Summer 365 Camper of the Week | Scot Tatelman, Co-Founder State Bags

6.23.14 by

Scot’s got the POWER and is making a big STATEment about it… Camp Power and State Bags, that is!  Scot attended camp as a camper, counselor boys head counselor and assistant director “from 1989 aaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way to 2007 and never missed a summer in between (despite my friends at home hating me)”… Don’t worry Scot, we totally get you.  Scot and his wife, Jacq, run two separate ventures together: their nonprofit organization, Country Roads Foundation, which sends hundreds of kids from underfunded neighborhoods of Brooklyn to Camp POWER, and their for-profit company, STATE Bags – a get one, give one company that makes cool, classic bags for people of all ages and styles, all with a genuine social mission at its core in support of American kids in need.

So, needless to say, camp has always been a huge part of Scot’s life and holds a special place in his heart, which obviously means we hold a special place in our hearts for him!  Read up on Scot and his awesome camp experiences, and check out how you can help spread the gift of camp!

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summer 365 camp sleepaway camp STATE bags camp POWER decisions camp summer 2015 maine camps charity camp teens kids decisions experts choices advice inner city organization

How has camp influenced what you do/your career path? 

It’s the thread of everything I’ve ever done professionally. I worked full time with Camp Micah for 7 years as both the Assistant Director and Boys Head Counselor. There, I started a one-week camp for kids living in the inner cities of Boston in partnership with the Mark Wahlberg Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester. After that got off the ground, I moved to New York to pursue a different career…but 3 years later, found myself right back in the camp world, starting Camp POWER and Country Roads Foundation. I’ve learned in my life that no matter how I may try to steer from camp time and again, all roads will most certainly lead back to it.

What are your top three essentials that you packed in your trunk? 

1) I was a crazy shoe kid. Used to come with way too many – basically a pair for each sport…my friends could all be spotted around camp wearing my different shoes at all times.

2) My own bedding – bringing that home feeling to those camp beds was essential for me

3) My Brown team bandana. Still have it/wear it.

What are three words to describe your camp experience? 

“You wouldn’t understand” (something I’ve said to all my non-camp friends for decades).

Who was someone at camp that you looked up to? 

There were many, but one of my best friends Jeremy Aron was an enormous influence in my camp life…not just as a kid (he sat with me on the bus up to my first summer in 1989), but even more so as a counselor and administrator. Jeremy could find a way to connect with every single kid and make sure they felt special – no one slipped through the cracks. That’s what I’ve always strived to do and will forever channel his ridiculously hilarious, creative, and unconventional ways of working with kids.

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Why do you think it is important to go to camp?

How much room do I have to answer this question? The simple answer is that you learn to be a kid, while simultaneously growing up. On top of the experience of being away from your parents for 2 months, experiencing the outdoors, being challenged in ways never possible otherwise, and being forced to work through the ups and the downs, for me it’s most about role models. The people I met who worked at camp (and continue to meet today) are in it for the right reasons – to impact kid’s lives in such a unique, memorable and long-form type of way. If done right, there’s absolutely no place like it.

What is your favorite camp memory? 

There are many, but the one that sticks out is when I shockingly was elected Color War Captain at 14 years old. I still had another year as a camper and the oldest guys were the ones that typically were elected, but for whatever reason, those Brown teamers chose me. It was the first time I was publicly acknowledged as a leader, and I absolutely ran with it. And we won by the way…in ’94 and ’95!

How has camp affected your adult life? Is there something you learned there that you still do today?

You used to hear people say make the best of it because before you know it, it’s over. I still think a lot about that today, especially with a 2 year old. She’s getting so big so fast and time is racing by…I try to make the best out of everyday with her because before you know it – like the buses rolling out on the last day of camp – we’ll be dropping her off to college. Now, I’m a mess…thanks for that!

Words of wisdom for current and future campers? 

Just be nice. Everyone loves a genuinely nice person at camp…and everywhere else.

What is your favorite camp tradition?

My competitive side says Color War, but my romantic side says coed dances.

What was your favorite camp food?

Nothing jumps out at me here, except the entire salad bar that got tossed around the Indian Acres Dining Hall during the epic food fight Color War break in ‘94.

What is your favorite camp cheer?

Brown Team’s “I.U.P.” Color War cheer. Makes zero sense, but brings back great memories.

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What did you prefer – pool or lake?

Neither – I successfully skipped instructional swim for 7 straight summers and never went to the lake. But if I had to choose something, it’s definitely the Saco River…camp’s true waterfront.

Sports or arts?

Sports. All day.

Favorite canteen candy?

Milk Duds

Favorite / most requested item on visiting day?

My sister. She went to camp 45 minutes away, and I always wanted her to leave Visiting Day at her camp and come to mine.

What was your favorite camp activity?

Baseball. I could literally spend all day on the diamond with my friends and legendary baseball coach, Gary McClurg (who came to my wedding and hit fly balls for everyone 2 hours before the ceremony)

If you had to have something from camp tattooed on you, what would it be?

The sunset over the Saco on Sunday nights.

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What is your favorite camp word/expression?

White fang…

Favorite camp memento? 

Brown bandana.

Did you ever get homesick at camp?  How did you deal with that?

Real bad – first summer in ’89. But I stuck it out for two months and never turned back.

Everyone loves a camp love story…got anything good for us? 

DISCLAIMER: Kids don’t try this at camp! The rules have changed…

Our last summer as campers, my four friends and I decided to sneak out of our cabin in the middle of the night and meet our girlfriends. We planned it out for weeks, dressed in all black and dove into the bushes every time we thought we saw someone coming (mostly for effect). We got to the camp after a long trek – sneaking around just to make it more dangerous and movie-like. The girls? Never showed up. But us? We walked around camp the next day feeling like legends. We told the Head Counselor about the entire story in the off-season and he played it off like everyone knew, but no one did. It’s never been attempted again to this day…or at least I like to think that!

summer 365 camp sleepaway camp STATE bags camp POWER decisions camp summer 2015 maine camps charity camp teens kids decisions experts choices advice inner city organization

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In 2009, Scot and his wife created Camp POWER with the mission of giving kids in Brooklyn’s most underfunded and violent neighborhoods a week of pure overnight summer-camp fun, for free!

Camp POWER’s mission is to provide kids with not only an opportunity to experience a world outside of Brooklyn, but also a chance to truly act their age and simply be kids!  Upon arrival at camp, every child is given the original hands-free device — a brand new STATE Bag! Summer 365 is proud to support Country Roads Foundation and Camp Power through our GIVE SUM Scholarship Fund.

Help give bags to this year’s POWER kids by getting one for yourself!  For the entire month of June, one bag sold will equal one bag delivered to a Camp POWER camper.  You get one, they give one!

Plug in the code POWER2014 at checkout for 25% off all orders.

Camp POWER, STATE and Summer 365 have your back!

Get camp ready and get inspired by checking out STATE Bags on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram!

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