Sunday, June 16, 2013
Felicitations, blessings and Peace for our, once more, Volunteer of the Year!: our Eric Blum! And for the delegation that made it possible and lent him the most meaningful hand to his heaven!
3 hoorays for our Scout and Ranger at heart and Dr. in Life, my true companion and friend since our counseling days in the 80s, my most devoted and faithful visitor at the summer camp office, who has so generously patrolled and cared for us all every every summer, who I have been very fortunate to reunite with year after year, who I have gone on adventures, matured with, enjoyed, laughed with, and who I have loved so much.
Nevada man (as I called him) simply wrote to Barcelona woman (as he called me) on 11.1.07 what follows:
“Camp will be fast approaching; we have Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year´s, then I will start to countdown to camp.”
As in one of Jeff Daly´s facebook status, I subscribe to Camp Friends. Love them. Always. And with the licence that this cold summer of 2013 (being also my 30th since I first went to Frost Valley), I humbly beg to give me, I would like to add: And with infinite gratitude, lots of lessons to learn and, once more, tons of Barcelonian hugs and kisses. Last week, I decided to formally enroll in the Course of Life, with my favorite most brilliant professor ever: Blum. I am in the first row, with a new pencil case, paying attention, being as obedient as usual, attentive to his unique Nevadian ways, honoring his love, genius, wisdom, sense of humor and life.
I also look forward to the playground. I wonder what was first: Him? The playground? ☺ As he always reminded me to, and lectures me on now, I will keep the magic, now his endless life-time magic, smile that Wawayanda smile, that he liked so much, and BUILD STRONG! I can´t fail him. I´ll apply myself and go for it all!!
My sincere love and support to his family, his buddy Mark Gottdenker, who Eric so wisely chose, and who so impeccably and sweetly, has taken me under his wing, and who I want to take my hat off for, publicly, the grumpy old men, and to all of you, for being there, and here with me, just an ocean apart.
Thank you. Love you all.
(aka Barcelona woman)
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Eric Paul Blum, RN, BSN, CNOR
Resident of Charlottesville, VA
1964 - 2013
Eric passed away June 9, 2013 at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He was 48. Eric was a proud native of Walnut Creek, California. He graduated from Northgate High School class of 1982. He received an AA degree in Agriculture and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Orvis School at the University of Nevada in Reno.
He spent his entire professional life as a Registered Nurse at the University of Virginia Medical Center, most of the time as an operating room nurse. He lost a brief battle with cancer, but won a 32 year long war with kidney disease.
He was an Eagle Scout and a long time staffer, director and volunteer at Frost Valley YMCA camp in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. He was presented with the Frost Valley Volunteer of 2012 award on June 8 by a delegation from Frost Valley.
His father Geoffrey predeceased him. His mother June, brother Stephen, sister Gayle, his Aunt Stephanie & Uncle David Jones, many cousins, and friends survive him.
There will be a memorial service on June 19, from 8-9am at McLeod Hall Auditorium in the School of Nursing building to honor Eric’s life and contributions.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are suggested to Frost Valley YMCA, 2000 Frost Valley Road, Claryville, N.Y. 12725 or the University of Virginia School of Nursing Alumni & Development Office, P.O. Box 801015, Charlottesville, VA 22908. Checks can be made out to the UVA, School of Nursing. Gifts to The School of Nursing will be used to set up a scholarship fund in Eric’s memory
Friday, June 14, 2013
Watch the video, please, and see 500 reasons to help kids before our summer begins. Here is link for making a donation. And here is a letter that was sent out today by Jerry Huncosky:
The Summer season is a magical time for everyone, but for the 3,900 children who will experience Frost Valley YMCA this summer it can be life-changing. Over an eight-week period these campers will have a myriad of experiences that will play a role in shaping the rest of their lives. They will make new friends, find confidence, explore nature, gain independence, build self-esteem, and so much more. For 500 campers, the experiences you saw in the video above are made possible through support to our Annual Giving Campaign and Project 332. From now through June 30th, two Frost Valley YMCA trustees, Bill Baker (Alumnus '82-'94) and John O'Brien (Camper/CiT Parent), have each offered to match up to $10,000 in contributions made to our Annual Giving Campaign. Matching this $20,000 challenge with another $20,000 in pledges will go a long way in bringing these 500 children to camp this summer and providing them with these life-altering experiences.
Jerry Huncosky CEO
P.S. Help us give these same experiences to 500 more campers this summer. And, remember, you can double the impact if you give by June 30th.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
This morning our long time friend, alum, donor and volunteer, Eric Blum, passed away. Eric had been ill for several months and although this was expected, it came earlier than anyone would have guessed.
If you recall, we had recently agreed to select Eric as our Volunteer of the Year for 2012. A beautiful crystal engraved piece along with a photo of Frost Valley, signed with congratulations by dozens of staff. was presented to Eric by Bob Eddings yesterday. I am told, Eric, swelled with pride and carefully read each of the comments of congratulations.
It was our hope, along with Eric's and his families hope, that Eric could visit Frost Valley one more time. While that is no longer possible, it will be impossible to walk by Margetts and not imagine him sitting on the log waiting to be placed into action.
He was our friend and will be missed by thousands. May he rest in peace.
There are no arrangements at this time.
Frost Valley YMCA
2000 Frost Valley Rd.
Claryville, NY 12725
I urge all readers of this blog to look back at Eric's diary of his month-long volunteering at camp in the summer of 2009:
Update: Here is a note Jerry Huncosky posted to Facebook - "For my friends who are also friends of Eric's. I have worked with the family to resolve some details regarding Eric's passing. We will hold a memorial service here at Frost Valley on Sunday, September 22 at 11:00 a.m. Eric's ashes will be buried at Frost Valley on Memorial Island. Please feel free to share this post. More details will come later on the Frost Valley page."
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Today I am writing in particular about Dave King, whom former campers and former staff who spent time at Wawayanda/Frost Valley between the years 1958 and 1977 - and beyond - will remember well. He was the first Village Chief of Lenape when Wawayanda moved to Frost Valley. Soon he was the Program Director, and then, for many summers, the Camp Director.
His gripping stories, his ability to know everyone in camp and be on top of seemingly everything, his complete devotion to the values, his powerful devotions, his hilarious antics at all-camp programs, his talent for mentorship - these are all legendary for many FV people across the generations.
Dave was also a member of Frost Valley's board of trustees, and, with his (and our) beloved Shirley, has attended almost every one of the alumni reunions we've held since 1987.
You can read a long blog entry from 2007, the time of Dave's 50th FV anniversary. And you can watch the video of Dave's moving talk at Morning Reflection in the Wawayanda Chapel in 2008.
Dave and Shirley and members of the family will be at camp for the August 17 celebration, along with family and friends of Paul Guenther and Howard Quirk.
If you would like to join us at Frost Valley on Saturday, August 17, please contact Lianne McElhone at 845-985-2291 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope that a number of those whom Dave mentored and guided as camp director will return to help us celebrate him.
More about Paul Guenther and Howard Quirk soon.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Monday, March 4, 2013
Al Welch was a Frost Valley employee. In 1969 I was the counseler in Totem Village Cabin 2 from about mid July thru the end of the summer. For reasons long forgotten, they decided to have maintenance personnel sleep in the cabins. Al (usually known as Alfie) joined us in Cabin 2. We didn’t see a lot of him since he left early in the morning and came back later in the evening. But he was always cheerful and chatty with the campers when he was around. However, maintenance was clearly his interest in camp. He was a strong, stocky guy who played tight end for Tri-Valley High School, as I remember. Even then, just finishing up high school, he was clearly a capable member of the maintenance dept. He was also a heavy equipment operator and I remember one day when he drove Carl Hess crazy the way he was driving a backhoe.
He likely worked for the camp for more than just that one summer but I don’t remember for sure. I believe he went into the Navy soon after high school and I remember him spending time on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately he had some health problems later in life. At the time of Halbe’s memorial in October, Bill Devlin indicated that Al was not well at all. So it is with great sadness to hear of his passing. While most staffers from that era probably didn’t know him, he was a big part of the maintenance dept and thus the Frost Valley family.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Lorraine married Al Welch who (I believe) also worked at Frost Valley. They moved to nearby Neversink and were married for 40 years. I'm sorry to report that in January Al died at the too-young age of 61. Below is the published obituary.
William (Al) Welch, age 61 a long time resident of Neversink, NY passed away on January 8, 2013 after a short illness.
Al was born in Torrington, CT on November 14, 1951. He graduated from Tri-Valley Central School and continued on to military service with the U.S. Navy Seabees where he served for four years.
Al worked as an operating engineer for 20 years, and retired as a groundskeeper for Tri-Valley Central School in 2010. Al was also actively involved with the Neversink Fire Company for many years where he served as a Commissioner and volunteer fireman. In retirement he thoroughly enjoyed motorcycling, spending time with close friends and family, woodworking, and fellowshipping with his MSBF Church family. He will be remembered for his “quick wit,” and “always lending a helping hand.”
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Lorraine Welch, daughter Tina Tynecki and her husband James of Hellertown, PA, son Thomas Welch and his wife Denise of Glen Spey, NY, a brother Gilbert T. Welch and his wife Susan of Woodbourne, NY, a sister Susan Harris of Brooksville, FL, as well as several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Al is preceded in death by his father Gilbert T. Welch, mother Irene A. Welch and one sister, Sarah Kay who died as an infant.
Calling hours will be held at Colonial Memorial Funeral Home in Woodbourne, NY from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 12 after which a short memorial service will be held.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be sent to MSBF (Main Street Bible Fellowship) Ministries, PO Box 344, Livingston Manor, NY 12758 (http://www.msbfministries.org/) or Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, 800 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, NY 12550 (www.hospiceoforange.com)
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I'm sorry to report here that Pop Turner passed away last night. Below are a few notes from Glenn Horton.
from Glenn Horton:
Milton (Pop) Turner passed away last night after a short fight with cancer. Pop was very much involved with the Frost Valley family during the '80s. He and his wife Marge worked in various capacities Frost Valley but he was probably most well known for his horses Ben and Don, who spent countless weekends taking families and groups on hayrides and winter sleigh rides. Pop loved the Frost Valley community and I know the folks that got to know him enjoyed his company as well. I do not have information on services yet, but when I do I will pass them on.
Obituary from the Record:
October 25, 1925 - February 11, 2013
Milton Turner of Woodbourne passed away on Monday, February 11, 2013 at Catskill Regional Medical Center with his family by his side. He was 87.
He was the son of the late Vernon and Hazel Geer Turner, born on October 25, 1925 in Divine Corners, NY.
He proudly served our country in the United States Army during World War II. Milton was a member of the Hudson Valley Draft Horse Association, Cornell Corporative and an honorary member of the FFA. He was a retired correctional officer for the NYS Department of Corrections. He had a special love of horses and liked to be outdoors. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend to all that knew and loved him.
He is survived by his loving children: two sons, Dewayne and his wife, Peggy of Woodbourne, Jan and his wife, Mildred of Spring Mills, PA; two daughters, Marjorie Coelho of Woodbourne, Carol and her husband, Fred Shaver of Lew Beach; two foster daughters, Bertha O`Toole, and Bernice Barrett; eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren; two sisters, Sylvia Kortright, Marion Keator; and one brother, Vernon Turner. He was predeceased by his devoted wife, Marjorie E. Turner and one son, Lewis Turner.
Visitation will be on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at Colonial Memorial Funeral Home, 396 State Route 52, Woodbourne, NY 12788 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be on Friday, February 15, 2013 at the funeral home at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at the Sullivan County Veterans Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers donations in Milton's name can be made to Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, 800 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, NY 12550, or a charity of ones own choice.
Arrangements were under the direction of Colonial-Bryant Funeral Home and Cremation Services; for further information please call 845-434-7363 or visit our website at
Friday, February 8, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Please help give a Wawayanda Welcome with lots of hoopla to baby Ariana Juno (aka "Roo") Geller who was born on Thursday December 6 at 11:34 pm , 7 lbs,19 1/2 inches.
I was in the delivery room with the birth mom and it was amazing! Because of the legalities of interstate adoption, we have to stay in RI for the first ~10 days. Lucky for us we found a great place to "camp out", at Camp Fuller by the Sea, courtesy of Peter and Claudia Swain! I love that she left the hospital to go straight to camp !!
Friday, December 14, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Just after the memorial service for Halbe Brown in the FV dining hall yesterday: from left to right, Mike Cobb, Mark Kramer, Peggy Hope, Barbara Hale, Barbara Brower, Mark Showers.
Friday, September 28, 2012
This summer while working in step we had the privilege of getting to participate in Mike and Stuart's LAST gumbo olympics of 2012. it was actually a funny story -- we weren't sure if we were going to be able to even do them at all! we only had 7 campers in step, which isn't enough to do them with, and were supposed to have done them with windsong, but we had a bit of a scheduling mishap and ended up scheduling the olympics for different days. the other group i had asked to participate with us ended up backing out the period before we were going...so i was extremely nervous! i knew that a bunch of windsong girls this particular session were PHENOMENAL mainstreamers, and truly just loved hanging out with the campers in the mac program. our olympics was scheduled during hird waterfront, so i found them before it and nervously asked if they wanted to participate. i wasn't sure if they were going to say yes, because most of them didn't swim and just hung out which i thought they loved. it turned out they couldn't have been happier or more HONORED to have been asked to hang out with us! even though they had just done the gumbo olympics the day before, they were SO excited.
Mike McNamee and Stuart Duff got to know my campers very well from living in lakeview with us...but it truly went beyond that. they came to our devotions, hung out with us whenever they could...and really just put in true time and effort to get to know our village, which a lot of people don't necessarily do. i feel as though step sometimes gets overlooked at camp, since our guys are much older than most campers at Frost Valley. Nevertheless, mike and stuart completely disregarded those stereotypes and truly became a part of our village. over the course of the session my kids really grew fond of them, so needless to say i was EXTREMELY nervous to possibly have to cancel the olympics on them- something they were looking forward to all week. It was also the very last activity scheduled, and I had cancelled the activity right before it so they could finish packing their belongings.
We (STEP, the PHENOMENAL Windsong ladies, and Mike and Stewart) all met up in front of Margetts for what turned out to be the absolute best activity period of the entire session, and maybe the entire summer in STEP. My campers that didn't typically like to participate were screaming at the top of their lungs, and smiles were just plastered on everyone's face for an hour and a half. This period truly embodied the Frost Valley spirit, and the mission of not only camp, but also the goal of the MAC partnership. I had never been prouder or more excited about any activity I've ever taken part in as a counselor.
I took videos of each groups final performances.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Last night, my last night here this summer, was a stunner. As you see, clear skies, and a moon. I walked by the lake on my way to tell a story to Susky and Lakota (together) and saw this and stopped for a long while just to ponder the scene, and what it means to me. Which is to say: a great deal.
I had gone out for pizza at dinnertime and brought back two fabulous toppings-filled slices, along with a giant cakey brownie. I'd checked in on a village evening program in progress, and saw two counselors (one was crying - about the coming end of summer - and the other was comforting her) who seemed to need the treat, and invited them to go to my car, parked nearby, and partake. A few minutes later, I went to get a flashlight from my car, and they were sitting in the back seat, the one no longer crying and the other no longer consoling, munching happily on the slices.
I walked up the hill, past the old cabins of the 40s and 30s (girls 1-20 in the old days) and around the "high road" past Tacoma and toward Sacky. A fairly large black bear, who'd been messing with some garbage bins, ambled across the road about 15 feet in front of me.
Eventually I walked back to Geyer Hall where the two villages of girls awaited my story. Susky had been swimming in the lake for evening program, and they were cold - although they'd changed into dry clothes in their cabins. So indoors on this cold night made sense, though I missed telling my final story of the summer around a fire and under the stars. Some campers fell soundly and happily asleep during the story, but most were bolt upright and enjoyed being "scared" by the (mildly) scary parts.
Then, at the end, I said goodnight to them and they in unison with soft tired voices said goodnight to me. And as I left a number of them came to me for goodnight hugs. It's all I needed for a final evening. I walked down the hill, no flashlight, now in pitch darkness. I could have done one of those late nights around, had another Outpost-burger (delicious a few nights ago!) but figured my Susky/Lakota hugs were a good finale.
From home I will doubtless post a few more entries, using some photos and videos I've taken throughout the summer. But I will be doing that not from here. Here where I want to be. Funny how this place goes so easily, too easily, from presence to absence. But I have to say it's about the most present absence I can imagine.
Goodnight, Susky and Lakota.
Tell us another story.
Not tonight. But certainly next summer. Will you be back?
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
Today I caught up with Mike McNamee again and we recorded our chat. You'll want to listen to the 12-minute audio.
During our discussion, McNamee and I realized that our daughters - Hannah the counselor of cabin 44 and Fionn, a camper in the same cabin - would be performing at Hirdstock that afternoon. Below are two photos and a video of that splendid performance! You should have seen us then - a couple of heart-filled and proud dads.