Dudley & Kiniya

Dudley & Kiniya

#20108 Eliza Davis – Gap Year Reflection

Brendan • 3 years ago • Uncategorized

eliza-headshotEliza Davis
School: Princeton University ‘17
Most Recent Role at Camp: 2014 Leader

Eliza’s Reflection

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.

#19304 Tommy Dils – Gap Year Reflection

Brendan • 3 years ago • Uncategorized

tommy-headshotTommy Dils
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!


Final Thoughts

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.

#21531 Sammi Muther – Gap Year Reflection

Brendan • 3 years ago • Uncategorized

sammi-headshotSammi Muther
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.

#19674 George Wells – Gap Year Reflection

Brendan • 3 years ago • Uncategorized

george-headshotGeorge Wells
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.

Final Thoughts

If you have the opportunity to take a gap year, do it


Head back to the Gap Experience Page.

Camp Dudley News Sneak Peak

Brendan • 3 years ago • Alumni | Blogs

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 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 landThey 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 landagreed 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 yearPeople 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.

We’re hitting the road!

Brendan • 3 years ago • Announcements


One of our greatest off-season traditions is our annual Open House Tour. Each fall and winter our two directors, Matt & Marnie, visit cities and towns all across the country (and world) to present at these wonderful events.

For more information and to RSVP click HERE

Kiniya Extravaganza!

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs

If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood

Who ya gonna call… Ghostbusters!
If it’s somethin’ weird and it don’t look good
Who ya gonna call… Ghostbusters!

In light of the female studded version of Ghostbusters in theaters now, featuring Melissa McCarthy and former Saturday Night Live cast members, the leaders of junior village decided to make their ganza this session about all things spooky.

For those who have never been to Camp Kiniya, ganza is short for extravaganza, because the activities are quite extravagant. Leaders, staff and campers all get dressed up to match whatever theme is chosen and participate in all sorts of activities that go along with said theme.


As you can see here, Hanna, the department head of Junior Village has converted one of the camp’s leaf blowers into a ghost zapper. Creative!

Ganza’s are always a ton of fun and allow the girls to spend time with each other as an entire village. They usually last half the day, but when they happen is a surprise!

– #23621 Elaine Ezerins

Spreading the Motto

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


This past Thursday night I had a new camp experience: I lead my first cabin vesper, (shout out to Yale cabin!). Walking down to the cabin, the sky was fading to a light pink, meanwhile my nerves were skyrocketing. Having never lead one before I was worried about a lot of things: not having a good enough topic, the campers not wanting to participate, stumbling over my words…the apprehensions were endless. Finally I arrived at the cabin, tried my best to put my worries from my five minute walk behind me, and lightly knocked on the door.

The JL opened the door, smiled brightly, and invited me inside, while also instructing the boys to circle up. I anxiously muttered that this was my first time leading one and the whole cabin reassured me that it was fine, that they were excited, and that I was going to be great. I felt a wave of relief and settled in to their circle on my own Crazy Creek chair.

All it took was that encouragement from the kids I was presenting to and I immediately felt comfortable and finally excited to share my thoughts with them. They were equally as eager to share with me, and the vesper moved along, while everybody to a turn talking, laughing, and encouraging one another. When it came time for the ending pray, one of the campers enthusiastically asked to lead it, and then they all thanked me for joining them. I was touched by their kindness and walked back across main campus with a bright, satisfied smile on my face.


As I walked I thought about what a fantastic representative of the Dudley motto: The Other Fellow First, my experience that night had been. Knowing that I was nervous, the boys of Yale cabin put my needs before their own and made sure I was comfortable, that they all contributed, and that I left feeling confident about what I had presented.

As the week went on I noticed the daily acts of this motto all around me more and more. In particular, at Swim Point, kids would share tubes with one another, teach their buddy how to sneak up on a fish, or even give pointers to and loudly cheer on those attempting to pass their swim tests. Every time I witnessed a moment of this motto use I thought back to my cabin vesper fondly.

I then decided to ask some campers what the motto meant to them personally, and as expected, I received a plethora of answers. One camper mentioned that the camp motto meant, “making sure his buddy was having equal or more fun than he was,” another said it meant, “encouraging their friends to try new things, because they knew they would succeed at the tasks they were faced with.” Another comment that stuck out to me was one kid saying it meant, “making sure those having a bad day had somebody to talk to that could make them have a good day, because it is camp after all!”

I agreed and once again thought back to my own personal experience. Those kids in the cabin knew I was nervous, and made sure I was not before I began talking to them that night. I could not have asked for a better and more positive first cabin vesper, and I have those kids to thank. With that in mind, I think no matter where we travel in life and no matter what we are doing, we should always take the meanings of the Camp Dudley motto with us. As I sign off for the summer, and head to a job opportunity in San Diego, CA, I know I will be taking the motto with me, and I hope you all will too. Thanks for being a great audience; it has been another phenomenal summer at the D-U-D!

Written by #22835 Alexa Mitchell

Best of luck on your new job, Alexa! We’re going to miss you!

All is good from Camp Kiniya!

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


Welcome back 2nd session! We’re so excited to see familiar and fresh faces at Camp Kiniya this summer.

Opening day went off without a hitch. The sun was shining making swim tests all the more enjoyable. All of our campers are now settled in their cabins, getting to know their new cabin mates and and making “summer sisters” for years to come!

Yesterday we played, “Where the wind blows” and got to know each other’s names, hobbies, pets, and favorite colors. It was great to see what makes us the individuals that we are, but also see how much we have in common with others at camp this summer.

In the coming days we’ll be exploring all that camp has to offer while getting going on art and individual majors!

-#23621 Elaine Ezerins

Time flies at Camp Kiniya

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs

The first session of camp has come to a close. Where did all the time go? Here’s a look at some of the activities that the girls were doing in the final week.


Family Bonding at Camp Dudley

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs

Just when we thought the first session of camp would last forever, one of the most bittersweet parts of the summer has fallen upon us…parent’s weekend. Finally, the staff has got every kids name down and knows which campers prefer to lead their soccer team in victories to which prefer to belt out the high notes on the Witherbee stage. While the boys now know their way around camp and how to make sure they trick their leaders into giving them double store for the week. It seems as if camp has just started, but suddenly three and a half weeks have flown by and the boys are hastily running around their cabins looking for their missing socks and preparing to see their siblings again. Yet, the most interesting thing about this past weekend was not seeing the reuniting of look “alikes,” but rather getting the chance to talk with the parents of these young kids.

Many of the parents I stumbled upon Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning had gone to camp themselves as young cubs. Some had not been back to camp since they were leaders themselves, years before. They talked about how different camp looked now, to them. One older man who used to work at Swim Point told me about how there were never docks up to create a swimming area, with one dock, and a leader or two helping him to guard. Another parent who had started as a cub and was proud to have worked his way up to leadership, laughed as he told me about how they used to sleep in tents and yurts, all sprawled about the floor, being careful to step on as few fellow campers as possible when getting up in the middle of the night. Fathers and mothers alike told me about how excited they were when they found out their younger cub was going to be in the same cabin that their older junior had been in a few years before. “Yes, we have another Cutler cabin cub!” one mom exclaimed to me when talking about the excitement they had felt back at the beginning of the summer.

Some parents discussed the lineage of campers that had gone through their family trees, from campers to leaders to staff members, it seemed everybody had a connection to camp and was more than happy to have shared their own sons with a place they knew they too would grow to cherish. They even brought their younger sons who were not old enough to attend camp yet, pointing out different camp landmarks and mentioning something they remembered about it when they were younger.

Walking about campus I could hear siblings talking about what bunk had been theirs when they were in the same cabin as their younger brothers, parents asking junior and assistant leaders how excited they were to be a leader one day, while reflecting back on those similar feelings they had, had years before, and even grandparents exclaiming about how different camp sights had become more modern, but still reminded them of their own camp days. Everybody was all smiles and laughs, as the sun shined down on the glistening camper trunks about them.

I was fascinated by this family bonding and knew it was what made Dudley so special. Being able to share a place with your children that they hear you talk about for years when they are younger, but that they cannot quite comprehend until they experience it themselves is something truly special. Personally, having the chance to interact with all these different camp numbers this past weekend reminded me of that, and although the first session of the summer had come to a close, I was overjoyed for the second session to be quickly upon us come Tuesday, as I knew the family connections and stories would only continue to enthrall me!

Written by #22835 Alexa Mitchell
Video production by #15877 Brendan Loughman

Kiniya Wednesday Night Show Spotlight

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


Wednesday Night Shows are an opportunity for girls to creatively express themselves. They can be best described as talent variety shows that are held in the Lodge, where Campers, Leaders and Staff put on a performance.

Acts range from singing, dancing, performing the Camp Kiniya Rap and everything in between. Karate, flutes and guitar strumming duos have graced the stage of the Lodge. Some recite poetry and other girls pair up with their summer sisters and put on a short skit. Anything goes.


Wednesday Night Shows are a chance for girls to show off their talents, such as a new song they’ve been practicing in the Studio during free choice, or to goof off and have a fun, rememberable time with their friends.

Almost every single camper, between the Wednesday and Saturday Night Shows, will get the chance to stand under the lights at some point over the summer. And staff members often use the shows to step over onto their silly side as well.

The girls will also never get a better audience than the rest of camp watching. There is an outpour of love, laughs, cheers and screams when each girl starts and finishes their act, making each girl feel encouraged and supported.

By #23621 Elaine Ezerins

A trip to the Camp Kiniya High Ropes Course

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs

The Outdoors Program is one of four pillars at Camp Dudley at Kiniya. In the program, girls spend time summiting mountains, exploring the woods, climbing rock faces and navigating controlled challenges.

It takes the encouragement from an entire cabin, friends cheering each other on, for the girls to make it all the way through the course. And at the end, when the girls reflect on the experience, they realize they can take some of what they learned, and apply it in their cabins and every day life.

Here is a little look into what the experience is like for girls, high up in the sky on a Saturday afternoon.Thanks Cabin Coyne and the Outdoor Staff for letting me tag along on your “challenge by choice” journey.

By #23621 Elaine Ezerins

Humans of Camp Kiniya #1

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs



Barbara “Bunny”, 11 from cabin Willmott recited four passages from Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, saying it’s her favorite play. 

Why did you recite Shakespeare at the last Wednesday Night Show?
I feel that it exercises my mind. So it kind of helps me have small winds. Small winds is how my dad refers to it. You know when you have a good feeling when you made a goal? I want to have more of that because it makes me happier.
Why do you like about the WNS and the drama department?
I like the variety because at my school, we can only do singing, nothing else… I like how you can in participate in plays and people can see you perform cause thats really good for exercising my small winds.

Sounds of Camp

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


It was a beautiful sunshine-filled day at camp, no breeze filling the air, and not a cloud in sight of the light blue skies. I was delighted as I had an activity block off and decided a walk around the winding paths of camp would be my choice to fill my time. However, it was my ears that became heavenly pleased that late morning.

As I walked up the wood chips from Swim Point I heard the crashing of kayaks against one another, as they were scrapped across the sand and brought into the chilly-blue lake water. Boys were shouting to their buddies to, “wait-up!” as they clambered onto paddle-boards and took off to brave the waves that the boat would be sure to have for them to ride.

Coming upon the MOP next, a crowd of boys were speaking intensely, as they practiced scenes for this week’s play. They laughed when they forget a line or misplaced a word, but quickly got back on track, with help from this week’s directors, as they knew there was a lot of memorization and character building to be done before Saturday evening.

Crossing mid-campus a cub baseball game was just getting underway to my left. Metal bat against rubber balls could be loudly heard ringing across campus, as cleats raced and slid around the dirt lined path to the new base. Young voices shouted at one another to, “keep on running!” as the ball in play soared through the air before landing softly within the padded glove of an outstretched arm that would whip it back through the air to home plate.

Coming up the steps of Witherbee, porch sitters fiddled on guitars, and laughed at ideas they passed around to one another across Adirondack chairs. The sounds of Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out,” clearly rang out from the music room, as instrumentalists listened to the lyrics being ejected from their instructors, remembering the notes they were not hitting, and bettering them for the next chorus run through.


Looking ahead of me I heard the soft bounces of basketballs before I even could see the courts. Boys in layup lines took a few quick pounding steps up the paint, shot, and either a swish of the net rang out or a hard clang off the back board sounded and a grunt followed, as sneakers raced to get back in line and have another go. Whistles from the game next to this scene sounded as refs shouted out, “double dribble” or “point!”

Making my way through the center of campus the sounds came from all angles. The clanging of pots and pans from Beckman’s lunch preparation, the excited clapping of hike hut folks as they practiced fire building and one happened to spring to life, the soft sounds of the radio and phones ringing from the office, the revving of engines outside the maintenance shed, and even the whoosh of art supply tools from Brodie. Camp was a buzz with midday activities and everybody was in the zone of what tasks they needed to accomplish in the next hour and a half.

I sat down on the office bench, as a pair of boys rushed past me humming a song from the past nights council ring camp fire and shouting out a crisp “YOHA” when the song had come to an end. I realized I could even hear the whistles, bounces, and excited chatter from games off in the distant fields and courts, as I sat under the hot sun. What others would hear as disruptive noises, I heard as pleasure to my ears that brought a smile to my face, it was just another busy day at “the office.”

By: #22835 Alexa Mitchell
Photos: #15877 Brendan Loughman & #20764 Endy Perry

Opening Day Feels

Brendan • 3 years ago • Alumni | Blogs

My alarm sounded and my eyes fluttered open, already eagerly knowing what today meant. Despite the forecasted rain, the sun was out as I stretched and got out of bed. There was a light breeze coming in from off the lake, and the best part was the feeling in the air. As I drove down Dudley road early that Tuesday morning, it finally felt like summer to me. Sure preseason had been a busy blast, but there was nothing quite like a campus full of kids hurrying to get to their soccer team major or lunch at Beckman, piercingly sounding back to their friends who were behind them to, “hurry up and not forget their pants for their baseball game later that afternoon!”

Walking on to campus that particular early morning, I noticed the flow of anxious parents and excited young boys had already begun. They raced across the freshly-cut grass to hug returning friends and shook their new leader’s hands with smiling confidence, as they discovered what cabins they would be bunking in for the next three and a half weeks. The sound of Toro’s and golf carts delivering trunks filled my ears, and the breeze carried the air that already smelled like  barbecue lunch, as I made my morning trek past this cabin scene.

Everybody was smiling, including me, and I knew instantly it was going to be a great day. I was lifeguarding swim tests that first camp morning, down at Swim Point, as enthusiastic new campers lined up to show our staff their front crawl. They would hop onto the red, white, and blue starting blocks, cheerily wave to their parents in the bleachers, and then execute a flawless dive or semi-belly flop into the dark, blue depths. Soon to come up sputtering about how surprisingly cold it was, but how still they were determined to swim on through.


I felt like a cubbie as I shook multiple new hands, and scrambled to remember all their names so I could cheer them on in their appropriate swim lanes, as they glided through the calm water. Laughs echoed down to the water front from main campus, light music wafted over from Suter Point, and the chatter of parents and siblings, who wished they were attending camp too, brought what would seem like chaos to an outsider, full circle for me. In what had clichély seemed like, a blink of my eyes, a year had gone by and camp was starting back up. What promised to be another rewarding summer of learning new lacrosse moves to show teams back at home or carefully molding a pottery mug for grandma was upon us. And as I glanced into that bright sun that first official morning, I was glad camp was finally here too.


By: #22835 Alexa Mitchell
We’re very lucky to have Alexa back this summer taking on our weekly Summer Blogs! Much more to come…

May 2016 Board Meeting

mstorey • 3 years ago • Blogs

The May 7th Camp Dudley Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting was held in Westport, NY giving the Board a chance to experience the magic of Camp in spring right before the Camp season begins – everything looked spectacular!  Matt and Marnie both thanked the year-round staff for all of their hard work getting both Camps ready for the 2016 season.

Matt talked about his trip to Spain to solidify the second year of the Spanish Exchange Program and to Germany where he had dinner with 40 to celebrate Camp’s partnership with Camp Abbensen. Marnie discussed the various training programs attended by the year-round staff, including the National American Camp Association (ACA) in Georgia and the benefits from the programs, including how to promote resiliency in girls, fundraising tools, how to handle a tragedy and a session on child abuse.

The Directors provided and went over the Enrollment Report, including the increased diversity, for the 2016 season with 675 enrolled at Dudley and 347 at Kiniya (largest number yet).  Our community partners remain strong and we will be adding one new partner — Metro Squash of Minneapolis. Now that enrollment is complete, the year-round team is focused on program.  Marnie and Matt talked about the staff for the upcoming year.  Kat Nelson will now be managing the athletics program at Kiniya.  Kiniya is getting chickens for the Farm to Table major!

Matt and Marnie explained to the BOT the updates made to the Camper forms, including a “Camper Code of Conduct,” in an effort to better communicate our expectations and reinforce our values.  They also noted that the 2016 Dudley and Kiniya Employee Handbooks and the Employee Code of Conduct can be found on the Camps’ website.

The Finance and Legal Committee reported to the Board that all of the Endowment has been transferred to the Camp Dudley Foundation. The Endowment continues to be managed by the Commonfund, based in Wilton, CT.  The Finance Committee of the BOT will continue to oversee our Camps’ shorter-term assets and the 403(b) Retirement Plan.  The Board approved the opening of a short-term high grade bond account with Vanguard to expand the investment option for our Camps’ short-term financial assets.

The Development Committee discussed the new Evergreen effort to promote monthly giving through credit card charges.  In addition, it was reported that the Beckman Society had nearly reached 100 members.  Development is looking to re-kindle the Auction Palooza for September 2016. Dave Langston walked the Board through the annual fund giving history and announced an Annual Fund Goal of $825,000 for 2016 with a focus on expanding participation in the Evergreen giving program.

Work Weekend 2016 Recap

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


This past weekend Camp Dudley and Kiniya opened its gates to a great group of alums and local friends for Work Weekend 2016!

The Dudley Maintenance Staff had a wide array of projects for our volunteer workers. In Witherbee Hall, the basement had a major cleaning overhaul in the props room. Other parts of campus saw volunteers staining benches & decks, Challenge Course chipping, a revamped Leader Library, and archival preservation work by Ace and the gang.

We even had a visit from some Westport Central School students on Saturday evening! With a bit of rain in the forecast and the junior prom going on, the Middlebury Pavilion on Main Campus served as a great (and protected) backdrop for a group photo op.

Another great highlight from the weekend came from one of our community partners, PAVE Academy, and the 14 volunteers that made the trip up to Westport to lend a helping hand. Thank you!


We had a large group effort going on over at Kiniya. Raking, bench cleaning and weeding were a top priority over at the Chapel. The Lodge also found a small group clearing and cleaning the stage area in great anticipation for all of the shows coming our way this summer! The Pines area got a good cleaning as well as the Dining Hall exterior.

The Kiniya campus looks beautiful and we cannot wait to have our smiling campers here in late June!

For a full photo recap from the weekend click HERE.

The School House is 200 Years Old!

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs

The following article can be read in the most recent Spring Camp Dudley News

Built in 1816 on Camp Dudley Road with limestone from a nearby quarry, the School House  served schoolchildren of Westport for 100 years, closing its doors in 1916.  At its prime, the school had 24 students and a library of 84 books. The School House has a commanding view of the Lake, the Champlain Bridge and the Adirondack Mountains. It has been a special place for generations of Dudleyites.


Mother Daughter Weekend 2016

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


Sunny warm days and moon lite clear nights greeted a record group of 30+ mother’s and daughters this past weekend. New campers and mom’s were introduced to a sampling of  activities from the 4 pillars (arts, outdoors, athletics and spirituality), and returning families brought the Kiniya spirit, traditions and open heartedness to the group. The track meet showcased everything from long-jump to crab walk talent. A trip up to Stacy yurts immersed the group in ADK beauty. Vespers and chapel talks were rich and invigorating. And the art supplies and crafts were exceptional. We looking forward to seeing all these families at Kiniya this summer!

To view more pictures from the weekend click HERE!

Written by Mollie Farnham-Stratton

D.C. Alumni Group Gathers for Hymn Sing

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs


The following article was written by #21013 Sarah “Bear” McDonough  for the upcoming Spring Camp Dudley News

“Down in the nation’s capital, we had a great time holding hymn sings with a group of camp alums that live in the DC area.  We gather together at the apartment of Sarah (Bear) McDonough to laugh, tell old stories, and, of course, sing our favorite camp hymns.  Per tradition, we start with a rambunctious first half and follow it up with a reflective second half to think about the week behind and the week ahead.  We phone in out-of-towners for “Study War No More” solos, so if you see your phone buzzing on a Sunday night, don’t hesitate to answer!”

“We typically gather ten to fifteen regulars including #17982 Matt McElroy, #17920 Connor Smith, #17654 David Fitzpatrick, #167384 Taylor Brown, #16730 Rick Raymond, #18912 Will Dobbs-Allsopp, #21883 Kelly Dale, #20297 Chloe Potash, #18108 Harry Jackson, #19494 Katie Gray, #17391 Pat O’Leary, #18641 Rob McDonald, #19193 Conor Joyce, and #19430 Peter Huff. We even have our own set of hymnals, thanks to the wonderful generosity of Marnie, Matt, and Fu!  Some months we are lucky enough to have great guest appearances featuring #18306 Eric (Monkey Man) Soderstrom, #18794 Tom McDonough, #18583 Teddy Dale, #16627 Justin Bolger, and others. Some of our Sundays even begin long before the hymn sing hour (with an afternoon extravaganza!) and we end each Hymn Sing taking turns running Vespers.  The DC Hymn Sing ends with the ‘Final Six’ as Bear and Chloe wrote the Kiniya Hymn into each of the Hymnals!  Anyone interested in joining us for a Sunday Hymn Sing, please reach out!”

Listen to a Camp Dudley Hymn Sing HERE!

#18353 Matt Giles – Alumni Spotlight

Brendan • 3 years ago • Blogs | Dudley Blog
The following article was written by #18353 Matt Giles for the upcoming Spring Camp Dudley News

“Basketball has always been my obsession, but I was especially manic during the five or so years I worked at Camp Dudley. Whether it was recruiting rankings, or coaching moves, or halfcourt sets, I followed everything related to the bouncing leather ball.

giles-web“So when Joe Mantegna, the head coach of Blair Academy, then (and now) a top high school program in New Jersey, dropped by Westport to run a few sessions for basketball majors in the summer of 2005, I was stoked. It wasn’t that I had questions for the coach — I had many of those — but I more wanted to pick his brain about recruits, and what he thought of various prospects like Peyton Siva and Lance Stephenson (this was pre-Google’s omnipotence in all corners of the web, so I really had to deep-dive into the fan forums and grainy VHS tapes to expand my knowledge). After I graduated college and started freelancing, I realized this obsession could be something I could possible make money from.

“I started working as a fact-checker for ESPN the Magazine, and in my free time, contributed college basketball content for the magazine (my first piece was on Chicago State’s David Holton, a 5-foot-8 point guard who led the country in scoring). That gig led to further writing opportunities — with 350-plus Division I schools in the country, there are a lot of players with a lot of interesting backstories — and I now write for the New York Times, Deadspin, NBC Sports, the Washington Post, Vice Sports, and FiveThirtyEight (among others, and along with my full time job as an editor at Popular Science). That passion, fostered during those days as a Dudley Leader in Columbia and Wesleyan, has continued to fuel a career that I never envisioned.”

With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner – Check out some of the great basketball articles Matt has put out recently! 
Five Weird Teams To Watch In The NCAA Tournament – FiveThirtyEight.com
Stephen F. Austin Are Ready To Be The Bad Guys Of March Madness – Vice Sports
The Nuns Who Love Chris Mullin – The New Yorker
Taking Their Game to the Highest Level – The New York Times


2016 Summer Staff Jobs

Brendan • 3 years ago • Alumni | Announcements

Camp Dudley at Kiniya, summer camp for girls located in Colchester, VT and Camp Dudley, summer camp for boys located in Westport, NY,  are seeking team-oriented individuals to facilitate programming at our beautiful camps.  Must enjoy working with youth, with a secondary role as a positive role model for young women and men in a community dedicated to service and leadership development. Must be able to work independently and with a team.

Camp Dudley at KiniyaColchester, VT

Farm-to-Plate Gardening Position: Seeking individual who has experience with organic vegetable & flower gardening, composting, and cooking. Must enjoy sharing knowledge and love of gardening with youth! Role includes managing and maintaining the garden throughout the summer months and planning and teaching experiential activities for campers to participate in meaningful and fun ways. This includes preparing healthy cooking projects together (snacks, small dishes) using what is coming from the garden. Knowledge of nutrition and beekeeping a plus!

Interested in this position?

Please contact Mollie Farnham-Stratton
Outdoor Education Director, Camp Kiniya
[email protected]

Camp Dudley, Westport, NY

Kitchen Helper/Dishwasher: This is an entry-level food service position that is responsible for maintaining a high level of cleanliness in the kitchen. The kitchen helper is responsible for washing breakfast and lunch dishes, other dishes throughout the shift, mopping, accomplishing a schedule of tasks that promote kitchen cleanliness and organization, and assisting other food service staff as needed. Someone in this position will be exposed to cleaning compounds (we strive to use as many environmentally friendly cleaning products as possible), and a hot/humid environment at times during the workday. Physical demands include lifting/carrying 50# sacks, moving heavy trays of product, being on one’s feet for long periods, loading/unloading heavy objects from hot ovens and dishwashers. S/he must understand and support the mission of Camp Dudley.Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Familiarity with the dynamics of a professional kitchen is a plus. Attributes sought for this position are a willingness to learn, time/space management skills, physical stamina, a friendly temperament, a desire to help out where needed, and the ability to be a positive member of a cohesive team.

Ceramics Instructor: Seeking individual who has experience teaching art, with a particular emphasis on ceramics. Must enjoy sharing knowledge and love of ceramics with youth! Role includes managing and maintaining the ceramics equipment and the arts and crafts center throughout the summer months and planning and teaching activities for campers to participate in meaningful and fun ways. This includes teaching 1 hour classes 8 times a week. Must enjoy working with a team and pitching in wherever help is needed.

Lifeguard (multiple positions available): Seeking individuals who have current lifeguard certification to cover a busy lakeside waterfront. Lifeguards are responsible for providing supervision and ensuring a safe environment for all swimming activities and assist in the management of the physical operation and care for equipment. Lifeguards may also assist in conducting swimming lessons (WSI required) and help run all-camp events at the waterfront. Current lifeguard certification or equivalent required and current first aid and CPR required.   

Interested in these positions?

Please contact Evan George
Leadership, Admissions & Program Director
Camp Dudley
[email protected]

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