Surprise Lake Camp

Surprise Lake Camp to Celebrate 110th Anniversary; Camp Alumnus Larry King to Attend

Surprise Lake Camp will celebrate its 110th Anniversary in 2012. The year-long commemoration will begin with a gala dinner dance on Saturday evening, March 10, 2012 at the Marriot Marquis in midtown Manhattan. Larry King, one of SLC’s esteemed celebrity alumni will be the guest of honor at the event.

New York, NY, December 17, 2011 --( The camp will present Mr. King with a special tribute recognizing his support. He will entertain the crowd with stories from his childhood in Brooklyn and at Surprise Lake.! When asked about his camp days, Larry said “Surprise Lake was a life changing experience for me. It was 1943 and my father had just passed away. Camp provided me with new friends and new experiences. It sure was different than Brooklyn. That summer in camp changed my life.” Mr. King reflected, “I am thrilled to be honored by Surprise Lake Camp. What an institution! To have served kids for 110 years, that is incredible! I am proud to be an alumnus of Surprise Lake Camp!”

In addition to honoring Mr. King, SLC will honor three individuals who have served the camp with special distinction. Joy Henshel of Scarsdale, NY has been an active and generous Board member for 50 years. Her husband Harry Henshel (1919-2007) became involved with SLC because his father was a camper and he served on the board for 53 years. Daughters Dayle and Patti also serve on the camp board. Joy and her family have provided financial support to camp to refurbish the Harry Henshel Lodge and establish the Harry Henshel Scholarship Fund. Milton Herson (1927-2011) of Boca Raton, Florida was an incredible advocate for SLC. He attended Surprise Lake Camp as a winter camper from 1937-1940. As an adult he served on the SLC Board for 30 years Milton, who passed away in September 2011, is survived by his wife Arlene, his daughter Karen and his son Michael, who is also a member of the board. The final honoree is Joel “Whammy” Kaufman of Bayside, NY. Whammy first attended SLC as a camper in 1972 at the age of 14 and has been at camp almost every summer since. He brings a special spirit and energy that is truly infectious and campers for generations have all known about Whammy, his love of snakes, his infamous hikes and his Olympic leadership.

Founded in 1902, Surprise Lake is the oldest Jewish resident camp in the country that still operates at its original site. In its 110 years, the camp has grown from six tents for 25 children and five counselors to over 200 structures for 475 campers and a staff of 250. Located on 450 wooded acres near Cold Spring, New York, the camp features a sliding fee scale based on income and family size. In 2011 alone, SLC awarded almost $900,000 in scholarships. At the same time, the camp’s site, program, and staff make it one of the finest Jewish camps in the country, and one of the most reputable.

Current Surprise Lake Camp Board President Michael Zbar of New City, NY said “Surprise Lake Camp is very special to me. In my life, most of what I have learned that is important, I learned at camp. I worked at camp, I met my wife at camp and for the most part, my closest friends are those that I made at camp. As I tell people all the time, no matter how much time I put in working as a board member, no matter how much financial support I offer to the agency, I can never repay my debt to Surprise Lake Camp.”

Michael Zbar is one of thousands of people who have attended Surprise Lake Camp and benefited from its rich tradition and history. There are generations of past campers and staff who have similar stories to tell about their lifelong connection to Surprise Lake Camp. SLC will continue to celebrate throughout the summer of 2012, with a series of special programs for campers at the camp’s site in Cold Spring, NY. People seeking information about the camp or about 110th Anniversary events can call 212-924-3131.

Surprise Lake Camp
Sheryl Kirschenbaum