Citing low enrollments for the summer session, a family-owned camp with a long history in the province of Quebec has announced that it will close.
Pripstein’s Camp Mishmar, a traditional overnight camp located 60 miles north of Montreal in the Laurentian Mountains, 60 miles north of Montreal was founded 75 years ago by Chaim and Pearl Pripstein near St. Jerome and moved to its present 200-acre location in St. Adolphe d’Howard in 1954. It has been owned by the Pripstein/Braverman family throughout its history.
Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen can be counted among its legion of former counselors.
Director Ronnie Braverman posted a message about the closing on the camp’s Facebook page.
I am writing you today with some important news in the history of our camp.
When I first joined my grandfather Chaim Pripstein in the business 42 years ago, the Laurentians were one of the booming centres of the Canadian camping scene. In addition to Pripstein’s, there were over a dozen privately operated co-ed English camps dotting the countryside, such as Hiawatha, Pine Valley, Pembina, Bayview, Panorama, and more.
Most of us know that when the Parti Quebecois took power in 1976, threatening to separate Quebec from Canada, over 100,000 anglophones and many head offices left the province. This exodus continued unabated till today, with the majority of our former campers and staff choosing to start their careers and families elsewhere. This had a devastating effect on our private camp scene. Camps started closing one after the other, and by 2007, Pripstein’s was the sole camp of the original group still operating.
Fast forward to today. With our Early Registration promotional period completed, our camper numbers are lower than targeted. Not only does this have financial implications for us, but we would be unable to ensure a great experience for campers without healthy group sizes. Therefore, after much discussion, my family and I have regretfully decided to call it a day and close the camp. All deposits and uncashed cheques will be fully refunded to parents within the week.
In an effort to help out our loyal families in this difficult situation, I met with my respected colleagues, Sol Birenbaum and Howie Grossinger, owners of Camp Walden. They are warm, friendly, and caring people, and I have always been aware of their stellar reputation in the camp community. After meeting with Sol and Howie, it was clear to me that their emphasis on nurturing their campers and staff and maintaining strong communication with parents would be a great fit for our families. I have visited Walden, which is just a 4-hour drive from Montreal. They have a beautiful, private site and own the complete frontage on their lake (a huge safety plus). It was interesting for me to see how each section of campers and CIT’s live in a series of mini-villages nestled in the woods, creating a cozy feeling in a big camp. Sol and Howie and their wives Jen and Sari, who are also active in the camp, will be contacting you shortly, and will be in Montreal on Wednesday evening to meet interested parents, campers, and CIT’s. I have secured a commitment from them that they have and will reserve spaces for interested Pripsteiners for a period of time. You can learn more at campwalden.ca.
I wish to thank all of you for your support, and hope that your children have made life-long friendships at Pripstein’s, and have many fond memories of their favourite counsellors, Colour Wars, Superbowls, Sing-Songs and more.
We will miss you all.
Ronnie Braverman, on behalf of the entire Pripstein/Braverman family
Below are just a couple of the messages that have been shared on Twitter today:
— Amanda Prizant (@aprizant12) December 9, 2014