Friday, July 31, 2009

No Other Year Like 2009!

Check out the video for the 2009 Camp Monserrate was a great 5 weeks!

Go to the the 2009 Camp Photos link on the right.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Last Days of Camp

Hello from the Adirondacks! We have been very busy this week with the challenge hike up Mount Marcy, Camper's Day, where the boys run camp as counselors, teachers, and directors, and preparing for our departure on Saturday morning.

Today at Camp, we will welcome back Fr. Jack and Mr. Lovallo. They will be here to joing in our celebration of St. Ignatius day, tomorrow.

Our departure from Camp will be on Saturday morning around 9 a.m. The boys should arrive at Nativity on Saturday afternoon around 3 p.m., depending on traffic conditions.

While we are all looking forward to seeing you, our families, again, we will be enjoying our last few days at camp!

See you all soon!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Saludos de Ms. Laguarda


Esta semana pude pasar más tiempo con los estudiantes de Nativity acá en el Camp Monserrate. De nuevo, estoy impresionada con que bien que esta todo acá en el campamento. Los estudiantes, están acostumbrados a la rutina, y ahora unas cosas divertidas vienen para darles un premio por sus trabajos todas estas semanas. Este fin de semana, vienen varios alumnos de la escuela de Nativity, incluyendo muchos quien trabajaron en el campamento en anos pasados. También viene Father Jack de nuevo. Es la competición del “Iron Man” y algunos de los estudiantes van a ir a mirar la carrera con los alumnos. También vamos a tener un fogón con los estudiantes de Saint Ignatius (otra escuela de Nativity en el Bronx, donde yo trabajo también) el sábado de noche. En la semana que viene, algunos de los estudiantes van a subir una montana que se llama “Marcy,” y es la montana más grande en todo el estado de New York. Y, si siguen bien las cosas, los estudiantes tendrán la oportunidad de estar en cargo del campamento un día, en una tradición que se llama “Campers’ Day.” Con todas estas actividades, es fácil estar entusiasmado, aun que son cuatro semanas sin sus familias, Playstations, camas, y la comidas conocidas.

Esta semana, pude hablar con algunos estudiantes, y por lo general, veo que todos quieren mejorar su comportamiento y se sienten cómodos con los demás y los counselors de Camp Monserrate. Mr. Staysniak, Mr. Arte, y C.J. están siempre pendientes de los estudiantes y se pasan hablando con ellos durante el día para ver si hay problema o queja.

Los estudiantes en todos los grupos fueron a un lago donde pudieron nadar y saltar de una roca. Ayer fui con Cabin 4 y fue muy divertido, varios saltaron de la roca, nadamos, almorzamos juntos y algunos participaron en una clase de yoga que di en el bosque, mirando al lago.

Mañana, me voy de nuevo para estar con mis hermanos y sobrinos. Como siempre, cualquier cosa, me pueden mandar un mail a

Ana Laguarda

Friday, July 17, 2009

Highlights of Week 3

The days are moving along quickly, and we have almost come to the end of Week 3. Here are some updates on what has been happening at camp.

On Monday, the Pride, from Cabin 1, took on Cascade Mountain. They had great weather and made good time going up and down the mountain. Here is a picture of the group after they finished their hike and had returned to the bottom. Look at those happy hikers!

Monday also brought a visit from our school principal, Mr. Lovallo. While he was here to check up on how the camp is running, he brought an awesome surprise of baseballs and bats. Thanks Mr. Lovallo!

On Tuesday, Cabin 2, the Spark, hiked Cascade again. While they did not bring the camera along, their reports from the mountain were great. We can only imagine what views they had from the top!

Wednesday was a special day at camp. Steven Collado, a seventh grader in Cabin 2, celebrated his birthday for the second time at camp. As is the tradition, he got a delicious cake from Val, a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday from the entire camp, and even offered a "happy birthday dance" to everyone as a thank you. Happy 12th Birthday Steven!

While Steven was dancing his birthday away at camp, Cabin 3, the Odyssey, was hard at work on Mount St. Regis. They got an almost perfect day for their hike and they reported that the mountain had terrific views on all sides.

Cabin 4, the Hustle, went for their hike on Thursday. They must have been persuaded by all the positive feedback they heard from Cabin 3 about Mt. St. Regis, because they chose to hike St. Regis too! Even though there was a rainy start to the day, the cabin pushed forward with the hike and was rewarded with a hazy but sunny day.

More updates this weekend as we welcome back Fr. Jack and former director, Mr. Salvatierra and his wife Mrs. Salvatierra!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Campers of the Week, Jobs, Forts, and Field Day!!!

Campers of the Week
As the week of being Intellectually Distinguished comes to a close we honor those campers that have lived up to this ideal: making the right choices because you know how to and standing out for doing so. The honorable mentions are Matthew Garcia, Lemuel Bourne, Sergio Velazquez, and David Bernard. These three campers have had a terrific second week and are on their way to having an even better third week. The camper of the week was awarded to Malik Forrest and Adrian Suriel. Their ability to be intellectually distinguished really showed through this week. Great job!


Speaking of great jobs, even though we have been here for two weeks now the place is looking just as good as when the campers first arrived. Each camper has certain jobs that they were hired for the entire summer as well as additional jobs that they could volunteer to do. The sixth graders are sweepers of the Main Hall (supervised by a seventh grader) and the seventh and eighth graders are sanitation workers (with an eighth grade supervisor). Also, campers could volunteer to get hired for hospitality (getting rooms ready for guests and showing them around) or sacristan (cleaning the chapel). If the campers show up to these jobs on time and do them well they are rewarded just like in real life with a paycheck later in the school year.
Campers complete even more jobs throughout the camp to ensure that everything runs smoothly. In the kitchen, Val and Roseanne get help with every meal from three Kitchen Patrol and one Kitchen Assistant staff. Each cabin has a waiter for the day responsible for getting more food from the KP staff and cleaning and sweeping after the meal. Campers clean their cabins every day (sweep, fold their clothes, and make their beds). After hikes, campers do their own laundry.

All-in-all, they do a great job cleaning!

Fort Building Competition

After two amazing weather days we are now back to the unpredictability of the mountain storms. Saturday's weather was like most up here: clear in the morning with rain storms in the afternoon only to clear up right at dinner time. But the fun and team work never stops. With the recycling truck not coming to take our cardboard away for two straight weeks we decided that it should be put to use. Each cabin had two teams that were given the task of constructing a fort from seven pieces of cardboard and one roll of duct tape. The fort was judged on looks, stability, and if it could fit one Mr. Arte comfortably inside. Many forts had additional accessories that made Mr. Arte feel at home, such as a TV set to college basketball. One had a toilet and another even had a missile launcher (but no missiles). The two forts from cabin one, The Pride, tied for first place. Who knows, maybe Mr. Arte will sleep in one some night if the rain lets up.

Field Day

The weather cleared just enough for the boys to participate in the 2009 Camp Monserrate Field Day. This camp wide activity offers the campers a chance to show off their many track and field, basketball, and throwing skills. Everyone had a blast and participated no matter their level of skill. As this blog is being posted they are at the pool getting a much deserved and refreshing swim in before dinner and Sunday camp fire!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Busy Week 2

Week 2 of Camp is quickly coming to a close and the positive energy here at Monserrate is growing everyday. Finally, this week brought us some much needed sunshine. We hope that the clear weather continues.

On Tuesday, Cabin 2, the Spark, trekked their way up Hurricane Mountain. This is an especially interesting hike because of the fire tower on top of the mountain. As a way to prevent forest fires, people used to hike the mountain and camp out in the fire tower so they could observe the forest for miles and miles on each side.

Cabin 3, the Oddessey, decided to challenge themselves with a trip to Haystack Mountain. Only a 5 minute drive from camp, the mountain offers view of Lake Placid, and some say - of camp it self! Here is a picture of the Oddessey at the peak of Haystack, with Lake Placid just visible to the right.

Following in the footsteps of Cabin 3, the Hustle in Cabin 4 decided to hike the same trail that leads to Haystack but go even further up to the peak of Mt. McKenzie. While this mountain doesn't offer a true "peak" of open rock and great views, there are small lookout points that provide nice peeks of Lake Placid.

To end the week, the Unexpected in Cabin 5 took Mr. Arte along in their trip up Noonmark Mt. The clear weather was said to have contributed to a great team-building experience for the cabin.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lots happens in two days of Camp!

Our Fourth of July was windy, chilly, and fun! The eighth graders took their traditional trip into the town of Lake Placid with Fr. Jack and CJ to watch the fireworks over Mirror Lake. This is a great reward for the hard work these veterans have put into the camp season so far.

During Sunday Talk, Mr. Staysniak awarded the first two Camper of the Week awards to James Mai and David Bernard. In the eyes of their counselors and the camp staff, these two eigth graders showed an exceptional desire to be open to growth during this first week of camp. Congratulations to these two - they are making the right choices to have a successful camp season.

The Camp Monserrate Scavenger hunt took place on Sunday afternoon. The entire camp took the afternoon to work in teams of three to find as many items on the scavenger hunt list as possible. Different items on the list received different amounts of points. Many of the boys went for the "big point" items like frogs, tadpoles, and even fish! Here are the boys enjoying the muddy outdoors as they look for something to capture.

Finally, on Sunday night, each cabin unveiled their cabin names. We are now proud to say that instead of Cabins 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5, our camp has the Pride, the Spark, the Oddessey, the Hustle, and the Unexpected. The Pride used their new name as motivation for the climb up Roostercomb Mt. on Monday.

Make sure to look at our online photo album to see lots of other photos along with a delicious desert we had last night, made espectially unique thanks to Mr. Arte's newly discovered cake decorating skills.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rain or Shine!

Weather at Camp continues to be unpredictable. Windy and rainy one minute, sunny the nexst, and back to rain. The boys, however, are still putting their full effort into all of the activities Camp.

On Friday, the a rain shower kept out of the pool during our normal afternoon pool period. Instead of letting the bad weather put them in a sour mood, the boys excitedly took part in a paper airplane building contest. In teams of three, one boy from each grade, the boys had five sheets of paper to make a plane that had to fly at least 25ft. Of the five planes that flew the required distance of 25ft., a winner was decided by throwing the best planes at the same time and seeing which plane went the farthest. The winning team of Joelve Rodriguez, Jeremy Jimenez, and Gio Perez, threw their plane almost 50ft! Here is a picture of the five best plans being thrown by one of the team members.

While we were enjoying our contest indoors, Cabin 5 attacked Ampersand mountain. Despite some rather windy and rainy conditions, they reached the top of the mountain and were even home in time for dinner!

We welcomed three guests from Nativity to camp this weekend: Fr. Jack, Br. Jerry, and Ms. O'Leary, a new teacher at NMC. It is always a thrill for the boys to share the experience of camp with those who come to stay with us. Sadly, with the arrival of new guests, we said goodbye to Ms. Laguarda, our school psychologist, yoga instructor, and full-time hiker (four mountains in four days, WOW!). Luckily for us, she will be back to camp later this month. Check out Ms. Laguarda the hiker in action with Cabin 4 - they conquered Cascade Mountain on a foggy Thursday.

Our Fourth of July was rather rainy and chilly, but the weather did break long enough for seven campers to pass the intermediate swim test. The entire camp was there to cheer them on and many people reported that the cheers could be heard all the way down the pool path, back at camp!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Update on Camp

This morning we said goodbye to Mr. Glowacki, who is heading to San Francisco and then back to Poland. He has given two years of great service to the Nativity family and we will miss him a lot. We will also miss his amazing photography skills and dedication to keeping up our blog!

Cabin 4 conquered Cascade Mountain today, which is one of the 50 highest peaks in the Adirondak region. The total length of the hike is about 5 miles, and the elevation is 4,098 feet. It was a bit rainy and foggy at the top, which made it feel like the campers were (in their words) "inside a cloud."

The other cabins had a great day in the pool and doing group activities, and we all enjoyed delicious chicken "cordon bleu" (Val-style) for a hard-earned dinner.

The cabins are working on picking the names and related identities that they want for themselves as they finish up their first week of camp. Mr. Staysniak, Mr. Arte, and C.J have been reminding us all to keep the values of this year's camp in mind as we choose who we want to be this summer and onwards. So far, the cabins have been working well together and we have been impressed to see new leaders emerging within the Nativity community.

The weather has been a bit funky so far, with sun and clouds in the morning turning to clouds and rain in the afternoon. However, despite this un-July-like weather, the camp has not let this weather dampen the overall mood. On the few occasions that rain has forced us to stay in the main hall, the cabins have spent time learning about eachother playing trust building activities.

We have been swimming twice a day and spending as much time outside as possible. Capture the flag, dodgeball, and even softball have been some of the choices for afternoon group activity thus far.

When the sun finally gets here to stay, we will be ready!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Saludos de Ms. Laguarda

Saludos a todos de Ms. Laguarda, la psicóloga escolar de Nativity! Es mi 3rd día en el campamento, y estoy MUY contenta y divertida. En general, los estudiantes se están portando muy bien: los del octavo grado ayudando a los menores y los del sexto grado con buen humor y con ganas de aprender. Los del séptimo grado también están mostrando como ser un buen amigo y estudiante de Nativity.

Hoy fui con los del “Cabin 3” a una montana que se llama “Rooster Comb.” No fue tan difícil como el de ayer (“Blueberry Mountain”), pero fue igual de lindo cuando llegamos arriba a comer los sándwiches y disfrutar la vista.

Los del octavo grado ayudaron mucho a los menores a subir la montaña—Brian llevo agua de 5 personas, Luis hacia cuentos, Fernando sabia toda la ruta y nos contaba cuanto nos quedaba, y James tenia siempre buen humor.

Sergio nos hico reír en pila, porque siempre se metía en los charcos de agua y también camino un rato con 10 kilos de rocas, para tratar de ganar el derecho a tomar la primera ducha. Kenny y Siree andaban siempre con buen humor y disfrutando, y Aldo, aun que tuvo dificultad a la subida, bajó casi corriendo y riéndose muchísimo.

Los del sexto grado—Rafael, Christian, y Christian, eran expertos desde el principio, sin problema y disfrutando. Aun ayudaron a los otros, llevando cosas extras como camperas para la lluvia, que nunca vino, porque tuvimos siempre mucho sol.

Si quieren ver fotos, mirar el link de

Estoy hablando con todos los estudiantes en mi tiempo acá, y por ahora todo muy bien y todos muy contentos. Espero que ustedes estén bien! Cualquier cosa, me pueden mandar un mail a