Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

the blue stake truck, sans door

Here I am, driving the old blue stake truck, which seems to be missing the driver's side door! I'm the Program Director here (I'm guessing it's 1977) and was setting up for an all-camp program. Lenny Aberman is sitting in the back (he was one of my perennial camper assistants).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rick Kaskel writes a blog entry

When I was a child growing up in Brooklyn, I looked forward to every summer when I could escape the city, be with friends in the country, play sports, have counselors as heroes and come of age as a teenager.  After a long lapse, this opportunity returned in a unique manner — I was asked to represent The Children's Hospital at Montefiore at its summer kidney camp program at the Frost Valley YMCA, which is run in partnership with the Ruth Gottshco Foundation.

This pioneer initiative began in 1974 with the desire of Ruth's mother, Eva, to have a summer camp experience for children stricken with kidney disease requiring dialysis.  Although Ruth, unfortunately, was not alive at the start of this program during the summer of 1974, history was made when 60 children and teenagers from around the United States ventured to Claryville, New York, and the Frost Valley YMCA to experience the beauty of being a mainstreamed camper while receiving hemodialysis in a small renovated facility in the middle of the Catskill mountains.  Indeed, this was the first-of-its-kind program that became a model for others to simulate worldwide.

What I remember vividly and experience every time I go there (and this year will be the thirty-fifth year) is the wonderfully rewarding feeling of seeing children, that we often encounter in the hospital setting while on dialysis or after receiving a transplant, engaging in the wonders of camping with its attendant challenges and milestones. Almost equally important is the mutual appreciation by their fellow campers and counselors who are fortunate enough to have shared their camp experiences with them.

It is difficult to quantify this mutual growth and understanding but I can recall many examples where it has changed lives. I remember the kidney campers who were amazed that they could ride a horse, backpack into the woods for overnight stays, and sing to their hearts content in the dining hall along with hundreds of other campers. More importantly, I remember those who used their newfound confidence to move forward with their lives; finish high school, go to college and still return every summer to Frost Valley, not as a camper, but instead as a counselor either on dialysis or with a kidney transplant, now with tremendous responsibilities for others.

I also remember the young visiting international counselor who at age 17 first saw children on dialysis at camp. He returned year after year while in college and is now a leading transplant surgeon at a major medical center. His children also started at Frost Valley as soon as they were old enough and became counselors in the true "Lifer Spirit" of this unique camp.

So why do I love to go to camp?  Because I get fueled by the energy and belief that anyone — if given the opportunity — can overcome even the most difficult obstacles and strive to grow and reach their potential. Around this time of the year I again begin thinking about camp, but these days it's more often thoughts of our Children's Kidney Center at Frost Valley, rather than memories of my own childhood camp experiences.  Come join us sometime and see why thousands of campers and staff also have these memories in their minds and hearts.

Frederick J. Kaskel, MD, PhD, is chief of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore and Professor and Vice Chair of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

view from above in the late 1980s

How was this photo taken? From atop Mount Hayden (Hayden Lodge chimney)? I don't think so. The point of view is too far to the west of Hayden. I can't figure it out. It's not taken from room 1 of Margetts Lodge - too high up for that.  If you know, please tell me.

I posted the above photo to Facebook and it led to a lively discussion - from where was this photo taken. See below.

Rose Senatore has passed away

The latest information about the memorial for Rose:

The funeral will be 10 am at the funeral home on Saturday, than on to Church and cemetery.


Rose Senatore worked as an assistant in Frost Valley's Montclair, NJ, office for many, many years. Before that she worked at the Newark office (on Bleeker Street) for Wawayanda during the early years at Frost Valley. She and Josephine Giannetti were Halbe Brown's right-hand folks for a long time.

When I was a young staffer, and would spend a lot of time myself helping out in the Montclair office, Rose was always generous and kind to me, watching out for me, giving me advice, etc. She loved everyone and always had time to catch up, asking you about your parents, your school.

And she loved Frost Valley, and would do anything for the organization.

Lourdes Montoro was another one taken in by Rose. Lourdes writes: "ROSE SENATORE was more than a faithful FV worker, a devoted assistant to Halbe in the Montclair office and my first American mom - since my 1st summer (since Internationals could use the office on the holdover wekeends)."

Rose passed away very recently. We will miss her.

The wake for Rose is at Ippolito-Stellato, 7 Two Bridges Road, Fairfield, NJ 07004 on Friday from 3 to 9 pm, and the funeral will take place on Saturday.

Marion Nicholson

Marion Nicholson passed away recently. She and her husband (through their foundation) were very supportive of Frost Valley over the years. Here is a link to her obituary.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A note from Kate Landis - gathering in NYC this weekend

A few of us are organizing an all-are-welcome Family FV Reunion in NYC this weekend, and would love to make sure everyone knows about it. The idea is to get our families and friends together and have a picnic lunch, enjoy the sunshine and catch up. Wondering if you could help us promote it through the blog? I have posted on the FV alumni page and we are all teaching out to old friends.
Here are the details:


People can email me at Kate.Landis@gmail.com if they are not on Facebook or need help finding us!

Eileen Bradley and her director, 1984

Eileen Bradley, counselor; me, camp director. 1984. I was no doubt attempting to get Eileen to do something she didn't want to do.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Blum's beautiful photo of Memorial Island

Eric Blum's sister sent me a thumb drive full of photos taken by Eric over the years at Frost Valley.  A number of them were taken during his first summer, 1986. I will post a selection from time to time. For now, I post this one. It was taken a few years ago - of Memorial Island in Reflection Pond. It's a beautiful photo, but beyond that - it's of course where Eric's ashes are buried now.

Friday, October 4, 2013

chapel/morning reflection at Reflection Pond, late '70s

Forstmann's old bullpen

The old Forstmann-era bullpen is now history. For years it served as a laundry, and it really didn't serve well in that capacity. It would have taken too much time and expense to make it right, so yesterday it went down, and a new facility - which will have the old Catskill farm-style look of most of our buildings - will be up in its place, on the same site, in a month. For some years the upstairs was the ski shop. For several summers the downstairs was the Out-trip building. Upstairs there was sewing in the late 70s. Etc. Now gone. Dan Weir took these before and after photos.

Frost Valley people who knew that building from the late 60s until the mid-80s will hardly imagine it in the summertime without Marie Hess just inside the door or sitting in a chaise chair just in front.


My own favorite view of the building is from this angle - across the field, near the main road, looking at it from far away and just to the west - an angle that makes it look like a nice little old mountain cabin. The photo below was taken in 1972.