One of our greatest off-season traditions is our annual Open House Tour. Each fall and winter we hold events in cities and towns all across the country (and world). These Open Houses serve two purposes: a chance for new campers and families to learn more about our camps and an opportunity for current campers, parents, and alums to reconnect.
To view the tour dates, click here.
Exciting things are happening to the property at Dudley and Kiniya!
Just before Camp opened in June, Marnie and her team dedicated the Coleman Dining Hall. This amazing structure stands as a tribute to Gail Coleman, Food Service Director at Kiniya for 25 years and still going strong! The Coleman Dining Hall fills a critical need in updating Kiniya’s food service capacities and now provides a grand space for everything from meals to a gathering point for friends. It also offers one of the best sunset viewing spots on Campus!
Immediately following the 2017 summer at Dudley, Matt dedicated the Henry S. Poler Leadership Barn. The flexible structure has many uses. It was designed to be the headquarters for the Farm-to-Plate majors, an evening and day off retreat center for leaders, and the launch platform for NOLS and off campus exchange programs. In September 2017, it will be the home of the GAP Program. “Hank’s Barn” stands to meet many needs at Dudley and offers a grand view of the “Yum Yum Tree,” upper fields and nearby mountains in NY and VT.
Both these critical facilities are components of the Building for the Future Capital Campaign (BFTF) that is currently underway. Learn more about the Capital Campaign here.
Use the links to below to make your pledge or send your gift today.
- Pledge Form – Here’s how you get involved! Download, complete and return.
- Pay by Check – Make your check to The Camp Dudley Foundation and mail to the address below. Please note your payment as BFTF Pledge Fulfillment.
- Make Your Pledge Payment Online – Use our online giving page and make your pledge payments electronically. Please note your payment as BFTF Pledge Fulfillment.
- Making Gifts of Stock – Giving stock can be a great way to fulfill your pledge. Directions are here. You can share this link with your broker.
Camp Dudley Foundation
BFTF Pledge Fulfillment
126 Dudley Road
Westport, NY 12993
The following links offer detailed information about the rationale and projects of the Building For The Future Capital Campaign.
- Our Story Board – Get more details on what is included in the Building For The Future Capital Campaign.
- Projects in action – See those projects we have “leaned forward” to build so they could be available to campers in 2018!
- Coach Nelson Courts – Learn more about the Coach Nelson Courts that will be ready for Campers in 2019 and the tribute they represent.
- Case statement – Read the detailed message on how the specific initiatives of the Campaign fulfill the strategy and needs of our Camps.
- 2020 Vision : Strategic Vision For The Future – Study the five year strategic vision of our Camps to better understand the Campaign’s importance
- Philanthropy and The Other Fellow First – Download the wonderful message to 2017 first session campers and parents about philanthropy and its interconnection with our motto. Written and delivered by Dwight Poler. You can also view Dwight’s message here.
- Pledge form – Make your pledge today. Here’s how you get involved! Download, complete and return.
Campaign Progress – These tools tell the tale of how far we have come and how you can get involved.
- Giving Pyramid – Here’s a look at how our Campaign is shaping up. Find a brick that you might be comfortable investing in to build our future! We need you!
- Friends of the Campaign – Who’s committed to the Campaign so far? Look and see!
- BFTF DHeads – Find someone on the Campaign Committee who can answer your questions.
One of the highlights of the Camp Dudley season occurs when boys are assigned to a team for daily competition within their division. The games played range from soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, flag football, ultimate frisbee to water polo. Better yet are the team names to which they will now show their allegiance for the rest of the session. Our Juniors and Seniors choose team names from the pantheon of Camp’s athletics legends– Mott, McCutcheon, Prior and Gherke, to name a few. Cub and Plebe leaders are allowed to show more creativity, and this session we’ll see highly anticipated match-ups featuring Zesty versus 2 Pops, Fooslang versus Bingo Game Night, and Double Dutch versus Sturz Local 62. The boys fully embrace these team competitions, and they will have fond memories of the great times they shared with their mates on the fields and courts and diamonds in Westport.
Athletics is off to a great start at Kiniya! We are psyched to have expanded our fields to the entrance of Camp and added basketball lines to one of our back tennis courts allowing divisions to be playing the same sport at the same time. By now, campers have had the opportunity to play each of our 4 team sports, basketball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse. In addition to these team sports, we are offering a field hockey athletics major for the first time this year. We are so glad to provide these offerings for those preparing for the fall season and those trying something new. Next up, let the track meets begin! Keep your fingers crossed for great weather for the rest of the session and summer!
May 2017 Parent Email HERE
#11904 John Ulin
San Marino, CA
John (“JU” to his Dudley friends) returns to the Dudley Board of Trustees for his second tour of duty, having served from 2003-07 and as a member of the Executive Committee from 2004-07. John grew up in New York City, received his BA from Brown University in 1987, JD from the UCLA School of Law, 1992 and his LLM from Harvard Law School in 1995. John is a partner with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Los Angeles, specializing in copyright and trademark litigation. He has a rich pro bono civil rights practice focusing on voting rights, public education, and providing for homeless veterans. He has volunteered as a Board Member of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and of California Common Cause. John was a Dudley camper from1976-79, then a JL and AL before serving as a Leader from 1985-87 and Plebe Division Head in 1988-89. JU also kept up his singing with a band in Southern California from 2003-2014. John and Mary Ulin have been married for over 27 years and are the proud parents of four Dudley and Kiniya’ites; #21256 Ali (a Kiniya AL in 2017), #20904 Tori (on Kiniya’s 2017 waterfront staff), #20304 Christine and #18756 Curtis. The Ulins lives in San Marino, CA. JU said, “Returning to the Board 10 years later is a great opportunity to honor the legacy of all the great men and women who put Dudley and Kiniya campers first and made our camps what they are today. It is great to be back among the Dudley Family and working with Marnie and Matt to assure that Camp continues to make a positive difference in the lives of young people.”
#13469 Joe Donahue
Joey graduated from Stanford University in 1993. After travelling, which included a semester of NOLS in Kenya, he graduated from Columbia University Medical School in 1999. Joey then did residency in orthopedic surgery in New York City and moved to Silicon Valley for a sports medicine fellowship year in 2004 at Sports Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Medicine Associates (S.O.A.R.) where he became at partner in 2005. In addition to his private practice, he is the SOAR Sports Medicine Fellowship Program Director, the Head Team Physician at Santa Clara University, was a team physician for the San Francisco 49ers from 2004-2007 and is currently a team physician with the San Francisco Giants. Joey’s first experience with Dudley was an open house in Connecticut in 1982. At the end of the slide show, Joey ran up to director Willie Schmidt and signed up for Camp on the spot. Starting as a Plebe, he enjoyed the idyllic days of summer in Westport for five years. His last summer was as an assistant leader in a cabin with fellow board member Pat Butler and sub-aide Matt Storey. More recently, he has served as the camp doctor for the past two summers. Since his first summer at camp, Joey embraced the Dudley motto as a guiding principle in how he conducts his daily life. Joey and his wife Kat have three children, #22069 Sam, #22469 Henry and #23369 Hannah, all happy Dudley and Kiniya campers. In a fast moving world, heavy in technology and overly concerned with academic and athletic achievement, the Donahues are thankful for camp, a true haven for kids to be kids, and where character is paramount.
#24514 Caroline (Foster) Deans
Caroline has been with Fidelity Investments in the Boston area for over 20 years, developing product strategy and ensuring compliance for Fidelity’s retirement services product line. She recently transitioned to Global Services, Fidelity’s offshore shared services organization. Caroline received her BA from Smith College and MBA from Clark University. She remains active with Smith as President of the Smith Club of Central Massachusetts and Planned Giving Chair / Class Fund Agent. Keenly interested in growing girls as leaders, environmental stewardship and general kindness to others, Caroline also volunteers with FidelityCares, Mass Audubon and the Worcester Animal Rescue League. Said Caroline “I’m honored and thrilled to join the Board of Trustees and look forward to helping the camps continue to thrive and evolve.” Caroline’s grandfather #2454 H. Torrey Foster, father #7114 Torrey Foster, brothers #11168 Torrey, #12004 Chris and #13000 Stuart as well as numerous cousins introduced Caroline to camp with stories of hymn sing, ‘lobes, Stacey Brook Country Club, Dead Bug and more. As the only girl, Caroline quickly memorized the Dudley cheer, helped her family host many Open Houses in Shaker Heights, OH during Director Willie Schmidt’s era and pined for the chance to attend a girl’s camp like Dudley. Her son, #20725 Ragon, and daughter, #21412 Gretchen, have continued the long Foster family camper tradition at Dudley and Kiniya. Inspired by Ragon’s experience on the Dudley NOLS trip, Caroline completed her own NOLS course in 2016. Said Caroline, “Dudley and Kiniya not only motivate our family to continue living the motto beyond the shores of Champlain, but they embody an ever-present energy and inspiration in our everyday lives.”
#13820 Marcus Chioffi
Marcus has taught middle school history at Brunswick School, an all boys Pre-K to 12 day school, in Greenwich, CT since 2000. In addition to his academic duties, he also coaches varsity football, as well as middle school hockey and lacrosse. He enjoys the challenges and rewards of teaching and coaching in an environment that so closely resembles Camp Dudley. He first learned of Dudley through long time family friend, the late Tink Bolster, and has been on campus for 24 of 32 summers since. Under the last four Dudley directors, he held positions in all ranks of leadership, including Junior Division Head in 1996. He has also worked in Westport as a member of the maintenance, boathouse and A-Hut staffs. Marcus met his wife, #16964 Joanie Chioffi at Camp in 1996. They live in Greenwich, CT with their two children, #24820 Jack (10) and Caroline (5). Together, Marcus and Joanie worked under Directors Wheaton Griffin and Andy Bisselle in the late 90s and early 2000s. In 2006, Joanie was asked to integrate and implement Dudley values and traditions into the newly formed Camp Dudley at Kiniya. Marcus joined Joanie in the summer of 2007 as the program director, and the couple worked with Marnie to help lay the transformative foundation for Kiniya. More recently, in addition to working in varying capacities in the A-Hut Marcus was thrilled to work with Matt and Marnie as the CDA Vice President under CDA President Jay Wells and alongside David Ready, the current CDA President. Of even greater excitement, son #24820 Jack will cross through the Dudley gates as an official camper this summer for the first time.
2017 Job Openings at Dudley
Each summer, Camp Dudley employs approximately 150 Program, Kitchen, and Maintenance Staff who work to produce an incredible camp experience for the campers. Hiring needs change from year-to-year and currently Camp Dudley is seeking individuals for the following positions…
Climbing Instructor: We’re looking for an experienced climber to run our indoor and outdoor rock climbing program. This includes leading trips to Adirondacks crags and supporting Camp Dudley’s Outdoor programming. Read the full job description.
Arts & Crafts Instructor: Interested in teaching art in an outdoor setting? We have openings in our Arts & Crafts program teaching various mediums. Arts & Crafts instructors typically lead classes in drawing and painting, printing, and ceramics, but there is room to incorporate new programming and teaching new skills. Read the full job description.
Tennis Instructor: Take the lead in one of our most popular program areas. We’re looking for an experienced tennis instructor to teach tennis at various levels to boys 10 – 14 years old. In addition, the tennis instructor will work with the rest of our Athletics Program team and work in other areas as well. Read the full job description here.
Maintenance: Work with our skilled Maintenance crew to keep campus safe and clean. This position offers an opportunity to work hard outside and be a part of a fun and dynamic team. Read the full job description here.
Food Service: Join a fast paced work environment filled with lots of opportunity for leadership and management experience. Our Food Service team works hard everyday to deliver 3 meals a day to the over 500 people on campus. In addition, the Dudley Food Service program works with local farmers to source as much of our food as possible from the immediate area and also strives to minimize waste by executing a high standard composting and recycling program. Read the full job description here.
Last month, we welcomed the Winter Leadership Trip to campus, joining in on some Dudley fun, Adirondack adventures, and leadership training ahead of the coming summer. ALs and Leaders rolled in on Thursday night, greeted by a feast thanks to Josh Olcott. After dinner, the young men planned out a mid-winter Adirondack hike for the next day, prepped all of the gear, organized the logistics, and set leadership roles for the experience. We capped off the night around the Maclean fireplace with a vesper led by Evan George.
After Evan’s Chapel Talk on Friday morning, we set out for ADK Loj with snowshoes, hot bowls of chili, and a course set to Phelps Mountain. The weather was unseasonably warm and rainy, but our spirits were high as the men reveled in the spirit of Dudley reunion. We bagged the peak in the early afternoon and headed down the mountain with a strong sense of accomplishment. That night, Mason Marsh led us in a fantastic vesper on leadership qualities.
Saturday morning kicked off with a Chapel Talk from Sam Widing, some hot breakfast, and a CPR course led by KotzE. By lunchtime, we were CPR certified and ready for a First Aid course. But first, we checked out the Leadership Barn, which is coming together incredibly well. We were all excited to see the progress and to imagine the possibilities during this upcoming summer. That night, after a long day of learning, we opened up the gym for some good old fashioned pick-up soccer. With some newly constructed barriers along the courtside thanks to Jeff Schwoebel, the court was perfect for fast play. Following some fierce competition and plenty of laughs, Evan gave us a preview of the summer to come, and Will Harrigan led us in a final vesper on the beauty of diverse perspectives.
We capped off the trip the following morning with an informal Sunday Chapel service down at Swim Point, a jog down the Dudley Road, and a thorough white glove clean up of the Lodge. Thanks to all who joined in, who helped out, and who made this trip possible.
Check out some photos of the event here.
As the Board convened in Westport, NY on January 27th light snowflakes fell and we all enjoyed the Adirondacks in the winter. Matt Quigley welcomed the new Members, Marcus Chioffi, Joey Donahue, Caroline Deans and John Ulin to the Board table. In addition, he presented the 2017 draft Board Goals that focus on Present, Prospective and Personal Goals for the Board. Matt Storey discussed the success of the 31 open houses available to our community and prospective new Campers throughout the reunion trail. Marnie commented on the success of the Kiniya Leaders Tea with 51 people, including 12 former Leaders, all of whom joined the Dudley Leaders Luncheon afterward. Matt updated the Board on some off-season shoulder programs that were a great success and will only be considered when the program is led by Camp Dudley in an effort to extend its mission. Matt and Marnie discussed implementation of some programs for administration of Camper scholarships and a web-based medical records system. There was lots of discussion about the new Dudley Gap Experience, the application process and the opportunity it has provided for Camp to reconnect with former Campers.
Matt gave the Board a tour of the new Leadership Barn. Rich Maxwell, as Chair of the Board Development and Nominations Committee reported on the Board self-evaluation process, results and provided certain recommendations, including looking at what would be considered a diverse Board for our Camps.
The Development Committee reported that the Annual Fund surpassed its goal for 2016 and raised over $825,000 (over 2,000 individual gifts!) and that there are over 100 people in the Beckman Society.
The Board adopted a Gift Acceptance Policy that can be shared with potential donors, as necessary, setting forth the guidelines that govern the acceptance of gifts made to Camp for the benefit of our operations, programs, scholarship and to the Camp Dudley Foundation.
The Finance Committee reported on the Camps financial position and presented the 2017 Budget to the Board. In addition, the Finance Committee reported on the upcoming closing for the construction financing loan with Merchants Bank of Vermont and Champlain National Bank for the New Kiniya Dining Hall project.
Lastly, the Board approved a motion allowing for the transfer of funds out of Camp Dudley, Inc. to the Camp Dudley Foundation, under certain circumstances.
The Dudley Board of Trustees met at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in West Harrison, New York on November 4, 2016. Matt Quigley started the meeting giving a brief history of the German Exchange Program in 1961 as we look to launch the Dudley Gap Experience in the fall of 2017. Matt and Marnie then provided their Directors’ Report. On the reunion trail, Matt and Marnie are actively reaffirming the mission, motto, core values (character – community – leadership – stewardship) and the four program pillars. Marnie and Matt shared with the Board how they are sustaining and strengthening our community and year-round relationships. Attendance at Open Houses has been up from previous years for the vast majority. The numbers are strong and both reported they are confident that Camp will be very full for summer 2017. Camp has two new additions to the year-round team – Tom McDonagh at Dudley (Dudley Gap Experience) and Tom Braden at Kiniya (Maintenance and Operations). Camp is busy building, enhancing and preserving camp resources. In addition, Camp is investing in the systems, technology, and software to support operations. Camp has revamped its online application process, which is going live this week, and is partnering with TADS for purposes of processing scholarships. Camp is looking into the use of “campdoc.com” – an online medical program that organizes medication forms. Tom Brayden is helping to upgrade the WiFi at Camp Kiniya.
Matt provided the Board with an update on the Dudley Gap Experience, which will focus on Community, Leadership and Stewardship. Kat has agreed to work with Tom to co-direct the Dudley Gap Experience. It is anticipated that Camp will have 6-10 people enrolled in the inaugural year.
Marnie talked about the early planning for Kiniya’s 100th (summer 2018) and that she is looking to re-engage Kiniya Alums of all ages and generations!
The Board reviewed and approved our Camps consolidated financial statements and the independent auditors’ report. In addition, the Board adopted an Investment Policy Statement for Short Term Assets. The Admissions, Diversity and Scholarship Committee engaged the Board in a discussion about our Camps’ spiritual program. The Development Committee reported that new donors to Annual Giving were up 30%.
Lastly, the Board Development and Nominations Committee recommended and the Board approved the following new Board Members: Marcus Chioffi (educator), Joey Donahue (doctor), Caroline Deans (finance) and John Ulin (attorney). In addition, the Board voted in the following officers for 2017: Matt Quigley, Chair, Whitney Phelps, Secretary, Mike Bransford, Treasurer and Mark Valkenburgh as Ad Hoc Executive Committee Member.
The Camp Dudley Board of Trustees met on the Camp Dudley campus August 26, 2016 preceding the 2016 CDA Reunion. Matt Quigley began the meeting acknowledging the planned new buildings for Camp Kiniya – the Dining Hall and the Lodge and for Camp Dudley – the Leadership Barn and providing the Board with a history of all the other major buildings at our Camps. Matt and Marnie provided the Board with their Directors’ Report highlighting the over 1000 campers and 500+ others that benefited from an amazing 2016 summer. Each identified a few factors that they think helped to make the summer the best ever, including — a strong commitment by all Staff as evidenced by almost 100% leadership contribution to the Annual Fund, more seasoned and experienced Staff with our new housing accommodations at Kiniya, great pre-season training, multiple Kiniya alumnae visited Camp in-season that provided an infusion of fresh energy during Camp, reduced nights out at Dudley (allowing for better rest), and the addition of 2 new programs at Dudley (assignment of a Staff member to a Leader and cabin (e.g., Staff ate breakfast with cabins and sometimes participated in vespers, etc.) and every day a senior Staff person helped Matt and were on duty after dinner). Marnie reported on the capital improvements at Kiniya, including the new Edie and Knollandale cabins, new decks on other senior cabins, improvements to the publications office, the screen porch on Homestead and the two new properties reconnecting the Williams Property with Kiniya. All of which also helped contribute to a fabulous summer.
Marnie and Fred reported on two major proposed Vermont regulations that could directly impact Kiniya. Vermont is looking to (i) reclassify the SandBar Wetlands as a Class I, which would impact 20 Kiniya acres near the Lamoille River and (ii) impose on camps the rules applicable to hotels and motels. As drafted, the Vermont Camping Association (VCA) is opposing the latter regulation. Both Camps were visited by the respective state’s Department of Health and passed inspection. Matt reported on the condition of the Lake, which is having an impact on the Dudley Program and caused Camp to voluntarily close Swim Point for two days. Camp can’t control the Lake levels or the pervasiveness of the Blue Algae and thus, Camp needs to invest in the Waterfront to ensure future access and use.
The Board reviewed the Camp Dudley Infirmary Health & Safety Report 2016 as presented by the Health, Risk Management and Safety Committee.
Fred went through the financial statements and discussed the fluctuation in the numbers given that Camp started a week later and the impact of the Vermont real estate tax liability due to Camp no longer benefiting from a real estate tax exemption in Vermont for YMCA Camps. The 990s were filed and the 2015 audit is almost done. Bill Combs, Chair of the Audit Committee, reported on the Conflict of Interest Questionnaires completed by all of the Board and Key employees.
Mike Bransford, of the Finance Committee, reviewed the Pension Plan compliance requirements, which will become an ongoing Finance Committee responsibility.
Fred provided a financial update on the planned new Kiniya Dining Hall. The Board had previously approved a $3M Budget and so far Camp spent $300K. A motion was approved to allow the Executive Committee to negotiate and execute bank funding of up to $1.75 million for construction of the new Camp Kiniya Dining Hall.
Ted Smith, Board Development and Nominating Chair, discussed the credentials of each Board Member rolling off and the Committee positions held by each Member. In addition, he talked about the 2017 Class rolling off and that 4 Members on the Executive Committee will need to be replaced in the next two years. He discussed the need for women and diversity in the Board ranks (in all respects).
An Ad Hoc Special Subcommittee was created and it was agreed to hire Laura Kirschstein of T&M Consulting for purposes of investigating the circumstances that precipitated the letter to the Community from the Board Chair dated November 30, 2016.
Chapel Talk written by #22008 Willa McKinley (Left)
Good morning, Camp Dudley. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Willa McKinley and I live in Adams, that forbidden cabin that stands to the left of maintenance. When I was writing this chapel talk I was trying to figure out how many years I’ve worked at Dudley and I settled on that this is my 6th consecutive year at camp. But I think that number fails to represent the 21 years I’ve spent year-round in these gates. This morning I’d like to talk to you all about perspective, and first I’m going to share a fictional story that I found on the internet:
“Once upon a time, five blind men came upon an elephant.
“What is this?” asked the first one, who had run head first into its side.
“It’s an elephant.” said the elephant’s keeper, who was sitting on a stool, cleaning the elephant’s harness.
“Wow, so this is an Elephant! I’ve always wondered what Elephants are like.” said the man, running his hands as far as he could reach up and down the elephant’s side. “Why, it’s just like a wall, a large, warm wall!”
“What do you mean, a wall?” said the second man, wrapping his arms around the elephant’s leg. “This is nothing like a wall. You can’t reach around a wall! This is more like a pillar. Yeah, that’s it, an elephant is exactly like a pillar!”
“A pillar? Strange kind of pillar!” said the third man, stroking the elephant’s trunk. “It’s too thin, for one thing, and it’s too flexible for another. If you think this is a pillar, I don’t want to go to your house! This is more like a snake. See, it’s wrapping around my arm. An elephant is just like a snake!”
“Snakes don’t have hair!” said the fourth man in disgust, pulling the elephant’s tail. “You are closer than the others, but I’m surprised that you missed the hair. This isn’t a snake, it’s a rope. Elephants are exactly like ropes.”
“I don’t know what you guys are on!” the fifth man cried, waving the elephant’s ear back and forth. “It’s as large as a wall, all right, but thin as a leaf, and no more flexible than any piece of cloth this size should be. I don’t know what’s wrong with all of you, but no one except a complete idiot could mistake an elephant for anything except a sail!”
And as the elephant moved on, they stumbled along down the road, arguing more vehemently as they went, each sure that he, and he alone, was right and all the others were wrong”
Now, I want you to picture camp as this elephant and all of you as the blind men. Similar to the story of the elephant, your individual perspectives of camp probably differ depending on who you are and where you come from, but you’re all experiencing a common elephant, that of camp Dudley. Perhaps many of you share a very similar perspective of coming to camp that goes something like this- you were 10.5 when you made the long drive thru the Adirondacks to the upper fields, there you received the name of a cabin where you would spend the next 3.5 weeks and where your mom made your bed for you, for the first and the last time your bed was ever neat that summer…and the rest is history as you are all here today.
Today however, I want to offer you my perspective. In many ways, I represent everything that Camp Dudley is not. I am not a boy, my first time at camp was not when I was a 10.5 year old cub, I do not experience the dreadful ride home from camp that Connor Smith so accurately described in his 2014 chapel talk, I started working at camp a year younger than staff members are typically hired, I have a bed in both Adams and also at my permanent residence just 5 miles from here, I come before pre-season starts and I stay later than the last CDA reunion-goer, because I am a local. As you can see, my perspective of Camp Dudley is probably very different from all of yours, and I’d like to focus on the two reasons that stand out the most to me; being a girl at an all-boys camp, and being a local.
Some of you may be wondering, what is it like being a female working at Dudley?
Well, the obvious differences are I’ve never been a leader, I’ve never been a camper. But I’ve also never coached a team here, I’ve never run an extravaganza or council ring, and perhaps most obviously I am only an observer of the friendships you create amongst the leaders and with your campers.
As for being a local and working at camp? I see camp with the glowing buzz of summer and happy campers, contrasted with the silent, snowy whiteness of winter. For most of you, Dudley is probably the extent to which you know Westport, yet from a local’s perspective camp is literally its own civilization, cut off from the rest of Westport (although this is changing as Dudley gets more involved in the local community). Camp brings heavy business and money 6 days out of the year (including opening day, changeover, and closing day) as the Inns and bed and breakfasts are bustling with eager parents. Thus, as a local Camp Dudley is a limb to a whole body, a small part of a much bigger culture that extends into a community, into a county, into the Adirondacks, and into the world. For many of you, camp is the beginning and the end here in Westport; for locals there is a bigger world right here in this small town.
My perspective of Dudley is heavily influenced by who I am and the fact that I grew up here. Because of who I am, I will have a different summer here than all of you. But, similar to the lesson in the story of the elephant, that doesn’t make any one summer better or worse or any one perception of camp right or wrong. By offering you my perspective, I give you another piece of the elephant, the eye let’s say. This year at camp I urge you to discover a unique perspective of camp or your own piece of the elephant, one that is created by your individual experiences. In 3 days you will meet 300 boys who will all have their own ideas of camp, help them create their stories and evolve their experiences. As you open your mind to the perceptions of fellow leaders, campers, and staff members, piece by piece and story by story you work toward a bird’s eye view of the whole elephant.
I’d like to conclude with a quote from JK Rowling so please bow your heads, “The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.” Amen.
Check out the latest news from Dudley & Kiniya in our latest edition of The Dudley Digest
School: Princeton University ‘17
Most Recent Role at Camp: 2014 Leader
My gap year was easily the most fulfilling year of my life. I spent a semester in Spain and a semester in Bolivia, and then came back for summer at camp. It was the perfect bridge between high school and college. It allowed me to take a break from academics and figure out what I was really passionate about without the pressure of following a structured plan. I developed a greater understanding of my identity, where I come from, and the way that I fit into a broader world. I experienced communities, people, and places that opened my eyes to the vast diversity of lifestyles, beliefs, and societies that exist in the world. I came home with a newfound appreciation for my home and my culture. My gap year helped me realize that inequality and social justice are the things that I care about pursuing most. Because of this, I am extremely passionate about the work that I am doing in school, and the work that I will be doing next year after I graduate. I think it’s really hard to know what you want out of life and I still don’t really know, but taking some time to experience life outside of the school context gave me a big head start.
Head back to the Gap Experience Page.
School: Middlebury ‘17
Most Recent Role at Camp: 2015 Junior Division Head
Why did you decide to take a gap year?
As for my gap year, I decided to take a year off between high school and college because I was young for my grade and I wanted to improve at soccer heading into my varsity career at Midd. I chose to plan out the year on my own because few programs offered exactly what I was looking for. In hindsight, this was a risky decision to make and there were plenty of moments when I wished that I’d had more support, but the experience of going out on my own was valuable. A program that allows for individual, self-directed exploration is in my opinion the best kind of gap year program.
What did you do during your gap year?
I landed in Bad Homburg, Germany for first half of my gap year because of a family connection, and I’d been interested in living in the country because I had such an incredible time during the Dudley-Abbensen German Exchange trip that I took during the summer of 2009. The family was American and British, and they had four kids under the age of 10. I stepped in as a “big brother” who helped out with a lot of babysitting responsibilities, and they welcomed me into their home. They also helped get me set up with a local soccer club and an bilingual international school in the city. I volunteered at the school three days a week, teaching gym classes with a Canadian gym teacher and working with kids aged 5-14.
The soccer was one of the best parts of my year. I played for both the U18 team and the men’s team at the club, and I quickly learned that I had to limit my turnovers to avoid being yelled at in German. I trained almost every day, and while there was a bigger language barrier between myself and my teammates than in other elements of my Germany experience, I learned and improved the most from playing soccer.
I was also able to travel, and I got to know the country really well. I was never more than a three or four hour train ride from any of Germany’s big cities, and I loved exploring new places on my own or meeting up with new or old friends. As was the case during the entire year, I found the Dudley network to be incredibly helpful, and the Dudleyites with whom I connect were generous and always made me feel at home.
I returned to the US for the second half of the year, volunteering at an organic farm in Florida for a few weeks during February before moving in with my aunt and uncle in Hamden, CT where I worked during the spring. I split my time between the New Haven Country Club, where I caddied and worked in the pro shop, and Park Central Tavern, a restaurant that my uncle owned at the time. I was able to make back the money I’d spent in Germany and get challenged in new ways. The days when I was the first one opening up the golf club in the morning and leaving the restaurant after closing were exhausting at the time, but I look back on them as the moments that toughened me up the most and prepared me for the challenges of college.
How has it impacted you in college/beyond?
My gap year prepared me for being a leader at Camp Dudley and for entering Middlebury in more ways than I could’ve imagined. I learned not to overreact when my plans went awry, to see the fun that spontaneity and flexibility created, and to trust my instincts. I also took pride in being able to plan out the entire year on my own and have it work out successfully. I went into the gap year wanting to improve my soccer, and I did so, but I came out of it having learned so much more about myself. I came into college confident in my own abilities, with a willingness to stay true to myself instead of getting sucked into the social pressures that college can present. The sense of adventure that I felt every day of my gap year has never left me, and for this reason I’ve gotten out and explored Vermont and the Adirondacks more so than many of my peers.
I kept a blog during my gap year called “For There is Much To Dare”—a nod to my Dudley roots and my desire for adventure. I accumulated over 50 blog posts, and I love looking back over them from time to time. They bring back so many positive memories and they inspire me to continue to explore.
Check it out and if you want to pull anything from it, feel free!
My final thought about gap years in general is this… So much much of education in the US is linear, structured, performance-based, and discrediting of students’ autonomy over their own learning. My gap year taught me that I could have a say in my learning environments and experiences, and I know it can do the same for so many who chose this option. A gap year offers a change of pace from the rest of our standardized educational trajectories—one that enables individuals to be critical of their education and to take ownership of it in a new, more proactive way.
Head back to the Gap Experience Page.
School: The College of Wooster ‘15
Most Recent Role at Camp: Summer 2016 – Sailing Head and Aide Liaison
What did you do during your gap year?
I studied at The Royal School in Haselmere, Surrey as the Secondary School Exchange Scholar with the English Speaking Union (SSE with ESU). While at The Royal School, I completed AS levels in Art, Photography, and Drama. These are all subjects I had briefly explored in high school, but had the chance to immerse myself in through this year. I traveled all around England, spent time in Wales, Ireland, and France. I made friends that I still am in contact with today, friends I’ve visited back in London and made memories that I will cherish always.
Why did you decide to take a gap year?
As a senior, every meeting with my college counselor felt like pulling teeth. I had no idea what kind of school (big, small, close to home, far away) I was interested in attending. When the ESU application appeared in my hands, pushing college back a year made all the decisions easier to make. I had lived in Marion, Massachusetts my entire life – I went to Tabor Academy where my parents were teachers and wanted to experience something – anything different.
How has it impacted you in college/beyond?
I applied to The College of Wooster as a senior, and through the ESU was able to defer my acceptance for a year. As a freshman at Wooster, I felt that my year abroad had given me an edge up from my classmates. I was comfortable being on my own and I was excited for college. Since graduating college, I’ve come to realize that if you aren’t ready for college – it’s ok to do some serious thinking. Take some time to figure yourself out. College is immensely important and I think it is crucial that people be excited to go study for four years.
Head back to the Gap Experience Page.
School: Middlebury ‘18
Most Recent Role at Camp: 2016 Senior Division Head
Three words to describe the experience?
Eye-opening, unforgettable, challenging (in a good way)
Why did you decide to take a gap year?
My best friend from boarding school is British and I guess it is more common over there, so he had always been talking about it and convinced me to do it. Also, we were two of the youngest guys in our grade by a year or more and so we saw how advantageous it is to be a bit older: academically, socially, athletically, etc. Also, I had committed to Middlebury to play baseball and wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue it so I thought the gap year would be an opportunity for me to figure out what I wanted to participate in and study at Midd when I got there.
What did you do during your gap year?
I began and ended my gap year as a Leader at Dudley, the first and second best decisions I made during my gap year. Afterwards, I drove out to Ligonier, PA and took a week long of fly-fishing lessons on the Rolling Rock Fish Hatchery river. Then, I flew to London to begin a three month stay in Europe.
My biggest takeaways from my European experience were learning how to travel by myself and navigate the subway systems of international cities, building the confidence outside of my comfort zone, and living with people from much different cultures than my own in such tight environments.
After that I flew back to the US for holidays, where I worked in retail and landed an investment banking internship in Boston for AGC Partners. I would call these two or three months my work experience. My biggest takeaways from this experience were narrowing some career/academic interests, interacting with superiors/adults in a professional manner, and appreciating/respecting my friend’s family and their space when I lived with them for an extended period of time.
Finally, before going to Dudley for the summer, I traveled to Peru, specifically Ollantaytambo in the Cusco Region. There I lived with a family for three months, originally helping out with two consecutive service trips from the U.S. We worked with the local public school to help build a wall around the perimeter. After that I was lucky enough to land a full-time English teaching position at a Montessori School after their old teacher got sick. I was connected with my host family because my boarding school had been sending trips there every summer, and and although I never went on them my College Counselor was the chaperon and offered to connect me. The town is at 10,000 feet, close to Machu Picchu and I only spoke Spanish for the three months. I would call this the most formative, besides Dudley, experience I have ever had. 100% outside of my comfort zone in an impoverished town in the mountains. The local community took me in, I explored every inch of the town and tried to see as much of the Incan ruins and mountainside as I could. My biggest takeaways were that it proved to me you can do anything on your gap year if you take a positive risk, getting to know a foreign place for an extended amount of time is infinitely better than taking a weekend there, it is possible to have a second family you truly love, and that my gap year was worth it.
How has it impacted you in college/beyond?
In so many ways I probably don’t even realize most of them. Felt a lot more mature when I showed up to school, knew exactly what I wanted to study, and I more confidence in an academic setting than I have ever experienced. My grades are higher than they were in high school. That feeling of confidence is only comparable to the high I have ever summer when I leave Dudley and go back to school. Right now I’m studying in Madrid, taking all my classes in Spanish, and the opportunity to travel alone and live abroad before this experience has made it so much easier and enjoyable.
If you have the opportunity to take a gap year, do it
Head back to the Gap Experience Page.
Check out the latest news from Dudley & Kiniya in our latest edition of The Dudley Digest
The following article can be found in our Fall – 2016 Camp Dudley News.
Champlain Area Trails Creates Trails All Can Enjoy
By Chris Maron, CATS Executive Director
Imagine being in a part of the Adirondacks where there are fabulous views but hardly any hiking trails. Pretty sad, right? Well, welcome to the Champlain Valley ten years ago, just before Champlain Area Trails (CATS) began making trails.
“When I moved here in 2000, #7973 Tim Barnett took me to Middle Road, in Essex,” said Chris Maron, CATS’ Executive Director. “He pointed toward Westport and continued pointing as he rotated in a circle and said, ‘We’ve had a dream of a 30-mile loop-trail from Westport to Essex, going along the lake and back along Boquet Mountain.”
That dream moved toward reality in 2006 when Steven Kellogg and Bruce Klink, of Essex, were both reading the chapter in Bill McKibben’s Wandering Home about walking through Essex and Westport. It inspired them to gather friends together to consider making a trails.
The group concluded that the Champlain Valley had few trails because as the last addition to the Adirondack Park, it was mostly private property. They decided to do something new—to create a network of hiking trails on mostly private land. They noted that the Eddy Foundation owned 2500 acres that could be the beginning of the trail corridor between Essex and Westport. With Eddy approval, they hiked the land, agreed upon trail routes, and recruited volunteers to create a six-miletrail.
In 2009, they incorporated CATS as a non-profit organization that creates hiking/skiing trails that link communities, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality. CATS soon became an accredited land trust that protects natural communities, farmland, and scenic vistas.
“Making trails and saving land are inextricably linked,” said Maron. “As people hike, they support conserving land which allows for more trails and builds more support for land conservation.”
After seven years, CATS has developed 30 new trails covering over 45 miles. Camp Dudley campers and Leaders have helped build some of those trails include a winter trail-clearing project that createdthe Three Creeks Trail.
CATS publishes a Trail Map annually showing its trails and other local trails. To promote hiking between communities, CATS has organized five “Grand Hikes” where as many as 250 people have walked from town to town on trails, farm lanes, and roads.
In 2015, #15017 Evan George became Chair of CATS Board of Directors. “I’m honored to serve the community in this way. Champlain Area Trails provide a great variety of hiking/skiing experiencesthroughout the year. People can hike up to spectacular vistas or enjoy walking by beaver ponds, rock walls, and lush forests. There are long, strenuous trails Dudley campers would like and shorter, easier hikes their parents might prefer.”
To learn more about CATS, visit its website, www.ChamplainAreaTrails.com.