Lake Huron, PA (July 2, 2021) – Despite the summer season starting just four short days ago, Director Marty Feldstein and his Camp Huron Lake office staff have been bombarded by hundreds, if not thousands, of calls from irate parents demanding to see their children happier, more active and situated closer to the center of the pictures that are posted on a nightly basis.
Instead of hiring more administrative staff to field the calls, Feldstein has partnered with Wayne County Community College to add 485 photography students who each are assigned to an individual camper to produce a daily photo documentary. No aspect of daily camp life is off limits as the photography staff has been given free reign to capture thousands of candid but mostly staged pictures each day. A team of editors work around the clock to ensure the photos are clear, post-worthy shots.
Long gone are the days of walking out to the mailbox in hopes of a hand-written letter from a camper a few times each summer. Today’s generation of overinvolved parents needs, or more aptly, desperately craves immediate gratification in the form of a non-descript photograph that can be interpreted a million different ways, all depending on how many glasses of wine the parent has already consumed that evening.
Feldstein struggled with his decision to nearly double the size of the camp population but knew it would ultimately free up his counselor staff to focus on more significant issues like camper well-being, acclimating new campers to the unfamiliar surroundings, and ensuring Covid safety protocols are diligently followed.
“The children got dropped off at various times on Saturday so our five original photographers got a decent amount of pictures that we posted around midnight,” Feldstein mentioned. “From the second our IT guy clicked the upload button, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. The same parents who pretty much threw their kids out of a moving car last weekend at drop off all of a sudden are so concerned about their kids’ well-being.”
One parent, school psychologist Blayne Goldfarb, 45, of Scarsdale, NY, made over thirty calls alone from 5 am to 7 am after she noticed that her son, Ethyn, was standing next to a new boy in a picture taken at the dining hall. “I don’t remember that kid from the winter bowling outing. I don’t know anything about him. Is he vaxxed? Pfizer or Moderna? Please not J&J. Where’s his mask? Are his parents Trumpers? What town is he from? Why isn’t Evyn with Jake Bernstein??!!!” Goldfarb recorded on the camp answering machine, oblivious to the fact that her son had freshly applied stitches over his right eye and seemed to be choking on a kosher-style hot dog as evidenced by a counselor performing the Heimlich maneuver on him.
Local shutterbug Chris Wellington has truly gone above and beyond documenting Inter Boy Joshyewa Schnarff’s first few days of his second summer at Huron Lake. Wellington has gotten some solid candid shots of Schnarff waking up, brushing his teeth, and checking his armpit for a few possible sprouting hairs as he dried off with another camper’s towel after a cold soap-less shower. Additionally, Schnarff’s parents can sleep well at night knowing he has already produced three bowel movements and created a lanyard keychain to send to his younger sister, Nykole, whose photos will be obsessed over next summer as she graduates from day camp to Camp Huron Lake.
While parents’ concerns seem to have been quelled for the time being, campers have been missing out on their favorite pastimes in lieu of posing for pictures at every activity. The Junior Boys division spent their baseball period taking pictures at home plate using a prop bat with a ball glued to the barrel to ensure that fathers do not die of embarrassment from a photo of a son missing the ball despite hundreds of hours of private baseball coaching. Super Girls Bunk 38 spent their swim activity posing for pictures in nearly 800 line up combinations so each girl had an equal amount of pictures being in the middle (most popular, parents very pleased, deposit for next summer given on Visiting Day) and on the ends (barely hanging onto a friend group, probably will be home before Visiting Day).
Senior Girl Lyndsee Kleinman likes the attention but admits there are some drawbacks to her new reality. “On one hand it was great that my photographer, Alexis, got a perfectly staged shot of me being carried off the soccer field on my teammates shoulders. But I’m not sure getting my period for the first time needed to be captured in both print and video form.”