By Molly Coulston and Maya Taub, 7th Grade
Each year, the 7th graders go on a fun trip to Cape Cod. The whole seventh grade always is super excited before their VAGS trip. The Cape Cod trip is a three-day, two-night trip. There is suspense to find out which friends are in the hotel room and walking group together. Campers also are excited to wear free dress and buy many clothing items and treats. Some of the stores the campers are most excited to go to are The Black Dog, Cool as a Moose, and Riley’s a T-shirt shop. Riley’s however, was shut down and was replaced by a CVS.
So much planning goes into the Cape Cod trip and the seventh grade is very excited to experience something new. The trip begins when campers wake up at 7:00 a.m., finish packing, head for the mess hall and then onto the bus. Once in Cape Cod, campers have lunch and head for the beach. Next is the hotel and then on to Hyannis for dinner. Later we watched “Lion King” at the movie theater. We also got popcorn, a drink and gummies. Back at the hotel, it was time to relax. The first day of Cape Cod was an amazing experience.
After the campers wake up, they have some time to get ready for another fun day. Campers get a bagged breakfast to eat on the bus to the Dune Tours in Provincetown. The Dune tour is a lot of fun and the sand at the dunes is the softest sand. From there it is time to get lunch and do some shopping. At 2:30 it was time to be back at the bus so we could go to Cape Escape Mini Golf. After Mini Golf, the buses go back to the hotel for a pizza party and walk to Cape Cod Creamery for dessert. After ice cream, walking groups go back to the hotel and hang out with friends until they need to go to bed. All agreed the second day in Cape Cod was so much fun.
The next morning campers wake up at 8:00 and walk across the street to Hearth and Kettle for breakfast. After breakfast the buses depart to Scusset Beach. After three hours at the beach campers change and get back on the bus to head back to Danbee. Every part of the Cape Cod trip was so exciting, fun, and such a new experience. We have made many memories that will last forever.
By Flora Zik and Juliet Baskin, 9th Grade
Summer 2019 has definitely been “Danbee but different.” One of the biggest changes is the new head of Acres. Stephanie Cotter has been a great addition to the Danbee bubble and brings spirit with her wherever she goes. Whether she is dancing in the mess hall or cheering at Leagues, she always has a smile on her face.
She first came to Danbee as a counselor when she was in college and couldn’t wait for her big return. It was one of the best experiences of her life and she wanted her daughter, who is currently a Honey Bumble, to experience the same feeling.
Cotter attended Indiana University and studied Elementary Education as an undergraduate and received a Master of Science in Educational Leadership. College is where she met Danbee’s head of Campus, Courtney Jordan, (a.k.a. CoJo). To this day, Cotter and CoJo are friends, and Danbee will always hold a role in their friendship. Cotter now lives in Indianapolis with her family and will start working as a principal after camp! At home, some of her favorite things to do are to run and read. At camp, there are so many activities that she loves! Although she likes every activity, some of her favorites include spinning in the fitness center, playing in the new game room, and doing everything at the lake. While she loves every activity at camp, she had to admit her favorite thing to do is dance and sing in the mess hall! Some of her favorite songs to sing and dance along to in the mess hall are “Hey Juliet” and “Reach for the Stars.”
Cotter has had such a positive impact on Acres and Danbee as a whole. Her good attitude and spirit have made camp a better place. She isn’t planning on making any new changes to Acres, but she is open to suggestions! Danbee is the only camp she has worked at, and she wouldn’t want it any other way!
By Jordie Kaplan, 5th Grade
Cortney Jordan said that being head of Campus is “the best job” out of all the jobs she has had at Danbee.
Courtney, who goes by the nickname Cojo, said she has worked at Danbee for 14 years and has been working here full time for the last five years.
“I like being the Campus group leader,” Cojo says, “it is a fun job.”
Cojo also says she enjoys the ages of the kids on Campus.
“I like working with the younger kids because they are more fun and like all the activities,” she said.
Before she was Campus group leader, Courtney worked as the Lake Director, so has always enjoyed water sports at Danbee, too.
Courtney wanted to be a teacher, so she decided to go to summer camp because she thought it would be a good idea to work at summer camp where she would be around children more. She found out about Danbee through her advisor at university and also through a camp fair where directors like Mark and Jay come and talk to the students.
Courtney’s favorite thing to do at camp is wakeboarding, “which is like water skiing,” she said.
She said she hopes to be at Danbee for many more years to come.
By Truly Hort, 6th Grade
This year a change has been made at Danbee.
During previous years at Danbee, kids who didn’t want to stay seven weeks had the option to stay the first three weeks or the last four weeks. This year four weekers come at the beginning of camp, but exceptions have been made to allow a few campers to stay the last four-weeks.
Parker Frost, a Queen Bee in Bunk 19, stayed for the last four weeks this year because she went to travel with her family.
Julia Morales is a Queen bee in bunk 19, too. She also went to travel with her family.
“This summer I wanted to stay for seven weeks,” she says, “but unfortunately I couldn’t, given the circumstance I was to go traveling with my family.” She was only able to stay the last three week. When she was asked what she would do next year she said, “I would like to stay for seven weeks.”
The real question is what inspired this schedule change to happen. The decision was made to accommodate families’ needs and summer schedules.
“More girls wanted to stay for the first four,” said Mark Toporoff, one of Danbee’s two directors, “and we wanted to be aligned with the brother camp, so girls can see their brothers, and because the vacations the families wanted to take.”
No matter how long you stay at camp you will still get the same experience of seeing your sisters and doing the fun activities.
by Rebecca Kaplan, 6th Grade
At the start of the Danbee summer, everybody is excited to see their counselors, their bunkmates, and of course, their bunk! One thing that makes every bunk different is the bunk theme.
Bunk themes can range from candy, to Emojis, to movies. The point of a bunk theme is to decorate the bunk with items such as poster, pictures, banners, etc. based on the theme. The people who choose the bunk themes are the counselors and it is a surprise for the campers when they arrive.
My bunk theme is High School Musical. My counselors chose High School Musical because they were trying to think of a movie that is popular with the Queen Bees. So, they settle on High School Musical. The counselors decorated the bunk with Wildcat posters because Wildcats is the team nickname in High School Musical. The counselors also put up red and white chained streamers.
Some bunk themes can really change the bunk and make it look really cool. Some examples are an under the sea theme, or an outer space theme. Over all, bunk themes are really cool, and they can really transform a bunk into something magical.
by Stella Newman, 5th Grade
Water skiing is an amazing activity at camp. It’s exciting, fun, and awesome.
The majority of the campers say that the hardest part is getting up on the skis the first time. I agree because you can stand up to on the ski too early and fall on your face. The great part about waterskiing is that you fall on water so it doesn’t hurt.
Waterski instructor Kristina Morse has two main pieces of advice you need to know to successfully waterski. Number 1: keep your arms and back straight; number 2: keep your legs bent.
She always is interested in making campers better. Water skiing is something I can only do at camp, so I try to do it every chance I can.
According to an entry in Wikipedia, Water skiing was invented in 1922 when Ralph Samuelson used a pair of boards, barrel staves, actually, as skis and a clothesline as a towrope. He did it on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota. The entry states that Samuelson experimented with different positions on the skis for several days until July 2, 1922. His brother Ben drove the boat. He discovered that leaning backwards in the water with ski tips up and poking out of the water at the tip was the best method.
I agree with that tip because it worked for me. Last summer was my first time trying water skiing. I first tried it on the boom to get the hang of it. This summer I tried skiing with the rope. I fell down the first time, but then I got up the second time. When I was water skiing I felt the adrenalin rushing through my body. I kept thinking to myself I can do anything. When I finally stopped and got back onto the boat I had a huge grin on my face.
Personally I think you need to try it.
by Caroline Baker, 6th Grade
We all remember our first year at Camp Danbee, our first taste of the activities, the people, and everything else Danbee has to offer. Some of us felt excited for Danbee, others felt nervous for a new sleepaway camp or depressed that they had to leave their parents.
“I missed my parents during the first few days but then I got used to them not being around,” said Emily Kilpatrick, Queen Bee. “This is my first time at sleepaway camp and Danbee has been awesome!”
For many first-time kids at Danbee everything is new and exciting and different from everything else. Some kids have never done half the stuff that they get to do at Danbee on their own time. For example, after meals most kids don’t get to stand on the chairs and benches and dance to music. That is something special about Danbee that old campers are used to and new campers are totally blown away by.
“It may take about a day or so for the new campers to warm up to people,” says Nikki Bezbrodko, one of the first-time camper’s counselors.
Usually campers are shy when they first come to Danbee. Most times the first people they warm up to are their bunk mates. Their bunk mates go from strangers, to friends, to sisters by the end of camp. The counselors teach the new campers Danbee dances to do after meals and tell them about Danbee traditions like leagues break and banquet.
Danbee is always kind to new campers and welcomes them with open arms. Everyone wants to get to know the first time campers. So by the end of camp they have made so many new friends and memories that camp Danbee has earned a special place in their hearts. Like home.
by Emma Arabian, 7th Grade
Friends are the ones people have to provide happiness, comfort, and so much more. They are always the ones we lean on to make us smile. Everywhere we look, we can find friends and for girls here at Danbee, camp friends are very important.
Campers at Danbee have a different relationship with their home friends and camp friends. Some girls say that their home friends know them better because they spend the whole school year with them; however, others argue that those seven weeks spent doing everything with your camp friends makes them very close.
Home friends are different than camp friends because camp friends are special. You get to spend two months with them, just spending time with them, always being together, and always having fun.
Many campers at Danbee live abroad – some in the Dominican Republic, some in Switzerland, some in France – and this limits us from seeing them during the school year. Therefore, this makes us value our time with them at camp more. Sure, there is technology to use to contact them, but it still isn’t the same as seeing them in person.
Danbee creates these special bonds between girls that make them so close. Each summer one of the main reasons they return is to be back in that community, or what we call the Danbee Bubble, with people who love them and accept them as they are. This place is somewhere that accepts anyone, no matter who they are, meet new people, and just overall have a good time.
There is a difference between regular camp friends and Danbee camp friends. I’m sure each camp has their own significance when it comes to their friendships, but Danbee has all these traditions that create lifelong friendships. Danbee is a place where you “dance like nobody’s watching,” do several different activities, and just be yourself and the best thing about that is having your camp friends to do it with you.
By Joyce Grobman
A popular trend here at Camp Danbee is to take a normal camp shirt and create it into a new style.
When it comes to camp shirts, campers will do anything to make their shirts pop! This trend has been going on forever at Danbee and no one really knows when it really started.
Seventh grader, Emma Pintat, said, “I had a simple shirt and I wanted to make it good, so I cut it and now it is pretty.”
Campers cut their t-shirts for style, comfort and because it is fun.
“I cut the bottom of my shirt because it is pretty and I cut the sleeves off because they are hot,” said Victoria Fincheitub, who is a Queen Bee.
Everyone makes up their own designs like fringes, sleeveless, v-cut and more. You can see these fancy shirts as you walk around camp. It is interesting to see how the campers take the same Leagues shirt and cut it up to make it unique for themselves.
by Lulu Rosenthal and Sally Brouhard, 8th grade
After banquet on the last night of camp, bunks line up at the blacktop and prepare to participate in a solemn procession to the lake. Linking arms they walk slowly and silently. The only sound you hear is the shuffling of feet against the gravel path.
Wel-B-Yon and the ninth grade walk down first, and Wel-B-Yon carry Tiki torches that they pass down to a ninth grader to signify the Wel-B-Yon passing along the tradition of head of camp. The rest of the camp follows from the oldest age groups to the youngest.
Once everyone is at the lake, the torches are placed in the sand and will be used for campers to light candles on their wish-boats, which are a piece of wood with a pointed front to resemble a boat. Once the candle is lighted, the campers move to the edge of the water and release the boats into the lake.
The moment is both moving and emotional. Campers find their friends as they watch their wish-boats float away. The Wel-B-Yon assemble on the dock to watch a huge wish-boat with the year in large numbers in flames as it floats slowly past. This symbolizes that another camp summer is over. The Wel-b-yon remain at the lake to watch the giant wish-boat float away while the rest of the camp files back to the bunks to savor the last night.
Dear future parent of a soon to be daughter at Danbee,
At every camp you will typically find facilities such as a pool, a tennis court and athletic fields. You will view bunks and hear about all the amazing activities your child can take part in while at the camp. Yet, the first thing discussed at Danbee is your kid and the other people around them. The facilities are great, but they do not make the camp, your daughter does. Camp without the people is impossible to envision and even then it wouldn’t go by the name of Danbee. Camp Danbee doesn’t exist during the winter; it is a quiet place with endless potential soon to be filled with laughter once summer begins.
Sleep away camp is a substantial step up from day camp. The change isn’t simple and your child most likely will have homesick moments, but it is normal. The distractions provided at camp are never ending and no matter how upset you are, a day at Danbee will guarantee a smile at the end of the day. From zip lining to waterskiing to journalism back to art, you are fortunate enough to call such opportunities distractions while kids across the world dream of doing them for a day. The cure for homesickness is still not to be found, but I can say from eight years of experience that it’s quite evident that a day at Danbee is the answer.
Danbee is not a given, it’s a privilege. Your child will be fortunate enough to have the most amazing summer of their life while kids are suffering across the world, but they are not forgotten. Danbee presents the opportunity to give back many times throughout the summer. That opportunity continues to empower all the girls at the camp knowing that they understand how lucky they are. Danbee won’t give your child a sense of power; it will just bring it out. Danbee also will teach your child how to correctly use that said power. Community service is an important example of that.
Whether an only child or a sibling of four, Danbee gives you a family like no other. It is a family that will always be there for you; a family that will listen and say the right things in return. Except the difference is this family develops through the love we all share for this place. It does not matter what you like to do, all that is needed is the contagious smile shown when talking about Danbee. Hopefully, your daughter will be a part of it, too.
I hope after reading this you will choose to send your kid to Danbee. It truly is a magical place meant for magical girls and I 100 percent believe that your kid is one of them. There is no wrong time to send your girl. I started when I was six-years old for a week and slowly eased into the norm of coming back for no less than seven years. Everyone is welcoming here and your daughter will easily fit in. So now, we are truly ready to welcome you to the glorious family of Camp Danbee.
by Stella Fox WBY
From your first day of camp you always dream of being a Wel-B-Yon. As a WBY you are looked up to and have more power and freedom than any other age group. For me, this summer was something I thought would never happen, especially because I started so young. I started at the bottom, as a Honey Bumble in 2011. Older kids laughed at the thought of us being WBY ’18 because it seemed far away, but really it came quicker than we ever imagined.
My friends and I used to question if camp would still even be a thing in 2018, and thankfully it is. As I got older my camp experience changed each year. My first summer I had a small, close group of friends and we all walked around in a group wearing our Danbee uniforms. Now, the whole camp is my friend group and all forty-six other Wel-b-yon are my sisters. Now, I have so much freedom to walk around without a counselor, stay up later, and not have to wear uniform. Even though my camp experience has changed, every summer is still amazing because of this place.
Even though you have so much freedom, there still is responsibility. As Mikey told us, “A good Wel-B-Yon makes camp about everyone else, and not themselves.” When the clock struck 12 on January 1, 2018 it became real to me that I was now “head of camp”. It was now my time to make camp great and spirited for everyone, not just me. This became even more real for me when camp started.
On the first day when I was finally reunited with all of my age group and the best summer of my life was starting, I looked around and realized we were the oldest campers. There was no one here to keep the mess hall spirited, but us. It was a challenge I felt ready to face. But along with this challenge were privileges that excite all WBY. One major one being living in the Wel-B-Yon house isolated from campus and acres. All forty-seven Wel-B-Yon, six counselors and three key staff living in one big house. Getting to live all together is so special, and having a kitchen, couches and a TV is a huge privilege, too. All of these things really make you realize how far you’ve come as a camper at Danbee. It also makes you realize how lucky you are to have been able to spend your summers at one of the most inspiring and amazing places.
“A good Wel-B-Yon makes camp about everyone else, and not themselves.”
It’s not only the privileges of being a WBY that make this summer special, it’s also the people. Camp has always been about the people, not the buildings or activities. Nothing on camp would be the same without the people who are making it special. This really becomes true as a Wel-B-Yon. I realized how much I enjoy the activities at camp, but I also realized I wouldn’t love it without the people who I do it with. Running into the mess hall screaming our cheer is so very special because of the amazing girls who cheer by my side.
“Camp has always been about the people, not the buldings or activities. Nothing on camp would be the same without the people who are making it special.”
Even though Wel-B-Yon summer is magical and amazing, it also has a downside. All the privileges that come with this summer also come with knowing it’s your last. It’s always sad to think about doing things for the last time as a Wel-B-Yon, but it always turns out to be the best time. But, time really does fly when you’re having fun. I never could’ve imagined that it was possible to become as close to people as I am to this group of Wel-B-Yon, but I’m so thankful that I am.
Helen Espejo reeled in the catch of the day on Tuesday when she caught this large mouth bass off the docks at Lake Ashmere. Lakefront director Mikey Snodgrass helped to pull the fish out of the lake and estimated the bass was about three pounds.
As Danbee continues to grow and become “Danbee but different,” as Jay often says, the face of Danbee online continues to grow, too. As many people have seen, the Danbee website has made a colossal change to become a new, more modern website. The new site showcases the spirit of Danbee and its traditions. About a year and a half ago, Mark and Jay made the decision that it was time to update the website. That decision started the project that still is going on today.