Being at camp you are laughing and having fun 24/7, but maybe not as much when it is dreaded Laundry Day (searching for labels to find out whose socks are who and of course changing those sheets each week!!). Good thing we found our newest camper of the week; Shark Tank Contestant and Founder/President of AfreSheet, LLC; Maxwell Cohen to help make Laundry Day almost as fun and easy as free swim! AfreSheet, the world’s first waterproof fitted disposable sheet with 7-peel away layers, will help make changing your bunk bed sheets a breeze. Cue the oooh’s and ahhhh’s!!
Maxwell attended camp for 6 summers and truly believes those summers at camp were instrumental in starting his successful business. Summer 365 went bananas for this product and is sure it will be a staple on camp packing lists and in every camper’s duffle!!
Let’s start peeling away and learn a little more about Maxwell!
Where did you go to camp?
I attended Kutchers Sports Academy, at the time located in Monticello, NY, overlooking the scenic Anawana Lake, starting when I was 8 years old up until I was 13. Each of these years I did the 4-week program.
What are you currently doing?
Presently, I am the Founder/President of AfreSheet, LLC. I started my company in my senior year at the University of Arizona. AfreSheet is the world’s first and only waterproof, soft-cottony, fitted disposable bed sheet with 7 peel-away top layers. When the top layer gets soiled, just peel off that layer to instantly reveal a clean, brand new sheet below. Our users rated AfreSheet as comfortable as their conventional sheets, especially in the area of softness.
The summer camp market is perfect for our product, as it will allow each camper to enjoy a wonderful night sleep with the ease of changing their sheets quickly when dirtied. We have many summer camps using our product and we are certain AfreSheet will become a household name.
How has camp influenced what you do/your career path?
In retrospect, summer camp was instrumental in developing my strong character, leadership and entrepreneurship. As a young boy learning how to stay competitive in sports while maintaining true sportsmanship. I also developed long-lasting friendships.
Camp was the first time I really left the security of my family and town. Being at camp allowed me to have outside supportive adult-child relationships and community values. It taught me to be independent and to develop skills that I may not have otherwise explored, such as photography, woodworking classes and to expand my mind and creativity. It also taught me to be indulgent of others.
These experiences help mold me into an independent thinker and to be more confident in my abilities, an added plus when I went off to college.
What are your top three essentials that you packed in your trunk?
In my younger years, my first thoughts were to be close to the things that made me feel secure – my teddy bear, photos of my family, and candy.
In my later years, essentials, such as extra socks, undies and my favorite pillow.
What are three words to describe your camp experience?
Exciting, Educational, Epic
Who was someone at camp that your looked up to?
Of course my Camp Counselor Todd, he was the coolest guy. Todd, was like an older brother, teacher, mentor to us, and we wanted to be just like him (wonder where he is now?).
Why do you think it is important to go to camp?
To learn, to leave your comfort zone, and expand your horizons. I have met so many wonderful people that are still my friends today. It allowed me to grow into the independent, confident person I am today and certainly helped with public speaking.
What is your favorite/most epic camp memory?
Color war is a must as a child!
One year I remember a huge fight breaking out at dinner between the Director and the Head Counselor. The police and fire department came rushing into the camp to break it up. Turned out it was all staged, and over the loud speaker came the first announcement of the “Summer’s Color War”! Everyone’s heart dropped when they saw all the commotion, it was such a memorable experience.
How has camp affected your adult life? Is there something you learned there that you still do today?
Ironically, camp is still a big part in my life, as my company, AfreSheet, now has summer camps as its targeted industry and we have been selling our product to the top summer camps in the U.S.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend camp that allowed me to experience many new adventures, and become the entrepreneur I am today. I learned a lot about team work and leadership.
Words of wisdom for current and future campers?
Life has many unforeseen opportunities. However, you will never know what those opportunities are unless you take the first steps. One of these steps is summer camps. At camp you will learn the meaning of friendship, leadership and teamwork. Open yourself to trying new activities, even if you feel they are not for you, such as woodworking or photography. You will surprise yourself and find hidden talents you never realized you possessed.
How do you keep in touch with your camp friends? What has kept you close through all of these years?
Facebook and Myspace were just coming into the world of social media while I was in the later years of going to camp. It really is the best way to keep in touch with camp friends. Many of my friends lived in the suburbs of NYC, so we would all plan to meet at convenient locations.
Then when you go to college you start to realize how many people you actually have connections with because someone’s best friend was your best camp friend. I actually went to a friend’s birthday party recently, and some man yelled my name “Max” across the room. It turned out it was one of my oldest and first camp friends. We just made plans to grab drinks and catch- up after 15 years.
What is your favorite camp tradition?
Color War, of course.
What was your favorite camp food?
Camp Fire Night – S’mores
What did you prefer – pool or lake?
Lake–I always enjoyed sailing and all water sports
Favorite canteen candy?
Favorite / most requested item on visiting day?
Candy and Goldfish.
What was your favorite camp activity?
What is your favorite camp word/expression?
Three Musketeers – All for One! One for All!
Did you ever get homesick at camp? How did you deal with that?
I brought family photos to camp
What were the biggest trends/must have items when you went to camp or representative of the time you went to camp?
CD Player, Nokia
Any firsts at camp?
Many of our counselors were from Australia, so I tried their favorite condiment “vegemite” (absolutely disgusting)
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