After "Get Your Feet Wet," I saw my child in a completely different way: much more capable, adventurous and open to new things.
– SLC Parent
SLC offers lots of ways for first-time campers to join in and feel at home! Families, we’re always glad to chat with you by video, phone, or in-person about camp, your child, your priorities, and any questions you have about our approach, tuition assistance, and more. Options include:
Tours & Home Visits
The best way to get to know any camp is to experience it in person. We host tours of camp throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
SLC leadership is also available by video, phone, or in-person—in your home, our offices, or other convenient spot—to meet with you when camp is not in session. Let’s find a time to talk!
Try Camp! Rookie Days 7/14 & 8/4
Try camp for a day!
Come for a Rookie Day: choose Sunday, July 14, 2019 or Sunday, August 4, 2019.
Prospective campers ages 6-12 get to sample fun activities for a whole day (including lunch) with a buddy. Parents take a morning tour, with plenty of time for Q&A with the Camp Directors. It’s the perfect way to get a true taste of camp.
The camper experience runs 9:15am-4:40pm. No cost; you’re our guests!
Choose Your Ideal Session
Our regular 4- and 8-week sessions are designed to give each camper ample opportunity to bond and grow. Yet sometimes a shorter session is just right for a younger first-time camper.
Regular Sessions: 4- and 8-weeks
For ages 7-15 • June-August
Dive in! Give your child all that Surprise Lake Camp offers in our regular sessions. In 4 or 8 weeks, your child can fully settle into camp life—and make deep friendships that enrich your child’s sense of community all year. As wonderful as shorter introductory sessions are, sometimes they end too quickly, just as your child is feeling fully comfortable.
Staff are fully trained in how to support both first-time and long-time campers, integrating everyone fully into the unit, group and bunk from the first moments of camp.
Get Your Feet Wet: 5 days
For ages 6-10 • August 21-25
Wrap up your 6- to 10-year-old’s summer with Get Your Feet Wet. This mini-adventure helps your child dip their toe into the magic of sleepaway camp. Campers will experience a hike, a Shabbat program, a campfire and s’mores, daily swims in our lake or pool, an ice cream sundae party, singing, ballfield activities, boating, arts & crafts, drama, and much more! The 5-day program ends with a special Show/Graduation & BBQ lunch for parents.
Get Your Feet Wet is run by dedicated volunteer alumni and hand-picked summer staff members who bring with them electric energy! Aquatics are supervised by certified lifeguards and a nurse is present at all times. Spirit, caring, and outstanding supervision are guaranteed.
Questions about Get Your Feet Wet? Email Seth Stein, GYFW Supervisor or call 845-265-3616.
If your child loves SLC, then Get Your Feet Wet can be effectively free: Families who take part in Get Your Feet Wet 2019 and then register their camper(s) by August 31, 2019 for a 2020 session will receive their entire Get Your Feet Wet tuition as a credit toward the tuition of summer 2020.
Mini-Camp I: 10 days
For ages 7-9 • June 27-July 7
In this shorter session, counselors specially trained to support younger first-timers help campers have a fantastic introduction to sleepaway camp. Because the entire unit is Mini-Campers, everyone goes through this new adventure together while making friendships they can continue in future years. Mini-Campers get to try activities throughout camp, and share in two Shabbat experiences.
Mini-Camp II: 2 weeks
For ages 10-11 • July 7-21
First-timers ages 10-11: get ready for a special experience all your own. In this short session, counselors specially trained to support first-timers help campers have a fantastic introduction to sleepaway camp. Because the entire unit is Mini-Campers, everyone goes through this new adventure together while making friendships they can continue in future years. Mini-Campers get to try activities throughout camp, and share in two Shabbat experiences.
Zoe5 Years as Camper
"Shabbat is so fun: you sing the prayers, and you stand up and clap and dance with your friends. I really love it here."More
5 Years as Camper
The friends that you make here turn into family. It’s a very loving community, and everyone here is so nice to each other. I really like going in the lake and all the activities, but the people are why I keep coming back. I think camp has made me a better person, because it’s given me more independence, learning how to live on my own, while having support from others along the way.
Before coming to camp, I never really knew what it meant to be Jewish. I would just light the candles on a menorah at Hannukah. But now I get to do Shabbat. It’s so fun: you sing the prayers, and you stand up and clap and dance with your friends. I really love it here.
Dylan5 Years as Camper
"What’s most special here is the people. Everyone's really nice. I think camp helps you grow and makes you a better person."More
5 Years as Camper
My favorite activity at camp is probably the waterfront. I really like swimming, boating, everything that the waterfront has to offer, and the pool. I’ve been working on sailing and this year, finally, I passed the sailboat test! Every day is really fun but my favorite days are Olympics and All Camp Show. At Olympics you’re cheering, you’re shouting, and competing. The All Camp Show has the 5-year sweatshirts, ice cream, lots of cool traditions.
What’s most special here is the people. Everyone’s really nice, and people listen to what other people have to say. I think camp helps you grow and makes you a better person.
Ben3 Years as Camper
"Surprise Lake Camp is a nonstop sleepover. My favorite activities are all the sports, getting into the woods, and playing with my friends all the time."More
3 Years as Camper
Surprise Lake Camp is a nonstop sleepover. My favorite activities are all the sports activities, like gaga and 9-square. I also really like the climbing wall. This year I’ve probably gotten better at soccer, better at dribbling the ball, and aiming my shots. I like all the Jewish stuff here. Shabbat feels like a vacation day, a day to sit down and think. And I really like getting into the woods, and playing with my friends all the time.
There are a lot of people here who know more than me, and I learn from them every day. Something that might stick with me is how good it feels to take a break from screens. When I get home, I’m going to try to put my phone down more!
"Come to camp! It's a lot of fun. It can be scary at first, of course, because being away from your family is hard—but it goes by so fast and is super fun."More
I think camp is really fun! I love spending time with my bunk mates and getting to know everyone. This is the longest I’ve ever been away from my family, but I feel like it’s all going by super fast. I feel like it’s also making me more independent. One thing I think is especially cool here is how we get to learn a lot about Israeli culture. People come here from Israel, which is pretty cool.
To future campers, I’d say: Come to camp! It’s a lot of fun. It can be scary at first, of course, because being away from your family is hard—but it goes by so fast and is super fun.
Experienced, Caring Leadership
Enroll your camper with confidence. You can trust the leadership of Surprise Lake Camp to make sure your child is safe, well cared for, and having a successful first summer here. We’re always glad to talk with parents, too.