensive waterfront programs in swimming, sailing, water skiing and canoeing, TLC has eighteen tennis courts, three outdoor basketball courts, and fields for soccer, softball, lacrosse and field hockey. A brand new, two-story Art Center houses ten activities including film making, silversmithing, enameling, and culinary arts. Tripp also has a theater where each age group performs their own musical, separate dance and gymnastic studios, ropes course, climbing wall, and an equestrian program.
Jeff and Leslie know from experience that a broad range of activities and opportunities yields the best results. “We take a very holistic approach,” says Jeff. “We want our campers to try everything when they are young. As they get older, they can narrow their focus and concentrate more on the activities of their choice. We are constantly assessing and coming up with innovative programs that meet the needs of today’s children. Our reinvestment in our facilities is just an extension of our overall mission.”
It’s worth noting that both camps take your child’s health and well-being as their highest priority. Teaching children the importance of exercise, healthy eating habits, and proper sleep is vital to their continued success as adults. Each camp has a doctor and registered nurses living onsite. Nurses are assigned to specific bunks so they can monitor individual campers throughout the summer. Each camp has a Health Center that is air conditioned, with doctor’s exam room, clinic area, and rooms for sick campers. Jeff and Leslie agree, “Nothing is worse than being sick when you’re away from home, but parents can have peace of mind knowing that we are prepared for any medical event that may occur.”
Experiences to last a lifetime
Staff, Facilities and Program
Living their Mission
For generations, Camp Takajo and Tripp Lake Camp have built on the values you instill in your children every day in your home. Jeff and Leslie’s lifelong mission is to help boys and girls develop lasting, cherished relationships, gain critical skills that are essential in today’s world, and instill basic values of integrity, compassion and respect that will serve them well the rest of their lives. “It is tremendously gratifying,” Jeff notes, “to see the relationships formed at camp that last long after a camper graduates, through college and career, continuing even when they start their own families.” Both camps now have alumni sites so former campers can stay connected. Alums in college host high schoolers checking out their schools. College grads seek career advice from alums who are professionals in their fields. Or, says Jeff, “They just like to keep in touch with their old bunkmates.”
George Bernard Shaw famously said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” At Camp Takajo and Tripp Lake Camp, nothing could be further from the truth. It is the beginning of a life well-lived. Visit Camp Takajo for boys at www.camptakajo.com or Tripp Lake Camp for girls at www.tripplakecamp.com and let your child start the experience of a lifetime!
Camp Takajo Virtual Tour
Visit Camp Takajo's Website