New Jersey 2007

Founder's Day

Page One of Two

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Photos and Articles by Matt Lurrie and Chloe


There are many traditions here at Campus Kids, as any camper or reader of my journals will know.  Well, On August 1st, and old new tradition was created: Founder's Day.
This might look like a scene from announcements, but it is actually the first gathering of the first [Seventeenth] Founder's Day Celebration.

The story of how Campus Kids came to be was read. 

17 years ago in a land far far away, known as Cranford, New Jersey an idea was born. This was going to be an idea unlike any other idea. This would be an idea that would change the world of summer camps as it was known before.

Tom Riddleberger was sitting in a chair eating his favorite food—a bag of Fritos, when the light bulb went off in his head. He wanted to create a summer camp that would cater to the masses. He wanted to come up with a camp that allowed children to be who they want to be—to express their individuality and feel secure at the same time. Tom wanted to create a camp that is a community of people who are diverse in backgrounds, interests and abilities. He wanted the participants of the camp to live together in a camp community.

At this moment, Tom paused and he thought, "But how long will the campers come for? A year? Two years? A day? No, No, and No." He got a second plate of Frito pie and came back. Then, the idea hit him like Doc Brown hitting the toilet bowl and discovering the flux capacitor. The plate of Frito pie fell to the ground and split into 5 pieces. Tom looked at this 5 pieces and thought, "wait, what if the campers only came to camp for 5 days?" Then, the campers can be at home with their families, friends, and loved ones on the weekends. That truly is the Best of Both Worlds.

As Tom cleaned up the remains of his Frito pie, Stu entered the room. Tom excitedly explained his new idea. Stu nodded thoughtfully and ask, "But what will campers do at such a camp?" Tom rose, smiled knowingly, and said, "That's the best part you see, they will CHOOSE what they want to do at camp." Stu said, "Hmmmm, but how will they know what to do next? Will they have a schedule to follow?" Tom smirked and said, "Well, my friend, what are you doing next summer and for summers to come?" Within seconds, Stu signed a long term contract knowing that he will touch the lives of many children for generations to come.

Stu and Tom decided to go to Rita's Italian Ices to celebrate. On their way, a young, yellow-haired man on roller blades crashed into them. He said, "Sorry man, but I'm much better in the winter on a snowboard." Tom and Stu saw something deep inside him and asked, "Well, what do you do for the summers?" The young man said, "I just completed level 70 in World of Warcraft., so I'm pretty much available." Tom and Stu explained their full vision. Jeremy thought, "A weekday sleep away camp, college campus, choose your own activities…I'll join you on your quest much like the quests I enjoy in Dungeons and Dragons." With that, Tom, Stu, and Jeremy raised their Rita's cup of Italian Ices and began the journey that is Campus Kids.

Ever since, the terrific trio have celebrated Founder's Day when the sun is perfectly aligned with the Gold Dome, Sundial, and Announcement Tree. This year, it falls on August 1st. Happy Founder's Day!

That was followed by Dave with a self-written song entitled At Campus Kids (a B-side, surely, off his new album, now available on iTunes.)

At Campus Kids

Years ago we needed to start a camp

That could cater to everybody’s needs

We’d bus the campers from all around

And get some staff from overseas

All together we will run this camp

Everyone with different needs

We all have different skills

So choose your own activities

Campus Kids is the place to be

You know we’re all one family

With a gold dome high in the sky

Get together and sing with pride

Campus Kids is the place to be

Have fun with Tom, Stu, and Jeremy

So get together, its time for fun

The summer of your life has just begun

At Campus Kids.


And with that, the festivities began.  in shifts, groups went around to many stations representing Campus Kids' traditions.  At each station was a description of how that event came to be.


Lighting strikes have occurred on campus since the very beginning. A few years ago, a former counselor, Dan Trotta, was walking across the quad in a thunderstorm. A lightning strike missed the gold dome and struck Dan. He awoke with a vision. He said, "There will be a game where campers will work together to pass a current together much like the current through my body." The game became the lightning game. He flipped a keycard to begin the game much like flipping a light switch igniting the current and beginning the chain reaction. This culminates in the grounding of the current by grabbing a set of metal keys. To this day, the game lighting remains popular in camp as the current is passed from camper to camper, counselor to counselor, Sara to Beth, Tina to Allen, Tom to Jeremy, Stu to the schedule, year to year.


One summer, the competition on the ultimate Frisbee fields grew so fierce that campers needed a way to settle disputed catches, calls, and plays. What better way to settle it than a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors? One summer, the competition on the Ro-Sham-Bo fields grew so fierce that campers needed a way to settle disputed catches, calls, and plays. What better thing to call it than Ro-Sham-Bo. The term Ro-Sham-Bo was coined by a trio of counselors called Rocky, Shamrocky, and Bowie. Since that time, Ro-Sham-Bo has spread like California wildfires through the New Jersey mountain region.

Sing Down

Sing Down is a game older than Centenary College itself. It began as an individual activity when one camper will outsing or "Sing Down" one another. Each camper tried to demonstrate their musical prowess. Eventually the game grew as more people joined. The game expanded to include dances, choreography, props, and even teams. The competition became so fierce that judges were needed to judge several categories such as song selection, musical ability, teamwork, choreography, sportsmanship, and creativity. While Sing Down is not the life or death game it used to be, we still continue to play it to this day to honor the traditions of our ancestors.


Ga-Ga is one of the newest Campus Kids traditions. It has been in the camp spirit since the very beginning. A few years back, the first true Ga-Ga court appeared at camp. Nobody knew where it came from, much like the crop circles. As popularity increased, more courts appeared in different areas around camp. In addition, strange spray-painted markings appeared on the court, which still remain to this day. Their meanings are still unknown.


The pool was open all day for an all out free swim.

There was also Camp Trivia, where veterans tested their knowledge of camp history.  And in the spirit of copy and pasting, I give you Camp Trivia.


  1. What was the first year Campus Kids existed?


  1. What are the three locations of Campus Kids?

NJ, CT, NY (Minisink)

  1. How many sides does a Ga Ga court have?


  1. Name as many camp themes as possible (1 pt each)

Music, stories, rainforest, bugs, birds, toys, under the sea, outer space, mythical creatures, movies, cartoons (the very 1 st theme)

  1. What is the only camp theme to be repeated?

                        Bonus:  Which years was it used?


Bonus: 1997, 2007

  1. What night is Pajama Night?


  1. What is the whited out letter on the smokestack?

                        Bonus:  What does it stand for?


Bonus: Institute

  1. What are the three main styles of acting in the Frito pie skit?

Fast, slow, ninja/karate

  1. Name the three office locations?

Reeves, Wash, VW

  1. What favorite club activity is named after TV Show starring Burt Reynolds?

Evening Shade

  1. Who are the Water Babies?

Mike T, Donald, Sam

  1. What is the name of the current bus company?


  1. During the first year of camp, all the campers were rocking in the same dorm.   Which dorm was it?


  1. What do you chant at Stu at the end of a performance?


  1. In the announcements song, what is the exact line following "ANNOUCEMENTS, ANNOUCEMENTS, ANNOUCEMENTS."

A terrible death to die

  1. What former bus driver celebrated his 95th birthday this year at CK?


  1. Which 15 year CK veteran used to ride around the dining halls in roller blades?


  1. What three towns were the camp winter office located in?

Cranford, Chatham, Madison

  1. What town is the upcoming reunion located in?


  1. What is Tom's favorite meal?

Frito Pie

  1. What popular CK sport used Ro-Sham-Bo to decide disputed catches and calls before it became a tournament?

Ultimate Frisbee

  1. What is the name of the Weekend Adventure site?

Camp KEP or Ken Etiwa Pec

  1. Which counselors originated RobLouJen?

Rob, Lou, and Jen!

  1. Name current CK Staff members who were campers.

Hannah, Becky, Sam T, Rachel F, Andy, Steve K, Dave S, Donald, Geddes, Villani, Belline, Lurrie, Liz Stern, all staff assistants

  1. Name three CK staff members who played ultimate Frisbee in college.

Andy, Ryan, Dave M

  1. What activity used to take place in the current fitness center?


  1. What dance happens every Friday in the cafeterias?

Chicken Dance

  1. What is generally the final song at dances/social mixers?

Piano Man

  1. What building housed the first arts and crafts projects (hint: it is partially used for arts and crafts now)?

Van Winkle

  1. Which band ended CampStock 2006?

The Dave Squared Experience



Camp spirit was electric.



We even had a visitor: my former colleague, Phil, the Web Photo Guy.

  Now, I rarely do this, but if you wish to continue reading about Founder's Day, and see the action shots of such activities as Slip n' slide and Holy Cow, please go to Page Two.  

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