Why Skylake


Choosing a summer camp for your child is a big decision.

Here are some key reasons why Skylake is a summer camp you can feel comfortable with while being certain your kids will love it.

Accredited by the American Camp Association for over 50 years.

Guarantees compliance with 300 accreditation standards.

The Tradition of Skylake Magic.

Skylake was established in 1945. Skylake looks, feels and functions like a story book summer camp. "Skylake Magic" was well described by former camper, counselor, and parent Laurie Neuman Rice in a book review she wrote for Brene Brown's Braving The Wilderness..."Summer camp was, for me, the ultimate in human connection.  We called it Skylake Magic, a secret recipe of friendship, new experiences, being away from home, and a dose of vulnerability. To this day, I visit there in my dreams."  Brown calls this "collective assembly," a term she borrows to describe "more than just people coming together...instead it is an opportunity to feel connected to something bigger than oneself; is is an opportunity to feel joy, social connection, meaning and peace."

Location, Location, Location

Skylake offers a dream location in the mountains, on a lake, with the grandeur of Yosemite at its back door. Getting to camp is easy. Skylake is located on Bass Lake in central California, almost equal distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the Sierra National Forest. We offer charter bus service from both northern and southern California and provide complimentary pick up at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Quality Staff Starts at the Top

Jeff Portnoy has been the owner/director since 1995. The Co-Director Adrienne Portnoy-Durgin was a camper and then counselor in the 80's and 90's, and returned to work as director in 2010.  Jessica Portnoy Sonka also a camper in the 80's and staff in the 90's, returned in 2017 as Registrar and Office Manager.  Jon Moore, camp consultant, spends time at camp every summer, Jon's years at camp date back to the 1970's. 

1 Counselor for Every 3 Campers

The staff to camper ratio is one of the most reliable indicators of the care and supervision that will be provided to your child. Skylake normally has 70+ camp counselors and counselor/administrators for 210 campers. There are an additional 20 employees filling cook, kitchen, housekeeper, and nurse positions.

Campers Choose What They Want to do Each Day

Skylake provides open enrollment for all of our scheduled activities, special events and for out of camp excursions. See a typical day at Skylake.

Skylake's Activities and Programs Offer Something to Interest Everyone

Bass Lake and our private docks offer ski boats, canoes, kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards, swimming and log rolling. On land, activities include horses, tennis, basketball, volleyball, ropes course and climbing wall, and miles of mountain biking trails to explore. Arts and crafts, drama, music, ceramics, outdoor cooking and lodge activities are also available for those looking to mix up their routine or for a slower paced activity. In addition to the traditional camp activities, Skylake always strives to find the strengths of its counselors and have them present their special skills in activities such as yoga, ballet, Frisbee golf, etc. The list of activities is endless, such as nine square, yo-yo’s, diabolo’s, and jump rope that at camp take on a new and different feel. It is hard to be bored at Skylake! Learn more about activities

Campers Love Skylake Food

We truly believe that Skylake provides some of the best summer camp food in America. Learn more about Skylake food.

Do campers return?

The big question is: “Do the kids come back?” Camper return rate is the most telling of all qualities. Skylake has an incredibly high return rate, averaging over 65% in all of camp. In some of the older girl cabin groups we exceed 80% of the girls returning and provide a window of time where only returning campers can enroll to guarantee them space in camp. Skylake is a summer camp kids never outgrow.

"The magic is in the profound and real experiences and friendships that we create and share in common with our fellow Skylakers that stick with us for the rest of our lives. Combine a beautiful place with great people and wonderful experiences and that 'something Skylake extra' and you have magic."
– Dan Braun, Camper 1973-1982, Staff 1983-1991

" Skylake Magic is the feeling of waking up in the morning and going to bed at night knowing that you wouldn't rather be anywhere else than 37976 Road 222. Skylake Magic is what gets you through the long winter days in between summers, and keeps you looking forward to Shasta Call, moonlight over Skylake, and even the swim trail every single day. Every summer I attended Skylake was a unique one, yet they all blend together into one of the happiest memories I have ever had."
–Sarah Zimmerman Camper 2000-2005, Staff 2007-2008