Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

the farm

I visited the farm the other day - just before the campers arrived. Met a baby calf and made friends with friendly goats.

here's Wawayanda 2015

Last night's opening campfires were held indoors because of the rain. Despite that, they were both terrific. Here's a quick glimpses of the campers of Camp Wawayanda - filling the bottom floor of Geyer Hall - in anticipation of the start of the event.

cabin photos

Today, during the first lunch of the session, villages went outside the dining hall in turn to have cabin photos taken. Here was a Lakota cabin, looking pretty happy despite the chilly temperatures and cloudy skies.

another Turer

During Geronimo with Forest village (plus CITs) just now, I called out as follows: "If your father helped to invent USB." By "USB" of course I meant "Ultimate Sicko Ball," which is still played as an all-camp evening activity in the Big Tree Field. Jon Turer's son Henry is in Forest this session and he instantly knew he had to get up out of his chair, for dad Jon (whom we saw at check-in day yesterday) did indeed help invent the game still used so many years later. Henry enjoyed this moment of fame, but told me this after the game was over: "Now many of the guys think my dad invented the USB port on camputers! I have to explain that USB is a game!"

Sunday, June 28, 2015

early morning run

It's been cold and rainy. The temperatures dropped into the 40s last night! Crazily, I got up at 6 AM and went for a run, snapping a few photos along the way. Here they are.


Yes, the Honmas were here today. They dropped off Keizo who will be a CIT. Kazumi is already here as a counselor in Lakota. With Keizo is his mother Kyoko and grandparents Tatsuo and Emiko.

Steve Spiwak!

Total surprise: Steve Spiwak showed up today. He enrolled his two kids in camp and drove up not sure he's see anyone he knew. And here were Dave Mager (see previous entry) and Bill Baker and me among others! He was thrilled to be back after all this time!

Dave Mager and Gus

Session 1 check-in today and with it brought many former staff and campers and their own children. So many I couldn't keep track. Here anyway is Dave Mager with Gus!

Julie LaChapelle

Julie LaChapelle - who with brother Jason was a longtime camper and staffer here - is here with her daughters (the older one is staying for session 1) and her husband and Bill Baker.

Friday, June 26, 2015

dawn along the Frost Valley road

Friday, June 26. I went for a run starting at 5:45 AM along the Frost Valley road, starting at the Flyfishing Cottage which is just past the Maintenance area, on the west end of the property. Below you see sunrise along the road near Chuck White Pond, and daisies waking up to the early sun in front of the "Group Home," the gray multi-bedroom house that was once the home of the White family and, earlier, the post office for Branch, N.Y.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bud Cox

last night - staff training overnights

Yes, staff training overnights. For the most part, brother and sister villages went to a site together. Not just a good time for learning about the trails, the sites, the procedures for overnight camping (including setting up tarps, cooking dinner over a fire, etc.) but also ideas about how much fun can be had away from camp on the hills surrounding the valley and along the streams that feed it. With a few of the directors I hiked up to Banks Hill, where (at "Lower" Banks) we found Lakota and Outpost and (at "Upper" Banks - or the original Banks Hill site) Pokey-Totem.

Saw this wild foxglove on the way up the trail to Banks Hill.
Mimi and Nanase (Lakota staff) share a pita pizza cooked over the fire. The crust was soooo crispy.
Director and his former camper take a few moments to remember the latter's growing up here.
Later...on this beautiful cool valley night

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

staff-only staff-training Challenge Night

We haven't done one of these in a while. Ultimate Sicko Ball (in the Big Tree Field) rained out so we created an impromptu Challenge Night. Tons of fun. Here are some photos of the second-to-last challenge: "awkward family photos."

staff training 2015

By now the entire staff is here and they are in the midst of their weeklong training. A beautiful day today: warm but not hot, breezy, blue skies. And, yes, this is the night the villages go out on their (practice) overnights. I'll hike to Banks Hill to see the groups out there, before sunset. Always a fun night around here. This morning it was all big-group meetings - on various crucial topics. Here are two glimpses of the whole crew: resident camp village staffs, Adventure Village, Adventure Trip leaders, Tokyo Partnership camp staff, Farm Camp staff, East Valley Ranch staff. Quite a gang.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

a thank-you note

We received this note from a child who has received financial aid ("campership") to attend camp (specifically our Farm Camp in the East Valley) this summer. The note reads:

"Dear Farm Camp: My name is Nadou as you probably know. I really appreciate you for letting me have the scholarship. I am really excited for farm camp. I am also a little bit scared. This is my first sleep away camp. So you will probably understand why I am a little bit scared. But I know I will love it. Thank you again. From, / Nadou."

Click on the image for a larger view.

Monday, June 22, 2015

the "Build Strong" sign

This summer I'll be telling (as always) a new story. I don't want to give it away here in this space. I'll just urge folks to visit FV this summer and witness my telling of this tale around a campfire with the counselors and campers. Why not?

Anyway, at the center of this story is the sign once posted high up on the wall of the east wing of the now-gone "old" "Boys' Dining Hall": BUILD STRONG. I have been searching for a good photo of the sign on that wall, and haven't found one yet. (If you have one, please mail it to me!)

Mike Ketcham reminded me of a classic photo of the sign as it hung in the Old Wawayanda dining hall at Andover, NJ. It seems to be the same sign I remember from my years in "Thomas Lodge" at FV. I suspect that the camp people took it with them when they left NJ and brought the camp to the Catskills.

So I have that one. In a summer camp yearbook from the early 1970s I have a photo of Everett Lake and Doug Tompkins mugging for the camera below the sign, but the photo only includes a letter or two from the sign.

In this photo, taken by Ken and Mark Nathanson's mom one autumn weekend in the late 60s, and sent to me by Ken, you can see where the sign hung. I've noted that with the red arrow. And I've circled some of the many hundreds of plaques and photos that hung from all the walls of that long-lost treasure of a building. To get a closer view of the photo, click on it.

CITs working luggage on check-in day

In this photo taken on a check-in day in the late 1960s or early 1970s, you see a group of CITs working on and around the old 1952 Chevy "White Rat" truck - moving luggage from the villages to the spot where the buses will pick them up. (Photo courtesy of Ken Nathanson, via his mom's fabulous collection of FV pix.)

At far right you see Russ Oeschle, who (I'm guessing) was either the CIT Director that summer or was in charge of check in and check out. And seeing Russ, and that staff shirt, I realize this was photo was taken during the summer of 1972. After posting this Bill Clarke wrote me to say that he thinks the guy at right in this photo is Peter Barnett. He might be right and if so it's possibly earlier than '72. You can see that the "White Rat" was also dubbed "Dalgarno's Gasser." And Dalgarno would be Steve Dalgarno.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hirdstock 1983

Hirdstock, 1983. In front: Eileen Bradley & Al Filreis; back row, from right to left: Jen DeMelle, Dave Gold, David Allen, Stuart Kaufer, John Zabriskie, [?].

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jim and Cheryl Marion

I don't know who took this photo (I believe it was Chuck White, but am not certain), or when this was. It was taken during a holiday meal (Christmas, I'm assuming) in the Girls' Dining Hall (now Geyer Hall). You see the late Jim Marion and his wife Cheryl.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Halbe Brown, baby whisperer

Halbe had such a way with babies and small kids. Here's a typical instance. Got a crying baby? Find Halbe and put it in his arms. Magic.

Stu Kaufer

Stu Kaufer, dialysis coordinator, gettin' some appreciation from Carolyn Shelburne and a friend. (Who is that friend?) This was in 1979 or '80, I would guess.

John Giannotti

Here's John, practicing for his performance, moments later, at Hirdstock in 1981 or '82.

Frost Valley map as of 1970

1978 staff photo

1996 staff photo

Posted to Facebook by Rich Eddings. I have asked him for his original, which will no doubt be clearer than this posted copy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Blum House opening - program

Click on the images for larger views.

opening of The Blum House

Dan Weir was one of those who spoke at the brief dedication before the ribbon-cutting. Jerry Huncosky talked about Eric's selflessness and his devotion to staffs' well being. Eric's siblings and mom, June, also spoke. Then the ribbon cutting and in the Blum House we went for a lunch.

Inside there's a display of some of Eric's Frost Valley shirts and buttons and photos.

After the lunch, some folks went for hikes and otherwise enjoyed the perfect June mountain weather. Several of Eric's closest buddies from the '90s decided it would be most apt if they went out to buy the best steaks one could locate in the Catskills. They returned and inaugurated the beautiful grill set up just off the back door of the House. Sirloin finger food!

Kate Landis Loewengart, a FV lifer, return with her husband two children. Kate is (to say the least) excited that her kids enjoyed themselves at camp and she's hoping that Julia (shown here with brother George) might want to spend a session at camp in a year or two. When that happens, we want Kate to volunteer! Come back, Kate!

Game room in The Blum House. You don't suppose when the summer really gets going that the pool table and foosball table will get a bit of use? On opening night, a bunch of folks indeed used both - happily.

Steve and Mark grilling the way Eric taught 'em.

By 9 PM the staff who are at camp early for training showed up - curious about their new staff lounge. Very soon they were gathering around June Blum, Eric's mom, who told them stories about Eric and urged them to take care of themselves this summer and use the Blum House for R&R.

CIT Coordinators studying up for the next day's training. The bean bag chairs in the TV room seemed to help them absorb the material.

A wider view of the TV room.