Livingston, NJ (July 8, 2014) – They’ve spent hours upon hours scouring the Camp Huron Lake website for pictures or video of their son, Jake, but so far Mitchell and Jen Kleinfeld have yet to see him anywhere. After dropping him off at the camp bus at the Livingston Mall to go off to one of the Pocono’s finest camps last Saturday, they are starting to believe their son is at the wrong camp.
Last Saturday, among a sea of luxury SUV’s and dozens of coach buses, the Kleinfelds dropped off 9 year-old Jake for his first summer away. Running a bit late because Jen was getting her hair blown out for the drop off, they made it to the buses just before they were about to leave. Assuming all the buses were off to the same camp, they flagged down the first bus they saw, slipped the bus counselor a fifty and hurriedly got Jake on. With giant smiles on their faces, the Kleinfelds excitedly waved the bus away and looked forward to a quiet summer alone.
Saturday night, pictures and videos started getting posted on the camp website and the Kleinfelds eagerly “refreshed” every few minutes. Dozens, maybe hundreds of pictures, of children Jake’s age showing children exiting the bus, playing Can Jam, and dancing in the dining hall were shown but Jake was nowhere to be found. Being just the first day, the Kleinfelds weren’t overly concerned. “I figured maybe Jake was tying his shoe somewhere, taking a dump back in the bunk, or maybe still unpacking so it was no big deal,” confessed Mitchell, 42.
On Tuesday, the Kleinfelds received their first letter from Jake. Although it was just a check box post card, they were thrilled to get any correspondence at all from their son. “It was pretty much the standard letter but we are so happy that he’s alive,” a sarcastic Mitchell noted. “The return address is from Camp Huron Lake but the postcard is postmarked from somewhere in upstate New York, by the Massachusetts border. Kinda odd but maybe that’s where the sorting facility is.”
The Kleinfelds’ fears were quelled after a call from Camp Huron Lake Director, Marty Feldstein. Feldstein typically calls the parents of all new campers within the first few days to report on how the child has adapted to camp. Reading from a generic script at his desk, Marty informed the Kleinfelds that their son was thriving. “Jake is doing great. He’s met some nice boys from Long Island and New Jersey. His favorite sport to play is…mmm…all of them. He likes to eat….pizza and chicken nuggets. His counselors and his bunkmates said he’s nice.”
A reassured Jen felt much better after the call. “That call was just what I needed. It seems they really know my boy. Amazing since he’s only been there a few days.”
Unbeknownst to the Kleinfelds, Jake had, in fact, gotten on the bus for all boys Camp Tee-Nee-Wee-Nee in upstate New York. No one at the camp can account for him, yet Jake is thriving at Tee-Nee-Wee-Nee so far. Despite the fact that all of his belongings were shipped to Camp Huron Lake several weeks ago, he seems to be doing fine nonetheless. A first time camper, Jake assumes that all the clothes in the cubbies as well as toiletries are shared among his bunkmates so clothing has not been an issue. And because Bunk 5 didn’t have enough beds to accommodate Jake, Camp America sailing specialist Paul Wickens was forced to sleep in one of the other boy’s sleeping bag on the floor.
“This camp doesn’t really look like the one I visited last year with my parents. It was raining that day. And there are no girls here. I can’t find any of my underwear here either but I’m having a great time,” said an excited but confused Jake.
A few days into the camp season, one of Jen’s friends finally saw a picture of Jake on Facebook and immediately called her. “I thought Jake was at Huron Lake this summer. It looks like he’s in a picture at Camp Tee-Nee-Wee-Nee,” the friend questioned.
An oblivious Kleinfeld retorted, “Every kid has a brown short hair and brown eyes so they all pretty much look the same. Maybe he was there for intercamp games or something. Only two more weeks til I see my little baby on visiting day!”