Sunday, April 22, 2012

important letter for all: 1) new social media site for alumni; 2) help us build Leadership Lodge to replace Pigeon

Dear Frost Valley alumni, one & all:

We are writing to many, many former Frost Valley campers, trip leaders, directors, program staff, counselors, environmental ed instructors, support staff, Family Campers, lifeguards, Village Chiefs, nurses and doctors, and CITs. When you’re done reading this letter, we hope you will fire up your computer’s or smartphone’s web browser and will go immediately to these two pages:

This email message will explain why. So please read on!

Hurricane Irene’s disastrous flooding took its toll on our beloved valley. Most receiving this letter will know what happened on the day after our final session’s summer campers left. Since then we have made a continuous effort to rebuild our community as quickly as possible. Thousands of dollars and hours of staff and volunteer labor later, we have removed debris, cleared camp roads, re-set hiking trails, and restored horse pastures.

Now we face our greatest post-Irene challenge: we must replace Pigeon Lodge, which Irene utterly (and horribly) destroyed. We must raise the money for the new building and we must complete its construction before the start of summer camp 2012. It’s called Leadership Lodge, and without it our CITs, LITs and other “in-training” (“iT”) future camp leaders will have no home; or, we’d have to turn away 160 campers.

Yes, you read that correctly! The new building, replacing Pigeon, will be the home of our CITs. The first permanent home for our CITs in Frost Valley’s history. Many reading this letter will remember their own exciting CIT (or “LIT” or “FCC” or…) summer as if it were yesterday. Others are the parents, siblings, spouses, and dear friends of former CITs and will want, we hope, to honor them. What a time of life that was! We learned how to be leaders; we learned how important reliable, open-hearted leadership is to our own lives and to our world.

From the outside, Leadership Lodge will look like Pigeon Lodge did and Biscuit Lodge still does – wood framing on the second floor, with Forstmann-style dormers, and Neversink River stone masonwork gracing the exterior of the bottom floor. But inside, Leadership Lodge will consist of four cabin-style rooms. Now, we together—people spread across the generations but with a life-changing experience in common—have a project to undertake. One of those four cabins, we hope, will always been known as “Alumni Cabin” in honor of our own—or our sons’ and daugthers’, or beloved friend’s or spouse’s—coming-of-age as Frost Valley leaders. If Frost Valley’s alumni and their loved ones are able to reach the goal of raising $75,000, every alumna or alumnus who makes a donation (or for whom a donation is made on their behalf) will be honored with her or his name on the walls of our cabin, along with the year of your CIT experience (if apt).

The building of Leadership Lodge so soon after Irene took away our beloved Pigeon Lodge is a characteristically creative response to setbacks by the people of Frost Valley. By rebuilding in this way, we are furthering our commitment to leadership development and reminding ourselves of the importance of our own personal decision to learn how to lead. We hope you’ll help. Here’s how. First, go to the online Leadership Lodge Alumni Donation page at and make a donation. Or call 845-985-2291 and ask to speak with Jess or Liane. Second, go to, log in to this social media site we’ve built for Frost Valley people, and join the community there.

This second step is nearly as important as the first. There are many thousands whose heartfelt experiences at Frost Valley changed their lives. But we are in touch with only around 2,500 of them. Our goal is to relocate some of those who have gotten out of touch—your fellow campers, members of your CIT cohort, and co-counselors. Help us find them and reunite them with the FV magic!

Thank you for whatever you can do to help.


Al Filreis
Jeff Daly
Dan Weir

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Leadership Lodge

Click here to read an important article about how Leadership Lodge is being built to replace Pigeon Lodge, which was destroyed by Hurricane Irene at the end of last summer.