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Elaine + Paul Suchow
Elaine + Paul Suchow
Alumni, Donor & Staff
Elaine + Paul Suchow

Elaine + Paul Suchow

Alumni, Donor & Staff

Surprise Lake Camp is a magical place that has touched the life of each Suchow family member. It fills a special place in our hearts, and has created a foundation for meaningful Jewish experiences.

As a statement to our children, we have made Jewish philanthropy part of our legacy. What better way than to make a commitment to SLC, a place that we love? Being part of The 1902 Society makes us feel wonderful, knowing that the camp will be around long after we are gone. Thank you for this treasured opportunity and for the blessing of Surprise Lake Camp.

Howie Berk
Howie Berk
Alumnus, Donor & Board Member
Howie Berk

Howie Berk

Alumnus, Donor & Board Member

Why should I leave money to Surprise Lake Camp in my will? Really, why shouldn’t I? It’s a no brainer! It doesn’t cost me anything out of my pocket, it’s easy to do, and it ensures that SLC will be around forever. And I don’t have to be rich to do it!

Besides my family, SLC has been the biggest influence in my life. The lifelong friends mean so much to me. As a former camper, staff member, Alumni President, and current member of the Board of Directors and summer volunteer, I can’t imagine life without SLC. Some of my friends don’t understand, but they never got to experience the magic of camp like I have. My two nephews attend SLC. Supporting camp in my will means that they, and their future families, and other families can all continue to experience SLC.

Oren
Oren
First Year Camper
Oren

Oren

First Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am 11 years old, and I am from Manhattan

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my first summer at Surprise Lake Camp.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like Arts & Crafts because I am very creative. I have been drawing since I was little.

What was it like to come to SLC for the first time?
It was a little bit nerve-racking but I made friends right away. Writing letters home made me feel better, too!

How do you show courage at Camp?
I try new foods. I am not one to try new things, but I have tried food here and liked it! My favorite meal is anything with onion rings.

What do you think of your SLC Community?
I have a lot of different friends and I am definitely going to keep in touch with my friends here.

Joyel
Joyel
Four Year Camper
Joyel

Joyel

Four Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am 12 years old. I was born in China, but now I live in the Bronx.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my fourth summer at Camp.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like Arts & Crafts, Canteen and Swimming. It’s hard to choose just one.

How has SLC helped you grow?
I am more social here. I talk to people a lot more than I do at home. SLC helped me see that we are all from different lifestyles, and it helped me grow because even though we’re not the same, we get along.

When is a time that you showed courage at Camp?
On the climbing tower. Even though I didn’t make it to the top, my friends and Jared, the Head Counselor, cheered me on. They were proud of me for making it half way, so I was proud of me.

What do you think of your Camp community?
People at SLC treat me very good. I keep in touch with my friends all year round and I can’t wait for Bat Mizvah’s to see my friends during the year.

Jeff Berk
Jeff Berk
Alumnus & Donor
Jeff Berk

Jeff Berk

Alumnus & Donor

I view The 1902 Society as extremely reassuring. Around us, we’ve seen camps come and go. SLC’s incredible alumni and programs like The 1902 Society are what ensure that SLC will be around…and that’s what sets us apart.

Joining The 1902 Society gave me peace of mind, knowing that I’m doing my part. While estate planning can be a tough task, especially at a young age, this was an easy decision. The 1902 Society is a unique opportunity for every alumnus—regardless of current financial situation—to become a person who is essential for camp’s continued existence.

Maxine
Maxine
Four Year Camper
Maxine

Maxine

Four Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am 12 years old. I am from Long Island

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my fourth summer at Camp.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like swimming in the lake or playing nine-square.

How has SLC helped you grow?
SLC has taught me life skills. I’ve learned how to talk to all kinds of people. I am also learning how to be independent away from my family.

When is a time that you showed courage at Camp?
Before the summer begins, I get nervous about being homesick. But, when I am here I am happy. When I miss my family, I write them letters and think about fun things that we do together. I am distracted from getting homesick by helping other campers around me feel better.

If you could tell a first-time camper one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them they’re going to have so much fun. The staff here have always been supportive, and it’s okay to be sad in the beginning but they will definitely help you feel better.

Lara
Lara
Two Year Camper
Lara

Lara

Two Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am 10 years old. I am from New Jersey

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my second summer at Camp.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like sports and swimming. I am very athletic at home, I like the competition so it’s fun to get better at Camp.

How has SLC helped you grow?
SLC has helped me grow by teaching me the five core values. We learn compassion, grit, empathy, gratitude and community. My friendships are growing. This is my home away from home so it’s very special to me.

When is a time that you showed courage at Camp?
I was nervous to celebrate my birthday away from my family, but Camp made my birthday so fun and I got to call my family! This year, Olympics was on my birthday so it was very fun.

Allie Golan
Allie Golan
Alumna & Donor
Allie Golan

Allie Golan

Alumna & Donor

Surprise Lake Camp has been such an important part of my life for the last 15 summers. I have made friends here that I treasure more than anything. I truly believe that camp changed my life for the better. Without it, who knows where I would be?!

In my eyes, The 1902 Society is the best thing I can do to ensure that future campers will have the opportunity to have the same experiences I have been blessed with.  Joining The 1902 Society is my promise that I will one day give back to the place that gave so much to me.

Einav
Einav
Two Year Camper
Einav

Einav

Two Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am 9 years old. I am from Modiin, Israel.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my second summer at Camp.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like arts and crafts because I like to paint and make things for my room.

If you could tell a first time camper one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them that everything is going to be okay. The counselors are here to take care of you and keep you safe. I was nervous at first, but now I have fun every day!

How has SLC helped you grow?
My older sister is at Camp too and she helps me grow. We came for the first time together and I can do it if she can do it.

When is a time that you showed courage at Camp?
At first I was scared to sleep in the dark but I really love my friends at Camp and we are all together, so I feel better.

Emily
Emily
First Time Camper
Emily

Emily

First Time Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am 9 years old. I am from Pennsylvania.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my first summer at Camp, but my mom and my grandma came here.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like arts and crafts because it’s fun and I can choose what I want to do there.

If you could tell a first time camper one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them to have fun! I did Get Your Feet Wet last summer and that helped me know what it was going to be like to be a camper. Also, whenever I get sad, my counselors help me.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a teacher so I can come to camp during the summer.

What do you think of your SLC community? 
My new friends are so nice. I want to keep in touch with them over the year!

James
James
Seven Year Camper
James

James

Seven Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am from Manhattan, New York and I am 15 years old.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my seventh summer.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like basketball because I can play with my friends and I’m good at it.

How has SLC helped you grow?
I’ve made a lot of friends with people that I never thought I’d be friends with before. SLC has helped me learn about myself.

What was it like to come to Camp for the first time?
I remember being really nervous but I felt welcomed here. I jumped into activities quickly.

What do you think of your SLC community?
When Camp ends, I talk to my friends on the phone a lot. We always plan a few meet-ups during the year.

Mika
Mika
Two Year Camper
Mika

Mika

Two Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am from Long Island, New York and I am 13 years old.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my second summer.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like sports because it’s good for your health and I can release my energy.

What do you think of your SLC Community?
Being older and on Teenside allows me the choice to be friends with everyone. Teenside is smaller and we all get to hang out a lot. Everyone in my SLC community relates to me in some way, and that always makes me feel comfortable.

If you could tell a first time camper one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them that Camp helps you try things for the first time. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do, but you may like it if you do do it!

When is a time that you showed courage at Camp?
Being away from my parents felt scary at first but I quickly overcame my fear. I have a family here, and I get letters from my parents.

Sammy
Sammy
Six Year Camper
Sammy

Sammy

Six Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am from Long Island, New York and I am 14 years old.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my sixth summer.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like it when we have a choice of field sport activities because it’s very diverse. I can choose from any activity and there are always so many people to play with.

How has SLC helped you grow?
SLC has made me a mature person and I’m much more outgoing and active here. I’m so thankful that I have Camp.

If you could tell a first time camper one thing, what would it be?
Always be positive.

What do you think of your SLC community?
I am lucky to have a lot of friends from home that come to Camp, so I get to see them all year. My counselors are a big part of Camp too. They are always coming up with new games to play.

Kinley
Kinley
Four Year Camper
Kinley

Kinley

Four Year Camper

Tell us a little about you. How old are you? Where are you from?
I am from Jeffersonville, New York and I am eight years old.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is my third summer as a camper. I was a Guppy when I was five, because my mom works at Camp.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
I like swimming the most because I can have different buddies every day and it’s my choice for Specialty.

What do you think of your SLC Community?
I really like sleeping in Mountainview because it feels like home where I share a room with my sister. Now I am sharing a room with a lot of my sisters.

How has SLC helped you grow?
SLC made me believe in doing new things that I’ve never done.

When is a time that you showed courage at Camp?
When I took my deep-water test, I showed courage. A lifeguard cheered my on the whole way and my friends were proud of me for passing.

Cody and Zachary
Cody and Zachary
First time campers
Cody and Zachary

Cody and Zachary

First time campers

Where are you from?
We are brothers from Queens, New York.

What number summer is this for you at SLC?
This is our first summer at Surprise Lake.

What is your favorite Camp activity?
Cody likes to play sports and one of Zachary’s favorite activities is fishing.

What was it like to come to Camp for the first time?
Cody: “Coming to Camp for the first time was a little bit scary but we’re glad that we had each other, and it’s nice that we can hang out on Shabbat walk!”

How has SLC helped you grow?
Zach: “We have so many friends to try new things with. Our counselors are so awesome. They always play with us during activities and they show us how to do things we’ve never done before, like play Gaga and Nine Square.”

If you could tell a first time camper one thing, what would it be?
Cody: It would be to try new things at camp that you may not like because you might realize that you love them here.

Zoe
Zoe
5 Years as Camper
Zoe

Zoe

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.

Amilia
Amilia
First-Year Camper
Amilia

Amilia

First-Year Camper

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.

Dylan
Dylan
5 Years as Camper
Dylan

Dylan

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.

Ben
Ben
3 Years as Camper
Ben

Ben

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!