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Oldest Jewish Children’s Sleepaway Camp in America Prepares to Pass Torch After Thirty Years

Jordan Dale to retire from Surprise Lake Camp after transforming iconic institution. When Jordan Dale first became Director of Surprise Lake Camp, its claim to fame was the experiences it generated and not necessarily the amenities it provided. From first class bunks for the campers to the brand new Henshel Family Swimming Pool, Dale has brought this legendary camp into the 21st century with a flourish.

New York, NY, March 02, 2016 --( Not your grandparents’ camp anymore

Surprise Lake Camp was founded in 1902, making it the oldest Jewish camp in the country that still operates on its original site. Dale started in 1970 as a 12-year-old camper and ultimately progressed through the ranks to become Executive Director in 1986. Under his leadership, SLC has renovated virtually every building in camp and developed 19 new program facilities. He stewarded the construction of the 10,000 square foot Belle Abramson Gymnasium, the restoration of the organization’s landmark Main Building, the renovation of the Health Center, the development of winter lodges, and the reconfiguration and upgrade of the camper cabins. During his tenure, the camp has added a farm, tennis courts, hockey rinks, an adventure course, gaga pits, and beach volleyball courts, among others. Dale has facilitated a significant increase in annual, capital, and legacy fundraising. He has also enhanced SLC's Jewish programming, both during the camping season and throughout the rest of the year.

Dale lives in Nanuet, NY with his wife, Suzanne - they met at camp (one of hundreds of marriages that began at Surprise Lake!). They have two sons, Michael and Skyler, who were both campers and staff at SLC.

The firm Harris, Rand, Lusk has been retained to support the Board of Directors in its search to fill his position.

As of today, the camp is 80% full for next summer, but there are still a few spaces left in most age groups. In keeping with its historic mission, the camp still offers need-based scholarships. For more information, the camp’s website is, and its phone number is 212-924-3131.
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Surprise Lake Camp
Sheryl Kirschenbaum

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