Monthly Archives: March 2019

Summer Camp: The Joy of Tradition

We are thrilled to be featured in this NY Family article featuring Director Will Pierce.

Summer Camp: The Joy of Tradition

Summer camp traditions & rituals bring a unique sense of history to your child’s summer camp experience

One of the features that makes the camp experience so special are the traditions and rituals that take place each summer. Camp traditions deepen the connection to the camp community and they become ingrained in the camp culture. They help to tie together the generations of campers and staff that came before and will come after.

Each camp has its own unique rituals and traditions that become woven into the fabric of the camp. “Camp traditions are important because they create identity as a community,” explains Will Pierce, a fourth-generation Owner and Director of Pierce Country Day Camp in Roslyn, NY. “Traditions send the message to campers that you are part of the same intentionally structured experience where we are inclusive and do things together.”

Traditions give campers events to look forward to summer after summer. For 40 years, the boys camp at Camp Scatico has done a rope burn during color war and it’s something that graduating campers aspire to take part in years in advance. “The entire camp collects wood during the day for the evening rope burn and graduating campers strategize on what type of fire to build, how much kindling to use and what kind of wood would work best to burn the rope hanging between the poles. For graduating campers, building a fire in front of the whole camp is very memorable,” explains David Fleischner, a third-generation Owner and Director of Camp Scatico, a brother-sister overnight camp in Elizaville, NY. At Pierce Country Day Camp, two of the oldest traditions are the director jumping through a hoop of fire and making magic rock candy. “Every child hopes they get chosen to make magic rock candy and that they are one day old enough to stay at camp late to see us jump through a hoop of fire into the pool,” Pierce says.

“All camps have different kinds of traditions that evolve over time. Some are things we plan and have been doing for 70-80 years but others are new and happen organically from the bottom up,” Fleischner says. “For years, we’ve had a July 4th BBQ, talent show, and fireworks. About 10-15 years ago, campers started wearing crazy red, white, and blue outfits for the evening, even though we’re a uniform camp. Campers will say it’s their favorite day of the year.”

Rituals at camp like reveillee blowing in the morning, taps playing at night, and the raising and lowering of the flag become part of a camper’s daily routine and help campers to know what to expect each day and year after year. Campers also appreciate that what they are experiencing at camp in 2019 are the same rituals from decades before and will likely occur for many years to come. “There are big traditions at camp but also smaller life traditions in how you live your day to day at camp,” Fleischner says. “At each meal, the boys’ camp comes into the dining hall and stands behind their chair for a moment of silence. We then sit as a camp and after announcements, we leave the dining hall as a camp.” Fleischner says the girls’ camp comes together three or four nights a week for an activity. “At the end of every evening activity, the whole camp sings the camp alma mater, an old camp tradition which new campers learn the words to quickly. These events bring together girls from across age groups, creating a sense of the entire community participating in something together.”

Alumni appreciate the continuing traditions that occur each year and helps them feel connected to the camp, even long after they have attended themselves. Pierce says: “I love having parents and alumni tell me that my grandfather cracked an egg on their head to make magic rock candy. They can’t believe it’s still happening at Pierce so many years later.

Read the full article on

Sneak Peak – What’s New for 2019!

At Pierce, we never stop working on camp. We have been hard at work reviewing last summer’s program and performance in all areas and are very excited about what we have in store for this upcoming summer season!

Here is a sneak peek of just a few things we are adding to Summer 2019 to make it the best one yet!

  • New Optional Tutoring Program: For the 6’s and up we will be adding an optional tutoring program for campers who want to keep their academic skills sharp over the summer. At Pierce, we only aim for the best, so we have partnered with Private Prep to deliver this program to our families. Private Prep has earned a sterling reputation in our Long Island and NYC communities and has custom designed an Elementary and Middle School Tutoring program just for Pierce. Founded by Pierce Camp Birchmont alum, Steve Feldman, Private Prep is going to serve a need we have been hearing about from our families for some time! More details on this exciting new option to follow, stay tuned…
  • New Treetop Trail Aerial Ropes Course: We will be installing a brand new playground for our 5’s and up. This aerial course has been designed by Tree-Mendous Aerial Advenutures (the team behind the new Bronx Zoo course) and will feature 11 harness trails, a ropes course, suspension bridges, jump tower, and a zipline. This course will blend in with the mature tree landscape here at Pierce. Located just across from our 5’s cabins, this tactile and shaded playground will be tons of fun for our campers.
  • Junior Camp Cabin Renovation: We’ll be renovating many of our pre-school classrooms which serve as cabins for our 3’s, 4’s and 5’s in the summer. Expect to see some new bathrooms, colors, flooring and designs in many of our junior camp cabins this summer!
  • New Vehicle Additions to Our Bus Fleet: As you know, Pierce is proud to be the only camp that owns and operates our own bus fleet. We buy new vehicles every year of course, but this year we made a major reinvestment into our fleet with brand new buses to better serve our growing camp…Beep Beep!

At Pierce, we never rest on our laurels… Our commitment to excellence is unwavering and we strive for the best!