It’s been a long but wonderful winter here in Westport. I’ve heard many folks call it “an old-fashioned winter”, and we’ve enjoyed sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, and many roaring fires. Steve Denton and his team have cleared more snow than in recent years, and the snow banks piled up over our heads. The Lake is frozen over, and the ice fishermen have settled in to their huts around Albany Island.
We have had a terrific off-season. Some highlights include:
– Winter Leadership Trip – led by Scott Steen, this trip took 6 young men outside of their comfort zone to a new challenge including service, outdoor, spiritual and athletic pursuits.
– Father/Son Weekend – led by Davo, a group of Dudley Dads and their young men (7 incoming cubbies!) enjoyed a taste of what the North Country had to offer, and a terrific time was had by all.
– Alumni Gatherings – Spearheaded by Ryan Joyce, Alums from the Northeast gathered on several occasions to enjoy camaraderie in an effort to stay connected with Dudley.
-46 Reunion Visits – led by Matt, Marnie, and Davo who traveled to many warm Dudley homes and communities; strong enrollment on both sides of the Lake in all categories—from campers to staff—continue to make our outreach well worthwhile.
– JL Leadership Weekends – led by Matt and Marnie, young men and women began their journeys as “employees” of Dudley.
With the Spring issue of The CDA News, we are looking forward to the summer of 2011. I know I speak for many when I say we can’t wait to see the kids back on campus. This summer will bring a few new things for everyone, cubs through leaders, while we keep our time-honored traditions front and center. We are up for the challenge of balancing both the new and the old. This summer we will look closely at our place in the local community, nutrition and the way we eat, our dedication to service and “the other fellow”, as well as the importance of developing healthy, lifelong habits. All remarkable challenges, to be sure. I hope that you’ll consider joining us for a Sunday Chapel, a Hymn Sign or the CDA Reunion August 18-21. Each is a wonderful way to reconnect and to see for yourself the exciting things that are happening on the shores of Lake Champlain.
I am often asked which summer was my favorite at Dudley. This is a question that is very easy for me to answer. For me, each summer has gotten better and better. Cub through Senior years were magical, with each season bringing new milestones and familiar faces. Aide through Leader summers showed me a gradual sense of challenge, where I made lifelong friends and learned how much fun it was to pass along traditions to eager young campers. Then on to Staff and service through the CDA and the Board of Managers, where “working” for Dudley was an absolute honor. Now I count on each summer being better than the last. I am still looking for my favorite summer, because amazingly, I know it is still to come.
As I write this letter, the geese are stopping on their way south to overnight near Swim Point and Albany Island. The leaves have fully turned and the nights are getting cold. It is an amazing time of year in the Adirondacks. After the initial withdrawal from the summer action, my family and I have settled in nicely to our new lives in Westport.
This is a very exciting time to be involved with Camp Dudley. Our loyal Alumni continue to be extremely generous and support the William J. Schmidt Scholarship Fund, helping it to break previous records. Our Campers are happy and excited to return. Our group of young Leaders from 2010 did a remarkable job and are eager to get back for the summer of 2011. Our dedicated staff, both summer and year round, are generous with their time and effort to help us deliver our mission. The passion for what we do at Dudley was more apparent than ever as the first ever Leader and Staff Scholarship effort, guided by Ryan Joyce and Kat Hood, produced $7500 towards Annual Giving. Perhaps more important than the total amount raised was the participation level. One hundred percent of the 2010 Leaders and Staff on both sides of the Lake contributed. Thank you all!
What we do here at Camp Dudley is very important in helping our campers grow into fine young men and women. As you’ll see in the pages that follow, the traditions that we have inherited live strong today. At the same time, we are challenged to stay relevant in the world around us. Hymn Sing, Sunday Chapel, Sunday Talks, Cabin Overnights, Wednesday and Saturday Night Shows, individual and team majors all continue to be a cornerstone to our program here at Dudley. Yet, we are finding new opportunities in the way we handle Service, our Leadership Development Program, our Parents’ Weekend and the Awards system. It is this experimentation that will keep our programs fresh, our offerings current, and our Camps the leaders in the camping world.
I’d like to tip my hat to all of the work that Andy did for Camp Dudley over the past 10 years. His leadership guided us to new heights, his encouragement triggered thousands of Dudleyites to get involved, and his passion for Dudley has been an inspiration for me. Like many of his predecessors, he and Fran certainly “left Camp better than they found it,” a goal we should all strive for. Thank you Andy, on behalf of so many Dudleyites, for your contribution over the past decade.
Please keep in touch with us. We are hoping to reach each and everyone that has been touched by Camp Dudley over the years, and the CDA News is just one of the many ways to stay connected.
ps: Keep in mind that our primary source of new campers is referrals from alumni across the country, so send someone you think would benefit from a summer at Dudley our way!
Summer 2010 Letter
There hasn’t been a day since I was a cub in Burr Lodge that I haven’t thought about Camp Dudley. To say that it has been a major influence in my life would be a huge understatement, and I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to join Andy and Marnie to lead an organization that is guided by the following mission:
CAMP DUDLEY STRIVES TO DEVELOP MORAL, PERSONAL, PHYSICAL AND LEADERSHIP SKILLS, IN THE SPIRIT OF FELLOWSHIP AND FUN, ENABLING BOYS AND GIRLS TO LEAD LIVES CHARACTERIZED BY DEVOTION TO OTHERS.
Does it get any better than that? I tend to think not, and I can’t wait to embrace that mission as we head into Dudley’s promising future together. As Camp Dudley’s 12th Director, I am eager to carry on its 125-year-old traditions while striving to reach new heights.
Andy and his dedicated team have accomplished so much for Dudley, and because of their hard work, Dudley is coming off a year with cabins filled on both sides of the lake, a record-breaking scholarship fund, and a successful capital campaign. I have big shoes to fill, but in a place like Dudley, where each person plays an equally important role in creating a successful summer, I feel well supported. We have a talented and enthusiastic staff and team of leaders in place for the summer of 2010.
We all owe a great deal to Camp Dudley. It’s a place where no matter how much you put into it, the amount you get out is always greater. I have been influenced by countless Dudleyites over the years, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had them in my life. My best friends in the world are my pals from Dudley, both old and new, and I get goosebumps to think that another group of cubbies will come through the gates on June 22nd to share in the magic. I can’t wait to invite them into the world of Dudley.
Jessica, Ellie, Carter, Rachel and I are excited to make our home in Westport and embrace all things Dudley. We look forward to seeing you up on Lake Champlain and welcome your involvement in the place that we all cherish so much. I’d love to hear from you any time either at the Dudley office (518) 962-4720 or via email at [email protected].
Director, Camp Dudley