Here is a quick glimpse into all of the fun being had over at Kiniya! Enjoy!
Here is a quick glimpse into all of the fun being had over at Kiniya! Enjoy!
We had an amazing first Hymn Sing last night in Witherbee Hall. Here is a quick time lapse video. Enjoy!
Westport — The view from the cub cabins is quite different in 2012 as the youngest campers at Camp Dudley, YMCA, will have a breathtaking view of Lake Champlain.
It will be the first time they will have this view. First of all, there used to be trees in their way, and second of all, when those trees were damaged or fell into the lake during the spring 2011 floods, the cabins were also in danger and not usable. Click here for full article
Our DC Area Alumni gathered this past Friday night at PJ Clarke’s. What a great night with all of you and great to see so many familiar faces and a few of you rejoining the mix for the first time in a little bit. This was our 2nd annual event and one we’ll keep in the rotation for many years to come! As alumni and Dudley Dad, #10356 Jay Anderson, put it to Ryan, “it was a good event last night; thanks for being persistent and having a return to DC. Being from NYC and Southern CT, and having moved down here to the South, it is reassuring to have a strong Dudley presence in DC – making it part of the fold and not an outpost!” For more pictures click here!
Thirty 2012 Junior Leaders came to Dudley last weekend to get a taste of what the upcoming summer will have to offer. Joined by current leaders Sam Luke, Erik Soderstrom, and Blake Harper and senior staff members Ryan, Davo and Matt, the boys had a terrific weekend filled with fun and camaraderie. The summer like weather was welcomed and we took full advantage by getting out on to main campus for football, kick ball and ultimate. What a group! We can’t wait to get you back in a few months!
Just another quiet, snowy day at the Dudley office… until the Director leaves! Enjoy the video!
The 2012 Father Son weekend was a wonderful event with a record group of over 30 participants. The long distance award went to #10058 Ed Young’s son and grandson Jack and Jeff Foil who came all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana! In the group there were 7 new campers all hoping to get a spot in the 2012 Cub Class. Davo and Jess did all the cooking, Monkey Man did the playing, and Tom Arnold led the hike and team building games. Bob McCann won “the most consecutive years award” and Clark Rettaliata won the “most stuff left behind award!” Clark and Monkey did a great job on Vespers and Chapel Talks. We played ping pong, foosball, man hunt in the dark, and had a chance to hang out with new friends by the fire. Consider joining us in 2013!
In the weeks leading up to this event, there was some doubt if Dudley would be able to deliver the ‘winter’ into the 2011 Winter Leadership Trip as promised. When the boys piled off the train at the Westport Depot on December 26th, the sun was shining, the lake was unfrozen, and the grass on main campus was green. Despite the unseasonably warm weather, spirits were high, the boys were pumped to be at Camp in December, and they were all ready to embark on an adventure. The sunshine did not last long. Trip leaders Scott Steen and Ryan Joyce had just driven down from Lake Placid, with good reason to believe that in just 24 hours there would be a full-blown blizzard in the Adirondacks. They were right. The next day brought heavy rain, sleet and snow.
The first leg of the trip involved winter hiking, camping and snowshoeing into John’s Brook Lodge in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. Trip participants Jack Butler, Andrew DiLillo, Mike ‘Mad Dog’ Griffin, Adam Fraites, Will Lowe, Ryan McSherry, Ian Meier, Scott O’Brian, Jake Refojo, and Matt Wojciechowicz began the initial 3-mile hike under mid-morning snowflakes. Joined by veteran winter ADK 46er and Dudley alumnus, Paul Adams, the 12 men set up camp, splitting the group into the Goodwin Lean-to and the Grace Cabin.
The next day, the team hiked both Yard and Big Slide mountains on snowy and icy trails, and were rewarded by a break on the summit. The biggest challenges were icy trails and half frozen river crossings. That afternoon, each participant did a solo hike, walking the final 3 miles in the falling darkness by themselves out to the car.
The following day, the boys participated in a community service project with local Westport organization, Champlain Area Trail Systems. CATS builds and restores hiking trails in the Central Champlain Valley and works to conserve wild land through land easements. The Dudley group joined CATS Director, Chris Maron, for a day of trail maintenance on the Split Rock area trail system between Essex and Westport. The big challenge of the day was removing a giant windfall tree blocking the way. The group spent the night winter camping, sleeping at the Cutler Point Lean-to with single digit temperatures and a very clear starry sky. The fire was kept roaring all night long.
The final day of the trip, and the highlight for many, was ice climbing at a private ice park under the guidance of Adirondack Rock and River. Temperatures dipped just low enough to allow for the use of the private ice park, and the boys spent the day testing their skills with ice tools and crampons against the ice covered cliffs. There were 3 separate top-roped climbs, allowing everyone to fully exhaust himself by trying them all a few times.
Every member of the 2011 Winter Trip was required to be a part of a ‘leader of the day’ team, taking the reins on group safety, all food (12 boys eat a lot) for 3 meals, group time management, and a group vesper. Each young man got to take responsibility for the well being of the trip, experiment with different leadership styles, observe their peers and trip leaders under similar conditions, and to entertain these ideas in several lengthy vesper discussions. The boys did an amazing job with these tasks, worked hard and had a blast along the way. Congratulations on an amazing trip.
Here’s a video slideshow featuring more pictures from the trail…
I have told my cabin and few others this story and I would like to share it with all of you today. The day before everyone arrived for opening day Tommy Trieber, Will Plumb and I, along with my cub leader Dr. Damien Ellins, visited one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks for the first time this summer, “The Ink Spot.” We swam in the glassy narrow scar between the rocks, admired the rushing waterfall, slid down the slides above and soaked in the early summer sun of the mid afternoon, the kind that makes you just want to fall asleep regardless of where you are or what you’re doing, for a few of our last precious pre-season hours. After the short hike out we returned to the car and headed back to camp, but not before stopping at a gas station to pick up, and scoff down, a yoo-hoo and a couple of slim jims one last time before campers arrived. It was here that I decided to purchase, as I often do, a one-dollar scratch-off ticket, and after the initial setback of the Mobil station not carrying my go-to game lucky 7’s, I bought a Take-5 ticket instead, and to my pleasant surprise, I won another ticket
Unfortunately, the prize was not another scratch-off, but instead a ticket for the television drawing that evening which I wouldn’t be able to watch. Slightly disappointed, as we began driving again I quickly started to ramble about how nice it would be to win, say 100 million dollars or so that night, to which Thomas asked, “Would you leave camp?” And after a moments thought I replied, “No, I wouldn’t, and as a matter of fact I would do exactly what I am doing after camp as well, and I would return to Davidson after that.” I would surround myself with the exact same people, treat them the same way, hope they did likewise, and do the exact same things that I do now. It was then and there, holding a cheap lottery ticket, drinking yoo-hoo and eating Slim Jims, in the back seat of a truck, halfway between the gas station and the Essex county fairgrounds that I realized, I could not ask for a better life, this was as good as it gets, and I wanted to be able to wake up every morning for the rest of it and make the same claim. That is my definition of serenity.
A big reason why I was able to feel that sentiment then, and still feel it today, is because I am in the midst of what is easily the best year of my life. We are now just over halfway through 2011 and I can definitively say that these past 6 months have been the most fun, enriching, sad, poignant, and joyful that I have ever experienced, and possibly ever will.
So why has 2011 been my best year yet? It certainly has not been the easiest; in fact it has easily been the most challenging, but I have gained and grown so much more than I could have ever imagined in this short span of time.
December 31st 2010 was the first day of the rest of my life. The day of New Years Eve will always be marked off on my calendar, I will sense its approach days ahead of time and I will silently acknowledge the date when it comes. I will wake up and smile and laugh and love and live that day to the fullest, like I try to do every day, but I Will know it is not exactly like any other day. That is the day I began to discover the three most valuable lessons I will ever learn. Love Life, Appreciate the awesome power of love, and always work to leave each day better than you found it, and found yourself, in the morning.
The first lesson I learned almost in an instant. A police officer came to my door and forced it upon me. Life is a unique and precious gift, given to all, appreciated by some and guaranteed to none. Every moment, experience, interaction and memory has an intangible value that cannot be exchanged or reclaimed once they have past. It is our responsibility to go into each day genuinely knowing in our minds that it is going to be a good one, because we will not get it back and we may not get another. Life is beautiful, but ever changing, and without a true love of it and it’s limitless wonders and opportunities, we cannot hope to accomplish the one thing worth doing in this world, sharing that love with others.
The second lesson has been teaching me just that. Within us, we all have a power that is beyond that of any other in the world, yet it remains largely untapped.
Say it with me please – I have a superpower…
We have the power of limitless love, and therefore the ability to spread unlimited good in this world, yet we restrain ourselves, conceal our superpower if you will, and restrict that love to a select few individuals (Parents, Siblings, Spouses), and sometimes not even them, when in reality, we can share it with everybody. (I love Dawn, Joe, Casie, Ashton, Ben, Nolan, AC.) Love is a tangible force that has the ability to create better individuals out of those who receive it and those who spread it, and make life all the more beautiful. I have felt it myself, every single day this year. I felt it in the first few days of January when my Pop-Warner football coach, a man who is in the late stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease and literally wakes each morning with slightly less life within him, said to me with words he needed to physically exert himself to speak, “I’m here if you ever need anything,” a message that he reiterated in this letter I received here just a few short weeks ago. Or when a fellow leader and dear friend Brian Cropper called me from California to say, “I’ll be in Pelham tomorrow, I can’t wait to be there for you.” I felt the same love at Davidson when I would talk for hours at night with my girlfriend, or roommate, or any friend new or old, saying everything, or nothing, and know that every word was being heard. Or when 9 Dudley guys, including some of your leaders right now, and some I’m sure Matt is glad aren’t leaders, all came to visit me at school for their spring break. And lastly, I feel it here at Dudley every single time I receive a hug from AC or Shorty, Scooter, Dave or Sheila, or so many others and know they are genuinely caring and thinking about me in that instant. We all have the power to affect others for the better and love is the means by which we do it. It is not the distribution of challenges, pain or sorrow, but simply the collection of love and love alone that carry us through life’s wildernesses.
The third lesson is how we go about sharing and collecting that love. Not long ago, the quote at the top of the morning schedule struck me, as Dale Carnegie said “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” I was taken aback because it perfectly described what I have found to be the case over the course of this year. We must look to go beyond just scratching the surface with the people that pass through our lives, because every individual is unique. They carry life and love in them too. I have with me a copy of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which was sent up to me in a package and is filled with notes that let me know an English major got to it before I did. It is an excellent book, but if you don’t have the time for the whole novel, simply read page 33. That is the first place in which author Harper Lee unleashes one of the greatest lessons in literary history: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” In this copy, it happens to be underlined with the word “truth” written in next to it. Everybody has a story, a past, a present and future but all too often we discount all three by failing to fully explore them or pretending like they are not worth discovering, and we settle for that. Never Settle, never stop exploring, because there is no telling what you will find, what love and life lies behind every stone unturned in the individuals around you. Once you have done that, you’ll find that the most wonderful connections of your life have been made.
The final lesson is quick. I am a better person today than I was six months ago, and I hope that in at least some small way, I will be a better person tomorrow. My life is as good as it gets, but I personally still have infinite room for improvement. The pursuit of happiness is ongoing, the journey is its own reward and all we can hope to accomplish is to constantly better ourselves as individuals, so that we can continue to better the lives of those around us.
The lessons have not come to me easily, but together, these principles allow me to wake up every morning excited for a new day, and they can do the same for you. When you’ve learned them, believe me, it is only natural to have No Bad Days.
Dear God please open our minds to appreciate the wonder of life, open our hearts to share and accept love all around us and give us the spirit to jump at the opportunity of each day.
“The Next Wilderness”
A sermon preached at the Camp Dudley Chapel
On the Shores of Lake Champlain
August 14, 2011
The World has changed
The world has changed since you came to camper. Even if you arrived for the second session, some of the news has been devastating, and I am not just talking about life as a Minnesota Twins fan.
In the first week of the second half, a gunman opened fire at a summer camp on an island in the country Norway killing nearly 100 campers.
Last week a military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing more than 30 solders and leaving broken hearts of parents, widows and orphans back here at home.
And last night fifty teenagers where arrested in Philadelphia for breaking a curfew designed to stop the flash mob violence that plagued the city
If your experience as a parent is anything like mine, you don’t hear much from your camper during the season We did receive the post card from his leader basically saying after a bit of a slow start, Zac was making his way and we received the one post card from him that I think was a requirement for getting his Dudley Flag. He wrote “PS Dad, thanks for the money to send me to Dudley: A love note from a 15-year-old son to a father if there ever was one.”
But we caught a glimpse of Zac when we searched the Dudley website. There I saw Zac repelling down a rock while out in the wilderness.
The wilderness is a powerful experience and a central metaphor for our lives and our journeys.
When we choose to enter a wilderness experience, we leave something behind, if not everything behind, we enter an unknown, the path is unclear and the outcome is uncertain.
This past year my son Abe left home in Princeton NJ to enroll in an alternative boarding school in Estes Park, Colorado. Most of the kids there didn’t have homes and the majority of them had spent times in jail and practically all had entered the juvenile justice system. But while these patterns did not describe Abe’s experiences, when the opportunity for him to go to the school arose, he jumped on it.
The first thing you do when you get to the Eagle Rock School is to take a class known as wilderness. It is a 28-day hike out in the woods and, in Abe’s case, in the Gela national Forest in New Mexico. It had some of the same elements of an outward bound or NOLS Leadership program, but it is also a form of social detox for teenagers who have known too well the comforts and disruption of drugs and gangs. The wilderness was the place of letting go of the old and preparing for a new way.
Jesus would often go to the wilderness throughout his ministry, either to get away from the maddening crowd or to be alone, to meditate, to pray and to prepare.
The most powerful message from our time in the wilderness is that we are not alone and that we can be changed. People like David Langston and Bill Harper, along with the leadership and other campers help prepare the way so that you might find: Self-discovery, self-confidence and self-growth.
But not every Wilderness is filled with trees and wild life. We find ourselves in the wilderness throughout our lives, regardless of the landscape. The wilderness is any place where you enter the unknown, uncertain and unpredictable.
This month tens of thousands of recent college graduates will leave the comforts of their college campuses and the routines of their school day rhythms to commit to a full-year of service. You may know some of them. Young adults in their 20’s join programs such as Teach for America, City Year, Youth Build, Public Allies, VISTA, AmeriCorps and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Through these programs, these young idealists and pragmatists alike, move to new cities across the country where they live in neighborhoods very different from where they grew up. They teach at schools that are often falling apart and serve in agencies that are addressing the biggest and most desperate challenges in our society
These young adults are entering a different kind of wilderness and it is in the wilderness where they find themselves alone, away from all they knew. They often don’t know where they are going to live, they have few if any friends nearby and because the pay is sometime less that $500 a month, they have to worry about their food budget.
And this is the group of people I work with. This is my congregation. In a way you could say I am an AmeriCorps Chaplin. I do not try to convert people to a particular religion, but instead I try to embody the love, joy and hospitality that I discovered while I was here as a camper and to bring the love of Christ to those who find themselves in this urban wilderness
This generation of young people are passionate about serving and volunteering. They want to change the world but few have any interest in a church. They don’t see that the church cares about them as individuals or about the causes they are committed to. Instead I hear them say again and again that they are spiritual but not religious.
When I hear the world spiritual, I think about Dudley. Several years ago I came to camp and interviewed members of the Dudley community: I spoke with new campers and old D-Heads and to a person, everyone said that the most important part about Camp Dudley was the spiritual life… after all
* What would morning dip be like if it were not followed by chapel talk
* What would the afternoon be like if you had not spent the night before reflecting and discussing at vespers?
* What would Sunday be like without coming to the chapel or closing the week with hymn sing?
And so, despite some criticism and doubters from the established church, we have begun to create appealing and compelling ways to bring the spiritual life that I came to know at Dudley to the thousands of young people who serve in the urban wilderness.
We have asked local congregations to create houses of hospitality, which are communal spaces for people the same age and with similar interests to live together and support one another. Sound familiar? I got the idea from my experience from lying in Dudley cabins during the summer.
We also ask churches across he country to host weekly dinners and discussions that bring together the young people serving in the cities. It was obvious that traditional bible studies would not draw a crowd, so we wrote a curriculum with a years worth of weekly discussions. Sound familiar? The idea came to me from my experience as a camper and a leader and the experience of ending every day with Vespers in the cabin. So the Dudley family should not be surprised that we call our dinners and conversations Vespers.
I am sorry to say that we have yet to bring them hymn sing.
So far I have shared with you the kind of wilderness story that one chooses, the major that one signs up for or the job that a graduate applies for. But there is another kind of wilderness experience, the kind that comes to us, either with great anticipation or with great shock
Many will leave Dudley to find themselves in their own personal wilderness.
This wilderness may be returning to
a sick parent,
a dying grandmother,
a troubled sibling
or a broken home.
For others the next wilderness will come in the form of a new school and the search to try to find your place. I watched this happen with my son Willy who last year entered Grady High School in Atlanta, GA. I came to learn that he would roam the halls during lunch hour because he didn’t have a place to sit. He didn’t want to participate in the racial divide that played itself out in the school cafeteria.
Last summer I had my own wilderness experience, which began from a late night call from my doctor. He told me that they had discovered a tumor in my small intestine. A year ago this month, I was being wheeled into the operating room at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to remove that tumor and a part of my stomach.
When I regained consciousness, I woke up to a world of darkness. I came out of the operation to the news that my tumor was cancerous and that it had metastasized to the lymph system. I woke up alone …. Alone save the presence of God sitting with me as I struggled through the panic that comes with the onset of depression and the possibility of not just losing my livelihood but of life.
And in attempt to endure the pain and to search out the light, I began to sing, mumble really, but I began to sing the hymns that I learned from the Dudley hymnal
• “When you walk though a storm keep your head up high”
• “Oh Jesus I have promised to serve you to the end, be thou forever near me, my master and my friend.”
• “Faith of our Fathers living still in spite of dungeon fire and sword.”
• “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear, what a privilege to carry every thing to god in prayer.”
• “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”
• “One light to carry in your heart, A promise you have from your start , To bless you, to keep you, to never leave you weeping in the dark.”
And sometime during the first few days of my recovery I got a phone call from a 410 area code. I didn’t answer it but I listened to the message. It was Sandy Short, this years Man of the Year at Dudley wanting to know how I was doing. A week later the same number and the same Dudley man called again to check ink on me to make sure I did not feel alone.
For many of us, Dudley is the place where we feel safe, encouraged and awakened to be spiritual. For some families, the only time you will pray, or sing a hymn or hear a chapel talk or attend a service together with your family will be today
Faith communities are important, and I believe essential. I encourage all of you to find a church or a congregation where ever you live. But I also recognize that Dudley is also a faith community. Use it to spring forward in your outreach to the world and to fall back on when you need a firm place to stand.
Like it did for me when I was in the hospital,
Like it did this year just after the New Years Eve tragedy on Dudley Road, which took the life of John Frankel and severely injured others. Immediately after the accident, Matt reached out to the clergy of Dudley by email and it was as if Camp Dudley sprang back into session during the first week of January, to surround the Frankels and Cannings with love and to affirm one another.
This is the promise that comes with a community that is faithful to its mission and open to the spirit without forcing a predetermined outcome.
I would like to end with a story
My friend Bill runs a church in Philadelphia called Broad Street Ministries. It is located in center city and is housed in the old abandoned Presbyterian Church. Board Street is a thriving congregation, which attracts artists, educators, students, young professionals, and homeless people alike. They gather for worship on Sunday night and after the service is over, the chairs get rearranged and they stay for a community meal
Liam and Ericka are a couple that attend Broad Street. He is an accountant with a large firm and she is an emergency room nurse. They wanted to get married in the church but rather than have a separate wedding, they asked if they could bet married during that Sundays service. And so all who came for worship that Sunday attended the wedding and all who stayed for dinner partook of the reception.
Four weeks later Ericka found herself on the midnight shift at UPenn Hospital. There was a lot of noise coming from the curtain next to her as a disgruntled and disoriented homeless man began throwing pans and gowns around the room. Because Ericka had a reputation of being good with this type of patients; she was summoned to deal with the crisis.
As soon as Ericka walked in the noise stopped and the man calmed down.
After a long pause he looked at her and said to her, “I attended your wedding last month.” Slowly he began to regain some sense of composure and self.
He went on to say, ” I have three daughters and because of my condition, and because of my choices, I was never invited to attend any of their weddings. ”
“Yeah,” he continued, “ I was at church that night, sitting three rows back from you, you looked back at me and smiled… I remember.. I remember that night my dream came true. I finally got to attend a daughters wedding.”
This is a story of a Christian community, rooted in love and offering radical hospitality, the kind of hospitality that the Gospel calls us to follow.
Broad Street Ministry is a faith community. And so is Camp Dudley. Both offer the promise that while we may find ourselves alone in a wilderness, we are indeed never alone. For we have the love o Christ and the community of people that understand that faith active in love.
There are Camp Dudleys and Broad Street Ministries waiting for us to find but only if we are prepared to bring ourselves to them. And if we bring the best of what we learned here at camp, we will share the Dudley spirit to others around us as well as fortify ourselves.
Nearly a hundred youth died at the camp in Norway, but this summer hundreds of you have lived and shared the Dudley spirit with one another.
Hundreds of young men and woman have died serving their country. But this year thousands of people in their 20’s who serve their country in a different way, will gather around an every week table to break bread and to have Vespers
And while young people were arrested for breaking curfew, you will return home and lift up a new image of young people making a difference.
You will hear God calling you in the night and you will respond, by saying, here I am lord, send me.
For Dudley has taught us “to hold God’s people in our hearts”. And to lead Gods people out of the wilderness.
The Other Fellow First” Chapel Talk at Kiniya on 8/7/11 by Christy Coyne #14255
Good Morning to all: Campers, leaders, Staff, friends and family. I am so very honored to be here at Kiniya this morning and want you to know — before I delve into this talk — that I have never, ever, ever, been so proud to be associated anything (aside from my husband and children) as I am to be associated with Camp Dudley at Kiniya and Camp Dudley. I feel completely and totally blessed to be connected to all that is of Dudley, as though I just might be one of the luckiest people on earth.
Now, why I am here as your Chapel speaker, other than having a connection to Dudley, is a bit hard to give good reason for: I certainly haven’t any qualifications whatsoever as a public speaker, least of all a Chapel speaker — someone who has any talent or expertise to guide you through reflection upon your connection to God or whatever higher-power with which you have a relationship. I’m just an average person who spends most of her time as a mom and a clinical social worker which, if you are wondering, means I practice psychotherapy with individuals, couples and families.
For those of you who thinking that that description didn’t help much, let me explain that what I do as a clinical social worker is meet with people who — in some way or another — want things to change in their lives and –99.9% — of the time that change involves wanting their relationships, their connection to others to improve.
So for instance, they may be sad or angry about something TOO much of the time – and it is getting in the way of being able to enjoy their lives and get along with others around them (as opposed to being sad and angry some of the time, which is totally ok!); maybe it’s a family in which the mom and dad have decided not to be married anymore; maybe it’s a family that needs help being better listeners for each other and showing each other how much they really love one another other.
Whatever the case, my job is not to tell people how to solve their problems or what to do; my job is to help them find their own way to do what they can to make the changes they want to make so they can have the relationships they hope for.
I have to tell you that, in my opinion, everyone who comes to see me is a hero because I believe that those who tell me about the difficult and usually uncomfortable — even painful — situations in their lives in an attempt to create change and foster connection with their loved ones are the coolest, bravest people I know.
OK! So, now that you know what I do, you know for sure that I haven’t got any special qualifications whatsoever that make me a chapel speaker! But since this is Chapel — the time and place that is meant for reflecting upon your relationship with God or whatever it is that helps you to be the person you know you are and that enables you to feel connected to all that surrounds you — I’m just going to try to do the best I can to create an opportunity for you -– even if it’s just for a fleeting moment – during which you can be mindful of your true self and your connection to that which you are a part …….. this physical space: the pines and lake and breeze and, of course, your friends and loved ones here and at home …. and even those you may not consider friends or loved ones here or at home!
When I awake to the experience of my connection to everything around me – the knowing that I am a part of everything and everything is just as much a part of me — is when I’m most sure of aware of God’s presence in my life.
When this happens I always get a feeling that goes with the knowing, so it’s not just a thought in my head; it’s an actual feeling that wells from deep in my bones, and gently courses through me like hot chocolate does after a cold day in the snow.
I know this feeling is important and comes from a power greater than me because — regardless of the circumstance I’m in when it happens, whether the events around me are happy or sad, I get the same feeling – born from the spirit of connection — a feeling of comfort and joy.
So, for example, I often feel the presence of God – or connected — when I am at hymn sing. (Who doesn’t, right? Aren’t we lucky?!) But I feel it, too, when I am saying goodbye to someone or someplace I love, as soon you will do when you leave Kiniya behind for another year; or it can happen when someone, often a client I work with, shares with me his or her sadness and pain.
You may think that it is odd to feel comfort and joy when listening to and bearing witness to another person’s story of pain or confusion. Indeed, you maybe wondering what sort of person or therapist might I be! But the same spirit of connection is present and thus, so is the comfort and joy.
I’m going to explain this some more because I think you, better than any other group of girls and young women I know, can understand what I’m trying to get at because you know about “The Other Fellow First”.
Yup, this is another talk about the Other Fellow First. And now you may be thinking that you’ve had your fill of talking about .. and listening to others talk about … the Other Fellow First.
I am sorry to make you do it again – sort of …. sorry to not be more original or exciting … but not sorry to talk about it some more because it’s a topic that I never get bored of.
I never get bored thinking about it or talking about it because I know the opportunity to practice the Other Fellow is alive in every moment of every day. And I believe that it’s part of what’s happening when we experience those incredible moments of connection that are awakenings to our connection to God.
(And this is what I really meant when I said earlier that I feel so blessed to be a part of ALL that is Dudley, … blessed to have had the chance to learn and practice – and be surrounded by people who are also learning and practicing — the way of the “Other Fellow.”)
The Other Fellow is an endless topic if you ask me. It may seem simple but there’s a LOT to it, which is, in my opinion why it’s such a marvelous and extraordinary belief to live by… and action to practice.
I hope, though, now, talk about how to practice the Other Fellow First in a way that maybe you haven’t thought of yet or talked about too much ….
On the other hand, may be you have … so here’s what happened a almost three weeks ago when I was at Dudley in Westport picking up my son, Aicher, at the end of first session this summer. His co-leader, Ted Dale, yes, you know his sister!) was hugging Ike goodbye and sent him off with words to remember …… and those words summed up this talk I’m giving in 10 seconds …..
Don’t you wish he were the speaker today???!!!
He srepeated to Ike a quote (by I-don’t-know-who ) “Remember” he said, “Sometimes, you can make a difference in the world just by being who you are” …. It was pretty close to that anyway ….. and, well, I pretty much freaked out!
(Silently, of course, because they were saying their good-byes and I didn’t want to disturb them!)
SO! THE very concept I hoped to whittle-down-to in my Chapel talk, the idea I’d been contemplating for months in an attempt to talk about and make some sense of, was summed up by Ted Dale in 10 seconds!
After the getting over the coincidence of the situation, I have to admit that I felt a wave of disappointment in myself, disappointment because I told myself that my Chapel talk would be far from Original. ……………
Then, ….. I felt serious anxiety because I told myself I would totally bore all of you with a topic you hear about all the time.
After acknowledging those thoughts and feelings to myself (which only took a few seconds, believe it or not; they are very fast acting — thoughts and feelings — so it can be easy not know what you are feeling or really thinking sometimes) ….
After acknowledging those first thoughts the other feelings came …. The Comfort and Joy …. Even amongst self-doubt and fear, comfort and joy showed up, too and, really I was surprised. But I knew, since I felt them, that something good and powerful was at work and I’d best pay attention to whatever it was instead of my worries about the future or what people will think of me.
Within seconds I understood. And still watching Ted hug Ike, inviting Ike as he did to carry on the important work of the other fellow – I understood that Ted Dale didn’t STEAL my Chapel talk, I understood that Ted Dale IS my chapel talk: that he is the perfect example, the very embodiment of one who colorfully strives – gifts, quirks, flaws, talents and all — to act from his true nature, to be only who he is. And for that striving alone he is a phenomenal practitioner of the Other Fellow.
Ok, so how is it, you are probably asking yourself, that just “being yourself” – an idea you probably are told do often by parents and teachers and coaches and leaders — and hopefully, too, your friends, — that THAT is practicing the Other Fellow First? (I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with CONNECTION)
What I want you to be aware of as you practice The Other Fellow by “just being yourself” during the remainder of your time here and when you get back home is …how hard it really is to be yourself when you think that people may not like or accept the parts of you that you yourself may not be so comfortable with; that’s right the parts of us – we all have them – that we think aren’t good enough and so we hide them.
Now, I’m not saying go out there and tell everyone you see all about the stuff that you hate about yourself!
What I’m suggesting is, first, to be really honest with yourself. Do you do and say things that are in line with the way YOU really feel? Or do you say and do things because you think OTHERS will think it’s the right thing to say or do? Can you think of times when you did both those things? (We all do it, I promise!)
And can you remember how you felt in each instance?
I’m willing to bet anything that you felt better when you acted and spoke from the place of authenticity, the place of genuineness and truth, versus the other place: the place of wanting to fit in or, at least, to not stand out!
Now, like I said, we all act from that place sometimes, even when we know better, so don’t get down on yourself! Just keep practicing because as you do you are also practicing the Other Fellow. Here’s how I know…..
I was introduced, by my mother-in-law, who is here today, to the work of a Social Worker named Dr. Brene Brown who is not a clinical social worker, like I am, but a Researcher Social Worker. She researchers SHAME as a matter of fact. Yup, she researchers shame. Yuck! Ever had that feeling of shame? (I have and still do but less and less as I work to just be myself). Dr. Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of connection. Shame she has discovered through her research has something to do with the fear of DISCONNECTION. And shame, she has figured out– by listening to hundreds and hundreds of people over years and years is — actually counter-acted by the practice of both accepting just who are – our gifts, quirks, flaws, talents – all of it ….. AND BEING just who you are with others, not just showing others the part of you that you think THEY think is ok to show.
Most importantly, she discovered that when people do that, when they “just be themselves” — and get really good at it like Ted Dale, for instance — they actually feel MORE connected to everything and everyone around them.
Dr. Brown says it best when she says,
Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand doesn’t require us to CHANGE who we are; it requires us to BE who we are.
I believe that when we are connected to others – which usually means they are feeling connected to us, too – we are in the grace of God for having practiced the Other Fellow First.
Sometimes it can seem like the Other Fellow First means doing something for someone less fortunate than us, or someone that needs help, which puts us in the position of being the helper, the more powerful one, in a way. That way of practicing the other Fellow first doesn’t have as much meaning for me because I don’t believe that one person is better than another person. I believe we are all equally capable in our own ways and worthy of love and connection.
When you act from your true nature, especially when it is scary to do so and you fear being rejected, I think it’s the greatest practice of the Other Fellow First you can do because you are offering true connection and belonging to those with whom you have dared to be real.
The last thing I will tell you that I learned from Dr. Brown is that through her research she determined this as FACT:
A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men and children.
In that case, I think that if you are playing a role in your family or community that supports connection and belonging – just by being yourself – you are INDEED practicing the other Fellow First.
There are many reasons, I’m sure, why you love Camp Dudley at Kiniya. The singing, your leaders, your friends, the activities … and so on… I’m willing to bet, though, that another reason you love camp is for the feeling of belonging, of being connected to each other and this place. And I am willing to bet, as well, that your practice of the other fellow, and the practice of being the other fellow, that is allowing someone else to be just who THEY are), has everything to do with that sense of belonging.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts about the other Fellow with you today.
To close, I’d like to share a final quote, from yet another Social Worker, a woman who I’m guessing is pretty comfortable being just who she is because she goes by the name Oriah Mountain Dreamer, a name given to her by Shamanic teacher who instructed her that it meant, “One Who Likes to Find and Push the Edge.”
She describes herself as someone who “encourages herself and others to be ruthlessly honest and infinitely kind toward our own strengths and our weaknesses.”
I want to remind us all that the world is listening, all the time. How we are ripples out from us into the world and affects others. We have a responsibility – an ability to respond – to the world. Finding our particular way of living this responsibility, of offering who we are to the world, is why we are here. We are called because the world needs us to embody the meaning in our lives. God needs us awake …. How we are with each other as individuals, as groups, as nations and tribes, is what shapes that dream.
Christy Coyne #14255
We’ve had a great time in Colchester, (for the first ever Camp Kiniya Open House, hosted by Kat HOOD!) Dedham, MA – Wilton, CT – Greenlawn, LI – Bedford, NY – Bronxville, NY – Rye, NY – Princeton, NJ – Darien, CT. Eight events in 7 Days!!!! Record crowds and lots of potential campers. We even managed to get a couple of meals along the way. Hope to see more of you in the days ahead.
The colors in the Adirondacks and Green Mountains during the month of October are spectacular. Visitors, known as “leaf peepers,” descend upon our small towns and villages to catch the changing of the seasons. Soon, all the leaves will fall and the snow will join us for the next eight months or so…and then camp will start again! In the Camp Dudley and Camp Kiniya offices, this time of year means one thing – IT’S TIME TO HIT THE ROAD! For the next few months, Matt, Marnie, Davo, Ryan, and Kat will celebrate the summer of 2011 by joining so many of you in the homes of our fantastic and dedicated parents, alumni and friends.
This past weekend, we kicked-off our Open House roadshow the same way we have for the past 35 years, at the home of John and Martha Storey in Williamstown, MA. Current campers mingled with alumni and prospective campers while munching on the traditional 6 foot sub and delicious desserts. The evening culminated, as every open house will, with this years rendition of the much anticipated reunion video! Arts Department Head, #17185 James Guimaraes, has put together another tremendous movie highlighting the Dudley/Kiniya experience and allowing those in the audience to harken back to the warm days of summer. Saturday the 15th brought us to New Canaan, CT with nearly 100 cheerful men and women at the lovely home of Scott and Andrea Martin. The kids were still running around outside, both current campers and prospectives, well after the open house ended! On Sunday we were welcomed in Larchmont, NY by the McSherry family who continues to do a great job mixing new families with alumni and current Leaders and Staff. Smiles all around on a warm Sunday afternoon in October. OPEN HOUSE TOUR RESUMES THIS THURSDAY IN COLCHESTER, VT AND THEN A REUNION EVERYDAY FOR THE NEXT WEEK – PLEASE JOIN US!
A note from Director of Development, C. Ryan Joyce #15093
A record year! Over $750,000 raised for the William J. Schmidt Annual Fund!
The official launch of the 2011-2012 fiscal year is underway!
As we kick off our Annual Fund 2011-2012, we wanted to thank you and congratulate you for your outstanding generosity and passion for Camp Dudley & Camp Kiniya! We ask a great deal of our Dudley alumni, parents and friends and we hope that you fully understand how our Camps have benefited from your service. The William J. Schmidt Annual Fund has directly affected the future of our mission as we continue to serve nearly 1,000 campers a summer and thousands of Dudley family members throughout the year. Over $750,000 is the largest known increase in Camp Dudley’s 127 year history – a nearly 20% boost from last year. Despite the rough economic times and the demand for scholarship dollars at an all-time high the Camp Dudley family remains as robust and supportive as ever. We thank every one of you for your tireless support and passion for all things Camp Dudley and Camp Kiniya. We are blessed with a tremendous alumni network and campers, parents and friends who understand the importance of our message to the rest of the world: “The Other Fellow First.”
We welcome fiscal year 2011-2012 today with this serving as our official launch. The theme of this fiscal year is “Why I give back to Dudley.” I’ll be asking you throughout the year about what compels you to give back to Dudley and what our camping experience has meant to each of you. So many of our Dudley family members give back in a variety of ways – spending a week at camp working, suggesting our camps to the next generation, hosting a reunion, donating to the Annual Fund, funding a capital project at one of our camps, attending an alumni gathering… The issue of the fall, 2011, CDA News will headline with this theme and will draw upon letters, statements, emails, and conversations with you about this very idea.
Annual giving is our bread and butter, however, many important capital projects are ahead. The shoreline restoration on both campuses, the cabins on the beach at Kiniya, in addition to other major program facilities… All critical endeavors that will ask a great deal of our alumni, parents and friends.
I’d love to hear from you, this new fiscal year, as to why you give back. When you have a moment, please send your thoughts on this theme. I’m anxious to hear from you and would be happy to include your reflections in the CDA News cover story – “Why I give back to Dudley.”
Onward and upward! It’s been a great year and will be an even stronger 2011-2012! Click here to help 2012 get off to the right start!
Looking forward to crossing paths on the reunion trail.
Director of Development
When I was a junior in 1987, Taylor Schollmaier was the Junior Division head (his son Teo is a cub this summer!) He was also the Mellowest man at camp. So it was only fitting that he created one of the longest standing extravaganzas at Camp Dudley – Mellow Fest. An afternoon where the junior division can play music, throw the frisbee, hacky sack, make tie dies and hang out with their buddies. The tradition grew quickly to include 7-8 hours of musical acts and opened up to the rest of the camp community. For some at camp, this was their favorite day of the season.
This summer’s Fest was amazing. Musical acts and poetry readings started at 3pm and went until James Mayo finished with an all camp singing vesper under the stars on main campus at 9:30. The highlight of the day for me was having my dear friend Scott Sylvester back to play. He performed a bunch of his original songs and then he played a song with his six-year old son Zane. Zane joined him for an Scottish ballad, where Scott played guitar and Zane sang. Not only did he belt out every word flawlessly, but he did so in front of a packed house of about 500 people, with bright lights and dark skies. It was one of those memorable Camp Dudley moments, one that few will soon forget.
Thanks for coming back Scott, and for sharing all of your gifts with us.
Our outdoor program at Dudley has seen quite the expansion over the years. With the addition of the Boys Camping Society, the JL/AL Winter Trip and our Farm – to – Plate hike and individual major, we’ve made a conscious effort to spread our wings and challenge our young men to recognize the beauty that surrounds them in new and exciting ways. To that end, the “46’r Club” was established this summer to offer yet another option for those looking to grab a few more peaks in addition to their divisional and overnight hike and canoe trips. The Adirondack High Peaks is the name given to 46 mountain peaks originally believed to be 4,000 feet and higher. Many a Dudleyite has accomplished the coveted honor of tackling all 46 peaks and several boys of the 127th summer have begun to do the same and will continue to do so over the next few years. The 46’r club leaves immediately after Chapel on Sunday, ascends 4,000 feet, has a terrific meal from the kitchen at the summit, and returns for Hymn Sing…not a bad way to spend a Sunday!
This just in from Matt Ator and the German Exchange Group. Sounds great!
The trip has been incredible so far. The three days in Munich flew by. We arrived in Hannover two days ago and sent the kids off to their home stays. We saw the boys this morning at a meeting with the Hanover mayor. It looks like they are all doing very well. Several of them went bowling together last night and we are all going to the zoo tomorrow.
We’ve been spoiled to have our friend Bill Harper here for the first half as Chaplin in Residence and Hike Hut Guru. This note below is straight from him to his congregation at home. Thank you Bill for your insights, and your contributions this summer. We sure will miss having you with us.
Sunday nights here at Camp Dudley are rather remarkable. After Sunday morning Chapel there’s lots of time to play and hang out and do those seemingly simple things that boys do at camp. And then after dinner kids swim and get ready for Hymn Sing. It is, for most every boy here, the high point of the week. I wish I could explain it. I’ve tried before and fail. But 400 voices blending, boosting and belting is quite a thing to experience. Tonight, as I sang and clapped and cheered, I also found some tears forming. Because hymn sings here are so unique, it’s not unusual for us to sing a Christmas carol or two, even in July, and tonight, when we sang forth on “O Come All Ye Faithful” I was in two places at once–firmly planted in Witherbee Hall at Camp Dudley on July 10th, and singing out on a Christmas Eve at Grace. It was a lovely and hard feeling for me. As I write this boys are gathering in the dark on the main campus lawn, wrapped in sleeping bags and listening to the Brass Quartet reprise the hymn melodies and then play taps. It is quite a Sabbath experience.
And so, I’ll now admit that this “sabbath” idea has been something of a challenge for me. Sabbath–and sabbatical–are meant to be disruptions of routine and routine maintenance. And certainly these last 4 weeks have been just that. While I feel right at home at Camp Dudley, this is hardly my “regular life.” The routine of a Summer camp for boys is so remarkable. Games, theater, hikes, sports, conversations leading to friendships and evident transformations–well, it’s something to witness all this. And I am far more than a witness–I’m a willing participant. The work is really non-stop, and I have experienced the challenge (and fun) of taking two groups of boys on 3 day climbing trips in the Adirondack Mountains. But for me the challenge of this time in my life is the harder, deeper work of self-examination and renewal. I feel too often that I am compelled to turn my life into a refined and renewed product–that I should return from sabbatical with something more than stories to tell.
Of course there will be stories, and I’ll undoubtedly enjoy telling them. But more deeply than that, there will be change. Frankly, I want to change. I want some disruption, and I want more than maintaining my routines. That’s a lot to ask for, and indeed something of a risk. But here at Camp I see the way change can happen–the way change becomes growth. After another Sabbath Day, and another Hymn Sing, I will be heading West again, and home for some days with Carolyn–who I miss–and for some days of grounding on Bainbridge before I send myself away again, for disruption and the hope of transformation. What comes of all this truly remains something of a mystery to me. Tonight I find myself grateful for that. And I find myself missing you all.
So the cub division seems to have a standing rule this summer. Dancing gets your team bonus points. This means that cubs can dance on the sidelines of games. They can dance while not running in their track and field events. They can dance while cheering on their teammates in their swim meets. They can even dance during inspection and in Beckman hall after they eat. I am pretty sure they can’t do that at home! Dance on!
The 4th of July usually means fireworks to most kids. But at Dudley, we skip the fireworks and have our own parade around campus. Firemen, EMS, Ambulance teams from Moriah, Peru, Westport, Wallonsburgh, Wadhams, Mineville/Witherbee and beyond all joined us, as well as Antique Car buffs. The canon blew, the horn sounded and the boys responded with cheers as we started the day off in true Dudley style.
We had a special visit this year from Batman and Robin, who led the parade and festivities of the day. Robin extended a “Director’s Challenge” to all campers throughout the day, which proved to be a huge success. He competed in golf, archery, riflery, balancing, tether ball, football toss, foul shooting and eventually lost once, and only once in the dreaded foot race. Robin was never all that fast.
Cub Academy Awards. Plebe Minute to Win It. Juniors in the Woods. Seniors Quidditch Tournament. What a place!
I am quite confident that no where else on Earth could you see such an array of activities in one night. The cubs were dressed to impress for the Academy Awards “ganza” which quickly turned into an all out dance party in Witherbee Hall. When I walked into the hall I could smell sweaty cubs and hear the thumping beat while all the boys pulled out their best moves and then quickly shared them with their buddies to try and replicate. This is not happening anywhere else in the world.
The Plebe division flooded into the Sommer Hall for our own very impressive version of “Minute to win it” complete with eggs, ping pong balls, Oreos, pennies, paddles, pencils and ping pong balls. They won it alright.
The Seniors ran 4 full Quidditch matches on the upper fields and made it look like an Olympic sporting event. Union cabin came out on top, and we decided to leave the Quidditch fields in tact so that we could play more this games this summer.
Every Junior trip came back safely. We had canoe trips, hikes, rock climbing and a new farm to table trip. An excellent day. Wish you were here.
After just 6 days of camp, we have managed to pack a huge amount in here at Dudley. The weather has been spotty at best, but it has not slowed this group down one bit. Bench ball, Basketball, Laundry Lax, Goalie Wars, BOLOS, Team Majors, Fishing, Boating, Shows in the Hall . . .
The BCS trip left for their canoe portion of the trip in Ontario. The Junior division just left for the woods. The first Aides Adventure packed their bags and headed into the Adirondacks with Mollie Farnham and Tom Arnold. The weather forecast is good and the Lake is beautiful.
One of the things we have worked hardest to improve this summer is the food here in Westport. We’ve put in a vegetable garden and campers and staff have been weeding and harvesting. We’re eating lettuce that was grown on campus and the snow peas are ready to harvest. We’ve switched to Green Mountain Coffee and morning spirits are high. We’re grilling as often as we can. The bakery is back in working order, producing donuts, fresh bread for submarine sandwiches, crisps for desert, blueberry and cranberry muffins, and homemade pizza dough. As I have said a few times, “if it always smells like fresh bread on campus, everything else will be fine.” All the flour for the bakery is coming from Champlain Valley Milling in Westport, and soon we’ll be receiving shares for staff dining from Juniper Hill CSA in Wadhams!
Our partners in the kitchen from Sodexo are working hard and it is paying off. The boys are happy and the staff is well fed. We’ll do our best to keep it rolling.
Not only did we have 320 kids and their parents arrive on opening day, but the team from WCAX out of Burlington was here to the spend the day with us. What a day it was! Sunny skies and happy faces. Let the games begin!
With just 5 short days to go until the campers arrive, the Dudley Leaders headed to the North Country School in Lake Placid to test the physical and mental strength on the schools beautiful natural climbing wall. At times, both hilarious and serious, the Leaders traversed climbs with ratings from 5.0 – 5.10. A hugely rewarding experience as these young men continue to enhance their leadership skills both personally and as a group. Mountain biking at Mt. Van Hoevenberg with the Division Heads, a service project at the Westport Marina, mowing lawns and sprucing up cabins on campus, rock climbing in Placid, etc. are just a few of the highlights from what has been a wonderful pre-season. The Dudley men will join the Kiniya women in Colchester for a BBQ and discussion with renowned camping speaker… Stay tuned for more to come and enjoy the pictures.
Over 40 Leaders and Staff headed over to the Westport Marina yesterday to help them dig out from the spring rain storms. Owner, Dee Carroll, said in an email this morning: “Thanks, again, so much. You all really ‘put the other fellow first’ yesterday.” CPR training with Big Joe today.