Chen-A-Wanda News

Welcome Home

Wow.. What a day. We have all been counting the days, waiting for this moment to come and it is finally here. There has been so many emotions waiting for Summer 2017 to begin and in a blink, here we are. There is nothing in the world like the feeling when we roll pass our camp sign and head to our summer home. Regardless if this is your 8th summer or your first, that feeling of excitement and anticipation is palpable. You can actually feel it- It’s pure electricity. As each bus rolled in, they were greeted by their friends and counselors who were chanting and cheering for their arrival. There was so much love at camp today, when the campers arrived it felt like our camp became a home.

So we begin with a full house of incredibly happy kids, insanely spirited staff, activities that will inspire and a summer full of plans that will make this experience unforgettable.

We know that the start of this day wasn’t ideal for our Long Island families who dealt with delays we were faced with and we want you to know that your kids are truly remarkable. They handled this mishap with such an awesome perspective and though the bus stop may have presented some challenges, they rose to the occasion and didn’t let it effect the start of their summer for one minute. We are in awe of how they chose to put this in perspective. They had giant smiles when they got off the bus and were ready to go. It was awesome to watch them deal with challenges with such grace and ease. You have incredible kids who just rolled with it and we couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them.

In true Chenny tradition, we all enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and of course a giant dance party was happening in The Lodge. After dinner, it was off the Shields Hall for our opening night and it was incredible. A packed house, full of spirit and excitement was where you kids spent their evening. The smiles on their faces said it all. It was an absolutely perfect evening that kicked off our summer. So off we go to have the summer of our lives and as I told them tonight, they all deserve what is in front of them – A summer that will leave a mark on their hearts forever and it is our absolute pleasure and honor to provide that for your children.

Enjoy your summer and we will take it from here. Thank you for your support and belief in us and we hope to send your kids back in 51 days a bit more independent, more self confident, capable to navigate through things that challenge them, with a ton more friends and memories that last throughout their lifetime.

Chenny out.

Until We Meet Again

To All Our Chenny Parents:

Crazy that this day has come but sadly it has. To try and explain how incredible it has been to live with your kids for these past 49 days is beyond difficult. They have enriched our lives and given us so much joy, words can’t quite adequately explain how much this experience means to us. We build this community each summer, actually it’s a family who respects and adores one another. Your children make our hearts grow bigger and allow us to see the goodness in this world. It’s as if for 49 days out the year, we fill up on love and kindness, conversation and connections, friends from all around the globe and experiences that brings out the best in every single one of us.. You have given them such a gift by sending them to Camp Chen-A-Wanda and we thank you for believing in us. It takes a huge village to create what we have up here and we are so grateful to have your kids be a part of this incredible unique life changing experience.

So we send you back your kids tomorrow, a lot wiser, more independent and capable, full of incredible memories they made with true friends right by their side. It was an incredible summer and we just can’t thank you enough for your trust and support as we created a world that your kids thrived in. We read the following letter to them tonight, at their last night here at their summer home. It was emotional and it was the most perfect ending to the most perfect summer. Enjoy those babies of yours tomorrow. We will miss them so much.

To the best campers in the entire world,

I stood right in this very spot 58 days ago before the kids arrived and tried to explain to you, our staff how meaningful this journey will be for everyone in this hall and words just can never do justice to what we all have just experienced. Camp Chen-A-Wanda is more than a summer camp, it is a place we get to experience the best parts of humanity, it is kindness, it is confidence, it is a lot of warm embraces, it is daring to be different, it is courage and bravery, it is seeing mountains in front of you and knowing in your heart you can get through them, it is believing in yourself and it is letting people in, it is never doubting how special and important each one of you are. We see what happens when we let others in, our hearts get bigger and our world opens up in ways we never thought possible.

When you campers rolled into camp just 49 days ago, it was like someone turned the lights on here and we were able to begin our summer because when you aren’t here, it just doesn’t feel right. You are the rhythm to the music we make everyday we spend here. There are no two summers that are alike here and this one was by far magical beyond our wildest dreams. We watched you do things everyday here at camp that brings connection and human contact into your lives. Jon and I wish for a lot of things but our number one desire is for you to bring this home with you – the feeling of connecting and communicating with people is essential to have days and nights that make us feel fulfilled, satisfied, happy and so full of joy. You did that every day this summer. You held hands and told friends how important they are to you. You built really important and meaningful relationships that changed who you are. You disagreed and resolved your conflicts and you made-up because that is what friend’s do. Remember that talking is so much better than texting and love and kindness will always, always win over fear and anger.

As we keep looking forward, we  look at our incredibly happy GC’s as you will be the first ever in Chenny history to live on “The Hill” and we can’t wait to build this for you and the GC’s that will follow in your footsteps for years to come- But GC’s, boy oh boy do you have big shoes to fill next summer because our CIT’s of summer 16, blew our minds. You came into this summer with the most positive attitudes. Everything you did, you did as a unified group and watching you grow into who you have become has been a joy that Jon and I are so grateful for. You are our kids and will forever be our kids. Each one of you added to the rhythm of this summer as you lead with so much positive energy, it was contagious. Navajo – we hope you loved all those changes we made for you this summer. You spread so much camp spirit this summer that all the younger kids couldn’t help but look up to you in awe as you define what a Chenny kid is. To every camper inside this hall, this is your house and you make Camp Chen-A-Wanda feel like a home. Thank you campers for inspiring us, filling our lives with so much joy, making us smile all summer long and reminding us adults too not sweat the small stuff.

So another summer is in the books and regular life awaits us all just beyond our gates. Take Summer 2016 with you and just when life seems to get complicated, disconnected, stressful and routine when you get home, take a deep breath, close your eyes, dream of fiddle lake sunsets, stand on your table and dance while singing at the top of your lungs, and say out loud and say it proud – Life is Great at Camp Chen-A-Wanda!!!!

For the last time this summer.

Chenny out.



House of Hogwarts @ Chen-A-Wanda Banquet

Reality has set in that our last days of summer 2016 are upon us. It is a mix of emotion here at camp as we are organizing for the end. Cleaning out our cubbies and night stands, reminiscing about the last 7 weeks, making plans for winter get togethers and feeling not ready to leave this place. It is really happening and there is just no way to make time stop. We know we all must leave but it’s just so hard.

As the sun was setting over Fiddle Lake, we were all dressed up in our best outfits and headed to center camp where we took pictures together with our friends & counselors. Everyone looked beautiful. Groups stood on the dock, arm in arm smiling for that group picture that will be looked at 1000 times as soon they return home only to remind us of this very night. They captured those moments that made us feel whole on the inside. Our friends here just get us. They know everything about us, they accept everything about us. You can see it in the ease on your children’s faces. Living happy is how we choose to live up here. This night was perfect and as they walked into the Lodge, it was Hogwarts heaven. Floating candles, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff banners adorned the lodge. Invisible cloaks were available as they entered the room and the incredible Harry Potter music played all throughout dinner. We were transported to another world. What a night we had.

After dinner it was off to Shields Hall for our end of the year division Awards. Each Division highlighted the following campers in 3 areas; Honor Camper, Athlete of the Year and All Around Camper. They are truly standout campers and we couldn’t be more proud to highlight and honor them on this great night. To receive on this night is the highest honor we can give our campers. These are remarkable campers who deserve all the accolades and praise they were given. We have outstanding campers and tonight the light was bright on the campers we recognized with these extremely prestigious awards.

FRESHMEN Hannah Friedman Paige Arenberg Casey Ashkenase
JUNIORS Ally Yagaloff Jordyn Fersko Dani Glickman
MIDDIES Summer Housenbold Bella Goodman Phybe Nadboy
Haylin Roth  Alexis Couthard  Brooke Bortnick
INTERS Jemma Nelson Riley Jacobsen Mia Wallis
COLLEGIATES Dylan Berlent Mackenzie Rubovitz Lily Satz
Caylee Garland
SENIORS Emily Kushner Brooke Marshall Sophia Jaffe
SUPERS Halle Racenstein Rian Marcus Sofia Quadrino
GC’s Daisy Chaskin Emily Locker Arielle Ashkenase
CIT Stevie Weingard
Lower Camp Jemma Nelson Jordyn Fersko Brooke Bortnick
Upper Camp Halle Racenstein Mackenzie Rubovitz Sophia Jaffe


FRESHMEN  Ben Diamond Chase Goldman Alex Minkoff
JUNIORS  Brett Schuster Troy Golden Derek Herzog
MIDDIES  Jake Weiss Jacob Pinsk Drew Schimer
INTERS  Ryan Greenblatt Luke Gottleib Jonah Marcus
 Justin Miller Liam Irizarry Jacob Kaftol
COLLEGIATES  Tyler Skrief Alex Levine Ben Farhi
SENIORS  Sam Isen Jared Shiffman Sam Tell
 Zach Weiss  Alex Rosenbaum
SUPERS  Wolf Cukier Brayden Schwartz Jerry Kessler
GC’s  Zach Olson  Joey Block Eli Kellner
CIT David Smolowitz
Lower Camp Jake Weiss Troy Golden Jacob Kaftol
Upper Camp Zach Weiss Brayden Schwartz Eli Kellner

After the Awards, it was party time and we danced all night long. Shields Hall was full of campers who let loose and danced until their feet hurt. It was over the top fun having our last true dance party with our summer family. It’s so hard to believe the summer is over but we definitely went out with a bang. As campers headed back to their bunks full of glow sticks, T-shirts, tiaras and other items that were given out at the party, everyone was exhausted and elated and had the times of their life tonight. It was a party like no other as we celebrated an amazing season. It was just an incredible way to end an incredible summer. One more day to go Chenny.

Chenny out

Chenny Globes..And The Winner Is…

We had a brunch morning and everyone loved the extra sleep after the last 5 days we all had. Color War required so much effort so that sleep in felt amazing. After our leisurely wakeup it was off to the Lodge were we filled our bellies with a delicious brunch. You can certainly feel the end is near. Lots of hugs and more tears so every meal, every moment we are trying to hold on to. Every song that was played in The Lodge struck a cord as we stood on our seats, wrapped our arms around one another and sang all in unison of how much we just don’t want to leave this place. To bear witness to this connection that we have with one another is moving beyond words can describe. These moments will soon be a fond memory of ours but will last way beyond this summer.

We spent the day having a lazy free play kind of day. There were movies in the Chen-A-Plex and some basketball games on Shields Court. There were some great GaGa games but mostly it was just truly enjoying spending time together today. You would see clusters of kids sitting on courts and playing jacks or cards, all laughing together and just connecting. It always amazes me to see a day spent of happy kids connecting face to face. Talking and laughing, playing and engaged to each other. We have spent the last six and half weeks without texting each other or connecting because we liked an Instagram post or checked out each others Snap Chat story.  We actually “liked” being with each other. We made bracelets together, we braided one another’s hair, we played jacks together, we traded pokemon cards with one another, we spent hours playing with our Spinablo together but most importantly we just connected and loved it.

As we celebrated our last 2016 Campers of the Week, we want to highlight just how amazing these campers are and the joy they bring to camp. We thank them for their outstanding contribution.

Freshman – Sammi Witz & Andrew Garrod

Juniors – Rebecca Stulberger & Derek Herzog

Middies – Zoe Gorsky & Barndon Witz

Inters – Gabby Hoffman & Jake Gold

Collegiates – Allie Schwarz & Ryan Bornstein

Seniors – Kelsey Bloom & Mitchell Limsky

Supers – Jessie Glickman & Benji Herzog

GC’s – Abby Nussbaum & Matthew Dillello

CIT’s – Maci Rubenstein/ Stevie Weingard & Mack Schnell

Tonight was a big show and everyone was excited for The Chenny Globes. It is our annual awards show and the kids love it. There is a red carpet, Paparazzi and of course the Globes. Campers dress up for the show, as this is a real deal Hollywood-esque celebrity show. Tonight’s Globes goes to:

Camp Clown – Pepper Margulis & Matthew Marchisotta

Most Likely To Save The World – Eden Lebovitch & Jagger Morgan

Most Likely To Become President – Julia Peskin  & Chase Rubenstein

Best Hair – Shaya Roth & Jesse Ryback

Best Smile – Maya Grill & Maw Secular

Future Head Staff – Abby Leeds & Sam Rochlin

Dynamic Duo – Shelby Myers & Rachel Stulberger / Griffin Gurewitz & Seth Haber

Best Siblings – Casey, Jake and Arielle Ashkenase / Derek & Benji Herzog

Camp Spirit – Brianna Deutsch & Jack Komson

Most Likely To Brighten Your Day – Bari Klein & David Smolowitz

Best Eyes – Michelle Pesner & Ethan Sukoneck

Three more nights, three more amazing evening activity’s to experience. Wednesday, it’s Late Night with Leahy, Thursday is Banquet and Friday is Memory Night and sadly Saturday is filled with heartbreak and sorrow as we leave this amazing place we call our summer home.  So it’s onto the best and last 3 days of living in paradise. #NotGonnaWasteOneMinute

Chenny Out

Late Night With Leahy

We spent the last official day of regular activities having the best time playing  everything and anything. The pool and lake were full of happy campers. The fields had tons of games going on and the biddy courts had kids playing on them all day long. It was like we all knew that this is it. Trying to get every last game in before we load the buses on Saturday.

It was time for two last Wayne County Championship games and it was a Chenny sweep.  Our Freshman/Junior girls played their heart out today on the basketball court as they defeated Westmont with a 24-20 win to clinch the Championship. You could hear the cheers with excitement as the whistle blew and the game ended. These adorable talented kids ran around jumping up and down knowing they had just won their very first Championship. All they wanted to do was jump in the lake, uniforms on and all and that is exactly what they did. Together they held hands and jumped in with the biggest smiles on their faces; a moment that these kids will never forget.

A huge congratulations to our Collegiate Boys Softball team for defeating Equinunk with a 8-7 win to be named Wayne County Champions. They worked hard, had a common goal and brought home the championship. They were so excited, proud and most importantly, they had a great time.

The night was all about Late Night with Leahy and the buzz was in the air. It is an amazing culmination of great videos and presentations delivered by our Associate Director extraordinaire, Brian Leahy. It was hilarious and referenced everything funny about camp this summer. Every camper and staff member laughed till it hurt. It was like watching a real late night show with comedy sketches, give away prizes, Carpool Karaoke and a camp favorite How Animals Eat Part II. This evening’s activity is a camp favorite and even our counselors that were off duty, stayed to watch because it’s just that entertaining. Campers absolutely went crazy for the hilarity of what they witnessed. It was a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Everyone is looking forward to banquet tomorrow. It is the best celebration and we do it in style. We dine on amazing cuisine as we are all dressed up in our best duds. Then it’s back to the bunk to get on comfortable clothes and shoes for one amazing night of dancing and celebrating. Best night of CAW is just around the corner. It’s one big party and everyone looks forward to this night all summer long. We just can’t believe it’s actually here. Feels like we just rolled into camp and started this journey but 48 days have passed and we are looking at the end of an experience that has changed who we are.  Summer 2016 will forever be etched in our minds as the summer that made us better versions of ourselves. Here’s to the last 2 days

Chenny Out.