Camp, Camp & More Camp


Triple C Camp

Charlottesville, Va.

Ages: K-10th grade

K-6: $190 per week

Horse-back riding specialty (grades 4-6): $230

Teen Scene (grades 6-8): $210 per week

Leadership program (grades 9-10): $210 per week

(Triple C Camp offers $20 per week discounts for campers who sign up for six or more weeks)

The best camps have a pervasive electricity about them — a high-voltage feeling that emanates from the director to the counselors and, most importantly, to the campers.

“H” and Libby Rothenberg are just those types of lightning rods. Both have been involved in camps in one form or another practically their entire lives. They met during a staff recruitment drive at Indiana University and married soon after at the camp in Wisconsin where H worked.

The couple both dreamed of owning their own camp, and just a few years later hit the road in search of the perfect camp. They soon found it in Charlottesville, Va. — Triple C Camp.

Keep it Fresh

Years of being entrenched in the camp experience have taught the couple the most important lesson encapsulated in one word… Passion. It’s this passion that creates electricity and feeds the focus of Triple C Camp — child development.

“When we get ideas we’re passionate about them. With our challenge course, for instance, our non-summer revenue doubled from the first to second years. We didn’t budget it to go 100 percent, but it did because we went for it,” says H. “If you want things to grow, you have to be willing to take chances. With that is the possibility of failure. But if you’re going for it and absolutely following your heart because you know it’s the right thing to do, it’s going to happen.”

Triple C Camp, which is primarily a day camp, has been in business under the Rothenbergs’ leadership since 1999, when H and Libby bought the land and facilities. The grounds that now encompass Triple C were originally home to a residential girls’ camp that opened in the early ’50s.

The area has a residential camping history, which has been consciously incorporated into the feel of Triple C Camp. The camp offers a full complement of traditional camping programs and activities.

Triple C has two swimming pools, a horseback riding program, the challenge course, sports of all kinds, arts and crafts, drama and nature programming, among others.

“We try to be a day camp that has those overnight camp qualities. Our camp families are looking for childcare, but what they really get is a child development program, which traditional summer camps are,” says H.

The challenge, particularly in the day-camp setting, is to keep it fresh for the kids who are coming back day after day, week after week.

“Every year we try to add something new or different programmatically so that the kids get excited about something. Last year we spent $10,000 to improve our road, and the kids could care less about it. It was huge for us, but you have to make conscious efforts to improve your camp that the campers will notice,” says H. “So we put in the challenge course, new commercial basketball hoops with break-away rims and hand cranks, a water basketball hoop, loads of stuff at the pools like noodles and tubes, sports equipment, arts and craft supplies and costumes.”

H says these additions have made a difference where it’s truly noticed. It’s a constant balance between the necessary improvements that are both hidden and visible.

H and Libby spent a couple of years working for a non-profit social service organization in Chicago, which H says brought a valuable component to their experience.

“Writing a budget and having to present and defend a budget to a board of directors was a phenomenal experience. If I had never worked for a non-profit agency that required me to do that, I don’t know that I would do that in my own business,” says H. “The important thing is to sit down and actually write out the budget, professionally and personally. It’s just good, smart money management. Before we write our budgets, we write out our goals — things we want to accomplish through the year programmatically. What do we need to spend money on in order to make that happen?”

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