The Camp Akiba Diaspora: The Next Generation

by Adam Issadore

in Camp

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Camp Akiba, (the best camp in the world) located in Reeders Pennsylvania, closed in 1997. The grounds are still maintained and as beautiful as ever, and it is now home to the Pocono Picnic Company. But for those of us who were campers at Camp Akiba, we miss it dearly. Fortunately there is a Facebook Group that helps connect many of us who were campers and staff at Camp Akiba.

Those of us who were campers in the 1970′s & 80′s and have children of our own are now faced with a question…

Where do we send our kids to overnight camp now that Akiba is closed?!!

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit and work with many summer camps on a tour with my Path To Rhythm Group Drumming Program. I learned many things, and the most apparent thing that I saw was camp spirit. The campers at all of these camps feel the same way about their camp; that it’s the best camp in the world.

In addition to getting to drum with over 3,500 campers at 12 different camps, I had the chance to meet some unexpected special people. These were the children of my friends from Camp Akiba. Imagine that…the children of Akibaites!

Below is a list and some photos of the next generation of campers that I met in the summer of 2011.

At Pine Forest Camp :

I drummed with:

  • Jared Diamond, son of Rick Diamond.
  • Jordan Sheppard, daughter of Jennifer (Meyers) Sheppard
  • Daniel Weiss, son of my former counselor, Hank Weiss
  • Jordan and Justin Shapiro, ┬áthe sons of Alison Brodnick Shapiro

And I met:

  • Chelsea Gordon, the daughter of Howard and the grand daughter of Uncle Lenny & Aunt Harriet
  • Rachel & Carly Garazi, daughters of Carrie (Meyers) Garazi
  • Hannah & Jordyn Kieserman, daughters of Amy (Dratch) Kieserman
with Jordan Sheppard, daughter of Jennifer (Meyers) Sheppard

with Jordan Sheppard, daughter of Jennifer (Meyers) Sheppard

with Jordan Shapiro and Daniel Weiss

with Jordan Shapiro and Daniel Wiess

with Chelses Gordon, daughter of Howard Gordon

with Chelsea Gordon, daughter of Howard Gordon

At Camp Kweebec:

  • I drummed with Zack and Alex Jacobs, the sons Cory Jacobs
  • I drummed with Ethan Berg, the son of Cami (Fruchter) Berg

At Camp Canadensis:

  • I drummed with Carly Sukonik, the daughter of Neil Sukonik

At Camp Chipinaw:

  • I drummed with Dylan Dansky, the daughter of Tracy (Eisler) Dansky

At Diamond Ridge Camp:

  • I drummed with Nicky Kelly, son of Sam & Mary Ann Kelly
  • I met Brooke Oxenhandler, daughter of Brian Oxenhandler

At Sesame/ Rockwood Camp

  • I met Avery & Jacob Ominsky, the children of Tara Dickerman Ominsky

and socially:

The summer began with a visit from Melissa (Storch) Epstein and her daughter Haley. Next was a visit with Jillian (Altchek) Smath and her two daughters, Marlee and Emily. I also saw Erica (Skala) Napach and her three children, Charlie, Mason, and Lily.

I enjoy meeting the families of former Camp Akiba campers and staff, I consider them my extended family, we are part of the same Tribe.

The Camp Akiba Diaspora Project:

If you want to participate: add the following info to the comment section below…

  • Your name
  • The years you went to Akiba
  • The names of your children
  • Where they have attended camp, or where they will be attending camp

This information will be visible here on this page publicly as a way to document where the next generation of campers are attending camp.

I will start it off:

  • Adam Issadore
  • I attended Camp Akiba as a camper from 1976-1988.
  • My son is Jackson Issadore, and he was born in 2010. He is still too young to go to camp!
  • Share

    { 49 comments… read them below or add one }

    Sherry Zuckerman Paskin

    I went to Akiba (the BEST years of my life!!) from 1974-1989. My children go to Camp Nock-A-Mixon, and their names are Aaron and Natalie Paskin. What a wonderful idea to keep track of everyone’s kids!

    Jodi Hirschfield Mazer

    Robbie and Danny Mazer. We are looking into camps for next summer and can’t wait to see where the Akibites go! Thank A!

    Alan Rosenberg

    I went to Akiba from 1976 to 1989 and my two boys both attend Camp Barney Medintz here in Cleveland, GA in the Blue Ridge mountains…it’s a great camp BUT it is definitely no Akiba!

    Marnie Jacobs Plovan

    I went to Akiba from 76-92. My daughter is going to Camp Saginaw for her first summer.

    Danny Miller

    Wish I could send my kids to Akiba, but had to settle for Camp Kennybrook in Monticello, NY for my daughter. My son splits part of his summer at International Gymnastics Camp and Island Lake Camp.

    Tracy Eisler Dansky

    I went to camp Akiba from about 1977-1984. My daughter AJ goes to Indian Head and my other daughter, Dylan goes to Chipinaw. My son will start at Indian Head next summer.

    Elizabeth Altschuler Talbot

    I went to Akiba from 1980 – 1993. My daughter’s Alexandra and Chloe are going to Lake Bryn Mawr Camp in Honesdale, PA. Hoping they love it as much as I loved Akiba. Thanks for keeping track of everyone.

    Nancy Horwitz Solomon

    I went to Akiba from 1975 to 1985. My children are Samantha and Josh… And don’t go to overnight camp yet! We’ve got a few years to
    figure out where to go…We live in Baltimore. Maybe they’ll go to camp with Mindi Rosenblatt’s boys, my best friend from Akiba!

    Tracey Reses Orenstein

    I went to Akiba from 1977- 1989. I have 2 daughters ages 13 and 10. They go to Camp Barney Medintz, near Atlanta. They love it, but they don’t know what we had!

    Tracey Diamond

    I went to Akiba from 78/79-83 maybe….I can’t do math at this hour, but the same time you were there Adam : ) Ethan and Julia have heard about Akiba but are more on the local camp route. He does sports camps at a local minor league field and she does dance and art camps. Love to see my nephew’s name posted up there. Hoping to bring them to your studio sometime soon. He actually just finished a semester class in percussion — learned some Ozzy and Hendrix. Loved it. Thanks for the blog……PS. I miss Appey’s ; )

    Amy Kieserman

    What a great idea! My girls go to Pine Forest, and they can’t wait till the summer to get back again! I am working there…so much fun to be at overnight camp…even as an adult! It was great seeing you at camp last summer! Your program rocks!

    Mara Spaulder White

    I went to Akiba from 1974 – 1986! My daughter, Rachel is 11 and going to start her 4th summer at Pine Forest … and my son, Cory is turing 10 and going to start his 3rd summer at Pine Forest. You will have to look them up if you are there next summer. Alison Brodnick Shapiro’s son and Cory were in the same bunk this past summer. We looked at several camps before my kids started … and loved the philosophy, staff and owners at PFC — would recommend it to one and all … since Akiba is not an option! But my daughter and her girl scout gang get to spend a weekend at Akiba in May so she has taste of my good old days … see you in September at the reunion!

    Susie Ornstein Polow

    I went to Akiba from 1980-1988. I have the best memories and still keep in touch with many people…especially Jennifer Goldstein Stalbaum and Shelly Tepper Grossman. Your sister Amy was in my bunk for a few years, but we lost touch. Hope she is doing well. My daughter Carly is almost 5 (and although I went to Akiba for my first summer at the age of 5 1/2…don’t ask!), she is going to Harbor Hills Day Camp in Chester, NJ for now. It will definitely be a hard decision deciding where she goes to sleepaway camp because Akiba set the bar so high. Hoping to make it to the reunion in the Fall, since I missed the last one!

    Paula

    I went to Camp Akiba from 1980 – 1981. My kids go to Pinemere Camp, which is very close to Reeders, PA.

    Larry M. Spott

    I went to Akiba from 1979 – 1988. Seems like yesterday! My two older children go to Capital Camps in Waynesboro, PA. Can’t wait for a campfire sing in the fall.

    Jenny Sodowich Kotler

    Hi Akibites,
    I went to camp for 8 wonderful summers. When searching for sleepaway camp for my own kids, nowhere had the beauty and feeling of home that Akiba brought. However, thankfully, we found Camp Westmont, in PA, formally Camp Echo Lark. I think the beauty of the lake sold me :) . I hope my kids have the fond memories of their summer home like I do.

    Erica Skala Napach

    I miss Akiba….wish it was there for my kids. My daughter Lily is starting sleepaway this summer. I was holding out for Howard to reopen camp, but since I haven’t heard anything yet, she will be at Camp Blue Ridge in the Poconos.

    Todd Walters

    Went to Akiba from 79-87 both as camper and staff. My oldest daughter (now a junior in college) went to Camp Chi in Wisconsin Dells. Our younger daughter who is now 8, will go there as well. But nothing out there offers anything close to what we had at Camp Akiba.

    Scott Rubin

    Adam,
    How great it is…to see that your passion for drumming has stayed with you. I loved playing with your Dad in the Akiba Hebrew International Band…it was truly a highlight for me during my many great summers at Akiba. I was there from 1974 through 1981 and returned as a counselor in 1983. My lifelong memories of summers in Reeders are among some of my best ever!!! I hope to attend the reunion in September. My wife of 13 years and I have three children twins Alysa and Jacob 11 and Emily turning 6 in May. They have not attended any camps but I hope to be able to give the a similar experience at some point while they are still young…Please give you Mom and Dad my very best as they were like family to me when I went to camp. I loved and treasured every day at Camp Akiba.

    All the best.

    Your fellow drummer.

    Scott Rubin

    Jodi Block Erdman

    My kids went to Camp Wayne for Girls and Boys in Pa. My daughter went to CWG for 19 years, son to CWB for 6 years. It is an absolutely amazing camp that I wholeheartedly endorse to all.

    Alison Bell Keim

    I went to Akiba in the 1980′s – I can’t believe it was that long ago. My children, Jared (12) and Samantha (almost 10) go to Camp Walden in Lake George, NY. I love hearing the rope burning stories and can’t believe how similar it is to Akiba. I get to live the camp feeling all year long as I sell overnight camp supplies –seriously, how lucky am I?

    Lisa Rosenblatt Kaplan

    I went to Akiba from 1976 to 1983 as a camper (Best Camper 1983!! – still have my trophy in storage in the basement) and 1987-1988 as a counselor (your sister Amy was one of my favorite campers). My girls Julia (11) and Jessie (8) go to Camp Lindenmere, which is only a few miles away from Akiba. Lindenmere used to be a traditional Jewish summer camp, but is now a non denominational all-elective camp with 2 three week sessions (my kids go both sessions). Although it is very different from Akiba and Pine Forest (where my husband went for 10 years), it works for my kids and they are very happy there.

    Sharon Buchholz

    You knew me as Sharon Katz 1980-1986 as a camper and as a counselor 1992-1993. My oldest son Dylan age 8 now goes to Camp Lokanda http://www.lokanda.com a jewish Camp Akiba like camp in Glen Spey New York. Next summer will be his second season there. It is actually not too far from Pine Forrest! It is so much like the camp I once knew it is like seeing a reflection of bygone days. I would love to get more Akibite families to check it out. Although nothing can be the same as the camp I knew and loved, this is a good close second. My youngest son Julian, age 6 is too young yet for overnight camp and loves going to Camp Sesame Rockwood in Blue Bell, Pa. a great local day camp!

    adam feinberg

    I went to akiba from 82-89 and they were by far the best years ever. I wish camp was still there and in a few years I could send my son bradyn, just so I could go visit on visiting day

    Joanne Toll

    Adam! This is so great! I was at Akiba from ’76-’84 (the last two summers as a counselor). We live in L.A., and the overnight camp scene isn’t really the same as on the east coast. Our 8 year old son, Jamie, goes to a fabulous day camp called Tom Sawyer Camp- they sing all the same songs we sang and he is always stunned that I know the words to his songs..

    It’s so true that we all think our camp is the best (of course we are right about Akiba…)- my mother and I still bicker- she went to Camp Echo in the Catskills and Pine Forest, and still stays in touch with many of her bunk mates and campers. Hopefully we will all still be doing this in our 70s!

    See everyone in September!!

    Shelly Tepper Grossman

    I miss my days at Akiba. I was there for 4 years. It was very difficult for me to find a camp for my daughter last year. She headed to Indian Head and loved it. It is her Akiba now. See you all in September xoxo

    Dorie Rubinstein Osisek

    I was at Akiba from 1969-1975 as a camper and worked at the pool 1979 and 1980. My older kids (now 26 and 22) went to Camp Lohikan in Lake Como, PA. My youngest went to Camp Tioga for 2 years, but turned out to not be a camper so we found other summer programs for her.

    steven polevoy

    i went to camp akiba from 1962 unbtil 1970, and only didn’t return the next year due to getting caught doing something that my folks found out about (puff, puff). the best friends of my life, to this day came from akiba. hard to believe that i started there 50 years ago, i can still remember bunk 5. and steven schneider, who was in that bunk, is still a friend of mine. marc and bruce chase came later, but they have been part of my life for at least 45 years. rich marks, there at the beginning also, married my sister. no better people ever. keep up the great work.

    Robin Zinman Proman

    Steve Polevoy forwarded this to me. It’s a great idea ! I went at Akiba from 1965 – 1972. Seems like yesterday. My three children, David, Dana and Jill started going to Camp Green Lane at an early age and after many summers became counslors there. It was their Akiba! Not half the size of Akiba but this camp is loaded with as much spirit and fun. Most of the staff are past campers. Canteen, camp carnival, inter camp games, division shows and many more similar activities that we enjoyed at Akiba are still happening every summer at Green Lane. Color war at CGL has rope burning, all G-ds children, sing ….. If you are looking for a camp that has a similar spirit to Akiba check out Camp Green Lane.

    Barrie Freeman Rappaport

    My brother, Charlie & I only got to spend one summer (’73) at Akiba but it was a wonderful. My parents sent us after spending 3 yrs at another great camp in CT. Seeing how beautiful the grounds are currently brings back great memories of that summer. Btw – my brother is on the ’73 album cover (the kid sitting on the diving board).

    We have 2 daughters 17 & 13. The younger one is at OSRUI (a URJ camp) in Wisconsin for the 2nd year. It’s a wonderful program & the kids love it. The grounds just don’t hold a candle to Akiba.

    Mark Waldorf

    I went to Akiba in the early 60′s. My kids went to Chipinaw in the Catskills in the late 80′s. They still talk about it.

    Norman Lepoff

    I was there from 1957 to 1967. I met great people and learned many things. Too bad it is now closed.

    Randi Rubin

    Hi Adam,
    I went to Akiba from 1976-1981, then shifted over to Camp Kweebec from 1982-1986. I still keep in touch with many friends from both camps and loved my experiences at both places!! I just attended my first visiting day as a parent alumni at Kweebec! So much fun to see many Akiba and Kweebec alum and see my children develop friendships with my friends’ kids. My daughter, Ryan who is now 8 is having an amazing time at Kweebec. My son, Aaron who decided to spend his 6th year at Sesame/Rockwood (Dale and Howard Batterman’s camp) is now signed up to go to Kweebec next summer. My son says your drum program was a blast! This is a great idea! Take Care. Randi

    Sarisa H. Zoghlin

    Two young people, an inner-city school teacher and her medical student husband, spent the summers of 1953 and 1954 on the staff at Camp Akiba. He was a bunk counselor and I was a unit head/counselor. Both of us were experienced camp folks. Being Red Cross -WSI certified we were good support for Marty Olinsky, a gifted teacher and mentor. Canoe trips, camp spirit, color war, AND a paycheck at the end. For us it was a great vacation… refresh, recharge, renew for the challenges of the school year. We remember Camp Akiba with affection.

    Steve Binns

    I came over with a small group of UK students to work as a Councillor in 1969..had a great time!Great Kids..remember charasmatic Lenny Gordon..Wonderful food..and gathering together to watch that amazing achievement of the first Moon Landing.Thanks Akiba for a wonderful Summer.
    Steve Binns.

    Lisa Wolf

    I attended Camp Akiba as a camper and a counselor. Can’t remember the exact years but I believe it was 1967-1977. Taught water skiing amongst other responsibilites as a CIT and counselor. My kids Rachel and Jordan both attend Camp Tevya in New Hamshire. As my children tell me their stories from camp I can’t help but wish I were back at Camp Akiba.

    Judy Orovitz Herzfeld

    Thank You Adam, for starting this site. I love reading how the next generation has found good camping experiences, too.
    I was at Akiba from 1973-76 & 78-79, as a camper; C-2 in ’81; counselor ’84.
    They were the most wonderful, memorable summers of my life. I am forever grateful to my folks, for sending me & visiting me, from Florida. I only wish I could have been a camper throughout the ’80s & ’90s too; oh yeah, I got married. My 4 kids went to modern Orthodox camps, in PA & NY, some nicer than others, but none like Akiba. Dora Golding for Boys, E. Stroudsburg, was ok.
    Best Wishes to you & yours. (I remember your mom fondly.)

    lynn deutsch

    I went to Camp Akiba for about 5 years in the late 60′s and early 70′s—when Robin Zinman and Jodie Block were there. What a wonderful camp and memories it brings. No kids now to send to camp, but wanted to connect with those that went via fb. I am in the Peace Corps now in Africa—not exactly Camp Akiba!

    justin taub

    CAMP AKIBA WAS AMAZING!. I HOPE THAT ONE DAY IT WILL REOPEN! IF IT DID I WOULD COME BACK FOR ONE SUMMER AND WORK THERE. I WENT FROM 89 TILL IT CLOSED. I MISS COOK OUTS!

    shaun kasser

    93-97 (ages 6-10)

    then i went to nock a mixon

    remember akiba being great? Nockamixon was the opposite! “NAM”

    i hear long lake is awesome.

    corey lutsky

    Akiba was the best! Nothing will ever beat the summers spent there.

    1986 – 1992 and a counselor during the last summer of 1997.

    Sidney Axelman

    I was at Camp Akiba from 1942 to 1952. I would love to hear from my camp mates.

    Ed Lubin

    Wow… Camper from 1947 through 1951 counsellor 1956… We had the time of our lives… Have met up with Sid Axelman … Would love to hear from some others… Is it possible to walk the grounds there?

    J Lin

    hi there… I also have great memories… Does anyone remember the quote that was on the sign as you drove up to camp and into the parking lot?

    was it something like enter strangers leave a family?

    Stanford Cramer

    Camper from 1948 through 1956 and enjoyed every minute of it.

    Gerald Weiss

    I went to Camp Akiba in 1937 & 38 as a camper. I also went to Camp Pocano Highlands in I the 1940′s & Camp Pine Forrest also in 1940′s.
    Gerald (Jerry) Weiss now living in Apopka, Florida.

    Alli Barash

    Hi there! I’m not sure if this thread is active anymore, but my name is Alli Barash and my great-grandfather Morris Edelson started Camp Akiba and Camp Saginaw. My grandfather Don Edelson (who’s still alive!) was also a director at Akiba in the 60s or 70s. I myself am now a director at Saginaw and I like to think that I’m still keeping the spirit of my great-grandfather going by working at this camp. My mother (Karen Edelson) attended both camps as a child and sent all her children to Saginaw when we were old enough. I hope (and continue to try and make sure) that Saginaw promotes the same values that my great-grandfather wanted to instill when he founded Akiba and Saginaw all those years ago. :)

    Fran Schepps Alexander

    I was at Akiba for eight wonderful summers, 1963-1970. Hi Robin Zinman and Jodi Block! I have three daughters, now all in their 20s, and they went to Timber Tops, also in the “Picturesque Poconos,” and had a great time. Interestingly, my husband’s mother went to Akiba!

    Steve Koffman

    I found some old stationary from CAMPA AKIBA “in the Picturesque Poconos” post marked Aug.12, 1958. I was a camper for two wonderful summers (1957 -58) and cannot remember if I was an Iroquois or Sesquehanna, but I do remember Sunday morning breakfast (Bagels and Lox). Whenever we enjoy that traditional breakfast I recall the summers at Camp Akiba.
    Although I grew up in Philadelphia and New Jersey I now live in Albuquerque, New Mexico (40 years), my two daughters have gone to the JCC (Denver) camp just outside Colorado Springs.
    Glad to read above that their are a few responses from 1940-1950′s campers even though we are getting older now I trust those great summer memories will last

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