As a camp with decades of history, Scatico artifacts often spring up in the most random of circumstances. While preparing for “Annie”— the Inter and Senior girls’ play, and the debut summer show for the Scatico Playhouse— we rifled through an old suitcase we thought would be suitable as a prop for Mr. Warbucks. Inside the suitcase were dozens of old Scatico papers, stationery, promotional materials, and more. One newspaper clipping, from a 1989 Sunday edition of the Albany Times Union entitled “Generations return to work and play at Scatico,” caught our eye.
The article was written after Scatico was featured in “Camp MTV,” a two-hour TV special, and is filled with quotes from campers— some of whom are now parents of campers today:
“Scatico does things pretty much the way it has since its founding in 1921,” the article reads. “‘I suspect there’s going to be a resurgence of this kind of camp… as our world gets crazier,’ says Adele Selleck, director of placement services with the American Camping Association in New York City…. Selleck said that one of Scatico’s drawing cards is that it ‘has a philosophy that is quite different than other camps.’ Campers are taught that winning and losing and competitiveness are less important than compromise, getting along, and treating others with respect. Virtually everyone at Scatico comments on the family-like atmosphere…. Returnees say it’s the people that keep them coming back.”
Now in week two of Summer 2019, it’s clear that in the 30 years since the article’s publication, these words still ring true. As we reflect on all the action of the past week— the Fourth of July Talent Show, first Tribes day, the Boys Nat, DJ Pure— it is still the people that makes Scatico, Scatico. It is the intangibles of living in a close-knit community where everyone knows each other’s names, where older campers walk younger to meals, and where cheering on the sidelines can be just as fun as making the winning shot that make camp the kind of experience it is.
4th of July
Scatico’s supportive and spirited atmosphere is perhaps on no brighter display than it is on the Fourth of July. With campers dressed in red, white and blue, we had a full day of regular camp activities, followed by our first full camp, co-ed evening of the summer. Kicking off the celebration with a full camp BBQ on our new covered picnic deck (tentatively named the Tennis Patio) the celebrations then continued at the campi-theatre with a talent show. Always a highlight of the summer— and filled with unexpected talents and performances— there were 26(!) acts this year, and no two the same. From a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” with Jake Zirolli; to an original song performed by The Senior Boys; a dance to “Paper Planes” by The Upper Seniors; gymnastics with Isabelle Hellman; a full-division song with The CIT Girls; a stand-up comedy routine with Simone Strauss and Lily Pisnoy; incredible solo singing from Jojo Roses, Lily Nielsen, Sam Ryan, Leah Moscou, and Roy Goldstein; and a dance with some Debs, each act inspired all-out Scatico applause. The night finished with a surprise performance by the Scatico lifeguard staff, who seemingly magically transformed into a rock band overnight!.Performing a Bon-Jovi hit, the lifeguards got the entire camp up on their feet, before heading to the golf course to watch fireworks under the stars.
Boys’ side highlights
Dressed in green and grey (of course!) and signs ready, the campers on both boys’ and girls’ sides gathered together for the Boys Nat basketball tournament. The Nat, named for Scatico founder Nat Holman, is a camp tradition that remains at the heart of summer here. Invitees this year included Wah-Nee, Pontiac, Eagle Hill, Timber Lake, and Kinder Ring. While Scatico lost their first game to Pontiac, we won our second against Kinder Ring, thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Oz Rubinson.
Over in the arts programs, boys have been busy with very different kinds of projects. Our new boys Arts head Helen, an off-season instructor at the nearby Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, has been leading campers in the creation of unique stained glass and mosaic windows. Down in the Woodshop, Sergio, now in his sixth summer at Scatico, has been helping campers on a range of projects, including long-time favorites like pens, birdhouses, and even a Captain America shield! The Freshman boys are creating flower boxes for use on the Boys HC porch, and The Sophomores are building a new lost and found box (unfortunately, a great necessity).
Down at the lake, the boys partook in their first Polar Bear Swim— campers get up before reveille and swam the lane between boys’ and girls’ waterfronts (with some hot chocolate ahead of time to warm them up)— as well as our first Swim Meet of the summer at Camp Wah-Nee.The Senior Boys also won a night baseball game at Kenmont.
Girls’ side highlights
Over on girls’ side we had the first day of Tribes! Dressed in their red, yellow, blue and green, the day kicked off with the Swim Meet, which involves various lake races and competitions, including a plate hunting activity for the Jinters in the crib, and a life jacket relay for the Soopers. The afternoon was jam-packed with activities on the hill, followed by a Sing Down in the dining hall when it started to rain!
Tribes day one ended with a “campfire” (actually in the girls’ social hall, and involving no actual fire) where each team performed their Grace (a song we sing before meals in the dining hall) and demonstrated their Human Pyramid (somewhat self explanatory). The evening also incorporates random challenges, such as the Inters trying their best to guess the definitions of SAT words, and The Debs participating in a Talk Down (each girl is given the opposing side of a “debate,” such as Facebook vs. Instagram, and then do their best to talk about it simultaneously for a minute straight).
Another highlight this week was the choosing of Camp Sisters! As a tradition, the younger girls draw the name of an older camper out of a fishbowl, and the two are united as Camp Sisters for the duration of the summer. Girls side had its first Camp Sisters evening activity, which included a series of games— parachuting, line soccer, charades, and musical chairs— under the softball field lights.
Let’s Get Cookin!
Since its introduction to the Scatico program in 2006, Cooking has consistently been a favorite activity among boys and girls campers alike! We’re lucky to have Chef Ally— a longtime Scatico camper and counselor, head of cooking since 2006, and the head of NYC-based catering company Herb n Peach— back with us this summer, helping us whip up some delicious concoctions. Boys and girls started the summer with camp-style hors d’oeuvres like mini sliders and spinach artichoke dip, but desserts remain a camper and counselor ALL TIME favorite. We figured we’d share the (delicious) love, and the recipe for her famous S’more Brownie Bites!
Total Time: 45 min
Yield: 24 brownies
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, or 4 large graham crackers, finely crushed
Special equipment: 24-count mini muffin pan, 24 mini-muffin liners
Place an oven rack in the center of the over. Preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-count mini muffin pan with paper liners.
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
Using a small cooking scoop, fill each paper liner with about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter. Push 3 mini marshmallows halfway down into the center of the batter. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs over the marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and light golden, 10- 12 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and serve.
A highly-anticipated event of the summer is the evening spent in the Pavilion singing and dancing with DJ Pure, a local DJ who has become beloved by the Scatico community.
Playing summer hits and taking some specialty requests— such as “Paper Planes” so that the Upper Seniors could recreate their talent show performance— Juniors and Frosh through CITs kept moving all night long!
Check out our next blog for more updates including; college bowl, girls’ Nat and our first divisional overnights.