The months of June, July and August passed in a warm, sunny blur this year. Hot, summer days in Fairlee were filled with activity seven days a week, on all five Aloha Foundation campuses. Hundreds of staff and campers swelled Fairlee’s summer population and in the office, we enjoyed the excitement that the camp season brought. It is hard, however, to keep up with all the fun that goes on, and even more difficult at times to share the news with our fans. Now that the tents are put away, the docks pulled and campers, counselors and staff alike back in school, the full time employees in Fairlee are able to catch their collective breath a little, before we begin the preparation for summer 2011 (yes, we are already thinking ahead!).
Before we leave the summer of 2010 behind, here are a few stories you might have missed.
Vermont National Guard families enjoy respite, recreation and relaxation at Ohana – and Ohana enjoys their company.
Fifteen families of Vermont National Guard members currently deployed in Afghanistan – about 55 parents and children in all – took up residence at Ohana Family Camp from June 27th through July 2nd. They came from all over the state — Georgia, VT, way up in the NW corner to Bennington at the southern tip. Written words can’t portray the experience better than does this short video report that appeared in a television news broadcast on the CBS affiliate in Burlington, VT. Many donors contributed toward the $20,000 cost of this tuition-free week at Ohana for Guard member families, including $5,000 from Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation.
Vermont’s United States Senator Bernie Sanders wrote this to us, in part: Allow me, on behalf of a of not only Vermont but a grateful nation to thank [you] for providing a week of joy, fun and relaxation at Ohana Camp for Vermont National Guard family members, while their loved ones are serving overseas…I applaud the vision, commitment and compassion demonstrated by the Aloha Foundation…to reach out to these family members faced with lengthy separation…[and] feel certain that the memories of the week spent at Ohana Camp will help assure the families that there are many of us who care about them…and want to offer support and gratitude…Aloha! Congratulations on a job well done.
After the VNG week was over, an article in our local Valley News about the Ohana family camp week caught the eye of a Lyme, NH, philanthropist. The anonymous donor — not previously a contributor to the Foundation — has pledged $25,000 to support the entire cost of next year’s edition of the Guard program. In addition, the donor has offered to pay the way for any families left on the waiting list for this summer’s Guard Week who wish to participate in New Year’s Family Camp at Hulbert in December.
Aloha Celebrates 105 Summers on Lake Morey’s Shores.
More than one hundred alumni of Aloha Camp returned to Fairlee in August to help celebrate the 105th Reunion. Alums from every decade since the 1930s participated in activities traditional and new, singing Aloha songs all the while. Paddlers took a trip to the Foundation’s new property in the Connecticut River – Flagg Island – to investigate; archers took aim; temporary kanaka tattoos were sported by everyone; jewelry was produced in the Art Barn; a pontoon boat circumnavigated Lake Morey; three varieties of pancakes were cooked over an open fire and served on Winships. Old friendships were rekindled, and new friendships were formed.
Director MJ Parry warmly welcomed everyone Friday evening with a reception held at Wishing Fire under blue skies. The weather was sunny and bright all weekend, allowing everyone to dabble in their favorite camp activities. Four camp directors were among the alumnae; in addition to MJ, former Aloha Hive directors Ginnie Stevens and Posie Taylor, and Former Aloha director Nancy Pennell had fun as participants. Former tent-mates once again bunked together, department heads from different eras compared notes about their tenures, and friends introduced their daughters, and potential Aloha campers, to each other. Under the starry skies over Aloha Camp, the more things change, the more they stay the same. See you at the 110th reunion!
Aloha Fans Enjoy a Festive New York City Gathering.
When the alumni can’t make it to Fairlee, sometimes we have to take our show on the road! Last Tuesday morning, nine of us from Fairlee made our way south to New York, most of us riding in a camp van. Although we didn’t sing any songs, we did play Botticelli (led by Barnes Boffey), knit, complete The New York Times crossword puzzle and plot the autumn reunion road trip!
Once we made it to midtown, we met approximately sixty parents, alums, counselors and friends at a Foundation-sponsored cocktail party at the Kellari Taverna. Directors MJ Parry, Kathy Plunkett and Barnes Boffey greeted fans, and were joined by former directors Nancy Pennell and Posie Taylor, along with Foundation Executive Director Jim Zien. In addition to the opportunity to mingle and sample tasty Greek hors d’oeuvres, Aloha alumna, and current Executive Director of The Fresh Air Fund, Jenny Morgenthau greeted the guests, commenting on the significance of a summer camp experience for urban children.
We were grateful that so many friends made the time to stop in to say hello. Opa!