Blog Post

Reflecting Back & Looking Ahead

By Jeff Gould

I hope this note finds everyone well, and the transition back into school has been pleasant. September is always an interesting month for me as I shift from being a camp owner/director, ultimately responsible for almost 1600 campers, to being a father to a 5th grader and a kindergartener, and a focused husband and partner to my incredible wife Brooke.

Reflecting back

As I catch my breath, and process our season, I am thrilled and encouraged about how incredible the summer was. All my business life I’ve tried to identify, unlock, and add value to whatever I’m focusing on. Many times I have struck out. Sometimes, I get it right.

This past summer was my sixth since being back at Independent Lake. I can say with complete confidence that the ILC experience is the rocket fuel for social and emotional growth for today’s child, that faces many complicated and rapidly evolving challenges in this digital age. We are true partners in ensuring our campers not only have the access to outstanding programs, but the supportive and compassionate push to try new things and evolve in their areas of interest at every level.

Our goal is for every camper to build a solid infrastructure where they become effective and truly have the mechanisms to be socially successful. Conflict resolution, advocating for oneself, and building life-long relationships with people from all around the world with potentially different perspectives or points of view are skills that have never been more vital than now. Multi-year ILC campers leave with all they need in this arena, and more. I have never been more enthusiastic and committed to setting the tone at Independent Lake Camp, and improving and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with our program and diverse community.

Big shout out

I believe it’s appropriate to acknowledge my wonderful sister Tricia Gould, who has been at Independent Lake Camp in some capacity for 26 years. Tricia has decided that this past summer will be her last working at camp and I wanted to acknowledge her for all her incredible, irreplaceable contributions she has made. I have learned so much from Tricia over the past 6 years, and her well-thought and generous transition out of ILC has me confident that we will not skip a beat without her.  I love you Tricia from the bottom of my heart and promise to try my hardest not to make passive-aggressive comments over the holidays in attempt to get you to return…….

….okay, wipe the tears….

Looking Ahead

Replacing Tricia is simply not possible.  With that said,  I have decided to come over the top with two rising stars with incredible energy and rare skill sets within our current team. To attempt to fill the void Tricia will leave, we have hired Ethan Kasnett (Lakeside Head Counselor) & Lauren Shiel (Elkview Head Counselor) to full-time positions starting January 1st. Kristi Cullinane (Elkview Head Counselor) will take over Tricia’s roll in helping my father and Gia hire new staff, and add that ever so important motherly instinct to the equation.

As we work hard in the fall to improve camp, we are currently remodeling the inside of all Lakeside Girls bunks, a complete remodel of the dinning hall, brand new BBQ cookout area, new dramatic multi-use deck off the gym, repaving the entrance all the way up through the path in-front of boys side, and planting over 50 trees around camp. I’ll probably dream up some more projects over the next few months & I think you will be blown away with investment made directly back into camp and the shape of our facility on opening day, June 21st.

I’m here if anyone needs me, for whatever reason. I hope to see everyone at the NYC reunion January 4th. Have a wonderful fall! Trust that I’m working hard to continually improve ILC, set a new standard in what’s possible, and ultimately set the tone everyday at the most special community imaginable.