Victoria’s Secrets: A weekend at camp

Morgan, Samantha, Spencer, Blake, Jonah and Addy relax in some shade.

She climbed a three-story-high rock wall with giggles and joyousness as I watched her jaw-dropping climb in awe.

Addy is having her first summer at sleepaway camp, joining her brother and cousins, and she is absolutely rocking it! 

As the sun beat down on us, my daughter Elizabeth and I made our way to the Pocono Mountains to visit the kids at Tyler Hill Camp during the hottest weekend on record. 

Since we were joined by my daughter and son-in-law, we decided to stay overnight near the camp and reserved rooms at the Resorts World Catskills Hotel. I was excited to see it since it had been the renowned Concord Resort Hotel, a place of sweet memories from when I was just married and in my 20s.

It had been famous as a “meet-up” place because of its enormous lobby, perfect for mingling and meeting with great entertainment every night. The Concord was a site filled with history and is where the iconic movie “Dirty Dancing” was filmed.

As I drove up the long, tree-lined roadway to the hotel/casino, nothing looked like it did. The complex has a 20-story glistening glass tower — a strange sight in the country setting.

When we drove up to the entrance, there were three lanes: two for the hotel and one for the casino and after we valet parked our car and entered the self-opening glass doors into the refreshingly air-conditioned lobby, we were facing the clanging sound of “one-armed bandits” in the enormous casino before us.

On the right side of the lobby was a long line to check into the hotel and, after a nearly three-hour ride, we waited impatiently for our room key. I was so wiped out that I never made it to the casino as we were all anxious to get to the camp for the highly anticipated visiting day. 

Addy, Elizabeth and Blake enjoying their lunch.

There is a tradition at the camp where they set up a rope to keep the parents (grandparents arrive an hour later) back until the designated visiting hour. My daughter Elizabeth, so excited to see her darlings who were waiting in Jonah’s bunk, began her run to get there first, but when she took two steps, she twisted her ankle and fell to the ground! But being a Schneps, she picked herself up and limped to the kids for huge hugs and kisses. 

Camp represented my carefree years, going to camp until I got married. I remember becoming editor of my camp newspaper because I wasn’t into sports! But my grandchildren are all in.

Samantha and Blake cooling off.

I had worried about Addy being a “first-timer,” but as I soon saw it was clear she had the whole camp experience under control. She wanted us to see her climb the three-story-high rock wall and then navigate the obstacle course through the trees.

Addy’s Climbing Counselor shared with us proudly, “Addy’s first attempt on the wall was filled with her tears of frustration and she didn’t give up. She came back day after day until she mastered every level — remarkable.”

Addy conquers the rock wall!

Well, I stood with my unbelieving eyes watching as my Addy not only climbed the highest wall, but navigated her way through the obstacle course among the trees and, with so much joy in her voice, she yelled down to us, “Watch me go down the zipline backwards and with my eyes closed!”

She’s only 8 and is already just as persistent as I am, but she’s much braver! 

Addy shows off her tremendous zipline skills.

The considerate camp leadership provided 1,700 bottles of water in barrels spread all over the 220 secluded acres. On the grounds, they offer a nine-hole golf course, two private lakes with motor boats, a pool, an indoor cycling studio, a fitness center, and every sport you can imagine. There are 50 air-conditioned cabins with their own bathrooms and showers and on the hot Saturday, I was relieved to be able to spend time in each child’s air conditioned bunk.

Sadly, I wish I had spent more time with Blake and Morgan at their activities, but they were surrounded by their father’s parents and uncle and we shared “blanket time,” so I got loving hugs, which warmed my heart. 

May these days living with other kids and learning and perfecting their skills be with them forever. The visit went much too fast, just like life. But I lap up each day and count my blessings.

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