Camp Robindel Blog

See you in 2021!

It’s an exciting day here at the Camp Robindel office!

Our 2021 Camp Robindel registration is now open!!

PLUS,

Our Fall Newsletter is here!

We are counting down…We can’t wait for summer!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Kindness Day…

Tomorrow (July 14) is Camp Kindness Day – an event highlighting the practice of intentional kindness that happens every day at camp! Here is how you can participate:
1. Recognize somebody in your life for the kindness they have shown to you. This can be with a simple “thank you,” an email, text, call, etc.
2. Do something kind for somebody in your life! No act of kindness is too small.
3. Join the international camp community for a big game of virtual tag! Celebrate #CampKindnessDay and play it forward by tagging your camp friends on social media.
 


Next Wednesday (July 22) is our next virtual activity. For the first part of this activity we will be baking cookies together! You are welcome to use any recipe you like, but here is a link to The Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
We wanted to give you some advance notice in case you are wanting to participate but need to go grocery shopping! (The activity will be on Wednesday July 22 at 4PM Eastern Time. If you plan to participate try to set your butter out to soften about an hour ahead of time!)

XOXO,
Your CR Family

 

Summer 2020 Update

To Our Beloved Robindel Family,

It is with a profound sadness and disappointment that we are writing to inform you that we will not be opening Camp Robindel for the 2020 season. Since our first Robindel summer in 1977, this has been the most difficult decision we have ever had to make. Like you, we have been hoping that Robindel could provide a sense of normalcy for your daughters during this most difficult time. As we promised to do in each of our recent emails, we made this decision with the best interest of our campers and staff in mind. In choosing Robindel as a summer home for your daughter, we recognize that you were choosing us as summer parents for your child. This is what ultimately guided us to the decision to close for the season.

We have spent the last two months in daily meetings with our staff, medical team and other camp directors and medical professionals. We have listened to and read every recommendation from the CDC and the American Camp Association. We have made contingency plans for every scenario we could possibly imagine. Unfortunately, the consensus amongst all of our medical professionals is that there is no guaranteed way to protect our campers and staff from a case of the virus occurring at camp. In addition, the recent speculation about complications from this virus in children is especially concerning for us. At a Senate hearing last week concerning COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated “I think we better be careful that we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune from the deleterious effects.” There are too many medical and operational unknowns for us to feel confident in our ability to properly care for our camp community. We feel that we must be humble about what is unknown about this virus.

Camp Robindel was founded in 1951 and has been a welcomed part of the Lakes Region community in New Hampshire for the last 70 years. We have good relationships with our local community and support many of their businesses. As we listen to every press conference with Governor Sununu hoping for him to address residential summer camps, we also recognize that his job is to protect the people in his state. Welcoming thousands of campers and staff from other states is not in their best interest at this time. To date, he has been purposefully vague and we feel, if he should allow us to open camp, his guidelines for us to operate camp will be extremely restrictive. We don’t know what his final decision will be or when it will be made. During his press conference on May 15th he stated that he will need several weeks and more data before determining if resident camps can open. We have decided that his final decision will not change our decision in this matter.

We recently had a Zoom meeting with the Juniper 2020 girls. We were overwhelmed by their compassion, empathy and maturity in understanding the situation and concern for campers of all ages. These girls showed their true CR Spirit guided by Robindel’s core values. They understood that this summer would look and feel very different from past summers and they handled the idea of these changes with grace. They shared some creative and wonderful ideas. Leaving that uplifting meeting we felt optimistic about the summer. Our extremely bright, creative and devoted team could surely create an exciting camp program while complying with the restrictive guidelines. However, soon after this meeting, we realized that the Robindel experience that we have come to love and cherish is much more than one of our beautiful sunsets. It is sitting in one of the gazebos shoulder to shoulder laughing with friends. It is walking back from campfire hand in hand with the feeling of a profound sense of community. Sunsets will always remain a constant on our lake, but when the shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand are removed from this loving equation, the spirit of Robindel is greatly diminished.

We wish to thank all of you for your trust in us and for being so supportive and encouraging during this most difficult time. As disappointing as this must be for you and your daughters, our wish is that we can all begin to heal while looking forward with excitement to the summer of 2021 – the summer of the embrace.

Love,
Ann & Nat

Challah – The Bread of Lies?

Over the last month while we have all been social distancing in our own homes the need for camp has only grown stronger. While connecting with our camp community virtually is certainly not as powerful or rewarding as the in-person connections, knowing that we have Virtual CR activities has been something for us all to look forward to each week. As we were brainstorming activities to offer we of course thought about activities and special events kids love at camp. Generations of Robindel girls have enjoyed eating Chef Gary’s challah on Friday nights (and french toast on Saturday mornings!) and in recent years campers have had the opportunity to participate in challah making workshops with Chef Gary and Ann. (For those who were campers in the 80s and 90s – campers sign up for challah making similar to how you signed up for flag or canteen!) Once the yeast has risen (sometime around 10AM) campers hear an announcement calling them to the kitchen to braid their own challah. Many girls like to sign up with their sister, cousin or camp-sister. It is a truly special activity, one that campers remember throughout their years at camp and beyond. When alumni visit camp they can’t wait to see Chef Gary!


While I (Cori) could never fill in for Gary, his truly unbelievable work ethic, his talents in all aspects of cooking including his ability to easily make hundreds of challahs in a single morning…we are in a pandemic, Gary doesn’t have Zoom, I have hungry kids in my house, and Friday was coming…So I decided to lead a virtual challah baking workshop!

I had so much fun baking challah with the Robindel community. I loved hearing from many of you who were excited to join in, having never made a challah before. One family told me that this was on their “quarantine bucket list!” A mom recently told me that her daughters made a challah every day for several days after our session. One Mom wrote to say how much she enjoyed the smell of fresh bread in her house as she came downstairs from work. It made me so happy to think about many of you enjoying a freshly baked challah with your family, and I hope that it is a tradition that lasts beyond this pandemic.

I usually make challah every Friday. Once you taste warm bread out of the oven it is hard to go back to store bought bread! Sometimes my girls braid it with me or braid their own – Romy likes to make hers in the shape of a heart. My husband Adam loves coming home from work on Fridays to a house that smells of baking bread. We love to share it with friends and neighbors too! French toast in the morning is an added bonus! (Simple recipe: 1 egg, 1/3 cup of milk, dash of salt, teaspoon of vanilla, half teaspoon of cinnamon – this is enough for about 3-4 slices of bread.)

Adam calls my challah “the bread of lies.” You see, when I first met Adam he asked his Mom to share her challah recipe with me. She happily sent it to me and I made my first loaf of challah. I slowly changed the recipe to use less sugar, substitute some honey instead of sugar, and to work out the correct baking time and temperature since we are not at altitude and this recipe came from Johannesburg. Adam was so happy that I was making challah and even more so because it was from a recipe passed down generations of his family, or so he thought. One day he was excitedly telling his Mom that I had been making challah each week from the family recipe and his Mom said “uhh, that’s not exactly true. I actually just got it from the local Shul’s newsletter.” He loved the bread enough that he got over this disappointment fairly quickly. Then, we went to a friend’s house for Shabbat dinner and I brought them a challah. People were commenting on how delicious it was and Adam proudly exclaimed “AND, it has NO sugar!” I interjected, “uhh, that’s not exactly true. I use much less sugar than the original recipe called for, but there is still some sugar.” Thankfully Adam still loves the bread of lies (and me!) and we enjoy it as a family every Friday night. I hope you will too.

Here is my recipe:
3.5 cups flour (I use bread flour)
1 packet (2.25 tsp) active dry yeast
2 eggs (1 is for brushing top of the challah)
1/4 cup oil (I use avocado or canola oil. Probably any neutral tasting oil is fine)
1-4 TBSP sugar (up to you!)*
Honey (I squeeze the bottle for 3 seconds. Not an exact science!)
0.5 tablespoon salt
1 cup warm water

(*As noted above I have experimented with the sugar in this recipe. You need a tsp with the yeast. Beyond that you can do as little as a TBSP or as much as a half cup. It really depends if you want it to be more like bread or more like a sweet bread!)

Place the warm water, teaspoon of sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes til it’s foamy.

Meanwhile,
Mix 2 cups of flour plus the salt and sugar in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center and add the water mixture, 1 egg, honey and oil. Mix well.
Gradually add the remaining flour (1.5 cups) to make a dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to the countertop and knead for 5-ish minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic, springing back when pressed lightly. (It is OK if it is still pretty sticky!)

Oil the sides of a large bowl.
Place the dough in the oiled bowl and turn so that it is lightly oiled all over.
Cover the dough and leave it to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.
(If you have a proof feature on your oven you can use that. Otherwise, here is my trick for finding a warm place when it’s not warm outside: place a pot of boiling water into the oven, then place the bowl of rising dough into the oven. DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON. You are just creating a warm environment for the dough to rise.)

After 1-2 hours…
Add a bit of flour to the countertop, place the risen dough on the counter and divide the dough into 3 or 6 strands, depending on what type of braid you plan to do. (Note: you can find a ton of videos online demonstrating different challah braiding techniques. It’s fun to try different ones!)
Braid your challah!

Then, place it on a baking sheet and let sit for a few minutes while the oven warms (preheat to 350 degrees F).
Brush the top with egg white.
Optional: sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until nicely brown. (Check it at 25 minutes.)
If you rolled your pieces very long and thin, it will be closer to 25 minutes. A shorter, wider challah will take longer to bake.

Enjoy!

Here are photos of some of the challahs that our campers made during our Virtual CR activity!

70th Reunion – Summer 2020

We are excited to welcome you back to Robindel!

August 15-17, 2020

Enjoy a Robindel summer packed into 2 days! Activities, colorwar, campfire, swimming, boating, singing, arts & crafts, classic camp meals (with a bit of extra flare!), lots of new memories and fun!

Please send any questions, requests, suggestions, comments, etc. to cori@robindel.com