Surprise Lake Camp Celebrating 110 Years

With all that camps that have come and gone since 1902 and the recent challenges facing the summer camp industry, a celebration like the one Surprise Lake Camp has planned for this weekend is one that should make all of us who love summer camps proud.

The Cold Spring, N.Y., camp will mark 110 years of serving Jewish youth with a Gala dinner dance on Saturday, March 10.

Founded in 1902 to provide a summer vacation for Jewish boys from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the camp has since grown from 25 children per summer to over 475. The camp features a sliding fee scale based on income and family size; in 2011 alone, the camp provided more than $900,000 in scholarships.

The Gala will be held at the Marriott Marquis in midtown Manhattan and will feature a cocktail dinner, silent auction, fun stations and a celebration of three of the camp’s dedicated alumni. Information about the 110th Anniversary Gala, or about Surprise Lake Camp can be obtained by calling 212-924-3131 or visiting

A list of silent auction items can be found here. E-bids (for those not attending the event) can be placed by 3 p.m. on Friday by emailing

The above 1930 photo of the camp’s aeronotic club is one of many archival gems from the camp available in the Milstein Family Jewish Archives.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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