Today is a very proud day for the Taconic family. Last night, much to our surprise, Camp Taconic was awarded the first ever Philanthropic Camp of the Year Award at the SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education) Benefit Dinner.

Over the last few years, the Taconic community has become increasingly involved in the SCOPE organization. Our first Strides4SCOPE event in 2016 raised close to $30,000. While we never could have imagined raising that much money, even more gratifying was how our campers and families jumped on board to continue their support for SCOPE even after the walk-a-thon.

Since that first Strides4SCOPE event, many of our campers have chosen SCOPE as their mitzvah projects. Many of our LITs, who are now Junior Counselors, volunteer in the SCOPE office and hold their own fundraisers in their free time. Jill chaired the past two SCOPE Benefit Dinners and Mark recently joined the Board of Directors of SCOPE. Some of our head counselors and directors are a part of SCOPE’s Associate Board and are hosting Kicks4Camp, a kickball tournament to raise funds for SCOPE.

Over the past few months, we once again asked for your support in donating gifts-in-kind for the Benefit Dinner, and we encouraged you to buy raffle tickets to win back a free tuition. Although a Taconic family did not win the raffle, we did sell the most raffle tickets out of all the participating day and sleepaway camps!

It is an honor to share this incredible philanthropic award with all of you, our Taconic family. Without your support and dedication over the last few years, Taconic would not have been recognized with such a great honor. One of our goals at Taconic is to help our campers evolve into selfless, loyal, honest and passionate people.  This award recognizes many of these values and we feel prouder than ever of the entire Taconic community. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you have done, and continue to do, to help us support SCOPE’s mission!


Feeling Good

American Camp Association research has found that 92 percent of campers said that camp helped them feel good about themselves and 70 percent of parents reported thattheir child gained self-confidence. Building self-esteem happens easily at camp. When a camper puts her head under water for the first time or gets to the top of the climbing wall she was scared to try, she builds confidence by accomplishing something new and challenging. “When children try a new activity and see a good outcome at the end, they build determination and grit,” says Gordon Josey, owner and director of Breezemont Day Camp in Armonk. On My OwnCamp fosters independence. When children are away from their parents, it allows them to think independently and feel good about making a decision on their own. Dan Weir, director of Camping Services at Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills says, “Children gain confidence in decision making at camp and as they do, their independence grows. They feel comfortable taking action because they know they can make a decision. They gain a sense of independence and self-identity.”


New Experiences

Each day of camp brings a new opportunity for children. Research by the American Camp Association found that 74 percent of campers said they did things at camp that they were afraid to do at first. One day your child might be waterskiing around the lake and another day he may be going down the zip line. “All in one place, a child can swim, do arts & crafts, wacky science, cooking, basketball, soccer, music and theater,” says Josey. Trying new activities allows your child to broaden his or her horizons and learn to be open about participating in things that aren’t familiar. “Camp provides experiences children won’t necessarily get at home,” comments Weir. “At our Farm Camp, children interact with sheep, pigs and goats which is very different than what they would be doing at home. Camp exposes children to new activities and encourages children to push their boundaries by trying something for the first time.”


All Together Now

At camp, children learn to become part of a community. They learn to share in camp traditions, work together and at overnight camp, live together in bunks. Becoming part of a strong camp community can help children learn to live with others and help better prepare them for the college experience. Weir says, “When you live with people for two weeks, you bond with individuals you may not have if you weren’t in the same camp community. Campers come from all different neighborhoods and socioeconomic backgrounds but at camp, you have common ground.” Josey adds, “It’s not the sports that make camp special. It’s the relationships campers form with other campers and staff, the songs they sing together and the shared traditions that make children feel part of a strong community.”


In a report by Common Sense Media, it states that tweens spend 6 hours a day and teens 9 hours a day consuming media. This includes watching videos, TV, video games and social media. Instead of engaging in human interactions, children are staring at screens throughout the year. Summer camp has become one of the last unplugged environments for children. “Today’s children are connected more than ever by ‘talking’ on their devices but are increasingly lonely and isolated. At camp you are forced to be an active part of the community without a device. Campers have to put themselves out there and drop their inhibitions. They aren’t crafting responses and making sure their selfies are taken in the right direction. They have to be who they are in the moment,” comments Weir.


All Around Good

Camp allows children to play in a safe and nurturing environment with a caring and supportive staff. Play is an important form of learning that contributes to a child’s healthy physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. “The magic of camp is a child can just be a child. They can have fun and learn new activities all in a supportive and safe environment that is just for them,” says Josey.


Weir feels the staff at camp is so important for a child’s camp experience. “When we hire staff, we look for people who want to be with kids, take an interest in their development and put the child first. We also make sure through staff training that the staff is carrying out our camp’s philosophy and goals.”

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Each day, campers enjoy trying new activities but what many people don’t realize is that camp is a unique learning environment that contributes to the positive development of children. Below are the top 7 reasons children need the camp experience to help them gain important life skills that will help them to grow into successful adults.

  1. Children discover their interests. Whether it’s getting on a horse for the first time or kayaking across the lake, camp allows children to try new things and learn about what they like to do. Children also step out of their comfort zones at camp and participate in activities that may at feel scary to them.   According to research by the American Camp Association, 74% of campers said that at camp, they did something that at first they were scared to do.
  2. Gain independence. Both day and overnight camp allows children a healthy separation from their parents. When children are away from their parents, they learn to trust their own instincts and make decisions on their own.   Whether by choosing an elective period on their own or solving a disagreement with a bunk make without their parents’ assistance, children build confidence by doing things on their own.
  3. Gain important skills 21st century employers are seeking. While school is an important learning environment for skills such as reading and math, the skills employers are looking for are the soft skills. According to research by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, a group of Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Dell and Microsoft, the skills 21st century employers are looking for are communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity which are all skills that are fostered at camp.
  4. Take a break from technology. A Kaiser Family Foundation study has found that today’s children spend over 7.5 hours a day engaged in media. When children spend their time behind a screen or texting all day, they miss out on important social interactions.  The majority of summer camps don’t allow technology including ipads, smart phones, laptops and TVs.  This means no Instagram and snapchat, allowing children to communicate face to face and participate in hands on activities.
  5. Build Resilience. It’s important for children to develop resilience for coping with the obstacles and stresses that inevitably will happen in their lives. When a child doesn’t at first make it to the top of the climbing wall at first or is homesick the first week of camp, he or she is building resilience and learning that not everything is always going to go the way you want it to but that is ok.
  6. Make new friends. Children make friends easily at camp. Children share in singing camp songs, traditions and bond while participating in fun camp activities such as tug of war and go-karts.  Campers become part of a camp community where they eat together and at overnight camp, sleep in the same bunk.  Camp also allows children to meet campers from outside of their community.   American Camp Association research found that 96% of campers said that camp helped them make new friends and 93% of campers said camp helped them get to know kids who are different from them.  Children can reinvent themselves at camp.  At home, children go to school with the same children for years and some children may be labeled as the shy or the athletic child.  At day or overnight camp, children are surrounded by new people and they can reinvent themselves.
  7. Gain Confidence. Camp provides children with many opportunities to build confidence. American Camp Association research has found that 92% of campers said that camp helped them feel good about themselves and 70% of parents reported that their child gained self-confidence at camp.  When a child goes under water for the first time or swims across the pool without stopping, he or she gains confidence by accomplishing something they didn’t think they could do.

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We hope you all had a great end to the summer.  With less than 250 days until Summer 2017 begins, we are missing Taconic more than ever!  We want everyone to have the opportunity to stay connected to camp during the school year. We’ll be posting on Facebook, Instagram, and our website and encourage you and your camper to do the same. Importantly, we’ve moved our Facebook presence to a new location, so make sure to keep reading! Stay involved through the following channels:

  • On Facebook you can “Like” Camp Taconic or visit Make sure you turn on the notifications for our Page by clicking on the down arrow next to the “like” button from your computer, or clicking the “three horizontal dots” on the top right of the page through the Facebook mobile app. We will post from this page.
  • On Facebook you can join the Camp Taconic group or visit This group has over 1000 members from our Taconic family and is primarily used for you to post exciting camp related content.
  • Please understand that these 2 locations are the only way to follow Camp Taconic on Facebook as we have discontinued our original page.
  • On Instagram you can follow The_Camp_Taconic.
  • On our website in the “Tattler News” blog.

Throughout the school year we’ll be running a number of contests online, allowing your camper to showcase their knowledge and passion for camp. They can win prizes that we’ll give away at the November reunion, New Camper Get-together in the Spring, and up in the Berkshires next summer.

As a reminder, please encourage your campers to always use good judgment when posting on the Internet. Camp is a bully-free zone and we ask for your help extending that zone online.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.