Summer Camper and Parent Testimonials
Stories from kids who come to Summer Camp, and their parents
Not sure where to go to camp this summer? With all of the choices out there, it makes sense to investigate all of your options to the fullest. At Vanderkamp, we believe that our summer campers and their parents can speak better about the experience here than we could ever hope to. Thus, we’ve decided to post testimonials from campers and parents on this page. We’ll “release” them 1 by 1 as we get closer to the summer, so each testimonial can have its chance to shine. If you want to submit a testimonial, feel free to contact us – we’ll post whatever you have to say! Without further ado – listen to our summer campers and their parents!
Allie, former camper and current staff member wrote a beautiful testimonial here: Allie’s Vanderkamp Story. She plans on using it for her college essay! Thanks, Allie!
Another great email from parents who can’t stop hearing about camp from their child!
Megan and I just wanted to Thank you so much for working with us and helping Connor with his camp experience. He enjoyed himself so much.
He is still talking about it and remembering things to tell us. He still wanders around the house singing camp songs. You and the staff have blessed him with
a joy that we unfortunately do not see in Connor as much as we would like. We are in your debt. Connor was looking for a secure place he felt accepted for being a christian and
not picked on for refusing to be too worldly. You have given him that. He will see you next year with joy in is heart.
Megan and Rick, parents of Connor, camper in 2012
A parent spontaneously emailed (August, 2012) and relayed the following:
I just wanted to send you a quick follow up from Camp Outrageous!! Once AGAIN, Rachel had an AWESOME time at camp!!! It took this long for her to tell me all the stories and adventures she had at camp!
A huge THANK YOU to you and all the staff\counselors that make Vanderkamp such a wonderful place!!! You are all such a positive rolemodel of God’s love!!
Thank you and may God continue to bless you all and your ministry!!!
We can’t wait to see Rachel as an LIT next summer!
One parent reached out at the end of 2012′s summer camp season and said:
What a blessing Vanderkamp has been for our family. I don’t know of any other place that would hear of three kids, one a little young for a typical camp and another with special needs, and open their arms as wide as they can get to welcome all three. Almost a month after leaving their amazing camp family, the kids are still singing the songs and telling stories of their adventure. The staff at Vanderkamp make an impact on everyone they come in contact with. From the bottom of our heart we thank you for giving our children a camp they can call home. A place to run to when school lets out. A place where they can be themselves because they know they are embraced regardless. The kids are already planning to return next year. I wish every child could be lucky enough to find this little oasis in the woods of Cleveland NY!!!!
An email from mid August of 2012 regarding a camper who had approached her pastor in church states:
She attended confirmation camp and then a recreational camp later. She had on a T-shirt from one of the camps with a peace slogan and spoke of sessions that addressed “peace” on various levels…peace within ourselves, peace with others, etc. She also said that she had never before felt so accepted as a person and since returning has spoken with our pastor about her wonderful experience. (This is a girl who is normally quite shy and doesn’t approach adults easily.)
Recent camper post on Facebook – a quickie:
I miss all my friends from vanderkamp. For some reason, at vanderkamp I feel better cause I can act myself and not get judged its always been my favorite place♥
When I heard my brother William was going to a new summer camp I was against going there, and just wanted to continue going to the camp I had attended for a few years. But after some girl drama at that camp, I found that I really didn’t want to return, and last summer my parents suggested I try going to Vanderkamp because my brother had such a great experience there. I was very hesitant about going but decided to give it a try for a week this past summer. That week was Outrageous Week. And it was Outrageous all right. When I first got to the camp I was scared of what people would think of me and was worried I would be an outsider. But when I first got to my cabin everyone welcomed me with open arms, which helped me a lot. That whole week was great. I did fun things (watched the movie Tangled, did everything backwards, and let’s not forget outrageous activity with Chiumba: crazy boy who does tricks), but the real difference was the people that I met at Vanderkamp. In one week I met people who really changed and enriched my life in so many ways. This was by far the best experience I had ever had at an over night camp. By the end of the week I didn’t want to leave Vanderkamp and leave all the new friends I had made. It was such a change compared to other camps. I can’t wait to go back this summer and maybe in the future I will become a counselor.
-Amanda, Camper in 2011
We were very blessed with the love and kindness shown to everyone. That was an experience I will never forget. The children are singing the songs and wishing they could have stayed longer. This will be something I will aim for as a new goal for next year. The kids are still talking about how much fun they had and wished it was longer. Even little Ronald is singing the Humpty Dumpty song. I love it. We will definitely be returning next year, hopefully with more kids. Many blessings to you and your wonderful family!
-Joy, Grandmother of 2 campers, and attendee of our Family Camp in 2011. She also brought 11 people from her church to have us help her run the Vacation Bible School for her youth!
My son’s experiences at Vanderkamp the past few years have been amazing! He talks about camp all year long and eagerly awaits his next adventure there! It’s important for me to know that my child feels safe, secure and loved while spending time away from our home and at Vanderkamp he does. He loves the staff, the games, the activities and all of the friends he makes each year! He enjoys the almost endless opportunities to try new things and always comes home with more confidence than he had when he left! Having faith based programs that are as fun and welcoming as the programs offered at Vanderkamp is truly a blessing to the children, parents, area churches and the entire upstate NY community!
- Jerilyn, Mom of Aiden, Camper in 2010 and 2011. (this message has been approved by Aiden
Imagine being 6’6″ and looking up to a small child. I never thought this was possible, but this summer, while volunteering at a summer camp, I learned it firsthand. Vanderkamp is a Christian camp and it is the most amazing place in the world. Most of my friends had summer jobs and made a lot of money over the summer. I chose to return to Vanderkamp to help other kids experience the reasons that I have always loved this place. My wallet is empty, but the campers I met and the lessons I learned were well worth it.
I first went to Vanderkamp was when I was 6. As the years passed, camp became more and more a part of my life. Unlike at school, at camp I wasn’t the tall kid who had no friends, I was the tall kid everyone loved because he was a great big teddy bear. It was the place I could be me because there are no video games to hide behind, no T.V. to use to ignore life, just you, nature, and others. I knew that I wanted to be a camp counselor at Vanderkamp. This year I was finally old enough to volunteer for the whole summer.
Each and every camper has affected me in one way or another, but Alex really changed my life. Alex has two older sisters; Alicia, who was in the grade below me, and Katie, who is one grade above me. Alicia and Katie have been coming to Vanderkamp for as long as I have. Alicia was always my best friend. But this past April, she died from complications of mononucleosis. Katie could not return to Vanderkamp without Alicia, but Alex chose to return this summer. Alex was so strong when anyone brought up Alicia. He understood better than I did that we may not understand why things happen, but we have to have faith that God has reasons. Alex’s strong faith at his young age had a huge impact on me. Many people tried to persuade Alex not to return to Vanderkamp because they thought the memories of Alicia would be too much for a 12 year old boy to handle. Alex knew that he would miss Alicia no matter where he was, so he decided to live his life, since no one knows how much time they have to live it. Alex’s strength was an inspiration to me. Many people would not be able to move beyond the death of a sister, but Alex chose to accept that it happened and to honor Alicia’s memory by returning to the place she loved.
I enjoyed working with all the kids who came to Vanderkamp. They enriched and made me appreciate my life. Now that I have opened my eyes and heart I know that I can learn from everyone I meet, even the smallest child. I will keep my eyes and heart open and see how many other people I can look up to.
- Cayman, Summer Camper from 2003-2010, LIT and Volunteer in 2011
During the summer of 2011, I went to Vanderkamp and had the best week ever!!!! While I was there I played in the band, met many new people, went swimming and so much more. I had an amazing group of kids with me in my cabin. During the week our counselors rewarded us with beads for doing different things. My counselors also let our group play something similar to flashlight tag. Also during the week everyone gets together and plays games. One of the best things about Vandercamp was breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is a great time to talk about what you hope to do during the day or how your day has been so far. That isn’t the only good thing about breakfast, lunch, and dinner though, the food is incredible!!!!!!!! The cooks are amazing and do a great job with the food. Everyone there is so nice especially the counselors and the person who runs the camp, Mr. James Davis. He has done a great job with the camp and I can’t wait to go back during the summer of 2012!!!!
-Cole, 2011 Summer Camper
Vanderkamp is one of my favorite places. Every one there is so kind and would do anything to see you smile. And even though you only know the other campers and counselors for a week they become your family for a life time. Even though there is a new director who is amazingly kind you still get the same great experience. If you are thinking about going you should definitely go. Not only do you get to connect with God you get to meet some really cool people and really connect with your counselors. There is something for everybody, music, arts and crafts, swimming, sports, boating and much, much more. Everybody you meet is amazing and so nice. My life definitely changed when I met Shelby. We instantly became best friends and I look up to her at all that she does and I’m so happy camp gave us the chance to meet each other. It’s a new experience and I’m so happy God gave me the chance to go to Vanderkamp.
- Rachel, Summer Camper from 2009-2011