Camp teaches us all valuable lessons – but sometimes camp teaches us lessons about the valuable lessons we will teach! Meet Steve Feldman, Founder and Managing Partner of Private Prep – a premier company that offers customized educational lessons for standardized test prep, a wide range of K-12 subjects and college-level courses, and college admissions consulting – and this week’s Camper of the Week! Steve parlayed his camp experience into a career that enables him to mentor, coach, and teach – skills he encountered alongside the wonderful counselors and coaches who spent summers with Steve at camp!
Where did you go to camp?
I attended Pierce Camp Birchmont in Wolfboro, NH for seven years. For my first two summers, I attended camp for four weeks. I loved it so much that I convinced my parents to let me go for eight weeks the following five summers.
Where did you grow up? Where do you currently live?
I grew up in Bethesda, MD with an older brother and younger sister, both of whom went to camp Birchmont (along with many cousins!). I currently live in New York City with my wife Lauren (an alum of Camp Louise in Maryland) and our son Spencer who was born this past July.
What are you currently doing?
I am the Founder and Managing Partner of Private Prep, a premier education services company that provides support to students from Pre-Kindergarten through college, with operations in New York City, New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island, DC Metro Area, & Los Angeles.
How has camp influenced what you do/your career path?
I admired my counselors and coaches from camp. They played a role in my decision to pursue tutoring/coaching as a career. They were a positive influence on me and it’s rewarding to know that I play a role influencing the lives of the next generation.
What are your top three essentials that you packed in your trunk?
80s & 90s Essentials:
- A deck of playing cards
- Archie comics
- Letters that were half filled-out to make mailing a letter a 20-second endeavor.
What are three words to describe your camp experience?
Sports, Pranks & Joy!
Who was someone at camp that you looked up to?
A friend of my older brother who was really good at sports, popular with counselors and even more popular with girls!
Why do you think it is important to go to camp?
To get away from your parents! In all seriousness, independence is more important today than it was 25 years ago. Parents support their children but in today’s world of helicopter parenting, camp requires kids to support themselves a few weeks a year!
What is your favorite/most epic camp memory?
I loved playing sports and still play today. In addition to being a Color War Captain, a favorite memory is from the summer I was 13 and won an inter-camp competition soccer tournament on the Under 15 team. I was one of two 13-year olds on the team and it was a thrill to play on the same team as my older brother and his bunkmates.
How has camp affected your adult life? Is there something you learned there that you still do today?
My experience at camp has had a huge impact on me. Building relationships, resolving conflicts, being a team player (both leader and follower), and taking risks are all skills I apply in my personal and professional life.
Words of wisdom for current and future campers?
Take risks, challenge yourself to activities outside of your comfort zone, and most of all…Have Fun!
Felddaddy, Mount Feldmore, Chewbacca, Yogi
What is your favorite camp tradition?
Color War & Raids!
What did you prefer – pool or lake?
Lake- this should not even be up for debate!
What is your favorite camp word/expression?
Every morning, after reveille played, one of the camp directors would announce “It’s a Beautiful Birchmont Day.” It was a great, positive way to start every day- and it was true- every day at camp was a beautiful day regardless of the weather.
What were the biggest trends/must have items when you went to camp?
Umbro Shorts, Pringles, the Sports section posted to see baseball scores/ standings