“Dude, I love this place,” was one of the first things I heard this past Tuesday morning as I meandered down to Swim Point. I smiled and silently agreed; I loved this place too.
As I continued down to the Point that morning, the oddly welcoming smell of dead fish filled the air and I could hear “Big” Joe Maiurano’s bellowing laughter as he told some joke that he continue to tell each new swimmer he came across all day long. Today’s joke involved a snorkeler named “A Net.”
Big Joe and his wife, Dawn Maiurano have both worked at Dudley for twenty five plus years. “She’s the mastermind, I just fix things,” Big Joe once remarked to me. He continued to explain that before they ran Swim Point strictly, he had coached and refereed baseball games, as well as run the Boathouse.
“We helped bring back the waterfront,” Big Joe reminisced as he discussed how events like snorkeling and water polo were still recent additions to the Point’s activity list.
Nowadays though, the Maiurano’s are firmly Swim Point’s headers. Open for snorkeling majors, swim meets, water polo matches, and choice time every day of the camp week.
In addition to Joe and Dawn their son, Peter Maiurano, a Witherbee Theatre Hall native, makes an appearance at the Point this summer, alongside his wife, Lauren Widing Maiurano. “I absolutely love it,” Widing said about the Point. Previously, Widing had been the head of arts and crafts at Brody. “It was time for a change,” she finished.
Speaking of change, Rob “Crowbar” Crowe, a previous assistant leader last summer, has traded in his clipboard for a snorkel and joined the Point staff full-time this summer, as well. “I like hearing good responses from the kids,” he mentioned to me one afternoon. “I like knowing that they’re having the best time possible.”
In addition to Crowbar, me, and the Maiurano’s, Catherine McCutcheon takes on her fifth summer, while Willa McKinley enters her fourth summer at the Point. “We get to interact with every age group,” McKinley said of why she enjoys working at the Point. “Everybody comes swimming, from regular swim team boys to non-swimmers; we get to know them all.”
McKinley went on to explain that if you are involved strictly with coaching basketball you will only ever get to know the basketball players at camp or if you only ref tennis, you will only ever see those boys that are interested in playing tennis at camp. Meanwhile at the Point, we get to meet all types of campers, because everybody will eventually come down to cool off in the lake, and that is what makes our job on the waterfront “so much fun and rewarding,” she finished.
As a Westport, N.Y. native myself, I had spent the first eighteen years of my life growing up alongside Lake Champlain, before venturing off to St. Lawrence University three years ago. Therefore, I had known about Dudley and lived a quick five minute drive from it all my life. Yet, I had not known the true magic of camp until four summers ago when I accepted the opportunity to join the Swim Point team. Now here I am starting my fourth summer and making the familiar trek I know all too well down to the Point, and I can definitely agree, after talking with my fellow coworkers, that the Point is one of the most special places at camp.
Come on down, the waters fine!
By #22835 Alexa Mitchell
Photos by #22008 Willa McKinley and #18801 Drew Rider
We’re very lucky to have Alexa Mitchell writing our Dudley Blogs for us this summer. You can look forward to much more in the coming weeks!