Sunday, April 27, 2014

Melanie Brown Freshwaters contemplates her camp trunk

"Once upon a time there was an old trunk," writes Melanie. "The man who owned it [that would be Tom Brown, Melanie's dad and Halbe Brown's older brother] gave it to his daughter for summer camp. She took it to camp every summer and always let her friends sign it. The girl grew up and moved away, but she always kept her trunk."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jane Smith has died

It's with sorrow that Jane Smith's many Frost Valley friends report her recent passing. Jane served Frost Valley as summer camp registrar for a number of years.

Jodi Rockower Rossman provides this information about a memorial service:

A service honoring Jane Wilkens Smith will be held at the Holy Trinity Church, Trumbull, CT, on Tuesday April 22nd at 5:00pm. Friends, please join her family in celebrating her life. — with Robert Wilkens and 2 others.

Note this address if the link isn't working...

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church In America
406 White Plains Rd. . Trumbull, CT 06611 . (203) 372-8844
The Rev. Linda J. Kraft, Pastor

Shaz Atwell has contributed these remarks: "Our Hearts are heavy and we are so sad to say goodbye to our beautiful friend Jane Smith – the most loving, giving, caring, compassionate and loyal friend anyone could ask for. Jane put everyone ahead of herself. She loved us all deeply; was prouder of her family than you could imagine; treated everyone with respect and took care of us all in a way that only she could, never forgetting a birthday, an anniversary or a special event. Her infectious laugh made us all happy. Her cheerful demeanor made us want to be with her. She loved being surrounded by her friends and family and she took every opportunity she could to gather us together.Aunty Jane, we hope that you know how much we love you and just how much we are going to miss you. Our lives without you are forever changed. Rest peacefully, dear friend."

Mikia Eatman added this: "I loved this woman. Such a warm and welcoming spirit. I think I stopped in admin to chat with her daily. And, with a smile, always took a few minutes away from her work to share, listen, laugh or give a great big hug. To "mother". She was a part of what made frost valley home. Rest in peace, Jane."

Fred Wasiak adds: "Jane was the voice of Frost Valley and a constant bowl of sunshine!  'Good afternoon... Frost Valley YMCA, this is Jane, how may I direct your call?'"

Friday, April 18, 2014


Below is a photo of Cherokee Village in 1975 or '74. When the number of girls enrolled as campers boomed in the early 1970s, Halbe Brown asked the seasonal director team how they could accommodate the increased numbers. The response was to create a new village for the oldest girls. Tacoma had been the oldest village since the beginning of girls' camp. Now "Cherokee" would be the oldest. But where to house them? The boys CITs were now in Hayden, since its renovation in 1968 or '69; the girls CITs were traditionally in Turrell Lodge. Pigeon Lodge was used for staff housing upstairs and the Staff Lounge downstairs. That left Biscuit Lodge, so the oldest girls moved in there. The then-new Tokyo YMCA partnership in a few years (early 1980s) moved into Pigeon and Biscuit, so eventually the oldest girls village had to move again. I created "Windsong" village in 1983 (and two years later, "Quinnipiac" in 1985 in Hird Lodge). "Windsong" moved into Turrell and was there for some years until Kresge was built in the '90s. In between "Cherokee" and the making of "Windsong" there were a few summers of "Sunburst" village, living in odd spots around camp; one summer "Sunburst" even lived in a few platform tents set up at the edge of the woods behind the Ad Office! They used the Ad office bathroom for showering!

But Cherokee was not a success. The camps were still divided by boys and girls. The oldest girls couldn't be expected to walk all the way across campus for meals in the girls' dining hall (now Geyer Hall). And there wasn't room there for more than the four original villages: Pokey, Susky, Sacky and Tacoma. So Cherokee ate in the boys' dining hall, in the back room ("Hemlock Lounge"). It means, let's just say, that they received a great deal of attention from the boys in the oldest villages, creating some rivalries with Tacoma and even Sacky. In Hemlock Lounge they ate with the program staff and administrative staff, and that wasn't a good fit either. Still, it was a few years of interesting experiment, and I'm sure that those who came through Cherokee on their way to CIT remember the experience fondly.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lillian Rountree in 1985

Lillian Rountree (now Lillian Rountree Lippincott) in 1985 as a Windsong camper.

Friday, April 11, 2014

when Margetts Lodge was new

This photo was taken in the spring of 1976 or possibly the early fall of 1975. Margetts Lodge was new and hadn't been named yet (we called it the "New Conference Center" and used "NCC" on schedules). The Volkswagen bus is that of Leon Van Heusen.

the bug

My (infamous) red Volkswagen, parked by the Castle in the late spring of 1973. The other vehicle was the ubiquitous Volkwagen microbus driven everywhere by the late Leon Van Heusen.