We’re always available to answer questions just call us at 845-265-3616.

- Sheryl & Bradley

The Coronavirus & SLC: Updates

Summer 2021

As we move forward and begin focusing on Summer 2021, the staff and board are putting all of our resources, creativity and energy into opening Camp in the safest, most fun way possible. The health and well-being of our campers, staff and all their families remain our highest priority.

While we continue to navigate these ever-changing, challenging times, we want to share more details regarding our initial health and safety strategies. Our commitment to you is that we will be in touch regularly to make sure you know about all that we are doing. As we all know, the landscape is continually changing, and even though we have been planning and learning for months, we will know more as we get closer to the summer.

WELCOME Dr. Laura Blaisdell

SLC has hired Dr. Laura Blaisdell to serve as SLC’s lead consultant on opening Camp safely for the summer of 2021. Dr. Blaisdell is a public-health trained pediatrician and has been a camp medical director for the past 20 years. She oversaw the safe opening of Camp Winnebago in Maine during the summer of 2020. Laura regularly consults to the American Camp Association (ACA) and is widely regarded as one of the top experts on communicable-disease prevention at camps. Dr. Blaisdell has already begun working with SLC’s board of directors and staff and will continue to do so through the entire summer of 2021 as we develop and implement our health and safety protocols.


In addition to working with Dr. Blaisdell, we will continue to consult with the ACA and the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) to learn as much as we can from camps that operated during the summer of 2020. We will also be consulting regularly with our local department of health. And we are in constant contact with our friends at other camps; we are all in this together and can learn best practices from each other.


We are allocating increased funds in our budget to cover additional medical staff and supplies, as well as cleaning and sanitizing staff, supplies and services.

While we have begun to outline concrete plans for summer 2021, most of our specific strategies are still in development. This is because we want to ensure that we are basing our plans on the latest, most accurate information. As we get closer to the summer, we will release a detailed COVID Safety Plan for our families and staff.

Here is what we know now that we are developing for Summer 2021:

    • Pre-arrival policies for all staff and campers.
    • Expanding our health care staff, as well as our cleaning staff, and updating policies and procedures.
    • Adding sanitizing stations throughout Camp so that all campers and staff will be able to wash and / or sanitize their hands and equipment frequently.
    • Adding large tents in several places to allow for safe physical distance in our dining and programmatic spaces at Camp.
    • Limiting movement in and out of camp. This includes, but is not limited, to:
      • No trips (amusement park / waterpark trips or intercamp trips) for campers.
      • Developing creative plans for staff time off, since for safety reasons they will be required to stay in Camp during their time off.

As we learn more and make more concrete decisions, we promise to keep our families and staff informed. All updates will be shared with our families and on this page. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

We are excited to welcome you home to SLC for the summer of 2021! It will be unforgettable – filled with the spirit and magic of Surprise Lake Camp.

Summer 2020

Keeping our campers, staff, and the families that they go home to at the end of the season safe and healthy is our highest priority. Because of that, and given the constantly changing information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is with enormous sadness that we share that we made the decision not to open for the summer of 2020.

The counsel we received from all of our sources, including the CDC, local Department of Health, American Camp Association, Foundation for Jewish Camp, and our New York State Government officials, was all pointing in the same direction — that opening Camp was simply not prudent or responsible this year.

Follow these links to read the full letter to our Camp families as well as frequently asked questions.

Please note that following our decision, the governor of the State of New York made the determination that no sleep away camps in the State of New York would be allowed to operate during the summer of 2020.


New: Processing the Loss of Camp (Jennifer Herman Benalt, SLC)

New: Missing Camp (Neil Weintraub, SLC)

Talking to Your Kids About Cancelled Summer Plans (URJ)

Grieving Loses from Coronavirus (New York Times)

A Kids’ Guide to Coronavirus (New York Times)

Talking with Children About Coronavirus (CDC)

BrainPop video on the coronavirus (includes an explanation of how viruses work)

NPR Comic exploring the Coronavirus

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus (from TIME)

How to Talk To Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus (from Psychology Today)