Who would have guessed that this big city mom started out at a small town camp… we did!! Meet Risa, the co-owner of Big City Moms, a marketing and events company targeted at new and future parents. It is an awesome resource for all you camp parents out there who are looking to meet through events, seminars, and holiday parties! Tons of amazing companies have partnered with them to launch products and sponsor events – and we are excited to bring them to you! Risa grew up in Plainview, NY and now lives in Brookville, NY. She attended her 8-week sleepaway camp for 11 amazing summers, and loved every minute of it! She’s here bringing her camp spirit and Big City Mom advice straight to you!
Check out Risa as a camper with her mom at camp!
How has camp influenced what you do/your career path?
Camp taught me to be creative, think out of the box, work with well and listen to others, and most of all to believe in myself. During the eight weeks of camp we would produce several 60-minute shows, put on banquets for the entire camp, write and memorize hundreds of songs; that I can still recite verbatim to this day! We were not judged and we did it with ease. We loved every minute of it.
It’s kind of what I do now everyday – I create events and bring people together and have the best time watching all the smiles on peoples faces. One of the best parts of my job now is seeing so many familiar faces from camp at our events as we are now in just about every major market.
Camp also taught me the value of friendship. Several of my closest friends are still from camp. I know that I can call anyone who attended camp with me anytime and they would be there for me, just like I would be there for them. A special bond is formed when you spend eight weeks with 200 other girls each summer.
What were your top three essentials that you packed in your trunk?
As a camper there were so many essentials. I wanted to bring my entire bedroom with me in my small hard trunk. Some essentials that stand out were Lisa Frank stickers, a boom box with plenty of mixed tapes including plenty of Howard Jones, Yaz, and James Taylor, champion sweatshirts, and of course the matching EG Smiths Socks.
What are three words to describe your camp experience?
FUN, MEMORABLE, FRIENDSHIP.
Who was someone at camp that you looked up to?
When I was a younger camper I wanted to be just like the girls in the oldest group – Romrec. They were always so happy to lead the camp during the campfires, rainy day activities, Olympics, everything. In addition to leading the camp they were also nurturing. They took the time to play with the little campers, teach new skills, and treated everyone with respect. They also all had the perfect-feathered hair.
Why do you think it is important to go to camp?
The skills you gain at camp are invaluable. Camp affords children to be themselves without parents and friends from home. Children learn to be creative, form lifelong friendships, acquire unique skills, and be part of a team.
What is your favorite camp memory?
There are so many memories. The most memorable was my entire last summer as a camper. We shared so many experiences together – Our trip to Cape Cod, Secret Show, and our socials/events with our brother camp, Greylock.
How has camp affected your adult life? Is there something you learned there that you still do today?
While in camp I learned to love and appreciate photography. As a counselor I was one of the official camp photographers. I loved capturing all the key moments of camp. At the end of each summer we created a slide show as well as a yearbook. Anyone who knows me now, knows that I do not travel far without my camera. I love taking pictures of my kids, family and of course my kids at camp.
Words of wisdom for current and future campers?
Enjoy every minute and appreciate the incredible opportunity. Take advantage of everything camp offers. Try new activities and meet all kinds of great people. Camp is a place where you can grow and become your own person. Think of it as your 2 month vacation from reality!
What is your favorite camp tradition?
There are so many that it is hard to pick – I loved Campfires, Olympics, Apache Relays, Camp Shows, Secret Show, Banquet, and Wish Night. Last summer I went back to camp for my 20 year reunion along with many other alumni. We had the traditional campfire and sang all the songs from my time at camp. The “campfire” experience is truly what defines camp and brings everyone together.
What was your favorite camp food?
Definitely the Chocolate Chip Cookies.
What is your favorite camp cheer?
ROM ROM ACA…we love you! Woop dee dup de doo!!
Sports or arts?
Favorite canteen candy?
Favorite/most requested item on visiting day?
I “needed” everything. Not sure why we needed it, since we had one day to eat it all. Some items that stick out are Squeeze Cheese, Fresh Bagels, Soda, Pop Tarts, and Marshmallow Fluff
What was your favorite camp activity?
I loved to tie dye everything in arts and crafts and I loved playing tennis. I also made hundreds of string bracelets – Remember macramé?
If you had to have something from camp tattooed on you, what would it be?
Romrec 88 – That was the name of the group I was in my last summer at camp.
Favorite camp memento?
My 5 year and 10 year bracelets.
Favorite camp word/expression?
Yes, No, Maybe GOOSE!
What happens at camp stays at camp… but got anything you wanna share with us?
When I was 8 or 9 years old I used to go around camp signing a rap version of the song Maybe from Annie. The older campers would make me sing it over and over again. When I run into camp friends in my travels – they still ask me to sing it. And of course – I willingly do – even if they don’t still have the perfect winged hair!