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Letters from the Directors

We Love Camp Saginaw!

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Mike Petkov

My journey with Camp Saginaw began in 1986 when my parents purchased this magical camp. I’ll never forget the day that my dad told me that he bought a camp – I was so excited! I had attended a sleep away camp the year before with my sister, and I loved it. In the summer of 1986, I began as a junior camper at Camp Saginaw.

As I grew through the summers, I learned that Camp Saginaw is rich in traditions and more importantly, I made some of my best friends at camp. I knew in those early years that I would spend a lifetime of summers at Camp Saginaw.

In 2003, I became a full-time director at Camp Saginaw, and a few years later I became an owner. I am proud of the fact that my wife and children spend their summers with me at camp. I love what I do, and I am passionate about camp. As such, I strive to provide our campers with all the benefits that the overnight camp experience offers. I hope that you will come and visit – I know that you will like what you see.

-Mike Petkov |

Jessica Petkov

I am so happy that you want to learn more about our camp, and I look forward to sharing with you all that is wonderful about Camp Saginaw. As a director, my full time job is to provide campers with the best summer experience possible. For ten months, we are busy planning over fifty daily activities and exciting evening programming, arranging out of camp trips, meeting new campers, and hiring staff. And then…the best two months of the year finally come when I get to live at camp and surround myself with the best people in the most beautiful place in the world. How could I ask for a better job?

Going to sleep away camp is a unique experience. Nowhere else can you go swimming, make a clay pot, play a game of basketball, jump off a zip line, drive a go-kart, eat an ice cream sundae, and laugh hysterically with your friends all in one day. As a child, these things made my summers at sleep-away camp so memorable. As a mom and a camp director, I can now see how every moment at camp is packed with life lessons. Nowhere else can you develop lasting relationships, challenge yourself, increase confidence, try new activities, meet people from around the world, improve skills, and accomplish goals - all in a safe and caring environment. The benefits of sleep away camp are endless. Camp is the best gift you can give your child.

If you haven’t already had the opportunity to visit Saginaw, I would love to give you a tour and show you how amazing this place truly is. I hope to meet you soon.

- Jessica |

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Alli Barash

My great-grandparents Morry and Rose Edelson started Camp Saginaw back in 1927, and every generation of my family has attended since then (my parents even met here in the 70s!). I have never felt more at home than I do at camp, and I have spent over 20 summers here - with hopefully many more to come. Every day, I feel so lucky that working at camp is my full-time job.

I truly believe in the value of camp - especially Saginaw. The confidence and strength that kids will develop during their time at camp is invaluable. There is no better place than Camp to learn how to stand up for yourself, how to mediate a problem, how to learn to work with others, and how to simply discover yourself. And the best part is - the campers learn these skills while zip-lining, making arts & crafts projects, playing basketball, or even just sharing a meal. Yes, they will improve their skills in a specific sport or a craft, but those interpersonal skills are what will make your child a better person. I know that I certainly would not be the person I am today without Saginaw.

I’d love the chance to show you how incredible camp is, and hopefully make you part of our Saginaw family!

- Alli |

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Jay Petkov

In 1954, I packed my duffel bags for the first time to spend my summer at overnight camp. I was four years old. I quickly learned to make my own bed and fold my clothes. I learned to be a member of a team, while growing in self-confidence and self-sufficiency. I learned to problem-solve and work out conflicts with my bunkmates.

I still talk to some of my camp friends. These are people with whom I’ve built distinct and special bonds. They are lifelong friends.

To me, camp is not about go karts or canoeing. While archery and tennis and instructional swim developed me in definitively valuable ways, I feel that what camp really gave me was a sense of self – I learned trust, independence, and the importance of taking social risks. I learned the value of sportsmanship, as my Color War team would sometimes win and sometimes lose. At the end of the day – or the summer – what I felt most deeply were the connections that I made with my bunkmates, with my counselors, and with my camp family.

I am still packing my duffel bags at the beginning of each summer as I have done since 1986 when I purchased Camp Saginaw. My children and grandchildren pack their duffel bags, too. People ask me when I am going to retire. My response is: “Never!” My sincere hope is that your children pack their own duffel bags in anticipation of a summer of archery and tennis and go karts, and discover the unparalleled wonder of Camp Saginaw, just as I have.

- Jay Petkov |