Saturday, July 22, 2017

Joy White's legacy

On August 19, Chuck & Joy White (along with Hunter Corbin and Bob Haines) will be inducted into the Frost Valley Hall of Fame. Here in this blog entry I want to ponder Joy's lasting effect on Frost Valley. During the "wellness revolution" at FV in the very late '70s and early '80s there was a (positive and certain well intentioned) effort to bring folks in from outside to teach us about health and wellness and well-being. Some of the changes (taking sugar dispensers off the tables; getting rid of candy and ice cream in the canteen; limiting and then eliminating smoking from camp) seemed to require people outside the Frost Valley tradition to force them on us. That was all good. But along with that force there were some top-down initiatives that just didn't take. Meantime, however, there was Joy White. She was an RN and had always been interested in wellness in all its aspects. Once the barriers against teaching healthy daily living and values-driven lifestyles at camp had fallen, the rest of the work was a matter of changing hearts and minds, and that, in short, is what Joy did. I can still hear her mildly chastise me for not taking breaks, for not eating enough, for not caring for myself, for not getting enough sleep. Those sentences typically began with "Honey heart..." "Honey heart, you really should take an hour and just sit and think!" "Oh, honey heart, come down to the house and have some tea with me. It'll do you some good." Etc. Wellness, to Joy, was in the little changes we could make while at camp that would lead to our having the physical and spiritual capacity to help others. Always the little things. The day, to her, was made up of lots and lots of little good and positive things. She believed radically in goodness but it never felt at any one point like radical change was coming over us.

As it happens, I'm easily able to think of Joy White every day while I'm at camp. You see, on my way to and from the main area of camp I pass by the old grey-blue house where the Whites lived. We used to call it "the White House." More recently, it's called "the Group Home" (where a number of staff live together). Chuck and White and their kids lived there for years. Joy was often inducing Chuck to help her beat back the flower-eating deer and other critters. They struggled to make gardens. One day Joy went across the road, directly across from the house, and around the mailbox there planted some flowers and some ground cover. The flowers didn't easily take but the ground cover did, and I have clear memories of the vine-like leaves flourishing in that little attempt to make a regular home out of that tiny square of Catskill roadside.

Well, the ground cover is still there, some thirty-five or forty years since Joy planted it. And it has spread all along that spot. It survived plows and truck tires and the moving of the mailboxes and goodness knows what else trampled along that little stretch. But Joy White made a home there and the signs of it persist and flourish. Love live Joy White! O, honey heart, we remember you!

Another glorious day at camp — check out the photos!

What a glorious sunny day in the Valley. Check out the photos here:

The brothers swat!

Here's a fun story of brothers contesting each other in a game of Geronimo:

They climbed Doubletop Mountain

Click here for a story about how Adventure Village climbed Doubletop the other day:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dave Neu is back, this time bringing his family

Dave Neu was a camper and counselor in the 1980s. His daughter Mali has been a camper for six years and is now spending a month in Windsong. Now his twin sons have joined the Frost Valley family; they were campers in Outpost during the first session. Here they all are in the dining hall, with Dave's old camp director, during first session check-out.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

At check-in today for session 2

Top: Eileen Barnes Hahn (long-time camper and counselor who was later the director of Camp Wawayanda) with her family at check-in for session 2. Her daughter Mary is going to be a camper here this session. Bottom: several trustees came to help out at check-in, including Bill Baker, Josh Tucker (whose two kids are back in camp), Kate Lewis (ditto), with Jerry Huncosky. Dave Bieler, whose daughter Joss is in camp, was also around but missed posing with us.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CITs at the Farm

Ran into this crew yesterday at the Farm. They were nearly done with their multi-day hike. Dirty and tired and smelly and happy.