Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the origin of Mount Hayden

Stan Treadway tells of the origin of Mount Hayden:

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Maybe I can fill in a few of the 'blanks' concerning the origins of Mt. Hayden:

In the Fall of 1976 Don Freed and Chuck White put together the permanent anchor cable on the chimney and positioned the belay rock that later became Mt. Hayden. (I helped just a little bit!) Don's background in adventure education was influenced by stints at the Lorado Taft Field Campus/NIU, Oregon, Illinois, and the Clear Lake facility affiliated with the Battle Creek Public School system. By the time he and I ran into one another at Frost Valley we both realized how ripe the environmental program was to evolve into 'challenge' activities. With Jim Marion's blessings, and a solid plan grounded in Project Adventure models, Mt. Hayden became, as I recall, the first permanent element in a trust-building/group dynamics emphasis that school groups could take advantage of while in residence.

We enjoyed Don's influence for only one environmental season and then he embarked on a journey that would eventually lead to his doctorate in education and a tenured position in Traverse City, Michigan. Don's influence on my life was three fold: I attended a week-long Project Adventure summit and became certified in all things relating to 'group dynamics'; I too attended Northern Illinois University's Taft Campus and completed a master's in outdoor teacher education, and finally thanks to Don's urging, I graduated from a three+week Outdoor Educator's Course through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Lander Wyoming. Little does Don realize how many people have benefited from his vision in 1976 and the tracks he has left behind, especially in my life. I plan to share this Mt. Hayden update with him. He left Frost Valley a long time ago, and knowing Don, he never looked back, only forward to HIS next horizon. He is now a family man living smack dab in the middle of orchards for as far as the eye can see, and a front yard complete with a putting green. He and I have paddled in several down-river canoe races in central Wisconsin, but the last I saw of him was Spring 2001 while traveling with my mother on the return leg of a Canadian vacation. I am soooo grateful Frost Valley brought our two wandering lives together, however briefly.

The photo above and at right shows Dave Nalven and Stevie Bell moments after Stevie successfully climbed Mount Hayden in 1984.

Friday, September 24, 2010

White Pond this morning

This photo was taken by Sara Alexander of Chuck White Pond this morning.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Morrie Hubbard was 101 years old

G. Morrison Hubbard , Jr., died peacefully, Aug. 21, 2010, at his home in Summit, N.J. He was 101. Born in 1909, he resided in Summit, all of his life.

Mr. Hubbard was the oldest camper from one of the oldest camps in the country, Camp Keewadyn in Salisbury, Vermont. Before he was 15, he had built up a writing paper business in eight surrounding towns and had about 200 customers. At 17, he had crossed the country with three other boys, in a second-hand Buick, returning home by working on a cargo freighter, the day before school started. It stopped at three Mexican ports and went through the Panama Canal.

Although his favorite camp was elsewhere, Morrie Hubbard was a good friend of Frost Valley. He came to us through Woody English, long-time chairman of FV's Board of Trustees. Morrie also sat on the Board of the Hyde and Watson Foundation for many years; Hyde & Watson has been very generous with Frost Valley--their many grants to Frost Valley have been honored in the naming of one of our large lodges. Back in early 2001, Morrie made a donation of $10,000 to our then-just-emergent farm program.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

hiking boots are cool

A former camper from the 60s/70s remembers me this way:

"I remember you there at Wawayanda. Mom sent me off one year wearing these shoes with large, thick, waffle type soles on them. When I objected, Mom told me they were hiking shoes and everyone at camp would be wearing them too. Everyone else had sneakers. My hiking shoes were "out of place" it seemed until I spotted a counselor wearing them. YUP - it was you!! Hiking shoes are much "cooler" and even a wanted item if counselors wear them."

I love this story!

Monday, September 20, 2010

daughter of Audrey Griffin Jones needs your help

Here is a sad note posted to Facebook by Jen Antinoro Storey on behalf of her friend, and our friend, Audrey Griffin Jones:

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I apologize for the mass email but I am reaching out to my entire Teaneck & Frost Valley community. As some of you may already know, my oldest friend Audrey (Griffin) Jones’ daughter was recently diagnosed with DIPG, a rare and inoperable tumor on the brain stem and one of the most devastating pediatric malignancies. Shannon will be 7 years old next month. Audrey and I grew up together in Teaneck and spent every summer together at Frost Valley sleep away camp (1980 until early 90’s). A website is being set up so that Audrey can provide updates on Shannon. I will be sure to send that link once I have it.

A fundraiser has been planned for Sat. Oct. 9 in New Jersey to help the Jones family provide the care that Shannon needs. (Details below on how to lend support if you are unable to attend)

When: Saturday, October 9th (3pm-?)
Where: General Poors Tavern; 45 Main Street; Hackensack, NJ 07601
$20 per person suggested minimum donation at the door (Cash only please)
Food, drinks, live music , raffles, and 50/50
Bring the whole family!

If you are unable to attend and you wish to contribute support, you may send checks (made out to Audrey Jones), Shoprite or Trader Joe’s Gift-cards to:

Certified Financial Services
Attn: Pamela Mellor
52 Forest Ave
Paramus, NJ 07652

Thank you!
Jen (Antinoro) Storey

autumn bikes rank Frost Valley road high

Frost Valley Road is featured on a web site written by motorcyclists who search for the best weekend rides. Click here and either scroll down until you see Frost Valley or use "find" and search for "Frost Valley."

Friday, September 17, 2010

the longest hike he took in six summers at FV

Bill Madden was sorry he missed the recent reunion. But it got him thinking about influential leadership and in particular about Bob Whirty when Bob was Bill's fellow camper in Sequoia (Adventure Village). I'll let Bill himself tell the story:
I have been visiting your alumni blog and saw the picture of Bob Whirty and his daughter. Seeing the picture reminded me of something remarkable Bob did as a camper. Here is my memory of what Bob did:

It was the longest hike I ever recall making in six summers at Frost Valley. The counselors leading us were a fellow we called “ Beefo” and another named Charlie. As it often happened on hikes, there was a somewhat overweight camper who could not keep up with the group. We frequently had to stop and wait for this slow fat kid to catch up. When he would finally arrive, at least one, and usually several of the campers would harshly ridicule him about holding us up. With head down, the poor, thoroughly exhausted camper would ashamedly offer a typical excuse of “my back pack is broken” or something along those lines. A counselor would make the obligatory check of the backpack, on occasion maybe even repack it and give a few items to others to carry. It was customary on camp hikes for one counselor to bring up the rear. But on this hike, even the counselor bringing up the rear grew weary of pushing the slow camper and took to calling over his shoulder to hurry and catch up.

Late in the day, we had walked so far ahead; this camper was no longer even in sight. Eventually a small dot appeared and as the dot grew closer we could see Bob Whirty walking with him. Bob was a regular on hiking trips and we all knew Bob had no trouble keeping up. When they finally arrived, we were well rested and would have already resumed our hike but for waiting. The counselor’s tone reflected the feeling of many of us when he impatiently told them to take only a short break as the rest of us were ready to go and it was getting late in the day.

Bob Whirty replied “no, you guys keep resting, we are going on”. The slow poke, although soaked in sweat, was no longer ashamed and echoed Bob. “Yes, we’re going to keep on going”. Bob never said the obvious. He did not try to deflect criticism from himself by pointing out that he was making sure the fat kid kept up.

NO. Bob said WE!! And we all could see Bob’s new friend believed it. The young camper’s face clearly showed he no longer considered himself a burden to the group. Now, he was a hiking companion of Bob Whirty and they were accomplishing a rewarding and challenging hike together. The rest of us were so impressed we remained where we were and allowed them to build a good lead. All of us, campers and counselors alike, were now anxious to do our part to follow Bob’s example and make him feel an equal and not an outcast. Bob gave us the opportunity to be part of one of those “Hallmark Moments” that happen at summer camp.

Monday, September 13, 2010

assorted favorites reunited (video & audio)

At the reunion Vespers - the theme was friendship - Lexi Cariello, Chris Harper and Chrissy Mohle reunited as a group known in recent years as "Assorted Favorites" to sing an absolutely beautiful and apt song for the occasion. There's no way to say here--not without the need of filling too many screens of text--exactly why this song is apt. You'll have to trust me, if you weren't there, that it was. They (as it is said) had their audience, had us, held us, holding our breaths. And then it was over.

Here is both a video (YouTube - click on the dark image above) and also audio-only (downloadable MP3). I'd go for the MP3 if I were you: download it and stick it on your iPod. Then when someone asks you to explain the magic of Frost Valley, pull out your tunes and play them this one. (To stream the audio, click on the sideways triangle in the link above. To download, right-click on "MP3.")

then Chuck White came with the world's largest shovel

At the beginning of the "in memoriam" service at Reflection Pond (during the recent big Labor Day reunion), I sang "Old Wawayanda." (Video shot by Mike Marder.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

in hunker hawser, Dave Mager still champ

Reunion-style Challenge Night. The 1980s won again! (Actually there's some dispute as to whether the 90s or 80s won at the 2006 reunion.) The second-to-last challenge was of course Hunker Hawser - decade vs. decade. Dave Mager (80s) - the world champ - was challenged by Dave Scherer ("Radio Dave") in the final. Mager won. The other photo here was merely a demonstration round - John Giannotti vs. me (John won). Mager's tactic is legendary: he calmly sets himself on the very corners of the milk crate and waits until his opponent tires of tugging and feinting. For a while, Dave played skip-rope with the rope, but Mager was unflappable.

Connor's friends

A great photograph (taken by Max Flatow) of Connor Donohue's sister Caroline and some of his friends who gathered at the recent FV reunion in part to honor and remember him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

why Andy paid so much for the Mt. Hayden sign

Here you see Andy Wiener and family not long after Andy outbid others (including me) and took home the fabled "Mt. Hayden" sign which had for so many years graced the top of the Hayden Lodge chimney. (For those who don't know: we used to climb up that stone chimney with ropes and harnesses - rock-climbing. The sign was at the top. When you climbed up successfully you touched the sign before coming down.) Now we have the huge "Y"-shaped climbing tower and zipline set-up in another part of camp, so it seemed time to remove the Mt. Hayden sign. We auctioned it during the reunion and fetched the highest price: $1,150!

Here's Andy on why he did what he did:

I spoke truthfully while I was present in that moment. I wanted that sign because while dropping Geffen [younger daughter--at right in photo] off this season I noticed it was gone and anticipated that it would turn up. A prize to be won at auction. However I knew it must mean so much more than that to me. Really – why want it?

I’m big on symbols. Symbols, talismans, idols, icons; if it’s a graphic depiction, poem or tangible article that represents something else, I’m interested. I’m also a very sentimental guy. I couldn’t always identify it, and I wasn’t always mature enough to admit it, but I’m a grown man now so I can own it. I’m a sentimental guy.

That Mt. Hayden sign is a priceless piece that has been the signpost for all of the challenges overcome at summer camp every day for generations. What camper didn’t at some point in his stay overcome a personal challenge? Or set and achieve a personal goal? And what staff member didn’t navigate his own set of similar experiences? Ending 4th session with the same selfless enthusiasm with which you began 1st session is real challenge in itself. Barb Bartis taught me that one and I was one of her many challenges that summer I’m sure.

Campers continually need to overcome the real challenges of homesickness, learning to self-monitor their own behavior and learning to get along with – and perhaps even grow to love – people who are so very different than the people they are accustomed to spending their time with. And whether the goal is completing the low ropes course, participating in a trust fall or – wait for it – climbing Mt. Hayden, the act of setting that specific and measurable goal and working to achieve it is a valuable life lesson learned at Frost Valley but employed for an entire life’s journey .

That’s why I want this sign. And during next reunion’s auction I want a shot at taking home a cable bridge. It is, perhaps, the only worthy competitor to the symbol that is Mt. Hayden.

Monday, September 6, 2010

gathering of Wawayanda directors

Most or perhaps all of the Wawayanda Directors who were in attendance at the reunion, from left to right: Bob Eddings, Dave Haight, Deb Singer Hanna, Al Filreis (that's me), Eileen Barnes Hahn, Helen Cornman, Dan Weir, and (tall guy in the back) Dave King.

Roe, Mark, Jen

From left to right: Roe Balchunas, Mark Gottdenker, and Jen Antinoro. Jen came to FV this past weekend all the way from the San Francisco area.

DeMelle & Zabriskie

Todd DeMelle and John ("Lance") Zabriskie. I think Lance told me that he hadn't been back to FV in several decades at least. Click on the image for a larger view.

Jake Kerr talks about his grandpa, Chuck White

Apologies: the audio at the end of this video is marred by the gusts of wind that messed with my iPhone.
At the Morning Reflection/In Memoriam service held Sunday morning at Reflection Pond, we remembered and honored seven people who have passed away since the last reunion. The service was organized beautifully by Helen Cornman (who did the same in 2001 and again in 2006). Jerry Huncosky spoke evocatively about Eva Gottscho and also a former camper and staffer--a young woman who'd had a kidney and heart transplant--both of whom died in the past year or so. Dave King remembered our second nurse at FV, Gerry Lester. Lisa Ernst and I remembered Marie and Charles Kremer. Jeff Daly spoke eloquently and movingly about Connor Donohue, many (many) of whose friends came to the reunion to devote themselves to celebrating Connor's life and impact on FV. "Jeff," Connor said at the end of session 3 one summer (he would be missing session 4), "I'm not finished yet," and the phrase became an apt theme. John Giannotti implicitly remembered his son Oran as he sang a slow soulful version of Donovan's "Catch the Wind." And speaking of wind, it blew briskly as Capt. Jacob (Jake) Kerr rose to tell us of his memories of Chuck White. Yes, as readers of this blog know, Chuck passed away not too long ago. A huge loss, felt no more keenly by anyone than by Jake, who was (not by blood but by every other measure) Chuck's grandson.

what would you pay to have the old FV entrance sign at your house?

Brian Butler "donated" this sign to be auctioned off at the alumni auction, which was held Sunday afternoon at the reunion. I put "donated" in quotation marks because, well, Brian seems to have been around years ago when this sign--which graced the main FV entrance for many, many years--was being replaced by the current sign, and, well, "put it in a safe place" until such time as it could be used to benefit others. (How's that for a sweet version of a possibly sordid tale of absconding.) Anyway, all's well that end's well. In an auction that was by far the best of these we've done, and which raised a total of $5,500 for camperships (yes, $5,500), this was the second-most sentimentally valued item. I'll tell you later about the most valued item - and will tell that tale along with a photo of the highest bidders for that.

parent watches her children grow up

A Frost Valley parent (and herself a long-time FV family camp camper) reflects in her blog on her children's growing up at FV. Check it out.

just back from the reunion

I'm just back from the big reunion at Frost Valley. It's hard to get an accurate count--what with people coming and going, and many showing up for the day on Sunday--but I think we must have reached 350 at some point. Lots of FV lifers all in the same place at the same time. As I gather my photos and videos I'll put some of them up there. You can be sure, too, that our FV Facebook friends will be posted hundreds of additional images. I'll try to collect a few of these for this blog as well. Meantime, having just arrived home and begun to sort through 350 emails awaiting me from the past three days, I found a nice one from Lorraine Devlin Welch: a photo taken by her of Bill Devlin (her dad--at left), myself and Dave King (you can see Eva Devlin partially in the corner). We had a long talk before Sunday evening's dinner...about the old (old) days. More soon. Keep checking back.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the cheer that was supposed to be tamped down

This link here should take you to a Facebook video that will truly tickle you. It's based on an audio recording made in 1993. You'll hear the voices of Forest counselors griping hilariously about having been told by directors to stop chanting a certain village cheer: "Twenty-Three." Just watch and you'll get it. Charming video made by Dave Scherer. I'm not certain that non-Facebook users can use the link, but perhaps so. I'm not up on video-sharing protocols and whatnot. Give it a try and let me know.

Here is what Dave wrote when he uploaded this to Facebook about a year ago: "In 1993 I was a camp counselor at the Frost Valley summer camp. Last week I started listening to some of the tapes I made that summer in my car. This video is actually a 2 minute sound sample with text. It tells the epic ongoing story of Frost Valley and similar places worldwide. / Credits: Forest VC Fred Biggs, Apolllo Bey, Jon Lockwood, Leon Greene, me and countless campers."