Young Palisadians Share Favorite Summer Camp Memories From Years Past
By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Earlier this spring—before we even knew what summer 2020 would look like—the Palisadian-Post began to assemble a story about camp memories shared by young Palisadians. Though some camps have been amended to suit social distancing, this piece took on a new meaning when others, both near and far, were canceled due to COVID-19.
These fun summer camp memories can serve as a walk down memory lane for those who have aged out of camp and, for those who are missing their camp this year, as a reminder of activities to look forward to doing again in the future.
Highlands resident Hanna Shin, 11, first attended a Christian sleepaway camp located in Fresno County when she was 9 years old.
“My favorite camp I have been to is Hume Lake,” Hanna shared with the Post. “My favorite memory there was when I first arrived and got to see our cabin and the entire camp. This moment filled me with a thrill of excitement and joy, as I was so happy to be there.”
Shin, who will attend Calvary Christian School this year as a sixth grader, first attended the camp in 2018 and returned in 2019.
“Things I miss from Hume Lake are the kind and supportive counselors, the delicious snacks there, fun games of David and Goliath (which is basically frisbee tag), Wacky Water Wednesday (a day where we play fun water games in the pool), hanging out with friends and making new friends, and team competitions after dinner,” Shin recalled.
Shin’s camp was canceled this year, but she said that she “definitely” plans on going back when the pandemic is over and that she can’t wait.
Palisadians Maya and Yana Tevlovski, 14, were in sync recalling their favorite summer camp memory.
For two summers, at ages 8 and 9, the two incoming Palisades Charter High School students attended Horsemanship Day Camp at Hoofprints of Freedom at Rustic Canyon Ranch. The best part, the twins shared, was learning to ride without a saddle.
“They gave us more freedom with the horses than with the other camps,” Maya said. “We had to groom the horse, clean up the poo, scrape the shoes, brush the horse, and feed them and bathe them. We were doing everything.”
The camp, which used to operate in the Palisades and has since moved to the Antelope Valley, split campers into groups of 10.
The Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles summer camp starts as young as students heading from preschool into elementary school, in addition to other locations for the more senior students.
“My favorite part about the Lycée Français summer camp is the different people that are there,” former camper, Brady Keith, 14, told the Post. “There are kids from all over the world.”
Keith said camp highlights include karaoke in different languages and making dishes from around the world, as well as creating art from varied cultures.
“The counselors also make the camp what it is,” Keith shared.
In a typical year, some of the counselors are alumni that have been coming back from all over the country for more than two decades every summer.
“I don’t mean to be schmaltzy,” Keith said, “but our summer camp is a great experience for anyone, even just for a week, to experience a lot of fun new things.”
This year, the camp was transferred to a virtual format.
At age 12 and heading into seventh grade at Paul Revere Charter Middle School, Audrey Yael Smith is no stranger to camp. She began going at 7 years old and continued for the next five years until the pandemic prevented it.
“I am definitely going back to my sleepaway camp, Skylake Yosemite, next summer,” Smith said. “I miss my camp friends and kayaking on Bass Lake. One of my favorite camp memories was performing as Scar in the camp play ‘The Lion King.’”
In the meantime, Smith has found a new camp destination a little closer to home: Sandy Days Beach Camp.
“I went to Sandy Days last week and loved spending time on the beach and being around other kids,” Smith explained.
Sandy Days sets up on the beach in Pacific Palisades for kids ages 4 to 14. This year, masks are required when not in the water, eating or drinking.
“I also made two paracord bracelets and a tie-dye t-shirt,” Smith said of her first week. “Finally, I played a game called cabana ball and won a hula hoop contest.”
Local resident and Pali High Virtual Academy student Isolde Fair, 17, has attended Center Stage Strings camp at the University of Michigan the past few years.
“Last year on the Fourth of July, I went to a field with a few of my friends and with the rest of the CSS camp where we listened to the Detroit Symphony play many pieces as well as the ‘1812 Overture’ by Tchaikovsky where they used real cannons that shot off during the last part of the piece,” Fair shared with the Post. “It was really the best part of my summer last year.”
This year, Fair’s summer camp memories are being made a little differently: She joined an online camp with her teacher located in South Korea at Sounding Point Academy. The kids attending the camp are checking in from all over the world.
Highlands resident Hope Shinderman, 17, was 7 years old when she told her parents she wanted to go to sleepaway camp.
They agreed, and Shinderman spent the next six summers attending performing arts camp French Woods on Hancock Lake in the Catskills.
Her mother, Jill, shared that what made her camp experience so special was that she was able to make her own program every day, adding that Hope elected to take horseback riding every day.
“Even though it was an arts camp,” Jill said, “she chose this horse that no one else wanted to deal with.”
Although planning summer camp requires a little more ingenuity this year—perhaps, a little more imagination, a few small groups and some social distancing measures—there’s still room for new memories to be made.
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