Passing of Joyce Horner
Interview conducted by campers: Paloma Garcia, Trixie Stewart-Frommer and Eliza Bowman
How did you first find out about Songa?
CM: I found out about Songa from Theresa MacCallum, who still works in the Foundation office. My family has a house on Brown’s Bay, so I grew up coming to Lake Dunmore. The summer of 1998 was the only summer that I had ever been away from Lake Dunmore and I was very sad about it. When our neighbor, Theresa, told my mother that Keewaydin was starting a girls’ program on Dunmore in 1999 I paddled over to Annwi in my kayak, where Ellen Flight was the Wigwam Director. I introduced myself and told her I was a lifeguard and that I had taught riflery, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and other things. I think Ellen was very excited to have someone who could teach all of these activities and had camp experience as she started to plan for a new camp.
What is your memory of the first time you came to campus?
CM: That’s a good question. I think it was probably very similar to what a camper feels; a little nervous about what it would be like. I had never worked in an all-girl environment before. We were a pretty small staff that first year. There were only 13 cabin staff. I do remember going on our first trip school and learning how to load the trailer, put up a tent and tie knots. I remember that as a group we bonded really quickly. We were very excited to be here and to be part of this new camp. And then when the campers got here it was even better. We only used cabins up to Hemlock… I think Hemlock was the oldest campers. I was in Goldenrod that first year with Stacy Allen. She is from the UK and we are still friends to this day.
What other different roles at camp have you had and what you enjoyed about those?
CM: When I first came I was cabin and trip staff. I was only 20, so I was an assistant trip leader. I did that until the first year of the Leadership Team, which was 2003. At that point, Ellen asked me to take on the Program Director role. So I did what Sally Stoll does now; organizing activities with staff and running Circle. When I was cabin staff I loved being in the cabin with the campers, getting to know our Longhouse, working with my co-staff and just being part of a team. I had some pretty crazy cabins over the years, but it was always fun and sometimes a challenge. I loved, loved, loved tripping. Because we were a smaller staff I got to do some of the bigger trips – Temagami (one of our longest and most challenging trips at the time) and Verendrye – I led the first Verendrye with a couple other staff. I missed tripping when I became Program Director – that was a piece I had to give up. As Program Director I got to know the staff a little bit better and I liked building the program so that it was more consistent.
When you had the job that Sally Stoll now has, did you do things like puzzle of the day?
CM: We didn’t. At that point we just came up with the board. It used to be that the staff just stood and said what they were doing and the campers would have to remember what the staff were offering. I don’t remember the way we used to pick – we didn’t do the OD cards as well as they are done now, so it was kind of a crazy circle. Not as organized as it is now. I love all the little images for the different activities on the board now. It’s really neat to see how it’s evolved. We did sing at each circle.
You already talked about this a little bit, but what are your first memories from your first trip school?
At our first Trip School, because there had never been a girls’ camp on Dunmore, two Keewaydin Dunmore guys were the leaders. I remember eating Spam for the first time and realized I like it extra crispy. Other memories…we went to Putnam Pond. Ellen came with us and taught us everything the new staff still learn. I think that trips and trip school are the two things that have been the most consistent since we started camp. Trips are very safe and everything is well covered in Trip School. Attention to safety is one of those things that hasn’t changed at all.
What are your memories of the first trip you ever led? How did you feel?
I was just telling a camper this the other day. The night before I went out on my first trip I got a little camp-sick – really nervous about leaving and taking these girls out on trip – using fire and axes and thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong. I remember walking with Ellen, back from the dining hall, she helped ease my fears, told me that I was trained, that I knew what to do, and that I was going to be fine. She did what the staff do for a camper – she was there to say I was going to be great, I was going to be fine, and it was going to be just like Trip School. And it was. It was a great trip. We had a really good time.
So you were the first trip leader for Verendrye? What was that like?
That was my favorite trip. I was a co-leader with Mel Joyce and an assistant, Laura Patch, Steph Patch’s older sister. It was actually hard to come back to camp after being out there for so long. We had an awesome group of nine hard core trippers. They knew exactly what needed to be done in campsite. We did a lot of portages and some rapids. We would go days without seeing another human, – something I had never experienced before. A lot of good memories from the first Verendrye.
What was it like having such a small camp and such a small staff?
CM: The advantage is everyone knows everyone; it was like a big family. We used to all fit in Neshobe’s Nest for meals. The hard part of having a small staff means a lot more responsibilities. There wasn’t a Camp Mom, a Head of Tripping, or Head of Waterfront, so we each had to take on several different roles. If you were a lifeguard you were always down at the waterfront.
When you came back to camp in 2014, what were the big differences you noticed?
CM: The Harter Lodge and The Fraser Dining Hall. Willoughby used to be behind the Wangan Room – we called it Tent-a-villa.It’s more than the physical differences though. There is better communication and a lot more processes to help things run smoothly. It’s still the same – a magical place for girls.
So what was in the area where the Longhouse Willoughby is now?
CM: There was nothing there – it was just open. Even those trees weren’t there, Ellen had the vision from early on she would want to put tents there, so she started planting the trees many years ago.
If you had been a camper here, what do you think you would have loved doing?
CM: I love that question – I always wanted to be a camper. I think I would have liked Arts & Crafts because I don’t do a lot of that in my regular life. Anything at the waterfront –swimming, diving, kayaking, and sailing – I loved sailing as a staff. I also loved riflery and canoeing, especially whitewater canoeing.
Final Question, what keeps you returning to Songa?
CM: (laughing) The people, and there is just a spirit about this place that’s awesome. I think campers may not realize it until later, but for staff it was like home. I didn’t care what I looked like; I didn’t put on make-up and dress up. It was nice to just be yourself, be accepted and be supported. It’s amazing to come back into the Dining Hall and see my former campers as staff. That’s awesome. Some of my best friends today, are girls that I met when I worked here. I love Ellen and she’s always been amazingly supportive. Songa is a wonderful supportive place to come back to for a week and be part of it still. I like how both Keewaydin and Songa are multi-generational. Here you have college kids, as well as, older staff and there is support for everyone.
Final, final question: What is one of your fondest memories here at Songa?
CM: I remember a Carnival with a big slip’n’slide. I remember the joy on kids faces – running and getting ready to do the slip’n’slide. And the trips – Verendrye was a great trip – I remember paddling back to the Songa shore, how excited and happy we were, and the big reunion/celebration we had when we returned. Lots of little memories.
What is the Run of the Charles?
It is the largest flat bottomed boat race in New England! Each year Keewaydin alumni, campers, and staff enter a team in the 24-mile relay race, completed in five legs, with two paddlers per leg. Sure, some teams take the race pretty seriously, but we go out to have some fun and celebrate the start of the paddling season.
Don’t have a paddle or a pfd?
No worries, let Keewaydin provide the canoes, paddles and life vests.
What if I don’t want to paddle?
Join Keewaydin alumni and staff in cheering on the racers! Following the race, enjoy lunch in the park and Keewaydin friends from 12pm to 4pm at the finish line in Artesani Park, off of Soldier Field Road in Brighton, MA.
RSVP by April 19, 2015
Abby Hazen, Assistant Director of Development
email@example.com, (802) 352-4247
Prospective campers and their parents, alumni, and families are invited to join Camp Directors,
hear stories about camp and see photos of our 2014 season!
So, bring a friend and join us at a city near you!
Keewaydin Temagami Gatherings
Thursday, January 22 (6:00 – 8:00 p.m.) – Middlebury, VT
Monday, January 26 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.) – Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, January 28 (7:00 – 8:30 p.m.) – Washington D.C.
Tuesday, February 10 (6:30 – 8:30 p.m.) – Charlotte, NC
For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Annette Franklin.
Annette@keewaydin.org or 802-352-4709.
Keewaydin Dunmore and Songadeewin Gatherings
Saturday, January 17 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)- Middlebury, VT
Wednesday, January 21 (6:00 – 7:30 p.m.) – Brooklyn, NY
For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Daria Carden.
Daria@keewaydin.org or 802-352-4770.
CHARITABLE IRA ROLLOVER extended for those 70 ½+ — BUT ONLY THROUGH DEC. 31, 2014!
The Charitable IRA Rollover was signed into law last week. Donors age 70 ½ and older may now transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified public charity. This provision is in effect only through December 31, 2014, so if you want to take advantage of this, you will need to act now!
The transfer is not subject to federal income tax and qualifies for the donor’s 2014 required minimum distribution (RMD).
The reauthorization of the IRA charitable rollover is retroactive to January 1, 2014, and effective through December 31, 2014.
A few other details:
How to complete this rollover gift:
Contact your IRA Provider to authorize the qualified charitable contribution from your IRA #____. Tell them to authorize a check in the amount of $— payable to KEEWAYDIN FOUNDATION, EIN 04 272 1019. Indicate to your provider that this distribution must occur before December 31, 2014, and all gifts must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2014.
Please contact Lauren Moye at 802.238.2733 for more information. Thank you!
The following speech was delivered at Keewaydin Dunmore’s Sunday Circle during the summer of 2013 by Wiantinaug Director, Johnny Clore.
I have but one piece of advice for you: Go to “Boats Out.” After dinner, after store, head down to the waterfront and get in a canoe. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Almost every day that I’m at camp, I get into a canoe at least three times. Once, in the morning, before the gong, once at activity period, and once during boats out. Each time, I walk down to the racks and walk among the canoes, trying to decide which one feels right for that day and that time. Then it’s off the racks, onto my shoulders and down to the lake. I slide the boat into the water, pull it alongside the Wiantinaug dock, and take my place, kneeling on the cedar of the ribs. I grip my paddle and dig into the water, driving quiet whirlpools towards the stern. But, although each paddle begins in the same way, they are not at all the same.
That morning paddle is a workout. I hope for still waters as I drive the boat through the mist on my way towards the island. My stopwatch is running, and I keep a record of how long it takes me to get there and back. I take 100 strokes on my right side and then switch to my left. I keep a record of my average strokes per minute. I love this time of day, alone on the lake, arms pumping, the water fanning out behind my boat as I break the early morning glass. I arrive back at the dock just in time to hear the gong. I check my time and hope for something under 34 minutes.
A few hours later, I’m back on the water again, this time for activity period. Activity period is goal-oriented also, but the goals are different. It is an assignment, scheduled in advance with the specific purpose of helping campers achieve skill mastery. This is a time for me to teach and for campers to learn. It is a time to pass on the skill of a K-stroke to a camper and then to pass him on his coups. This paddle is about achievement, it is about helping a camper to gain the credentials he needs for his trip or for his coup K. When the OD calls “boats in!” I am always eager to fill out a coup slip and celebrate the tangible progress that this paddle brought.
Then, after dinner, comes my final, and favorite, paddle of the day: “Boats Out.” I love “Boats Out” because it is different from the other two, a departure from goals, schedules, and deadlines. It exists not for the advancement of some certain skill or the achievement of some coup. “Boats Out” exists solely as a time to be content, to enjoy the boat, the water, the mountain. It does not demand the same focus or determination. Sometimes I do a few dock landings, not so much for practice, but instead as a way to affirm my connection to the canoe. And sometimes I just glide, paddle resting on the gunwales, water smooth beneath the canvas.
We live in a fast-paced world. It is a world of schedules and appointments. It is a world that values promptness and sets deadlines. It is a world focused on achievements, skills, and credentials. And in many ways, there’s nothing wrong with these values. Indeed, a boy who is motivated to earn his first coup in canoeing will gain a valuable skill as the fruit of his labor. However, we must often remind ourselves that time outside of such focused, goal-oriented pursuit is not at all wasted.
Too often, we are reminded that there are 24 usable hours in every day and we are told to fill them up with worthy pursuits. In the few moments of down time that we manage, we fear boredom.
But there is also value in peaceful quiet. There is value in those precious moments after dinner and before the frolics, those moments spent not in the pursuit of anything. Cognitive psychologists would tell you that in these moments, your cognition broadens, allowing creativity and synthesis. But even without their science, we know that there is value in these moments spent fully engaged in the present, content in the world, in a wood canvas canoe, on a lake in Vermont, listening to the water, looking at the mountain, and feeling the breeze on your face. There is value in “Boats Out.”
I may not be the first to remind you of the value of these moments. Indeed, such a reminder has become almost cliché: stop and smell the roses. But to me, that’s not quite it; we shouldn’t need to interrupt our lives to enjoy the simple stillness and goodness of the world we live in. Live with the scent of the roses ever in your nose. Live in the moment and be in the place you are. Seek contented stillness in the moments filled with nothing at all. Go to “Boats Out.”
All too soon, we will head home from Keewaydin, back to Boston or Philly or New York. And as we leave we lose that time after dinner on the lake. But the value of “Boats Out” is only greater in a world more hectic and intense. So make “Boats Out” a part of your life throughout the year. It may not be in a canoe. You may find “Boats Out” in a quiet walk or in sitting on the porch alone. Wherever it is, let your mind go to that contented place, unbothered by credentials and to-do lists. And when you’re there, let yourself glide like a canoe on a calm lake on a warm August evening.
Wherever you are, go to “Boats out.”