From “I’m never leaving home” to “I’m never leaving camp” – Brant Lake Dance Camp

In the summer of 2012, my daughter Reilly was 11 years old. She had always been an adventurous sort, but when the subject of sleep away camp came up, she wasn’t having any of it. She couldn’t imagine leaving her home and her friends for over a month, and the thought of trying to fall asleep in the middle of the woods with strangers and without her parents was far from appealing.


Throughout that Spring we spoke to Rachel Kerchman, the Director of Brant Lake Dance Camp, no less than five times. She even made time to visit our home when she was in Washington DC. Kerch was patient and warm, open and respectful of my daughter’s feelings. Reilly agreed to try BLDC, and we started packing.


As the bus pulled away from Lincoln Center that first summer, Reilly never looked back. (I cried my eyes out, however!) During every weekly phone call, Reilly’s happy voice and excited stories made us sure she was in the right place.



It is now five years later, and Reilly is getting ready for her last summer as a camper at BLDC. She is dying to get back to her friends and Brant Lake’s beautiful setting, but the thought that her time as a camper is coming to an end is bittersweet. She knows the years that follow will hold new adventures and challenges, but if she had her choice, she would ask for five more summers.


It is bittersweet for us as well. During these last five years, we have watched Reilly grow into a graceful, poised, self-assured, independent and outgoing woman, in no small part because of her experience at BLDC. Her friends and counselors have seen her through happy and hard times, from the exhilaration of her first Enchoreo to the heartbreak of a chronic injury which took her off the professional track she was aiming for. Reilly’s Dad and I are grateful for the love, friendship and endless summer days she has experienced at Brant Lake. While I still cry every time she leaves, we now know that camp, after being eagerly anticipated for ten months, will be the highlight of her year. And who knows? Maybe we will be back if we have a grandchild that loves to dance as well.

Bedtime at Camp

Every day at camp is packed with fun, adventure, socialization, physical activities and character building, which can really wear a kid out! For many campers, falling into bed each night is a welcome rest from their busy day, and most campers are so exhausted from a fun and busy day that they are practically asleep before their head hits the pillow.


Bedtime at camp, like everything else, comes with its own set of traditions. It’s so much more than “lights out,” it is a final time during the day for campers to connect with each other, to reflect on their day and to make memories. When everyone is in their pajamas and calming down for the night, campers enjoy hearing their counselors read stories, singing songs, and sharing their favorite moments about the day. As the lights go out, flashlight time allows campers to bond with cabin buddies. This quiet time also gives counselors one extra opportunity to check in with each camper individually and ask about their day and address any specific needs they may have.


Campers love bedtime because it’s like having a sleepover with your best friends, every single night of the summer! There are so many lifelong memories created around the silliness and fun of bedtime at camp. Campers have alone time to read, journal, or just have some quiet time before they go to sleep. Campers get excited about the “down time,” and some are so tired from a fun-packed day that they’re asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Veteran campers will attest that bedtime is a bonding time and that many deep, important conversations happen during this time that serves to strengthen relationships between them.


If anyone can get kids and teenagers excited about bedtime, it’s America’s Finest Summer Camps. Campers get a good night’s sleep and are well rested and in the morning, are ready for another day of swimming, biking, climbing, dancing, laughing, playing and experiencing the best summer of their lives.







Why I Play

I cannot feel a single part of my body for I have been standing outside in negative five-degree weather for the past two hours. I have on thermals, wind pants, Under Armour, a sweatshirt a hat and a pair of gloves. Oh, and let’s not forget my kilt and practice jersey. It has been snowing for a while now, but for the past ten minutes, it seems as if the snow is coming up from the turf rather than down from the sky; if that is at all conceivably possible. My coach has blown the whistle and the ball has miraculously fallen into my stick. As I begin to run down the field, I can feel the wind trying to stop me, biting my nose, forcing me to question my trek forward. Faking one way, then dodging the other, I gently place the ball into the top right corner of the net. As the whistle blows to indicate a goal has been scored, I run back to the center of the circle, slapping my teammates high-five with smiles all around. At the moment, I take a second to look at my surroundings and remember the reasons why I play.

It’s not about winning or losing, championship trophies, or who’s better than whom. It’s not about receiving a scholarship, earning post-season honors or making captain. It’s not about the athletic endorsements, the free clothing or being drafted. It’s about pride, teamwork, passion and determination. It’s about the blood, the sweat, the tears and the effort put forth during each game. It’s about that feeling of exhaustion and exhilaration knowing you have just given it your all.

I am an athlete because I portray these characteristics both on and off of the field. Before I am a woman, a friend or a student, I am an athlete and a teammate. My life would be completely unfulfilled had I not been involved in athletics for it has been my source of motivation. My passion for sports has only grown with age. I know that I will never be a professional athlete who plays prime time on ESPN, signs Nike contracts or is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. But I do know that I will take each and every practice, game and high five with me throughout the rest of my life, for I have cherished every moment I have stepped out onto that field.

Written 15 years ago by Rachel Millim, Director of Brant Lake Sports Academy. Rachel earned her BS in Sociology from Cornell where she was an All-American Lacrosse player. She was also an All-American Lacrosse player in high school and an All-County basketball player. Post-college, Rachel worked as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Her competitive edge has never left as she recently  has completed marathons, triathlons and century rides.

Family Camp













Family Camp

Para muchas familias de otros países, hacer un viaje a los Estados Unidos es prioridad enla lista de las cosas que siempre soñaron hacer. Muchos padres quieren proporcionar a sus hijos el regalo de viajar y exponerlos a diferentes lugares y culturas y ayudar a modelar su entendimiento del mundo.  Planear un viaje a un país distinto puede ser irresistible. ¡Hay tanto por ver y hacer! Y puede ser difícil hallar actividades para que todos los miembros de la familia disfruten juntos. Sin importar lo que hacen o hacia dónde van, las familias que viajan a los Estados Unidos desde otros países sólo quieren pasar un momento estando todos juntos mientras experimentan la cultura y el estilo de vida de un nuevo lugar. Esta es la razón por la cual muchas familias de otros países  se enamoran de Family Camp, ya que es una manera de que todos se integren a la experiencia de un campamento de verano estadounidense en un lugar seguro y orientado a la familia.

Las familias que participan de Family Camp tienen la oportunidad de asistir a juegos tradicionales de un campamento de verano y actividades grupales e individuales. Las actividades se dividen por grupos de edad para que todos los miembros de la familia puedan hacer alguna actividad que les guste relacionada con su edad, así también los adultos. Al tener un tiempo equilibrado tanto en familia como de manera individual, cada miembro puede descubrir sus fortalezas y pasiones al tiempo que alienta e inspira al otro y se conecta con él. Cuando toda la familia viene al campamento, se convierte en un recuerdo para toda la vida. Este tiempo precioso libre de distracciones como teléfonos celulares y portátiles permite a los mmbros de la familia unirse y reconectarse entre sí para reir, compartir historias, tener conversaciones íntimas y experimentar juntos cosas nuevas. Family Camp abre ventanas de discusión y conversación añoradas por padres e hijos y establece una línea de comunicación vital para el crecimiento de cada miembro.

Todos los días, los miembros de la familia pueden participar en actividades como natación, cursos de habilidades, manualidades, sófbol, fotografía, yoga y caminatas. Al  final de un día lleno de diversión, tenemos programas nocturnos como fogatas, shows, búsquedas del tesoro y eventos especiales como La guerra del color. Seguramente se crearán recuerdos imborrables para toda la familia. Por día se sirven tres comidas deliciosas y saludables, y esto constituye una gran oportunidad para que toda la familia se reúna y las disfrute al tiempo que tienen conversaciones valiosas.

Las familias de otros países pueden experimentar un campamento de verano tradicional de los EE. UU. y conocer a otras familias de todo el mundo. Es una manera increíble de enseñar a los niños temas como diversidad, aceptación, y cultura  durante las mejores vacaciones de verano que hayan tenido.

Otro motivo por el cual las familias de otros países adoran Family Camp es por su ubicación. Después de una experiencia de 3, 4 o 6 noches en Family Camp, las familias pueden viajar para visitar algunos de los lugares más famosos del país como la ciudad de Nueva York y las Cataratas del Niágara. El campamento se encuentra a 3 horas del Aeropuerto LaGuardia, lo cual facilita a las familias tomar un vuelo y continuar su viaje privilegiado de vacaciones familiares en los EE. UU.

Para pasar unas vacaciones memorables en familia, Family Camp es una oportunidad única  que toda la familia adorará.

Farm To Camp: A Summer Camp Experience With A Grown Up Twist

Something amazing is happening on August 26th-27th, an event that combines the adventure and experience of summer camp with the delicacy of gourmet food from around the region. Farm to Camp is an adults-only summer camp experience packed into one amazing weekend. From a waterfront cocktail hour and a five-star meal under the stars to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor summer camp themed activities, this is an experience you won’t want to miss.


Farm to Camp starts off with a sunset cocktail party, where campers can mingle with new friends and taste local wines before dinner. After cocktails, an eight-course meal is served at a long table under the stars, surrounded by soft lighting and the gorgeous surroundings of Camp Starlight. Prepared by culinary geniuses, an extensive dinner menu featuring local and organic options will leave taste buds in a state of bliss. Fresh produce from farmers in the Pennsylvania and NY area, and guests all come together for a meal to remember. Even the tableware and serving dishes are environmentally friendly, adding another organic element to this incredible meal. Each plate is handcrafted not only for exceptional taste but for beauty as well. This is sure to be a meal to remember. In the morning, enjoy another exceptional, farm-fresh meal for brunch before you head home.



Before the sunset cocktail hour, guests can spend the day feeling like a kid again by participating in many traditional summer camp activities. From tennis and softball to fitness classes and volleyball, guests can experience some of their favorite childhood activities, or branch out and try something new. When was the last time you let your guard down and had some good, clean fun? If it’s been too long, Farm to Camp will be a breath of fresh air. After dinner, guests can explore the grounds, socialize around the campfire, make S’mores, or dance the night away to the beats of a late night DJ.



There’s only one thing to do after a day of fun and good food: Sleep. Guests can shower, unwind and relax in one of the camp cabins, complete with electricity and hot water. Campers can meet new friends by being assigned to a cabin with other guests, or choose in advance to stay with people they know. Private rooms are also available at an extra charge.


Farm To Camp allows guests to relive the summer camp of their childhood with a grown up twist. It allows campers to enjoy healthy, gorgeous, organic meals with good friends and good wine in a weekend that will make them feel like a kid again.


Spending a Summer at Camp Weequahic

For a first time summer camp experience to remember, there’s no better place to spend your summer than Camp Weequahic. Specializing in first time campers, this exiting sleep away camp gives campers a unique camp experience based on a flexible program where their parents can choose from a wide range of options and choices to customize their summer to best suit the camper’s interests, strengths and passions. From high-energy sports like soccer and basketball, to creative outlets like theatre and robotics, Camp Weequahic’s focus on choice, spirit, adventure, tradition and family creates a safe, welcoming and exciting camp experience for those who are new to the summer camp experience. With two three week sessions or the option to stay for all six weeks, families have a lot of flexibility in planning their children’s summer.

The gorgeous waterfront location of Camp Weequahic makes it a picturesque place to experience fun and excitement on the water. The sparkling, spring-fed lake is where campers can try kayaking, water skiing and fishing for the first time, and the lighted and heated waterfront pool offers a refreshing place for a swim. For a more extreme summer camp adventure, campers can step out of their comfort zone and try the ropes course, rock climbing wall, mountain biking or zoom down a 400’ zip line. First time campers become forever campers after spending their summer at Weequahic, and it is easy to see why. The safe, positive and welcoming environment makes first time campers feel right at home, and builds a love and appreciation for the summer camp experience that they will cherish forever.

America’s Finest Family Camp Vacations

For many international families, making a trip to the United States is high up on their bucket list. Many parents want to give their children the gift of travel and expose them to different places and cultures in order to better shape their understanding of the world. Planning a trip to a brand new country can be overwhelming, as there is so much to see and do, and it can be hard to find activities that the whole family can enjoy together. Regardless of what they do or where they go, families traveling to the states from other countries just want to spend time with each other while experiencing the culture and lifestyle of a new place. This is why so many international families fall in love with Family Camp, as it is a way for the entire family to fully immerse themselves in the American summer camp experience in a place that is safe and family focused.

Families who experience Family Camp together have the opportunity to participate in traditional summer camp games and activities as a group, as well as individuals. Activities are broken up by age group, so everyone in the family can find something they love that is age appropriate, even the adults. Having a balance of family time and individual time helps each member discover their strengths and passions while encouraging, inspiring, and connecting with each other at the same time. When the family comes together as a whole, lifelong memories are made. This precious time void of distractions like cell phones and laptops allows family members to bond and really reconnect, to laugh, share stories, have intimate conversations and try new things together. Family Camp opens up windows of discussion and conversation that parents and kids are craving, and establishes a line of communication that is vital for the growth of each member.

Each day, every family member can participate in activities such as swimming, ropes courses, arts and crafts, softball, photography, yoga and hiking. Evening programs like campfires, game shows and scavenger hunts are a great way to end a day full of fun, and special events like The Color War are sure to create lasting memories for the whole family. Three healthy and delicious meals are served a day and serve as another great opportunity for the whole family to come together, enjoy a meal, and have some meaningful conversations.

International families can experience the traditional American summer camp experience together and can get to know other families from all across the globe. This is an awesome way for parents to teach their children about diversity, acceptance, and culture, all disguised as the best summer vacation they’ve ever had.

Another reason international families love Family Camp is because of the location. After a 3, 4 or 6 night experience at Family Camp, families can move on to see some of the country’s famous landmarks, such as New York City and Niagara Falls. The camp is only 3 hours from LaGuardia Airport, making it easy for families to jump on a flight and continue their once in a lifetime USA family vacation.

For a memorable vacation for the whole family, Family Camp is a one-stop shop for a vacation the whole family will love.


Camp pour les familles

Pour bien des familles étrangères, aller aux États-Unis se trouve en haut de la liste des rêves à réaliser. Nombreux sont les parents qui veulent offrir à leurs enfants l’occasion de voyager et de découvrir différents endroits et cultures pour mieux comprendre le monde. Préparer un voyage dans un tout nouveau pays peut sembler une tâche énorme car il y a tant à voir et à faire et trouver des activités qui plaisent à tous peut être difficile. Quelles que soient leurs destinations ou leurs activités, les familles qui viennent aux États-Unis veulent passer du temps ensemble tout en découvrant la culture et le style de vie du pays. C’est pour cette raison que beaucoup de familles étrangères adorent le Camp pour les familles car c’est une façon pour une famille entière de s’immerger dans un camp d’été américain et de vivre cette expérience en sécurité dans un endroit où prime la famille.


Les familles qui font l’expérience du Camp pour les familles ont l’occasion de participer à des jeux et des activités typiques d’un camp d’été en tant que groupe et individuellement. Les activités sont divisées par groupes d’âge et donc, tous les membres de la famille peuvent trouver une activité qu’ils adorent, même les parents. L’équilibre entre le temps consacré à la famille et aux individus permet à chacun de découvrir ses forces et ses passions tout en encourageant et en inspirant les autres et en se rapprochant d’eux. Lorsque la famille se retrouve, elle s’est créé des souvenirs impérissables. Ces instants précieux, sans distractions dues aux téléphones ou aux ordinateurs portables, leur permettent de resserrer leurs liens et de se retrouver, de rire, de partager des histoires, d’avoir des conversations intimes et d’essayer ensemble de nouvelles choses. Grâce au Camp pour les familles, parents et enfants peuvent enfin avoir ces discussions dont ils ont envie et qui établissent une ligne de communication vitale au développement de chacun.


Tous les jours, les membres de la famille participant à diverses activités comme la natation, les courses à la corde, les arts, le softball, la photographie, le yoga et la randonnée. Les programmes de soirée, tels que feux de camp, spectacles et chasses aux trésors, finissent en beauté ces journées de plaisir et des événements spéciaux comme La guerre des couleurs créeront à coup sûr de super souvenirs pour toute la famille. Trois bons repas sont servis tous les jours et offrent encore à la famille l’occasion de se réunir, partager un repas et une bonne conversation.


Les familles étrangères font ensemble l’expérience d’un camp d’été américain traditionnel et rencontrent d’autres familles venues du monde entier. Quelle merveilleuse façon pour les parents d’apprendre à leurs enfants la diversité, la tolérance et la culture sous le couvert de leurs meilleures vacances estivales !


Une autre raison pour laquelle les familles étrangères adorent le Camp pour les familles est l’emplacement. Après avoir passé 3, 4 ou 6 nuits au Camp, elles peuvent aller voir des sites connus comme New York ou les Chutes du Niagara. Le Camp ne se trouve qu’à 3 heures de l’aéroport de La Guardia, ce qui permet aux familles de sauter dans un avion et de continuer les vacances de leur vie aux États-Unis.


Pour des vacances mémorables pour tous, le Camp pour les familles est un tout-en-un que tous les membres d’une famille vont adorer.


Mentally Preparing for Brant Lake Sports Academy

Spring has finally sprung here in the Northeast; birds are chirping, the grass is greener and families are starting to get ready for camp. So, what exactly does that mean? Of course, you need the proper gear, but once you’ve put name tags on all of your clothing, flashlights, goggles, toiletries, etc., you should be good to go, right? Not always! Some kids (and parents) need to prepare for what is about to happen – getting on that plane or bus and leaving home. Whether it’s for one week, three weeks, or seven weeks, all first-time campers have that feeling of butterflies in their stomach. So the real question is: how do we mentally prepare for our first successful camp session?

  1. Talk about camp with your child. Sharing camp stories will give you something to bond over with your son or daughter.
  1. Talk to your camp director. There is a reason why camp directors do what they do and it’s because the LOVE their job. And they have this magical ability to set a camper’s mind at ease.
  1. Connect to your camps social media pages. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are just a few amazing ways to get an insider’s view of what your camp is all about.
  1. Have a positive attitude. SMILE. You are sending your child to an excellent camp, so be confident in the staff and let your kids be kids for a few weeks.


Many of our first-time campers are dropped off smiling, but with a bit of fear of the unknown. As we know, that is the greatest fear of all. With that in mind, our goal is to have them leave with memories filled with unique experiences, loving friendships and massive smiles that will last them until the next summer.