Camp Shane Testimonials

Camper Weight Loss Testimonials

What an amazing experience!

by jlw385

Six years ago, as an overweight child, I was forced by my parents to go to a weight loss camp. After reviewing all of my options the final choice had been Camp Shane.
We went to an Open House session where we would be able to view the camp grounds and meet Head Staff members. It was a good opportunity to discuss my concerns and to ask any questions we had before I attended a month later for what I now call the best summer of my life. At Camp Shane, I never had to worry about being made fun of, never had to worry about how fast I had to run, and most importantly I never had to worry about how I would fit in to the Camp Shane community. You never really hear about a place where everyone is friends, and where everyone is always available to listen to you if you have a problem . At camp Shane however, everyone is always there with open arms and ready to help you in any way they can. Returning summer after summer for my friends and to create more memories than the summer before has made me realize what an amazing experience Camp Shane has given to me. The food is good and just because you are at a weight-loss camp does not mean that you cannot eat good food. They serve you just what you would eat at home but only in a portion controlled manner. The only thing that made me feel like I was at a weight loss camp was having a nutritional meeting once a week with a nutritionist and seeing your weekly success on the scale. As I return for my sixth consecutive summer at Camp Shane I am now a counselor. So many people at Camp Shane have touched my heart and changed my life forever so now it is my turn to give back. I want to do the same for other campers. I want to be able to touch their heart and change their lives and make a difference in others the way it made a difference and change in me!

My home away from home!

by lilkirky16

This coming summer will be my fifth year attending Camp Shane. Although I am not quite at the weight I’d like to be at, I’ve managed to lose and keep off 50 pounds over the years.
From the moment I first stepped foot on Camp Shane grounds, I knew it was the place for me. I feel that my closest friends are made at Camp and keeping in touch with them is no problem. By next year I will hopefully be working at Camp Shane!

My mom knows how much camp meant to me and how much I loved it

by Meredith

Dear David,

My name is Meredith and I was a camper at your beautiful camp last summer. Camp Shane was like a home away from home to me. I made great friends that I get to visit and still keep in touch with.
My mom knows how much Camp meant to me and how much I loved it. That was the best summer of my entire life as it changed my whole life socially and mentally and I made the best friends ever! I wear my Camp Shane T-Shirts all the time at home. I always sing the songs from “Sing” and will always remember the Hill to the dining hall and our wakeup calls. Camp Shane was the one place I really loved to go to every summer. I loved to walk around and to see your family at Camp with the campers. It felt like we were living another life with different people. I love your Camp very much; you did a great job! Your Camp is a very good chance for people to do something very good for themselves. I told lots of my friends about your Camp and how much fun I had and some of them are actually asking their parents about it. I would love to help you tell people who are overweight or want to lose weight about Camp Shane and how much fun it was.Thank you so much,

It is a wonderful surrounding with the greatest people

by Allyson

Dear Camp Shane,

I just wanted to send a letter to let you know that I was a camper at Shane and then a staff member for a year. I loved it!!! Camp Shane was and still is, as far as I’m concerned, the greatest Camp ever. I have wonderful memories and even a few photos from 18 years ago. That long!!!
I am pleased to know that Camp Shane is still thriving and doing the wonderful things that I remember doing myself. I have recently seen a talk show in which David was on and gave free sessions to overweight kids who really need the help. I returned to Camp Shane for 5 years in a row from Canada. It is more than a Camp and more than a weight loss place. It is a wonderful surrounding with the greatest people I have ever met. Thank you,

I have to say that it was the best summer of my life so far

by Ashley

Dear Staff and Campers,

Hey! How are you? My name is Ashley Sander and I was a camper last year. I have to say that it was the best summer of my life so far.
With the friendships I formed, I never wanted to leave…except of course to get food! I’m just kidding…I did pretty good at keeping up my diet after Camp. I missed going to Camp so much this year. It made me cry on several occasions just thinking about how much I missed the friends that I had made. My summer at Shane taught me more about myself then I’d ever known before. I had a chance to be myself without trying to live up to society’s standards. It was great. I miss it so much and I am practically begging my parents to send me back. The main reason I want to go back is to see my friends. It would be incredible if you could share this letter with other campers. I want everyone that I was friends with last year to be able to contact me one way or another. When I am not there, I feel like something is missing. It’d also be great if people could reach me online so they can write to me and I can share my experiences. It does not matter if I know them or not, because I would absolutely love to talk to any past, present or future campers.

We cannot express enough the amazing magic you have provided us

by 28 of our campers

Dear Simon,

As we watched the leaves fall from the trees and the grass turn white, we each had a feeling of remorse knowing that just six months prior, we were strolling the hills of our second home, Camp Shane.
Sharing feelings of joy, laughter, disappointment, achievement, hunger and tears, we created memories that we will always cherish and never forget. The bonds we have made over the summers we have spent together are ones that will last a lifetime. Your Camp has not only been our summer home, but has given us the confidence and self-assurance we need to be happy. Although Shane is a specialty Camp, we are all there for the same reason which gives us confidence in ourselves. Knowing you are not the only one with a problem gives you reassurance and comfort. We are all treated as normal campers at a regular Camp which makes the situation more comfortable for us. Memories of our unforgettable summer’s at Camp constantly dance through our heads. Relationships and friends we discovered will last forever! From our counselors to each other, we made unbreakable bonds and unforgettable memories. During a reunion, we all decided that if we were forced to leave our homes, and could only take one thing, it would be our pictures from Camp. Materials are replaceable, but you cannot buy memories. We each swap photo albums, and remember all of the good times we had together. Each picture contains a story in which the boundaries are endless. We have all wondered at times what magic is and have finally answered the question; CAMP SHANE. We cannot express the amazing magic you have provided us within words.We have all seen each other several times during the year and our phone bills are concrete proof of our endless communication. We thank you for all you have done for us and know we will be seeing you again as campers, and eventually counselors. We wish you a great upcoming summer and thank you for all you have given us.
Love,Lindsay, Lauren, Corey, Jody, Seth, Brad, Traci, Seth, Steve, Sarah, Becky, Melissa, Jenn, R.B., Scott, Melissa, Rainy, Debbie, Michelle, Mariel, Sheetal, Eric, Steve, Bethanie, Jaime, Bari, Eric, and Harron

I made lasting relationships with people that I am still friendly with today

by Jennifer


I was a camper at Shane many, many years ago. I just saw a special on MTV and it reminded me of the many good times I had at Camp Shane growing up.
I made lasting relationships with people that I am still friendly with today. I had the most exciting time of my life at Camp. I just wanted to share that with you and to let you know that I often think about the fun that I had at Camp. The special I saw on MTV was a reminder of how much Camp Shane changed my life and how much fun I had there so many summers ago.

I lost 30 pounds throughout my six week stay

by Alice

Hey there Camp Shane!

I was a camper at Shane  the summers of 2001 and 2002. After 19 years of struggling with my weight, hiding underneath baggy clothes and being told that I “had a beautiful face,” I decided to begin my first summer at a fitness camp. I began my summer at Camp weighing 250 pounds. With the help of Camp Shane, I lost 30 pounds throughout my six week stay, and then lost an additional 60 pounds on my own totalling of 90 pounds all together.
Over the past year and a half, I have maintained a weight of 160-170 lbs. I became a camper for two reasons. The first was to lose weight and to become the happier, healthier person I knew I wanted to be. The second reason was that I hoped to someday complete a marathon. The exciting news is that in a few weeks I will be running my first marathon! It all began with my running at Camp Shane in the mornings before breakfast. At first I was only capable of running one lap around the track (which is 1/6 of a mile). By the end of my 6th week at camp, I was comfortably running two miles a day. I now run five to seven miles four days a week, adding a longer run of fifteen to twenty-five miles on the weekends. I can’t believe that I run 5k and 10k races just for fun now! By the end of February, I will have completed my first marathon and will begin training to qualify for the New York Marathon in late fall. Please tell your campers that all it takes is a little hard work, dedication, and a LOT of support from friends and family. I never thought that I could have made it this far. Please tell them to not doubt their own ability to becoming healthier people. It isn’t about being thin. It isn’t about waist size or weight. It’s about setting and achieving goals and about being happy with themselves and their accomplishments…no matter what size they are. All my thanks and very best wishes for a wonderful upcoming summer.

I had the best summer ever here at Camp Shane

by Cynthia

Dear David,

I wanted to write you a thank you letter. I enjoyed being at Camp Shane. I had met wonderful counselors who made me feel good about myself.
What I enjoyed the most was making new friends and learning better eating habits. I lost 27 pounds. My parents are so very proud of me. Being here at camp and losing the weight makes me feel great and loved by everyone. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I had the best summer ever here at Camp Shane and I will never forget the laughter and fun I experienced here at Camp.

Staff Testimonials

Camp Shane is the best place on earth!

by erin_canada

My name is Erin. I was a camper at Camp Shane for two summers and will be returning for for my second year as a staff member. Camp Shane is an amazing establishment that truly cares about their campers and staff. The summers that I have spent at Camp Shane have been the best days of my life and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. I met my best friends there and have made great friends from all over the world.
Children who are fortunate enough to go to Camp are very lucky, but for those who have the opportunity to go to Camp Shane are more than just lucky, they are blessed. Camp Shane really does work! As a camper there for two summers, I had lost a total of 45 pounds. The amount of weight that people lose at Camp is incredible but even more amazing, is the lifelong friends that they will make and the confidence that they will gain. Although it is impossible to not lose weight at Camp Shane, I would have had just as great a time if I hadn’t lost weight because of the valuable knowledge of nutrition that I received, and the great friends that I made there. I return year after year to Shane because the environment is so incredible and supportive. After having been a camper, I felt as though it was my turn to give back to another generation of “Shaners” and to help them in their quest for a healthy lifestyle. I will be returning to Camp next summer for my second year as a counselor because I love Camp Shane and if you or your child wants to lose weight, make great friends, and have a blast while doing it, you should not hesitate to send them to Camp Shane. It very well may be the best place on earth!

From the eyes of a staff member

by kerrigeter

After reading through the majority of the other reviews and making a mental note of all postee’s opinions, concerns, accolades, issues, etc., I felt somewhat compelled to share my “own” reflections on Camp Shane as a Camp, the campers, camp staff, camp morale, etc and encourage any parent, camper or aspiring staff member to take the time to read my compilations of such.
This summer I set out on an odyssey of sorts to acquire a sense of self gratification by trying something totally out of character for me….a SUMMER CAMP! Being an overweight child and young adult, I anticipated being able to offer emotional support to a number of campers that I was certain were going through the same or similar personal battles I encountered at their age. I talked the idea over with my husband, my son and my parents….listening to their thoughts on the matter and obviously everyone supported the notion which resulted in my accepting a position in New York working for Camp Shane. I set out from Texas not having a clue what to expect and basing all of my assumptions on it’s website, which was all I had to go on at the time. When I got there I was delighted. Being that it was in the Catskill Mountains, the location just seemed so relaxing and therapeutic in itself. Having been to a few sleep over summer camps as a teen ager, I found the facilities way above average in comparison…considering their purpose.The pre-camp staff were extremely nice and seemed excited to be there. I assume due to my age (29) and past experience in office management, I was placed in an office position as a “parent liaison” during the first part of Camp. In this position I had an obvious amount of exposure to the “inner workings” of the Camp and how it ran from pre-season to post-season. I had the opportunity to talk with parents constantly and meet each and every staff member on paper and in person. I also had the chance to get a feel for the owner and his family as well.  I would have to be honest and say that there were instances where some campers were unhappy but in most cases it was due to separation anxiety, the initial shock in dietary adjustments or their evident hatred for physical activity. In the same breath, it is also true that there were instances where staff were also terminated in the middle of the season….but merely for not following the proper outlined protocol as would be with ANY professional setting. The VAST majority of staff and campers were there because they wanted to be there. The owner and assistant director were constantly involved in the daily and nightly activities which were all highly motivating and aided tremendously in overall Camp morale. I watched children’s tears of anguish due to being homesick and feeling insecure turn into tears of joy, happiness and accomplishment. When their parents came to pick them up, tears of sadness followed because they were leaving and were going to miss the friends they made and bonds they formed. With those bonds came the feeling of being accepted for “who” they were as individuals as opposed to being overlooked because of their size. The last half of camp I requested to become a counselor so that I could be more involved with the children and their day-to-day lives. Needless to say, I bonded with a lot of them reminding them that this would be an experience of a lifetime….a sense of achievement! I tried to encourage the children to envision the last day of Camp and how proud they would be of themselves when they were told the total amount of weight they had lost or to imagine the look on their parents and family’s faces when they saw them and how proud THEY were going to be. At Camp Shane, everyone works toward the same goal…..losing weight and gaining self esteem. It is a possibility that your child might be homesick at first, however it is a FACT that your child will lose the weight. It is a FACT that your child will make life lasting friendships with both the staff and other campers and it is a FACT that no matter what part of the United States you reside in, the Camp that is portrayed on the website is indeed the Camp that you are paying for and sending your child to. I plan on going back and would urge anyone else be that parent, camper or staff member, to do the same.

A camp that can truly change your life

by mspool

Having never attended a Camp before, I was apprehensive when first arriving at Camp Shane last summer. I had no idea when I walked through their gates for the very first time that I was embarking on the most amazing summer of my life. I was immediately welcomed with open arms, and this was just the welcoming for the staff.
A Camp is only as strong as their staff, and Camp Shane was the strongest it could be. The staff’s entire focus was making a difference in each and every camper’s life through encouragement and support. Every staff member who works for Shane is there because they love to work with children of all ages. As a counselor for the younger teenage girls, I was able to see with my own eyes the amazing transformation of these young women. To watch them from the first day of Camp when their self-esteem was low, and all they could see in the mirror were the negative aspects about themselves, to their last days at Shane when they had realized how beautiful they really were. The focus wasn’t necessarily on them losing weight, but more on what they gained from the experience. They became more and more confident as their days at Shane continued, realizing not only their outer beauty, but more importantly their inner beauty. For those people considering working at Camp Shane, it is one of the most rewarding jobs you could imagine. Working at Camp Shane was the most fulfilling  job I personally have ever had. Knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life is an amazing feeling. There are very few jobs that allow you the opportunity to make such an impact.Every person who leaves Camp Shane at the end of the summer leaves with high self-esteem, knowledge that will enable them to lead healthier lives, friends that will last a lifetime, and a better understanding of why they are special. I highly recommend to any parent who is considering sending their child to a weight loss Camp, to really consider Camp Shane. I honestly believe it would be one of the best decisions you could ever make for your child.

Go to Shane and you will never want to leave. The summer of a lifetime!!!

by shanerstyle

I have spent the past two summers at Camp Shane as a boy’s counselor for middle school children. I can truly say that these past two summers have been the most amazing summers of my life. I have built long-lasting friendships with children and adults that will be with me forever. Working at Shane gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children who need a positive role model to overcome the adversities that face them throughout their childhood years.
Being able to put a simple smile on a child’s face by showing them that you care is one of the most rewarding experiences that one could ever have in their lifetime. The counselors at Camp Shane go above and beyond what is expected of them. They truly are there for the kids. We are always on call, and children know that they can talk to us about whatever is on their minds. We provide emotional support, encouragement, friendship, and love to our “children” for the summer. Head staff is very responsive to staff and campers, and they are always available to speak with. The activities at Shane keep the children active while also providing an enjoyable experience for all. Camp Shane is labeled a weight loss camp, but when I look into the eyes of these children and I see the effort and fun provided at Camp, I do not see overweight children. I see kids who have made a healthy decision to change their lifestyle and venture to New York for a fun-filled summer of laughter and friends. Personally, I would recommend this Camp to anyone because it truly captures the heart of all, and makes you want to come back for more. Shane can make all your children’s dreams come true and build one’s self-esteem to face the real world. Enroll your child if they want to make a healthy lifestyle choice and enjoy a normal summer Camp. They will meet friends and staff that will forever make an impact in their lives. If you are looking for a job, it is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences that one could ever be exposed to. It is worth it, and I will never forget the memories, friends, and inspirational campers that I have met at this magical place.  Shane is a positive environment with good facilities and a caring community wanting to provide the best possible experience that one could have in a summer.

My favorite home away from home-Camp Shane

by pudgiepeople

I have 50 years of camping experience as a camper, counselor, group leader, and head counselor. I have worked at Camp Shane for 9 summers as a Head Counselor. It was probably the most rewarding job of all. I highly recommend Camp Shane for any child looking to lose weight.
Although it is billed as a weight loss Camp, it has everything and more as compared to a general type camp. All sports are available with specialists to run them. The arts and crafts programs are an integral part of the program with at least 10 different types of activities including needlecraft, jewelry, leather craft, ceramics, tye dyeing, silk screening, woodworking, and more. These, too all, have specialists running these programs. The weight loss programs are tremendous with aerobics, Tai-bo, circuit training, dance, Zumba and weight training utilizing a gym with lots of equipment. The campers also learn about nutrition in classes as well as discuss reasons why they overeat in group and individual sessions.Probably the best part of Camp Shane is the staff. The counselors are wonderful, many of who return year after year. I would give this camp a 5 star rating.

So Rewarding…

by love4shane

Being a camper at Camp Shane did wonders for me. I was a camper for five summers and this past summer I was a counselor for the first time. While I prepared for my first summer away working at Shane, I never thought about what could happen or the types of campers I would get. At Shane, everyone is accepted and it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, its whets on the inside that counts.
I had two roles to play this summer; I was one of the aerobics instructors and I was a general counselor for 15 year old females who were talented and unique in every way. I saw friendships being made, and sports tried for the first time because at home they were to scared that they would get made fun of. When you send your children to Camp Shane, they will have the most amazing experience and you won’t have any regrets. The rewards of being a counselor is seeing a difference in all of the kids from the second they arrive to the day they leave. From the moment that they step onto Camp grounds it’s as though everything that had ever happened at home is no longer a part of their lives but rather that Shane will now be part of their future. As for the food, it is is really good. The bunks are roomy and nice with plenty of room to spare. Being a counselor at Camp Shane this summer really opened my eyes. Dealing with everyday life rewarding experiences continues to make me talk about my summer every day. I would recommend Shane to anyone who was up for the best challenge of their lives. I mention challenge  because once you complete it, you will feel as though you have conquered the world!

Camp Shane- a magical place

by merryl

I was a former camper and yes I have come back as a counselor. I have also returned after several years to become staff yet again to my old alma mater named Camp Shane.
When I was told of Camp Shane by my parents I thought it was as if I was quarantined. All the “fat” children went to this Camp and the rest of the world can go to any other Camp they wanted. I was completely mortified and I made sure people knew NOT of where I was going.When we pulled off the exit to the Camp I remember my mother saying “I hope we find it.” I remember thinking I hope we NEVER find it. That never happened. Little did I know the greatest years of my life would be spent right in this very place.I was always the “biggest” child but here I was just like everyone else. In fact for a kid who was the least desired for a team of softball and picked last I was now being chosen first because I was the most desirable. My self esteem picked up and I started to look and feel better. I stopped thinking about what meal came next and started thinking what activity I can excel in. I started to become more outgoing, making friends that are still going 18 years later.I have been to other Camps even as a child but none that I liked more than Shane.I can also remember not having to worry about what I was eating. I finally got to see what a real portion was supposed to look like.  I have referred at least one child a year to enroll at Shane and I have only gotten thanks for it. I remember friends of mine who lost their weight and maintained it from year to year still returned. Who can resist seeing friends that you have made from all over the world? It’s a very special place. As an adult I returned to give back a little of what I took with me. I have seen such wonderful people doing wonderful things. I have seen counselors giving up their nights off just to sleep in the health center with a sick child. I have seen counselors putting their all into creating new and fun activities to put a new swing on Camp. I was so excited to be a part of the magic that happens here at Camp Shane. Camp Shane isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. Since I was a camper, there have been many changes and new additions added. One in particular is the guidance program. There are trained staff  on grounds willing and able to listen to the needs and wants of the campers. They are a shoulder to cry on and the voice of reason. The children feel free to express their feelings inside and outside of counseling sessions. They talk about everything from bunk issues to how they feel at home as opposed to Camp.There are also very informative nutrition classes. Not only do the campers learn to make better food choices but they learn how to cook for themselves once they leave. Camp Shane has a working kitchen where the kids take a cooking class. This is a big treat. My favorite part of working at Camp Shane is watching the kids flourish throughout their stay. When they first walk through the doors of Camp they are looking down, walking slow, and not smiling enough. Throughout their stay, I watch children who never made a spectacle of themselves hopping on stage and singing to a group of 500 campers. By the time they leave, their heads are held high and they have spirit to match. They go home different children from how they came and they are better for it. I love it here and will be back again.

Best Feeling Ever

by shanerpool

I have worked at Camp Shane for two summers, and they have both been amazing. As staff I went to have a great time, work with kids, and lose some weight myself. The people I met at Shane each summer were so amazing; I never knew people like this existed. I met friends from all over the world, and can’t wait to see them again!…
I had the same bunk both summers, and  have developed such an amazing bond with the campers. I am hoping to go back again… truly an unforgettable summer!! A great experience for both Campers and Staff!

Camp Shane works

by goldgirl1

Camp Shane has experienced great success getting overweight and under active kids moving, thinning down and gaining confidence. There are always things to do, including off camp trips, special events, great activities and having loads of fun! The campers will find delicious kid-friendly food, and a ton of support and encouragement. Many kids who have always felt left out finally feel that they belong. The programming is fun and creative and  the facilities are beautiful.
Kids have an amazing time and make incredible friends. Campers find themselves coming back summer after summer even after having achieved their goals. Its a wonderful place to be!

About Camp Director

by Fonda Michigan

My personal affiliation with David Ettenberg goes back to the summer of 2001. Both of my children were overweight and wanted to go to Camp Shane for part of the summer. As much as I would have loved to send them I simply could not afford the tuition. I had been a single mother for 16 years therefore camp seemed out of the question. Endless begging from my daughters made me call the camp directly in the hopes of speaking to someone to see if there was any way possible to get a tuition rebate or payment plan. I was put through to the camps owner David Ettenberg who took the time to listen to my story. While most of the campers come from families who were able to afford the tuition, David Ettenberg turned out to be my family’s guardian angel. He adjusted the tuition and created an affordable plan for us to budget which gave me the opportunity to send both my daughters for 4 summers in a row. Mr Ettenberg is such a kind man! He is a man of exemplary morals and a wonderful human being. He has a heart of gold, and is my personal hero for having helped my children get healthy.  If one can see the transition in a child that was once overweight to a child that is now glowing with self confidence, it would make you cry. To have watched the changes take place in my own children is something I will forever be grateful for. It is because of David Ettenberg’s kindness that my children have their life back! ! David Ettenberg and Camp Shane are angels to thousands of children who are unhappy being overweight. I feel that David should get a noble prize for his part in helping to make our children healthy. Thank you David Ettenberg for having created such a wonderful place.



I would like to relate my personal experience with Camp Shane’s owner David Ettenberg and the impact he has had on my entire family.
I am a 43 years old parent with a 13-year-old son named Alex. My son’s childhood had so far reflected my own life in one very unfortunate respect—a continuous battle with obesity. Watching my son’s struggle with weight has been heartbreaking for me. I remember vividly the great pain of being an obese child, the emotional trauma of being teased by other children, dreading gym class, and the continual pressure from family to lose weight. I wanted it to be different for my son therefore I tried many programs with Alex although none seemed to work or have any kind of lasting effect. Part of the problem I felt, was that the people running these programs seemed jaded. They had grown callous to the very particular needs and sensitivities of obese children. Then I had the good fortune, the blessing, of reaching David Ettenberg. I had heard about Camp Shane and knew of its reputation to be a good one. To me, though, because I hadn’t begun my research yet, Camp Shane was just another “fat camp”. When I visited their website, however, I was struck by the personal tone, the enthusiasm, and the passion to help children not only lose weight, but also to enjoy a summer with a true Camp experience. When I called David to ask about the Camp, it was clear to me that he genuinely cared about helping my son. In my business, I have learned to “see through” those who profess to care, but who are actually masking apathy or self-interest. David’s genuine concern not only touched me, but also, frankly, it surprised me. After all, this was a man who had worked with thousands of overweight kids. Surely, wouldn’t he be jaded by now? The answer was ‘NO,’ and it showed in the questions he asked me about Alex and his thoughts  on the best ways to help him. David also proved his genuine concern through his generosity. We had originally enrolled Alex for six weeks of camp but desperately wanted him to come for the entire summer because of the amount of weight he needed to lose. David agreed to enroll him without any assurances of getting paid for the full nine weeks. In the weeks before camp began, my son was getting quite nervous, especially about being so far from our home near Pittsburgh. Despite David’s very busy pre-camp schedule, days during which, I’m sure, he had been working long hours, he took the time on many evenings to call Alex. David spent as much time on the phone as Alex required, reassuring him, describing the fun activities he’d enjoy, and getting Alex excited about coming to Camp. By the time Alex and I arrived at Camp Shane, he was indeed nervous. He felt like he already knew David, though, like he had already made a friend, and this calmed his anxiety. When we first spotted David as we walked onto the camp grounds, my son said to me, “Wow! There he is! I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity!” Frankly, I did, too, because I had already developed a great respect and appreciation for David. We introduced ourselves, and David gave Alex an enthusiastic greeting that made Alex feel welcome and special. I had three visits to Camp Shane over the course of the summer, and David’s ability to make each child feel special was one of his qualities that impressed me the most. The fondness that the kids had for David, the respect that the counselors had for him, and David’s ability to manage all the aspects of the camp operations also impressed me greatly. On my trips to camp, I noticed that many of the counselors carried walkie-talkies with them, and that they constantly turned to him, their communications always seeming to begin with, “David…” I asked David on one trip, “How do you do all this?” He said, “It’s second nature to me at this point. Besides, I love it.”At the end of my son’s stay at Camp Shane, he had lost 40 pounds and gained something even more: Enormous self-confidence, knowledge about nutrition and fitness, several good friends, and a great desire to return to Camp Shane next summer. I am grateful for David Ettenberg and the work he does for the health and well-being of children and their families, his generosity, his intelligence, his enthusiasm and heart.

Testimonials About Camp Director

The Camp Shane experience has truly made a lifelong impact on Katie

by Katie and Barbara

Dear David and Ziporah,
We hope that this note finds you happy and healthy.We have wanted to write you this note since our daughter Katie came home from Camp Shane. The Camp Shane experience has truly made a lifelong impact on Katie and we are so grateful to you and your caring staff, especially Helen her Counselor. She took special care of Katie and we are all most thankful to her.
The program that you have developed has turned Katie’s life around, impacting her in so many ways. It’s like a domino effect, if you will, one positive change causing another. She has truly at the young age of only eleven, grasped nutritional concepts that will aid her for the rest of her life. We are impressed with her staying power and renewed sense of self. She has continued to gradually lose weight and growing taller looks great! Her smile is brighter, her attitude is improved, all demonstrative of the most positive influence this experience has had on her. We are so proud of her accomplishments. I am so impressed with your program. You are very special people and we are all better, having had this experience. Feel free to use us  as a referral reference. We are glad to promote your program and do so any chance we get! Again Thank You! Most Sincerely, Katie and Barbara

We wanted you to know how much we truly appreciate the exceptional staff

by David & Laurie

Dear David,
Our experience with your staff has been so exceptional that we’ve decided we really should tell you about it. As you know Shara has had a difficult time this summer being separated from us. Your staff has been unbelievably supportive.
From the get-go when Shara had a hard time getting on the bus, Michelle was there for her, coaxing her onto the bus, sitting with her, talking to her, wiping her tears and letting her sit on her lap. And when she finally got on the bus, Michelle hugged us too! And Michelle, although a shining example, is not the only staff member who stands out. Shara’s counselor Rachel has been terrific and has demonstrated a level of caring and maturity beyond her years. Bobbie was great as well. Without her professional assessment of the situation and constant reassurances we probably would have taken Shara home on visiting day. You too David, were a great help on the night when we called after office hours after a particularly emotional call with Shara. We wanted you to know how much we truly appreciate the exceptional people on your staff. It was wonderful to know that. Although she had some trying moments, our daughter was cared for as well as if we had been there ourselves. There is no higher compliment!

I am so indebted to you!

by Brenda R. Hussain

Dear David,
I had to write to tell you how WONDERFUL, HAPPY and CONTENT  I am with Malik and the progress that he made at Camp Shane!. My God, he weighed in at 195 lbs. tonight. That’s a 16 lbs weight loss in 3 weeks! I have praised him over and over again for his efforts and now I must extend the same to you and Camp Shane! Malik now has a new found SELF-ESTEEM and CONFIDENCE about himself!
He is so EXCITED about starting 7th grade on Monday morning! He went from a size 40 pant waist to a 36! He fit into shorts that he could NOT fit into on July 30th! I am so thankful and so grateful for what you have given to my son! He looks GREAT and he feels like a THOUSAND BUCKS!I am so pleased and after all is said and done, Camp Shane saved Malik from another year of teasing and verbal abuse at school! He is bound and determined to lose more weight and I’m going to do everything in my power to help him continue to lose. Thanks again for your caring about my son! You’ve done more for him in 3 weeks then what he has experienced in his entire 12 years on this earth! I am so indebted to you!

We never would have imagined that Mark would have come home looking as wonderful as he does

by Felice and Wayne

Dear David,
We never would have imagined that Mark would have come home looking as wonderful as he does. He has not looked this well in years. We thank you so much for helping him to achieve this success. At the beginning of the summer he weighed 276 pounds. He is now 210. Fifty three pounds of that were lost at Camp Shane and even Mark readily admits that never in his wildest dreams did he think he could lose so much so fast.
He was obviously ready to have this happen and committed to doing it but without a program that facilitated it would not have been possible. A quick shopping trip last night to buy a few new things for a trip to LA today was a pleasure. He felt good about standing in front of that mirror. His waist size that had once been 44 is now 38 and he looks GOOD. More importantly, he feels good. He has thanked us for sending him to Camp Shane. And we thank you for helping him regain his life.

She is a different person, is able to make better choices and doesn’t want to go back to her old body

by Chelsea’s Parents

Dear Camp Shane Friends,
I am so proud of my daughter Chelsea. She is happy and very proud of herself. Enclosed are some pictures I thought you might like. I love them and carry them around with me. She is so excited about the type of clothes she can wear now. Before she would have to shop for adult sizes, but now she has a younger, more upbeat, and wider variety of choices.
She is going to Weight Watchers with me as incentive for each other. She knows she has to be active to stay healthy and help her maintain her weight. Chelsea had a lot of fun, she learned a lot, and made friends that she tries to keep in touch with. People ask her how she did this and she tells them about Camp Shane. I know you probably get a lot of letters like mine but I wanted to thank you and let you know how Chelsea is doing since she is home. She is a different person, is able to make better choices and doesn’t want to go back to her old body.

He became grown-up, responsible, strong, proud and sure of himself

by Annette and Daniel

Dear David and Ziporah,
When I finally realized my son Chris was beyond my help, my sister encouraged me to take him to the Wilkins Center. We sat and talked with the specialist. She was very honest with me and told me that Christopher wasn’t going to lose weight or get better by just seeing a nutritionist. She said his physical and mental health was tragic and referred your Camp to me.
When I went home I cried but I knew he had to get help. He was so depressed that he wouldn’t even go outside to play with his sister. He didn’t want to go to school because the children made fun of him because he couldn’t fit in the chair attached to his desk. I called your Camp and you spent a great length of time on the phone with me answering every question.Once arrived at Camp, after my husband and I left Chris at his bunk we got into the car and began to cry. Our biggest fear was the unknown. I could only imagine what Chris was thinking: “why are my parents doing this to me, leaving me in a strange place with people I don’t know”? I wouldn’t be able to talk to Chris daily for almost three weeks and it seemed like the longest three weeks of my life. Of course when I spoke with him for the first time he cried and wanted to come home. When I hung up the phone it was the most horrible feeling sensing your child is going through a difficult time and it’s like he was screaming for me to help him and I couldn’t. I had to keep telling myself that he had to be there and in the long run it would help.One visiting day came around, my husband, son, daughter and I got up at 5 am and drove up to Camp to see Chris. We waited patiently at the gate until they opened at 9:30 am. We were allowed to wait in the stadium for the okay to go to the bunkhouse where the children were waiting for us. As I was walking towards the bunkhouse, I was looking and looking for Chris and I couldn’t find him. I finally spotted my husband and daughter who had walked ahead of me that Chris was standing next to them. I really had to look twice because Christopher had lost 29 pounds and looked great. The tears flowed down my face as I ran to him. I knew at that point I had made the right decision. Throughout our day with him we noticed not only the physical change in Chris but an even greater one in his attitude. He seemed so grown-up, responsible, strong, proud and sure of himself. He learned how to take care of himself. I am so grateful that we took the leap and sent him to Camp Shane. All of lives have changed because of his stay there. THANK YOU!

Determination at Camp Shane

by daphnethechan

One late spring night , we watched MTV featuring Camp Shane. My 14-year-old son Anthony was very  impressed and excited to see “other kids” like himself. The next day, I requested information via the web and  received a call from Camp Shane. The following week I received a video and enrollment form. My son and I agreed that 6 weeks would be perfect both time wise and financially.
In May, we attended their Open House with my brother and his two children who were also interested in attending the Camp. We were very impressed with the cleanliness, professionalism, staff members who were also past campers and the Camp owners’ enthusiasm. My brother signed up my niece for the last three weeks of their program. I also enrolled my son for six weeks. We followed the instructions and off to camp via the camp bus, my son left on July 11. Nine days later was visiting day and my son had already lost 16 pounds!!! We walked right past him. He looked fabulous!! He was very homesick at that point however I convinced him that he was doing so great and to keep it up for three more weeks…besides his cousin was coming up the following week for her 3 week stay. During my visit, I asked my son “how are you doing this”? He said that he was DETERMINED TO LOSE THE WEIGHT. Because he was not used to any physical activity, It felt like “boot camp” at first, but that was exactly what he had needed. His accomplishment was a loss of 35 pounds within weeks!! He went from 244 to 209 at 6 foot 2 inches! His pants size went from size 44 to 36!! I couldn’t believe it!!!The discipline and determination my son learned was WORTH IT!!!!When he returned to school (first year of high school), many of the children were surprised at the new slender Anthony! He now walks with pride and confidence. In the past, I, as his mother, was not strict with his “seconds” nor got him to be as active as he should have been. He realized that activity was what he really, really needed. So now I make sure that he builds up a “good sweat” at around 6:30 pm. and to follow the counselors’ lecture on nutrition and emotions. He eats his breakfast, lunch and dinner with thought, not with the emotions of “I am bored, so I will eat now.”  I felt so comfortable knowing that my son was in such a wonderful environment. There is an old saying, “Who you employ is a reflection of you” and if that’s the case then you two must be the most loving, caring and trustworthy people in the world. We can’t thank you enough for giving our child back his life.
Sincerely, Annette and Daniel (Anthony’s parents)

Two happy campers who loved Shane

by mlperkins

My son and daughter have both attended Camp Shane. My son, whose weight reached 280 pounds by the age of 15, attended for 4 weeks. The following year, he was joined by my daughter (age 13) who was probably about 30 pounds overweight. She was motivated by her brothers success and stories of great friendships formed and fun experiences. She returned again, this summer for another 3 weeks.
Our son had been to several doctors and we had tried to motivate him. He had been bullied and was always the last person chosen for sports teams at school. One spring, he spent 12 weeks with a personal trainer (twice a week) and followed that up with Camp Shane. He brought home an awareness of what he was eating and a motivation to continue his successful experience. The happy memories were a huge plus! He immediately asked us if he could return the following summer. Although with his weight now down, he really didn’t need to go back however really wanted to see his friends again.Our daughter also loved Camp Shane. She was pleased with her weight loss and all the friendships she had made. Her second summer left her asking for a longer stay next time. Yes, it is rustic (as most camps are) and yes, it is geared at fairly rapid weight loss (not gourmet food). We would not have chosen a weight loss camp if that had not been the goal! Both of my children are now at what I would consider a near ideal weight. My son has maintained his total weight loss of 100+ pounds for over a year. He is currently in the process of writing essays to apply to some of the top engineering schools in the country and he is telling this story of weight loss as his greatest challenge and achievement putting it above some perfect scores on his SAT’s. Camp Shane was the primary driver of his success. Both my children are happier and more self-confident than ever before. Did they call home?  My son did once the first summer. Both claimed they were simply too busy and having too much fun to bother! I was pleased with their independence. Did camp keep them hopping? You bet! Was it worth the money? Absolutely! Would we as parents do it again? In a heartbeat! Would my children go again? They would love to stay the entire summer!