Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meet our Administrative Team

Cali-Camp is proud to have such talented people on our Administrative Team, many of whom have been staff members for many years. Our Administrative Team becomes our Team Leaders who oversee the groups, specialty areas and campers. They are the parents first line of response. If you call camp about your child you will hear from one of the Team Leaders or Camp Directors. Each of us have certain responsibilities and have written a bit about the first few weeks of the summer:

HI Cali-Campers and families, It's me Pam, the Camp Director. Cali-Camp has been part of my life for the past 35 years. How can that be when I'm only 30 (hahaha). This summer has started out like gangbusters with full participation by all campers and staff showing their "Cali-Camp Spirit". The Spirit Cup ended up with every group which was amazing. We have such a fun summer planned with new themes and some of our old favorites. Our overnights have begun (Boy's tonight and Girl's next week). They are truly memory makers. As I sit here at my desk writing I hear a group walking by calling "Here Snipe", Kevin, Kevin, where are you? This week "Get 'UP' with Cali-Camp" has been unbelievable. The kids have really gotten into it, with "Happy Helper" buttons the BIG hit! Next week is another new week - "Dance / Rap with the Cali-Camp Stars". We're thinking of a kind of Cali-Camp Idol thing with groups performing towards the end of the week. We will be teaching "The Hokey Pokey, Cha-Cha Slide and Line Dancing" ALL Week!
I hope you enjoy meeting our Administrative Team. They are awesome!

HI, my name is Jeff Sworzyn. I am the Operations Director and work at Cali-Camp year round. Among my favorite activities at camp is running the Bus Cup Challenge. The buses are ringing loud with sounds of camp songs that are cleverly rearranged to win the coveted bus cup! Ever year is a great experience for us and the children.

Kelly Zakosek - 6th year - Cali-Camp has started and it is on it's way to an amazing 45 days this summer. The Fawns, Grizzlies, Cardinals, Eagles / CILT's and Roadrunners have come out with a bang. Roadrunners started off the summer with Tennis and with the help from the counselors the children were taught how to use a forehand, backhand, volley's and serving. The Fawns kicked off the summer with outstanding Cali-Camp Spirit. Their creative minds took us into laughter with their group cheer and amazing banner. The eleven year old, imaginative Cardinals became the talk of the camp with their skits and creative dramatic presentations. The Grizzlies are enjoying Rocks and Ropes flying down the zip line all period long. Last, but not least the Eagles / CILT's. Words can not describe what a wonderful group of young women and men they are this year. They are enjoying every activity one period at a time and are engaging themselves in activities with younger campers to set a great example for these kids.

Jill Doolin - 13 years
- The Cali-Camp Summer of 2010 is well under way and we are having a fantastic time. My name is Jill Doolin and I am the Team Leader for the youngest groups in camp: The Ducklings, Cubs, Raccoons, Bunnies, Chipmunks and Butterflies are all awesome groups. The campers have tremendous spirit and enthusiasm and the counselors are the best. Whether we are at swimming or go-carts, or visiting some of the many exciting areas in camp, the groups are giving it their best effort and having so much fun. Cali-Camp 2010 has just begun and we can't wait for more...

Hello! My name is Ariel Rowin - 6 years and I am one of the Program Directors here at Cali-Camp (I am the one on the right, on the left is Sarah). I've been attending camp since I was four years old and this summer is my first as a program director. Spirit week and Red,White and Blue weeks were so much fun and "UP!" Week has been spectacular. Cali-Camp is such a wonderful place to spend the summer, sometimes I can't help spending a little extra time in arts and crafts or acting out my creative side in drama. I look forward to the rest of camp and wish all of you a happy and healthy summer.

Hello Cali-Camp! My name is Sarah (I am the one on the left of Ariel) and I am a Team Leader for Program along with my partner Ariel. This is my first year here and I am happy to say we have had a great start to the summer. As a program specialist I work to make the themes come alive.
The first week we had the "Cali-Camp Spirit" where I was impressed with the great smiles and support of the Cali-Camp atmosphere.
Week number two brought us the friendly competitions of "Red, White and Blue Week". It was great to see all the campers get involved and work hard to earn points for their respective teams, The Blue Bombers, The White Lightenings and the Red Rockets.
"Get 'UP' with Cali-Camp" has proven to be a great theme for week three. The kids have found feathers that have been dropping off of Kevin the Tropical Bird when she tries to join in on their games and runs away instead. Our specialists worked hard to create memorable buttons for those outstanding campers in each area. The campers are wearing their Explorer Buttons proudly.
In addition to the Program specialist I am also the Inclusion Coordinator. As a special education teacher by trade I love to see kids with special needs be fully included in all activities. The kids with special needs are fully included and having a wonderful time. When I walk up to any and all program areas these kids are a part of the group and are not being singled out in any way. I feel honored to be working with such an amazing group of people that flawlessly encourage the inclusion of ALL kids.
So far my first year has been wonderful and I look forward to finishing out the summer strong.

Hello Parents and Campers! I am Sasha Santacruz and this is my first year here at Cali-Camp. My supervision groups are the Doves, Coyotes, Mustangs, Palominos, Swans and the Wolves. My experience so far has been unbelievable. Getting to know the counselors, specialists and what better than the campers! Being able to see the campers drive the go-carts, ride the horses or hitting the bullseye at Target Sports has made this a delightful summer so for. The developing friendships between counselors and campers shows as the counselors welcome their campers with exhuberant smiles and a warm "Good Morning."
The weekly themes have been a success. We just wrapped up "Get 'Up' with Cali-Camp." Our theme was based on the movie "UP." The campers had the opportunity to earn badges at each specialty area. Each camper would wear a sash that proudly displayed their hard earned badges.
Overall, I have seen smiles, heard laughter and that to me is the Cali-Camp Experience!

Hi parents and Cali-Campers. My name is Justin -, the Jr. Staff Director here at Cali-Camp. I am back for my 7th summer and so far having a great time. All of the Jr. Staff members are doing a great job this summer. They are just as happy as I am with how the summer is going. We are having a great time playing games and doing all of the fun activities with your children. Red, White and Blue week was a huge success full of cheers and competitions. We have some really fun themed weeks coming up and I hope to see your children there.

Cali-Camp Summer 2010 - Week 3 - Get "UP" with Cali-Camp

Sometime last winter a remarkable movie came out which sparked so many ideas for a week at camp, thus Get "UP" with Cali-Camp was born. Starting back at staff training all of the Specialists spent time designing their "Specialty Explorer Badges" that have been a big hit. Each time a group attends a Specialty Area the Specialist chooses one camper at the end of the period to receive the Explorer Badge. Once a camper received an Explorer Badge they could make a sash to display it. Campers wear their sashes throughout the day and the counselors collect them at the end of the day. On the campers last day they can take their sash home with all of the badges they received during the week.

On Monday campers made "Adventure Journals" to keep track of their Cali-Camp memories, which will also go home with campers on their last day. Campers also got their first glimpse of the Wanted Posters of Kevin, the tropical bird who likes chocolate and loses lots of feathers. The hunt for Kevin has brought many funny stories along with "Fred the Flamingo" showing up from Bus 11 with feathers, trying to be Kevin. The Grizzlies have been especially diligent and have been hot on Kevin's trail.

Wednesday we explored "All things that fly" with helicopters, crossword puzzles and paper airplanes.

Thursday, Wilderness Explorer Day found the camp overflowing with green balloons and green popsicle sticks. Campers had all day to search for as many popsicle sticks and balloons they could find and during the last period groups tried to create something (like a house)out of the sticks and balloons that flies. Specialists of the Week were awarded all day and pictures at snack time which are posted on the bulletin board in the back of the lunch area each week.

Friday, the culminating day began with Camper of the Week, a day full of searching and ended with the Cardinals finding "KEVIN" hiding down in the creek in a black trash bag.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Week 9 - Farewell Week

The last week of camp for 2009… My how the time flew by. The week started with a little bit of politics, Cali-Camp style. Two campers from each group were given the opportunity to run for Director’s for the Day on Wednesday. They worked with their counselors to put together speeches which were delivered at lunch to the whole camp. Then they campaigned all afternoon and the entire camp voted at snack time. The Cardinals, Elle Solovy and Lili Sheen won by an overwhelming margin. Their screams and the screams of their fellow Cardinals filled the air with excitement and we all looked forward to Wednesday when they would run the camp! Whoopee a day off for the real Directors! Elle and Lili had some work to do because they promised the campers a talent show on Wednesday. They made a signup sheet and a suggestion box.

Wednesday morning, Backwards Day, Switch-a-Roo came with Elle and Lili putting on Pam’s “Red Shirts”. They looked like they were wearing “Red Dresses”. The day started a bit confusing, but they got into it quickly. We started with snack time and popsicles were served. The campers thought this was great! Elle and Lili then told all of the counselors to be junior counselors and the junior counselors to become the counselors for the day and 6th period began. They had fun with the microphone and kind of enjoyed the power they felt when they asked the campers to quiet down and they did! The day ran backwards with lunch, as usual, in the middle. The only thing unusual was the fact that Elle and Lili had the Talent Show planned and many, many campers and staff signed up. It was so fun. We took videos of all of the talent and loaded them onto utube. Check them out. They had so many acts that we had to hold a few to the end of the day, which ended with “Circle Time”. The Girl’s did a fabulous job and got the annual “soaking” to end their day. I think we have some super future staff members here with Elle and Lili. Thanks for a job well done girls!

On Thursday we held our annual “Camp wide Free Choice Activity” Day. Campers were given the opportunity to go to every activity in camp throughout the day. They got to choose their favorite activities and even got in an hour of swimming. Taylor, one of our counselors, had the camera all day and took hundreds of pictures of all of the activities. Photos were added to both our Cali-Camp Facebook Group Page and Flickr.

Thursday also brought our Staff Appreciation Day in which we had a special lunch and long staff break for all of the staff and ended with our staff awards. Staff members of the year, both Senior and Junior, were nominated and voted by the entire staff. Lauren Tyni – Palominos Counselor / Driver and Calvin Cristales – Wolves Counselor and Bus Counselor received Sr. Staff Member of the Year. Junior Staff Members of the Year were Kathy Herrera and Jordan Diamond-Fuller. The Transportation Department choose two very deserving staff members – Luciana Duren – Driver of the Year and Caitlin Hoey-Klick as Bus Counselor of the Year for the great job they both did in Transportation all summer. Our Administrative Team chooses the Director’s Award each year and this year we awarded Director’s Award to Jesse Behr – Coyotes Counselor and Rachel Bereny – Cardinals Counselor. We had 16 Five Year Staff Members who received a plaque for their dedicated service to Cali-Camp. We are very proud of all of our staff for they gave 110% to their campers this summer.

Friday, the last day of camp, Farewell Day brought Camper Awards throughout the day. Each Specialist in camp chooses a boy and a girl to receive Specialist of the Year in their Activity Area from the campers who received Specialist of the Week. Many parents came to see their children receive the awards and we videoed the speeches (will soon be posted on utube, as they are large files and we are working on getting them condensed).

The following 2009 Camper Awards were presented at Morning Round-up:

Creative Dramatics: Raleigh DeGraw – Eagles Elle Solovy – Cardinals
Tennis: Ethan Farrelly – Raccoons Jordan Cleary – Fawns
Gymnastics: Ronny Tal – Ravens Etta Friedman – Cardinals
Adventure: Christopher Ferrarin–Grizzlies Salma Cruz – Cardinals
Golf: Max Levy – Grizzlies Alegra Callas – Mustangs

The following Awards were presented at Lunch:

Nature: Teddy Silverman – Roadrunners Kyra Philipp – Doves
Backyard Games &
Sports: Taylor Randerson – Wolves Allegra Fuller – Doves
Target Sports: Nicholas Smergian – Coyotes Alyssa Jaffe – Fawns
Arts & Crafts: Zeke Shapiro – Wolves Isabella Doolin – Bunnies
Motorized: Charles Kleinman – Eagles Gina Levine – Cardinals

And at Snacks at the end of the day:

Swimming: Luc Fabre – Ravens Jennifer Moraly – Bunnies
Wrangler: Nico James Cheyenne Bell

Campers of the Year: Benjamin Fuller – Ravens Danielle Posin – Doves

Junior Camper
of the Year: Luke James – Ducklings Ella Goldberg – Ducklings

Congratulations to all of the Award Recipients of 2009. This was a fantastic summer and you campers all helped make it so! We hope to see you all again next summer.

The end of the final day was filled with tears and promises of re-kindled friendships in the future. Pictures were taken and the staff sang our final good-bye song to the campers. We look forward to next year when we can see you all again.

Yours for quality camping, until next summer,

Pam Hawley - Director

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Week 8 - Summer Olympics

Olympic Week started off in Great Cali-Camp fashion with groups picking countries to represent all week in the “Summer Olympics”. In Division A – Cubs of Greece, Bunnies of Jamaica and Raccoons of Italy, Division B – Butterflies of Russia, Chipmunks of Poland, Wolves of Spain and the Palominos of Finland, Division C – Swans of Brazil, Ravens of South Korea, Doves of Mexico, Coyotes of Dominican Republic, Roadrunners of Chad and Division D – Fawns of New Zealand, Cardinals of Australia, Grizzlies of Djibouti, Eagles of Ireland and Israel and the Mustangs of England.

Groups made Flags of their Countries and we had our Opening Ceremonies with the procession of the Flags and the Olympic Torch Relay. Lots of pictures were taken and posted on Flickr and Facebook.

Tuesday was Olympic Track Events with the 50 yard dash and Team Baton Relays. Wednesday was Field Events – Shot Put (Softball) and Discus (Frisbee) events. Thursday was Swimming Relays and Races and Friday was the Olympic Trampoline Meet. Each day 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons were presented at snack time and Participation Ribbons for each camper who participated. We awarded points: 1st place – 3 points, 2nd place – 2 points and 3rd place – 1 point. Throughout the week we added up the scores. Division A – Cubs of Greece were 1st place, Division B – Palominos of Finland were 1st place, Division C – Doves of Mexico were 1st place and Division D – Eagles of Ireland were 1st place. We cheered each other and celebrated the Friendly, Fun Competition. We all wished that the world, as we know it, could do the same!

The staff spent a couple of days nominating and voting on Campers of the Year and the Specialists picked their Specialists of the Year. All names have gone off to the Trophy Shop for engraving and parents will be called early this week to come and see their children win prestigious awards. Each child who wins gets an engraved placque to take home and their name goes on a perpetual placque that stays at camp forever.

The Week ended with our last Co-ed Overnight. Once again campers enjoyed themselves at Freetime for 2 hours on Friday. For dinner we had Lasagne, plain pasta, salad, garlic bread and churros for desert. The swim party cleaned everyone from the long day at camp and then they were off to the campfire where the skits were Funny and everyone participated. Hot chocolate and homemade cookies ended the night and everyone got plenty of sleep, except the staff of course.

We are all looking forward to Farewell Week with Camper Directors for a Day, Backwards Day, Camper Free-Choice and Camper Farewell with Awards on Friday. We have room if you would like to add a few days next week. Just call our office at (310) 455-0404 or send an email to

Week 7 - Return to Hogwarts

It’s Week 7 and the energy is still high because Harry Potter is coming to town. Since the first book of Harry Potter we have enjoyed Cali-Camp Returns to Hogwarts. The enthusiasm for everything Hogwarts continues to this day. The week began with Professor McGonagall placing each counselor under the sorting hat to see which House of Hogwarts their group will be in all week. Would it be Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. The children were good sports and represented their House with vim and vigor.

Friendly, Fun Competition for the House Cup took place all week with Houses challenging Houses for House Points. Whether it was a group House camper challenging another group House camper to a game of foosball to a whole group challenging another group to a game of Capture the Flag the points kept coming. Houses colored flags, cheered, sang and competed for the House Cup on Friday. On Tuesday each House came up with a cheer for their House and performed for points and honor. The cheers will be seen on utube soon. They were just a bit long and have to be condensed.

Quidditch matches began on Tuesday which were set up by divisions, 4 to be exact. Backyard Games and Sports also taught Quiddtich all week so if their group was eliminated from the Tournament they still had a chance to play. The field was set up all week for groups to challenge other groups in Quidditch.

There was lots of dress up all week with different characters from Hogwarts showing up like Luna Lovegood, lots of Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermoine’s, Prefects, Golden Snitches, Hagrids, Bellatrix LeStranges and Dumbledores. Houses got points for the most dressed up campers.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean Scavenger Hunt was a huge success with golden beans counting for more points. The winning group was the Swans with over 8,000 bean points. Everywhere you looked you would see Team Leaders putting beans all over camp all day.

On Thursday the Finals of the Quidditch Matches came down to the Eagles winning for Slytherin and the Eagles challenging the staff to a match on Friday morning. The whole camp showed up and cheered the Eagles, but they were no match for the staff team with Jack as Keeper! It was brothers against brothers. Charles K. did a great job as Keeper for the campers and blocked many shots with his broom. Raleigh the Eagle and Dan the counselor were seekers and almost caught the golden snitch many times.

Friday, Leonardo the Amazing dazzled the campers with his Magic Show and the day ended with the House that was in first place all week – Hufflepuff winning. Everyone cheered, Hufflepuff did their cheer once more and another wonderful season at Hogwarts came to an end. What a successful week it was.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Week 6 - Come to the Carnival

One of the longest running traditions at Cali-Camp has been “Carnival Week” In the 80’s Carnival Week was the most amazing event where every camper’s parents would come up to the Carnival and parking was the biggest part of the day with parents parking everywhere – in the horse arenas, on the playfield, the go-cart tracks, the parking lot, the playground and all over the street outside camp. Many Junior counselors used to dread that day as they had to move all of the tires from the go-cart tracks. Over the years, many things have changed about Carnival Day. We still have our alumni who come to visit, but now they bring their kids and reminisce about their days as camp counselors and how those days in their lives were the absolute best days of their lives. Many of our alumni were also campers forever and will be in our hearts and the history of Cali-Camp. We love you all!

Carnival Week started out with everyone beginning their booth choices and booth banners. There were groups which had to plan together, groups which had to build together, groups which created their special outfits together, groups which brought their specialty into their booth, such as Wrangler Camp with their lasso a horse and Sports Camp with their Basketball toss!

It was interesting to see the counselors and their groups working together this week for a common goal. The campers took pride in their booths and even worked the booth, on a schedule, to make sure that all of the campers had a fun time at their booth.

Carnival Face Painting was a big hit with many groups, such as the Cubs and Swans, whose counselors +go out of their way to get involved in camp with their campers. Check out their faces on Facebook and Flickr. Check out links to the right of this blog!

This Week at Backyard Games and Sports, our specialist Lauren taught “Capture the Flag”, which helps groups work together, plan strategies and accept their fate when they are caught by the opposing teams. The Carnival with all of its aspects, taught many of the same concepts through different means. Life skills are so much fun to teach and in a camp setting campers really get it. So many things relate back to life that we do in camp. We never miss a chance to point this out to both our campers and or staff.

So the week builds….. Campers get excited… Staff members make sure all of the little details of their booths are taken care of, our program team leader KC coordinates supplies and equipment… And in spite of everything… Carnival happens and is it’s never-ending success. We will have a Carnival Video on next week. Pictures on Flickr and Cali-Camp Summer Day Camp Facebook Group page.

The Carnival ends and the Overnight begins! This overnight was Co-ed, both boys and girls. We had one of our alumni whose children go to camp come to the overnight and stay all night. It brought back many memories for her and new memories were made for all of them. The campers had a great time, especially at the campfire with everyone in skits. We are sending the videos to our specialist to post on utube next week.

Next week is one of Cali-Camp’s favorites – Cali-Camp Returns to Hogwarts. The sorting hat will be here on Monday morning to place all of the groups into the Hogwarts Houses. Campers are encouraged to dress up as Hogwarts students all week for points for their houses. Check out next weeks schedule on our website at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Week 5 - Amazing Race Challenges

Amazing Race Challenges was just idea last year when we had one day of a huge multi area Obstacle Course. The campers loved it so this year we expanded it into an entire week and “What a Week it has been!”

The Camp was divided into 4 divisions so the competition would be fair for all. Each day the Groups would pick campers to participate so lots of children would participate by the end of the week. The Friendly / Fun Competition Week began with the Obstacle Course Races and Relays on Tuesday. Eight Campers were able to compete and represent their group, 1 on each leg of the race.

Here is how the race went: Time starts: # Run from start to the Junior Camp Play Structure and go through the maze (we will show you the course, then run out the gate and tag # Ride the tricycle around the white rail fence circle of the lawn around behind the Cantina and tag # Hit the hockey puck through the cones to the top of the stars and tag # Go down the stairs, across the bridge, down the stairs turn right and go under the bridge into the creek and look for a Gold painted rock. The Gold Rock must make it across the finish line. Run back up go across the bridge and back up to the main area and hand gold rock to and tag # Skip a jump rope around the white rail fence and tag # Hit the croquette ball through the hoops and hand gold rock to and tag # Get into your potatoe sack and hop across the lawn and give gold rock to and tag #8  Hula hoop for 10 seconds and go up the stairs to the Finish Line with the gold rock!. Time Stops! Phew, it is tiring just reading it isn’t it? View pictures on Flickr or Facebook and videos on utube.

Wednesday was Group Pool Race Challenges. 4 Campers from each group competed. Camper #1 started at the top of the slide, Time starts: Slide down, swim under the rope and tag camper #2, swim to the middle of the pool and dive down to get a ring off of the bottom. Swim to the other side of the pool and tag camper #3 who had to make a basket. After making the basket Camper #3 tagged camper #4 who had to get on an inner tube and swim or kick to the opposite side of the pool. It was fun to watch and participate.

Thursday older groups participated at the Ropes Course and the younger groups at the Group Challenge in climbing activities. 3 campers from each group represented their group in the competition.

Friday was the Campwide Finale which gave each group clues which led them all over the entire camp, somewhat like a scavenger hunt. It was like taking a “power-walk” and everyone had to stay together as a group. There were some close moments when 2 groups came back to the lunch area at the same time. At snack time the winners of each division were awarded an Amazing Race Challenge Certificate and a special snack.

Jeff, our video guru took some fun videos of the week and we will be uploading them to utube for your viewing pleasure.

Of course we presented our Specialists of the Week and Campers of the Week, pictures galore.

Next week is one of Cali-Camp’s classics: “Come to the Carnival”. Groups pick their theme for their booths, make banners and plan the games, Face Painting and the Carnival on Friday with booths, Games and Prizes for all! Check it out on our website: