Is Your Child Getting Cold Feet About Starting Summer Camp?

Written by Laura Pierce - Owner/Director, Camp Birchmont

This is natural for children but can be unnerving for parents…Here’s a good read which offers some practical suggestions to start off the summer on the right foot. We will also be discussing anxiety and homesickness with our counselors during Staff Orientation Week. It’s important to understand that not every child will come to camp raring to go; a little empathy and re-assurance can go a long way. Once children feel immediately welcomed and actively engaged, anxious feelings dissipate rather quickly.

Although this is our 30th summer directing, every summer feels like a new adventure. We are excited to begin another great camp Birchmont season!

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13 Tips for Helping Anxious Kids Enjoy Summer Camp »

How to clear the fear to make way for a formative experience

From: The Child Mind Institute

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New Hampshire Summer Camp Memories

Do you love bug juice, ghost stories, toasted marshmallows and Color Wars? Then thank the Granite State, home to America’s first sleepaway camp.


New Hampshire is best known as the first-in-the-nation state for the presidential primaries, but it is also the birthplace of America’s first overnight summer camp. In 1881, Dartmouth College dropout Ernest Balch bought Squam Lake’s Chocorua Island and created Camp Chocorua — aimed at the children of wealthy tourists visiting the White Mountains. His goal was to prevent as many rich kids as possible from becoming spoiled brats.

A recent exhibit at the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University put it this way: “Rather than let the self-indulgence of high society erode the character of these youth, Balch envisioned a different kind of resort; one where boys could find challenge, not champagne, canoes instead of crystal chandeliers, and an earthen bed instead of fine linen. He wanted the boys to learn self-governance, the value of money, and a strong work ethic while experiencing adventures like those portrayed in dime novels.”

Summer Romance

Jon and Shuli Lubin
Lawyer (Jon) and Summer Camp Administrator (Shuli)

Camp counselors Jon and Shuli Lubin never expected to find love on Lake Wentworth.

While he was a camper for four seasons (1995-1998), Jon Lubin “always wanted to see what was behind the curtain.

“This certainly isn’t unique to Camp Birchmont, but when you’re a camper, you look up to your counselors as role models and they seem so cool to you. You wonder where they disappear to on their days off, what they do on their nights out,” he recalls.

Lubin fulfilled his goal, becoming a counselor and soccer specialist for two years before he disappeared to college. The summer of 2005, sandwiched between graduation (University of Pennsylvania) and his entry to law school (Yale Law), presented the opportunity for one last hurrah.

“I was 22 years old. My goals for returning to camp that summer were reuniting with old friends, making some new ones, and drinking every pint on the menu at Wolfe’s Tavern to earn my own pewter mug on that famous ceiling there,” Lubin says. “Birchmont gives staff members a lot of time off, which I think is healthy to recharge and refresh from what can be tiring days herding kids around.”

During those nights out, he quickly felt a connection with Shuli, the group leader for the 10-year-old girls’ cabins. “Sitting together on the camp bus turned into strolling down the streets of Portsmouth and Boston holding hands and eventually sharing our first kiss on the bus back to Wolfeboro,” reminisces Lubin.

Shuli was the leader of the 10-year-old girls group at Camp Birchmont.
“It was a crazy situation,” says Shuli Lubin, who previously worked at Birchmont’s sister camp, Pierce Country Day Camp on Long Island. “By the end of the summer, I knew this was the man I was going to marry. I didn’t go to camp to meet my husband, but it’s fitting that we met there because camp has been such a huge part of my life.”

The Lubins later got engaged under fireworks on the lake and married in 2009. Jon is a corporate lawyer for a private equity firm in Manhattan. Shuli is a camp office administrator for Pierce. Their daughters Brooke, 5, and Charlotte, 3, are destined in a few years to continue the family tradition in New Hampshire.

Lubin jokes that he almost sabotaged the fairy tale ending with a “Braveheart-like speech” at Birchmont’s farewell campfire in 2005. “I knew in my gut that this would be my last summer there for a while and possibly forever, so I wanted to go out with a bang. In a terrible Scottish accent, I urged the whole camp to rise up and resist the tyranny of the coach buses coming to take us all home the next day,” he remembers. “Fortunately, this didn’t give Shuli any second thoughts about our relationship.”

For the record, Lubin never did earn that pewter mug from Wolfe’s Tavern, but with two future campers on the way, there’s plenty of time to finish.

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Camp Musical “Little Mermaid” Rocks the House!

Written by Laura Pierce - Owner/Director, Camp Birchmont

We’ve been having many memorable moments and fun times these last two weeks, too many to count, really. But last night is worth re-living today because of the sheer joy on stage, and thunderous support campers showered on the cast of the end of summer musical production.

The Little Mermaid had a talented, enthusiastic cast who put on a fantastic show in spite of little rehearsal time the few days before, as trips rolled in and out of camp.

Our Theater Director, Steve V and Dance Captain, Sammy R, stepped up their game to work with cast members, choreographing musical numbers to perfection then pulling the whole show together with great success. The sets and costumes were beautiful and unique, creating an underwater world, evocative of the animated film.

The night belonged to a few leads who brought the play to life along with a stand out ensemble cast. Sophia T as Ariel sang sweetly, and had the whole camp rooting for her as she delivered the solo “Part Of Your World” with poised perfection.

The villainous Ursula played by Isabella G, was everything a Disney villain should be, bigger than life, badder than bad, with talent oozing from every pore. Isabella’s rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” was haunting and fabulous at the same time. She channeled a Bette Midler bravado as she sang her heart out and danced around the stage with her evil companions, Flotsam and Jetsam played by Rafida M and Sam B.

Ariel’s mermaid sisters were a tight ensemble of singing, dancing, girls who exuded personality plus in several scenes. They were played by: Finn B, Ariana K, Sammie G, Mika B, Phoebe O and Isabelle B.

Colette M gave a star turn as the singing crustacean, Sebastian who led the cast in a rousing rendition of “Kiss The Girl” which prompted one of two standing ovations.

Some of the other notable voices were Gabe P who was totally terrific and can be heard singing all over camp, and Francesca G who was adorable as Ariel’s side kick seagull Scuttle. Ben M, Andrew M, Hachem M, Angel M, Luke C and Mikayla A added so much to the great ensemble who showed their acting chops to the delight of the crowd. Special thanks goes to the Notches staff and Raquel G, and Hailey K for help with costumes, and production.

We are so excited to break Color War with our camper produced Booth Carnival. It never ceases to amaze how original ideas, traditional booths, poster board signs, dunk tank, cotton candy and all manner of created edibles bring our main baseball field to life with not a ball or bat in sight. Although our camp will divide into the four colors of contests on land, water and in song, we know we will come together again to end this camp season and reunite next summer, stronger for friendships found and memories made.