All in the Family
The Pierce Family means business. Camp Birchmont is one of several entities owned and operated by the group. From the bus lines, to a golf club, and even a restaurant, Camp Birchmont Director Greg and his kinfolk have expanded exponentially since their grandfather started the first day camp in America in the early 1900s.
Almost a century later, it is still in operation as a day camp and school under the name Pierce Country Day School, located in Roslyn, N.Y.
Greg Pierce came to Camp Birchmont 20 years ago after directing the day program for ten years. "Initially, when I came to resident camping I had a day camp perspective, which was more hustled, and not as laid-back," he said.
Since Greg and his brother, who directs the day camp, are close to each other, many programming ideas are intertwined.
For instance, Greg's brother Doug initiated some structured choice activities into his day camp that were popular in his resident camp. RAG is one such activity where campers choose between riflery, archery, or golf.
He also learned the benefit of splitting programming between athletic and non-athletic activities, such as soccer, and arts and crafts.
This well-rounded approach allows those who are athletically bent to experience something more independent, while the non-athletic child may learn something team oriented.
"We constantly bounce ideas back and forth between each other," Pierce says, speaking of other family members and the organizations they run.
He also notes the fact that that many kids from the day camp are also involved in the residential camp.
Consequently, family discounts are available for those families who make use of the two camps. Even the multiple child discount offered at one camp is honored at the other Pierce facility.
Other than sharing programming ideas, staff, facilities and transportation, Pierce points out that "they really are two independent camps doing their own thing."