One of the most amusing and camp-iest moments of the summer for me. I was driving out of the main part of camp in the early evening and saw Max and Alice returning from their day off, carrying a huge several-layer cake and a large pizza pie in a pizza box. These scrumptious non-camp luxury food items could not have been more obvious to all who saw them as they walked from the staff parking lot by the barn into camp. They told me they passed by many campers and staff (whole villages on the way to view the once-per-session rodeo performed by Mustang at the barn) and they all saw what the two carried and not one person even mentioned it. Eyes wide, and staring - but no comment at all! Is it implicit respect for those on a day off? Is it (somewhat like disconnecting from the internet) that at camp we don't really want such things as layer cake and pizza, or don't want to acknowledge what we can't have?
It seemed time to gather together photos and recordings. I'd always hesitated because I didn't want to imply that my own take was definitive. The blog--the medium of the blog--seems the right combination of diary-like subjectivity (blog readers simply know this is the blogger talking) and a communal forum for various perspectives and multiple stories.
Castle depicted in old postcard
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is a place where good things happen when people pay attention to each other. There’s endless beauty here - the high meadows, blankets of evergreens, and pristine brook trails – and you can meet nature in all its forms. But more than that, it’s a place where our ties to friends and family are strengthened. When a community of people came to the Catskills to build Frost Valley, they had in mind a place where you can sit next to someone you think you know, and then really get to know them. It also happens to be where the everyday light and shadow is enough to inspire artists; where American fly-fishing was born; and where today, a quarter million acres of green forests still remain “forever wild.” At Frost Valley, where we are does have an effect on how we treat each other. Here, a family can relearn what “family style” means as they share a meal together. The rose-gray river stones in the hearths and chimneys around camp reflect the colors of nearby Biscuit Creek and pull you into the surroundings. If you need more reasons why it’s so special here, we encourage you to explore citizen science activities during every season. But you don’t have to, because you might have more fun just learning silly camp songs. And by the end of your stay, when you your family and newly found friends are composting like pros together, everyone becomes richer, including next year’s butterfly garden.
after lunch, inevitably Dave King
...and if I could transport myself
not just back to this place, but to a certain moment in my personal history here, it would perhaps be:
end of lunch on any July day in 1968, and Dave King (our camp director) walks to the center of the dining hall, without microphone, and without introduction of any kind begins to lead one of the 25 or so camp songs we sang in those days. He is the maestro, waving one arm to the rhythm we are to follow and with the other arm, at turns, directing us to sing quietly or loudly or pointing toward some one camper who isn't singing or (rarely) is talking. And it's "Young Folks Old Folks" or "Zum Gali Gali" or "Deep and Wide" and I look down to the end of the table at my counselor and he's singing too, no hesitation, not too old for this, totally entranced and I myself turn my gaze back toward Dave....
Okay, I ache for that. Not being young again, not quite. More like being momentarily again part of such harmony.
"The blog is awesome - I just went back through the whole thing again. I'll say this without shame - I ache for Frost Valley. I spend a lot of time and cerebral metabolism trying to devise a way I can get back up there for a session...."
looking in the direction of Wildcat Mtn. and the boathouse (which is off to the left)
definition of "Village Chief"
Village Chief\vil aj cheef\ n: An overworked, underpaid, camp official expected to be everything to everyone, including, but not limited to, Counselor, Mediator, Motivator, Programmer, Administrator, Police Officer, Caretaker, and Supervisor, all while maintaining good working relationships with parents, campers, counselors and support staff, and without whom any summer camp would struggle to function adequately.
Wawayanda flag raising
is an original Catskills denizen. She has family scattered all across the region, she knows all the old stories about one-room schoolhouses, what this Claryville house was used for in the old days, and so on. Dot was the first recipient of a recent annual staff award, and when she received this honor everyone stood and applauded, tears in their eyes. Finally a chance to recognize a true community elder - hard working, honest, a kind & beautiful soul. [LINK]