Letters & Testimonials
A year ago I never thought I would be where I am today. Ever since I was a kid I could see that I was different from all the other kids. 2012 was the year of new beginnings for me and at that point I realized my life had to change. My parents told me about the weight loss camp and I wanted to know more about it. Shortly after that it was decided that I would be going to camp for 8 weeks during the summer. The day finally came for me to leave and begin the long journey ahead of me. Its was hard to leave my friends and family for the whole summer but I knew that I couldn’t do this by myself. I landed in New Jersey and I got on the bus to go to Camp. From the second I got there I knew this was the place for me. After staying there for 2 weeks all I wanted to do was give up and go home. When everyone at the camp told me that if I stayed I would not regret it. I decided to stay and started working even harder then I had been my entire life. 8 weeks later my time at camp was done and I went from 302 to 260.5 at the end of that summer. I knew it was going to be hard to do it at home but I knew I could do it. My totally weight loss is now at 70 pounds. It was a big mental and physical change I made and I am glad I did it. Now only 14 days until I go back to camp. CAN’T WAIT!
I have not talked to you this year and I wanted to email you so I could give you an update about what is going on. This has been a great year for me. I am down 65 pounds from my heaviest but I am still working towards my goal weight. In the fall, I was on the cross country team at school and during the winter, I was on the basketball team. Basketball season just ended so now I am doing track and field and I am also doing basketball off season. My parents told me for the first time that if there was something else I wanted to do this summer then that was fine and I didn’t have to go to camp. However, for the first time ever I told my parents there is nothing else I would rather do with my summer than spend it at camp. I just want to know what day camp starts. Also, when is motivational mania because I want to be a speaker because I have wanted to be one since my first summer. Please let me know when camp starts etc. Thanks!!
I have thought about Pocono Trails almost every day since Cameron has been home and what an impact 4 weeks had on his life.
He arrived at camp a lineman… pigeon-holed by his youth football coaches because of his weight. When he came home, he “lost” his starting lineman/center role because of his new size.
He played linebacker all season and adjusted well. His endurance was much improved. He was happy… and fit.
We registered for a lacrosse clinic at Wesleyan in the fall. This served as a tryout for the fall CT Cardinals lacrosse club. We received a great email at the end of the clinic asking him to join the 2019 squad (playing a year up). Amazing! This was beyond anything we could have imagined. He has now been playing with the Cardinals for several months and just secured a spot with them to play on their summer tournament team.
He gained so much self-confidence and his self esteem skyrocketed after the time he spent with you. Thank you so much!
I wanted to send you a letter of THANK YOU! My daughter Ashley Smith attended your 6 week program at Camp Pocono, she lost 25.2 lbs. We just picked her up on August 6, 2011. We were so amazed on how she looked. She looked and felt fantastic, she had a glow that we had not seen in a long time.It was Ashley who researched your camp, I will never forget how she sat down with us and said “Mom, Dad, I would like to attend this camp. We were at our wits end, knowing that Ashley’s self esteem was so low and how worried we were about her entering her Senior year in high school, we knew she need a change. We agreed sending her to your camp with no hesitation.It was amazing when we picked her up on August 6th and took her to lunch at Friendly’s. She looked over the menu very carefully, what amazed us the most was when the waitress came to our table for our order and Ashley inquired how many ounces of chicken was in the grilled chicken salad. She quickly advised us that she could only consume 4 oz. We then knew that Ashley had adjusted her eating habits. She did not even finish her entire salad. I knew then that I would have to purchase a food weight machine. Which we did.While Ashley was at camp we cleaned out all our food cabinets, our refrigerator and freezer of all sin foods, in the six weeks we changed our way of eating at home so that we could make Ashley’s transition easier.Our first meal at home consisted of fish, veg, brown rice. Ashley measured her food out with accuracy. It was so great to see her take charge of her eating. Before Ashley would have doubles, not anymore.I want to THANK YOU and your GREAT STAFF for helping my daughter get that beautiful smile back that we all enjoy. She was so happy with her results when she was measured and weighed for the last time at camp. She has joined the gym here in town, we are signing up for Zumba on Tuesday. This is what your camp has done for our daughter, but most the most important is that her self esteem is back full force.If I had to do it again we would with no hesitation, if I knew of anyone else who was struggling with the pain and frustration we did, I would recommend them to your camp in a heart beat. THANK YOU for giving our daughter the most fantastic way to regain her happiness and make new friends.
Mrs. & Mr. S.
It is a little over four weeks ago that we picked up our son from Camp Vanguard and we still cannot get over the change that his stay there has brought about. Nick lost 36 pounds (almost 15% of his starting weight) and since his return, he has barely gained any weight. Considering that we were still on vacation in Florida for the first two weeks after camp, that is quite an accomplishment.
We would like to express our thanks to Max and her team for making this summer camp one of the best vacations Nick has ever had. He has made new friends, has a more positive outlook on life and has gained self confidence. He found the whole experience fantastic. The first couple of days after camp were hard for him as he had to leave behind his friends and counselors, but now that school has begun, he has adjusted to school life again.
Max pointed out to us that she would like to see him back next year as a junior counselor. Nick himself is already looking forward to going back. This afternoon I spoke to someone at your office and made a deposit for his stay next summer.
Once again, many thanks, especially for Max and her team, also on behalf of Nick.
Mrs. & Mr. V.
Thank you so much for changing my life. I have lost over 100 pounds to this date. I couldn’t have done it without your help. Hope to see you this upcoming summer.
I just wanted to thank you for such an amazing summer this year. Going into college I was nervous about gaining my weight back, but I have actually lost ten more pound since being away at Indiana University. I just wanted to include a before and after picture to show you my hard work and to thank you, because without your camp and help, I would never be where I am today, physically and mentally.
Just wanted to tell you and all your staff thank you so much for bringing back our son. He is so excited about the new man he has turned into. Since the beginning of camp, Austin has lost a total of 41 pounds. He went from a size 3XL shirt to a XL. We went school shopping yesterday and he had a ball picking out new clothes. His self esteem is back and what a difference that makes. My son’s wedding was 2 weeks ago and Austin was out on the dance floor in the middle of everyone, dancing and having fun, no one could believe how positive and confident he was. Your camp has been the best thing I could have ever imagined for him. Those five weeks made such an impression on him on how to eat and what to eat, it is truly amazing. Thank you again for all that you have done for him, and helping us also through the entire process. The opportunity that you gave him for the extra 3 weeks was such a wonderful thing. He is excited to come back next year again.
Thanks a million,
Sue and Chris R.
Just wanted to say thanks for your great program at Camp Pocono Trails. Michelle lost 12 lbs over the summer and she lost one or two more since she’s been home. We were always diligent at home between the exercise and eating right, but camp is what gave her more motivation since she saw results! (And hearing the tips from someone other than “Mom” makes it better also!!). Today she got a new haircut and the braces off her teeth so she can’t wait to get back to school to show off her new self!! Thanks again…
Krystal (I-4) is doing super great!!! Will send pics of her continued progress. She has joined the town’s gym, a soccer team and the school’s volleyball team. We are motivating more kids from PR. So we’ll stay in touch! Thank you for the wonderful camp!!!
Terrel loved attending Camp Pocono Trails and wishes to come back next year. We will start saving so he can attend a few weeks next summer. Thanks to you and your staff for a wonderful 10 days and being a catalyst to a new healthy lifestyle for our family. I am so very proud of Terrel, what he accomplished and I know it could only been done under a structured but caring environment.
Kaleigh got home yesterday and she looks great!! Having a weight problem my whole life (I actually attended camp many years ago), I know that what you think and feel are just as important. Her demeanor is so much happier and her outlook and determination are also great. I know that this will be a hard road for her but I believe that you have given her the tools to help her achieve whatever goals she sets for herself. I cannot thank you enough for all you did for my daughter and all the other campers. She, of course, wants to come back next summer.
I don’t think we met when I came to pick Michael up at the camp on Friday, July 12th. I just wanted to tell you how great my son looked. He was homesick but not because he didn’t love the camp, just his first time away and was missing us. He absolutely loved the camp. He said he had a great time, made many friends, and the counselors where wonderful to him. Tony was right, he was in the best physical and mental shape he has been in a long time. His attitude, confidence and overall self is just so great. He’s really happy!!! He’s lost another 2 lbs this week and he is so proud of himself (so are we). He continues to exercise everyday and really watches what he eats. The book that was sent home was terrific in helping me plan his meals and snacks and had the foods he liked most from camp. He sometimes doesn’t finish his food, says he is full (that never happened before). To be quite honest, this was my last hope to help him. He had been to many weight programs including a hospital weight program and none have had the affect on him that this one has. He still has a way to go but, the jump start of 12 lbs was just what he needed to make him feel good about himself. Seeing how well he looks and his outlook of believing enough in himself that he can succeed, I just had to write to tell you how grateful we are. You have a winning combination of healthy eating, exercise and motivation that makes these children believe and prove they can do it. Michael’s already talking about coming back next year again!!!
Just got back from “Parents Day”, midway point and I had to write you to tell you how very pleased I am with your program. My kids look fantastic!!! They are so happy and healthy and having the best summer of their lives. After 4 weeks, my son has lost 16 lbs and daughter has lost 15 lbs. Not to mention all those inches gone and muscles added. They are so confident and alive!!!! 3 more weeks to go, and I’m sure it will only continue to make their lives better and futures brighter. Thanks so very much for caring about my children, and for running a camp that gives so much for their healthy future! They are enjoying it so much that they had me sign them up for next summer…
Thanks so much again to you are your staff!
Andrea G. (Campers: Michael, 12 and Rachel, 9)
I have to say that this has been the best experience ever for my daughter. I am so happy that you have all taken care of my girl since the moment she arrived. I was so concerned at first, especially since I’m back home in Puerto Rico. Every time we talk, she mentions how good everyone is. Her cabin counselors, Carrie and Kim have been wonderful and she has had a blast!!! I’m very proud of her efforts and her achievements. She is so motivated to continue with her journey of being healthier that I can’t even recognize the way she speaks.
This experience has made us both grow. I’m the Physical Education, Health and Sports Director in the school I work for. I thought I couldn’t survive with not having her by my side. but I guess it was the best thing that happened. We both needed the space to miss each other. We needed space to learn to really listen to each other, we needed space to bond in other ways, like writing letters to each other. We needed to break with the everyday routine, that bores everyone blinding you. I can see now, what a beautiful daughter I have. She loves live, she cares so much for her friends, she is attentive, and very creative. I knew that my daughter was special, but it wasn’t until now that I made it clear to her that she is the best thing that has happened to me.
Krystal has been so courageous, by taking a plane by herself, staying in a camp where she does not know anyone, facing the reality that no one understands her native language, and willing to learn from all of you. She has been awesome. I have to give you thanks again because Camp Pocono Trails and your staff have definitely exceed all of my expectations. Before we decided on enrolling Krystal, I sat her down and had her read all of the negative comments that have been posted on the web about the camp. I really wanted her to see what people were saying. In reality, they weren’t many of them, but I made sure that she got the point. She said all of those comments were dumb and she wanted to go. So we signed her up. My God, I haven’t had not even one complaint. Let me think… mmmm not even one. She wants to come back next year. (Let’s see what happens!!!) and when she is older she wants to be a camp counselor. Ja!
I guess you receive many letters, and many thank you’s. my thank you comes from the heart. I have been talking with the parents of some of my students that are really facing problems with being overweight. I am recommending your program to them. I guess that by the end of March I can give you an estimate of how many kids from my school will be attending next year. Our school is only 5 years old. But by seeing the other schools where we come from you can have an idea.
Well, I’m going to sleep now!!! I have 4 interviews tomorrow and start organizing Krystal’s welcome back party!!!
Thank you very much, it’s been great, and I hope I get to meet you all soon.
I keep meaning to write you to thank you for all you did. Brandon only went to your camp for the first two weeks of the summer. He went in at 141 lbs. and lost 8 lbs in two weeks. I guess that was the jump start that he needed. He has continued to exercise (not a whole lot because of the homework) he does play baseball and basketball with rec. He also still watches everything he eats and measures his cereal and milk every morning. He reads labels and always makes the right choices. We went on a cruise in November and he only gained 2 lbs. He always ordered fish and sugar free diets! I am happy to tell you he has lost a total of 25.5 lbs and now weighs 115.5 at 5ft 1 in. He gets complimented every day by somebody. Since the first day of school kids have complimented him on how great he looks. He said this is the first year that nobody has called him fat! He feels and looks great. Again, thank you and have a happy and safe holiday!
It’s Bethany T from Oklahoma… remember? It’s been quite some time since I’ve been in contact with you. How is everything going? Well I’m in my 1st semester of my senior year at Texhoma High School and I am loving life. I’ve been wanting to write you for a while now, but just haven’t had the time. I was watching the new season of ‘Fat Camp’, and realized how much I wanted to go back and see all of my friends. Your camp truly changed my life, Tony, and my mother says that I am totally different now. I’m stronger, I have more friends and I just love life. Thank you so much for taking such great care of me while I was there. You’re truly and awesome person and are changing so many lives. I’ve attached a couple of my senior pictures to see how I’ve been holding up… By the way, I’ve lost about 65-70 lbs now and recieved the First Runner Up award in the Miss Texhoma Beauty Pageant! That is something I thought I never would’ve accomplished. I just want to thank you once more for changing my life so much! You know… most kids would feel embarrassed to say they went to ‘Fat Camp’, but I’m not embarrassed at all, because everyone has seen an incredible change in me for the better. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!! Hopefully I’ll save enough money to come back for a visit or maybe even be there for the summer this year. Well, since I’ve written you a novel, I’ll let you go. Write me back soon please. It would be wonderful to hear from you!
Bethany T. aka: ‘Oklahoma’
Parents are by nature proud of their children and their accomplishments… but sometimes that pride is so strong you just want to climb to the top of a mountain and scream with joy… that is where I am at the moment.
Our 16 year old daughter, Sarah, has always had weight issues… for as long as we can remember… and she tried everything, with little or no success. However thanks to the folks at her camp, my wife and I, our many friends and family, and her own willingness to make it happen she finally made a breakthrough. From the beginning of July thru the end of August she spent 8 weeks at Camp Pocono Trails one of the best camps of its kind anywhere. By the end of the Summer she had taken off over 35 lbs and now, 3 months late she hit the 50 lb mark and is not giving up.
Interestingly enough, this is the second year the program has been shot and edited by MTV in a documentary, sadly entitled “Return to Fat Camp” (the original “Fat Camp” program aired last year.)
While Sarah was asked to be one of the “kids in focus” she opted against it, however two of her best friends agreed and Sarah played a key supporting role in the program.
I hope you get a chance to watch this unique program… it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry but most importantly you’ll be proud of the kids that worked hard to make it work.
Dear Mr. Sparber,
First and foremost I wish to send you an overdue THANK YOU! Your camp was the best thing that ever happened to our daughter Madeline. Madeline attended the Florida camp for the first time in 2003 the summer between 5th and 6th grades. At the time Madeline weighed approx. 158lbs. and stood at 4’11”. She lost a lot of pounds and inches that summer. I’m not sure of the exact numbers now, but the difference in her on visiting weekend was striking! When she came home after the eight weeks at camp, she was like a new person. She had so much confidence and knowledge.
Madeline wanted to return the following summer and we were happy to send her. She looked and felt great and was excited to see her counselors and of course Max. She spent three weeks then and did great. Madeline’s camp experience started her on a life changing journey. Sending her the first time was both the most difficult and the most rewarding decision we ever made.
Today Madeline is 5’4” and she weighs 120 lbs. She is just beautiful and we are so proud of her. She is finishing up 8th grade and looking forward to starting High School next fall. I remember when I first spoke to her about New Image Camps and she started crying and said ‘FAT CAMP’!?!?? I thought it would be a tough sell, but we watched the camp video and she said she’d go. As I said, this was life changing for her. Now she is active in school, cheerleading, we go to jazzercize, walk regularly and overall we all feel great.
Everyday, I am thankful that we found this and sent Madeline. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU again!!!
The impact our summers at Camp Vanguard had on our lives actually hit hard about 2 years ago. Our high school years were spent being made fun of and ridiculed everyday. What were supposed to be some of the best years of our lives turned out to be the worst. Imagine how we felt being known as the ‘Twinkie Twins’. This did not encourage us to lose weight, in fact, I believe it made us eat more. Both of us used food as consolation. Something to make us feel better.
Approximately 2 years ago, my sister Chee Chee and I decided we would no longer be slaves to food. We knew what to do. We spent two summers at Camp Vanguard. We thought of our dietician we had one year; her name was Dawn. She carried around a water bottle named ‘Bob’. We decided to name our water bottles. Mine is Henry and Chee Chee’s is Jose. We drank water all the time. We started to eat healthy snacks and to actually share plates when we went out to eat. Not only was this healthier but also saved us a bundle of money. My mother helped us out by cooking vegetables and making fresh salads and lean meats.
When we started, I weighed 336lbs and Chee Chee weighed 240lbs. By eating right and developing an exercise/walking program, we have managed to lose a total of 195!!!!!!!!!
We are excited about our accomplishments and know we could inspire other girls to raise their self esteem and realize that no obstacle is too big to overcome. Thanks so much Tony!!!! You have been an inspiration.
I attended your New Image Camp in Camp Pocono Trails this past summer for 3 weeks. I walked into your wonderful camp a little intimidated because I hadn’t been away from home for more than a week, until I met your staff. You have the best staff. It made me feel like I was home. Anyways, I enjoyed your camp very much and it changed my life. I started out at 164 pounds and left your camp at 149 pounds. Today I am 135 pounds and I am 5 feet 8 inches tall. Losing the weight helped me make new friends and start for my high school’s soccer team. Now that I am not overweight, I have more confidence and I get good grades. I feel like everything is going right for me now.
Thank you so much.
I want to take the time to thank you for helping my daughter Jennifer have what was probably the best summer of her life! She loved Camp Pocono Trails from ‘Day One’, and although she did miss her family and her cats, she was never homesick – and this was her first experience with a sleep away camp! Equally important is Jennifer’s weight loss. Not only does she look wonderful, but I can really see that what you say about self esteem is so true. She feels so much better about herself and can’t wait until school begins! She knows that she probably has about ten more pounds to lose and is willingly sticking to the program here at home. What a tribute to you, your staff and your camp!
Dear Tony, Dale and Tricia,
I just wanted to thank you for all that you have done for me. I think that this is the best I’ve looked in many years. I’m not embarrassed about my weight. This summer and last summer were the best summers of my life.
Thank you so much,
Dear Tony and Dale,
Let me take a moment and thank you for everything you did for my son, Rhylan. He is a new boy! In the 5 weeks he spent at camp, he lost 22 lbs. He has lost two since returning home. It was not just the exercise and diet program but the self awareness that you brought to him. He actually questioned my choice of juice at lunch the other day citing the ‘sugar carbs?! Where there once was a boy who loved fast food, now I have a son who chooses not to eat fast food. That is a miracle in itself. Where children have hope and a goal there is success. You give these children both. Thank you so much.
Tony, Dale and Tricia,
As you know, when I got here I was like 237 lbs. Now I’m like 210 lbs. or so. For the past 4 years of my life, I’ve been in the 200’s. Now thanks to you when I go home it will be in the 100’s and I like the way I look and feel so I plan to keep losing. Last summer thanks to you I was motivated to do a 60 mile bike-a-thon for a special heart association cause. Now this summer when I go home I feel motivated to do a 120 mile bike-a-thon for the same cause. When I did the 60 mile it was through the five boroughs and over the Verrazano Bridge and now I’ll do it 2x’s and give it 120%. When I win and I get my plaque it will be dedicated to you. I just wanted to let you know. I love New Image and everything you and it has done for me.
Dear Dale and Tony,
I wanted to thank you so much for the excellent job you did this summer. My daughter, Myllicent, started off camp feeling very sad, you took her under your wing and turned this child around. She had the best summer. Losing weight was an extra benefit (she did great) but more importantly, she had FUN and made nice friends. She feels good about herself and can’t wait to come back next year. I hope she uses the lessons she was taught at Camp Pocono Trails. Thank you again. We’ll be back!!
Candy and Steve F.
Dear Mr. Sparber,
I would like to thank you and the staff of Camp Pocono Trails for the marvelous experience my son had at camp this summer. He came home a changed child. Not only did he lose 34 pounds (a weight loss he is still motivated to maintain and even increase), but he also came home emotionally matured beyond all my expectations. He definitely has a ‘new image’ of himself and his future. Bravo!
Just wanted to write you a quick note to tell you that Nick has continued to do extremely well. He has continued to lose more weight since camp and has now surpassed his original goal!! He started camp at 134.5 pounds and had a goal of 115 pounds. He came back from camp after four week at 122.5 pounds, and now, six weeks later, he weighs 114 pounds (one pound under his goal)! Rather than be content with the original goal, Nick has set for himself a new goal of 105 pounds, which will put him in normal range for the first time in his life. Given his motivation and commitment to his health, I have no doubt that he will make that goal over the next year. Nonetheless, we will definitely be there again next summer!
Dear Mr. Sparber and Staff:
Kevin has had a wonderful summer. Apart from the fact that he has trimmed down and toned up beautifully, he thoroughly enjoyed the sports and activities, the wonderful counselors, and all the new friends he’s made. The people I met on visiting day, whether counselors, campers or staff, were cheerful, friendly and incredibly helpful. The beautiful lake and facilities are everything any camper would want. My only regret is that you don’t take adults! Thank you and your staff for everything you have done to make Camp Pocono Trails such a huge success and Kevin’s individual experience so immensely rewarding.
Very truly yours,