My Summer Day Camp Experience | Camp Ramaquois

My Summer Camp Experience

Posted by on January 11, 2011

By Matthew Kaufman

I was fortunate to begin my day camp career at Ramaquois as a four year old in 1984.  I can clearly remember my first bus ride to camp, sitting next to my older sister.  Stepping off of the bus, and into a new, strange world, there was no way I could comprehend how important that moment was for me.  Ramaquois would become my summer home until this day.

My first summer at day camp was definitely a new experience for me.  I had never had a “bunk” or a “cubby” before.  My counselors sort of reminded me of my pre-school teachers, but they were… different somehow… I didn’t usually enjoy new things and I was slow to warm up to camp.  From what my parents tell me, my counselors were very (infinitely) patient with me.  When I needed a friend, a counselor was there.  When I needed words of encouragement, they chimed in.  When I was too shy to ask, they offered help.

I don’t remember the specific moment when things changed, but I know that at some point that summer, things just became different.  I couldn’t wait for the bus to arrive in the morning.  I dreaded the weekends. And on the last day of camp, I cried – just like the first day.  I was hooked.  Ramaquois was a part of my life.

I spent 11 summers as a camper at Ramaquois.  I had no idea that those summers were just the beginning.  I remained at camp for seven years as a counselor, five years a division leader and now I am lucky enough to be an assistant director working with the most unique and talented administrative team in the summer camp industry.  I am one of the lucky people that truly enjoys going to work each and every day.

People often ask me why I love camp so much.  I usually reply that Ramaquois is not a typical day camp.  There is a palpable energy here – a spirit that permeates every activity, every acre, every camper and every staff member.  Truly though, the real reason might be those vivid memories of my first summer at camp – the fear of the unknown that turned into love for a new home.  My counselors did an amazing job making me feel comfortable and welcomed.  Our group became a real family.  Many of the boys in that group stayed at camp together, and we “graduated” from Ramaquois at the age of 15.

When I became a counselor, I was amazed to see my camp story repeated over and over again right before my eyes.  Every summer, campers would step into a new, mysterious world.  Each one came to Ramaquois with their own individual fears, hopes and expectations.  Within a few days, the fears were always replaced with friends, and I had the privilege of watching children enjoy the same experience that I had as a camper.  Many of them are now counselors, and the cycle repeats itself over and over.

It is this tradition that makes Ramaquois a unique day camp.  And it is why this place is special for me, and so many others.

You're Invited!

You’re invited to our holiday season open house on December 5th, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM! Join us for craft projects, refreshments, holiday grab bag and more! We’d love for you to meet our team and tour the camp. RSVP to 845.354.1600.