Dudley & Kiniya

Dudley & Kiniya

Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

CDA Reunion 2013

• 9 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog

Around 300 people made the trip north to attend this past weekend’s CDA Reunion! The three day event was full of activities ranging from hikes in the ADK’s to a greased watermelon contest down at Swim Point.

After a jam packed Saturday full of fun, the group made its way into Witherbee Hall to celebrate the CDA Man of the Year award given to #6102 Cab Woodward. Thanks to some kind words provided by Cab’s pals, #6581 Berkeley Johnson and #7927 Jonathan Clark, the Dudley audience was treated to some great stories and reflections on their friend. After the ceremony we were led in a hymn sing by James Mayo!

On Sunday, we celebrated the life of #16000 Lois Schmidt at the Camp Dudley Chapel. To view the service in it’s entirety please click here.

Thanks to all of you that came out and made this such a memorable weekend!

To view a photo gallery from the weekend please click here

Former NBA player & Coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. Visits Dudley

• 9 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Uncategorized

Thanks to our first ever Camp Dudley Online Auction, we got a visit from former NBA player & Coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. today at Dudley! Coach Dunleavy ran the campers through a series of on court drills and even coached a game as well! He also spoke to the group about the fundamentals of the game and much more. Thanks, Coach!

To be a part of our 2nd Online Auction please click HERE
To view a gallery of Coach Dunleavy’s visit click HERE


Spring Work Weekend 2013

• 9 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog | Uncategorized

We had a great turnout for Spring Work Weekend 2013! With two crews working at both Dudley and Kiniya, much was accomplished. Thanks to all that came out! To view all of the pictures from the weekend click here.



Meet Your 2013 Camp Kiniya D-Heads

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

Mary & Chloe, Junior Division Heads

Junior Division Heads

#20203 Mary Piazza (Division Head) & #20297 Chloe Potash (Assistant Division Head) are returning for the second year running the Junior Division. Mary is a junior at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and is returning for her 10th summer. Chloe is a junior at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and is returning for her 8th summer.


Caroline & Anne, Senior Division Heads

Senior Division Heads

#20113 Caroline Delaney (Division Head) & #20076 Anne Kennedy (Assistant Division Head). Caroline is a sophomore at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and is returning for her 9th summer. Anne is a freshman at the University of Southern California and will be returning for her 8th summer.

2012 Winter Leadership Trip

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog

10 men walked into the Stacy Brook Wilderness on solid ground under clear skies, and walked out in 30 inches of snow and a full on blizzard. What an amazing trip. On Dec 26th, 8 young men from Dudley showed up at Camp to embark on the 2012 Winter Leadership Trip. Accompanied my trip leaders Scott Steen and Dylan Pollock, the boys packed as much winter wonderland adventure, leadership training, and backcountry shenanigans as possible into just 6 days. The group spent a day volunteering their time with alumnus Schell McKinley on a local Habitat for Humanity house project, 2 days living, working and playing at the Stacy Brook yurt with a new wood stove, a day ice climbing, and 2 days snowshoeing through the frozen Adirondack wilderness. The boys were often challenged in this snowy backcountry setting, and grew as leaders through making difficult mistakes and celebrating amazing successes. Owen Beal reflected, “As a leader, I am going to have to make sure that everyone is having fun and being safe. Sometimes this means stepping up and facing the adversity of an entire group, and hoping they will take your advice with a smile and not be too upset by it”. From planning and cooking meals to being leader of the day, to leading vespers and hikes, the 8 Dudleyites took away valuable leadership skills, outdoor skills, and a feeling of brotherhood amongst peers and friends.

#12434 Rick Commons July 29, 2012 Chapel Sermon

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs


Good morning and thank you, Matt, for inviting me to join you all, and thanks also to Dave Langston for his leadership and kindness in organizing this service. It is wonderful to be here, in this inspiring Chapel, where I sat as a camper and a leader, and where I return often in my mind when I am searching for peace and meaning. You will do the same, I bet. As the Camp hymn promises, Dudley will live in your heart.

The title of my talk this morning is “Parables of the Other Fellow.” Parables, as you probably know, are short stories that offer moral lessons. Jesus taught in parables, like the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which we just heard. It is the Biblical passage that, for me, most clearly reflects the Dudley motto. And my guess is that the motto was created with this passage in mind. Think back to it for a minute:

A fallen man, a person in desperate need, is ignored by two passersby before a third comes to his aid and takes care of him. Simple enough, but here’s what is often missed in this parable: the Samaritan is the least likely of the three passersby to want to help. The fallen man is a Jew, and Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other. One of the passers-by is identified as a Levite–a Jew, like the fallen man–but he doesn’t stop. Another is a priest, whose very business is supposed to be kindness and mercy, but he doesn’t stop either. Finally, the Samaritan stops, takes pity on the fallen Jew, bandages his wounds, takes him to an inn, and then pays the innkeeper to continue his care, saying he’ll come back and add to the payment if there are additional expenses.

Now that’s putting the other fellow first! And remember: it is not a friend helping a friend. The Good Samaritan is a person stopping to help his supposed enemy, after supposed friends have passed him by.  At the end, Jesus asks simply: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the [fallen] man?” “The one who had mercy on him,” is the answer. “Go,” says Jesus, “go and do likewise.”


I like parables, and I often look for them in my own life and work. I live and work at a boarding school, one attended by two current members of the Dudley leadership ranks–George Wells and Mike Somerby, and I witness parables being played out around me all the time. I have two of them for you this morning–two “parables of the other fellow.”

The first one starts in a math class. It’s small–maybe fourteen students, but still there is a back row, where the posture is slouched, attention wanes as the minutes pass, and there is often a whispered, sidebar conversation.

The whispered conversation is focused today on the attractiveness of the teacher–a young woman, new to the school. She is idealistic, eager to connect with her students, a bit naive, and much too forgiving. The boys in the back row should have been tossed out of class weeks before and told that they could continue their private conversation with the dean.

They are not bad kids; they’re actually well-behaved in classes where the teacher is demanding. One of them–let’s call him John, is quite a good math student and is sitting in the back row for the first time. John struggles with social relationships–tends to say the wrong thing at the wrong time–the kind of guy who meets a casual fist bump with a much too eager high five, realizes his mistake and offers an awkward fist instead, too late, so that it hangs in the air and is left to search for a pocket.

As I said, John doesn’t usually sit in the back, but he has been included today, and he finds himself among the whispers about the teacher’s best and worst features. They are getting loud, and girl in the row in front of them turns around and glares at John. He rolls his eyes at her, eliciting snorts of laughter from his right and left. This is completely new to him, and he is intoxicated by it.

John has his laptop open. He often uses it in class to take notes or work on a problem introduced on the board. And now he has a cool idea. He begins to make a spreadsheet of the things said, detailing the various bests and worsts of the teacher’s physical appearance. The back row loves it.

Later, at lunch, John is welcomed at a table with the kids from the back row, where he has never been welcomed before. The other guys are leaning toward him, laughing and offering new data–best and worst features of other female faculty. John opens his laptop and dutifully transcribes the crude phrases into his neatly ordered spreadsheet. By dinner time “The Chart,” as they have come to call it, includes nine different female faculty.

In math class the next day, John moves back to the front row. He greets the request to continue working on The Chart by saying he needs to pay attention; there’s a test coming up. The back row registers disgust, a painful contrast to the approval John felt the day before. One of them says, “OK, well at least give us The Chart so we can finish it.” John shrugs and, with a few quick keystrokes, emails the spreadsheet to the three guys in the back row.

Two hours later, through the geometric power of email forwarding, The Chart has been viewed by the entire student body and most of the faculty. The faculty is outraged, the students can’t believe John would do this, and the boys from the back row and the lunch table are all saying, with plausible deniability, that John is the creator, the original distributor, and the sole author of The Chart. Two days later, John’s parents arrive to pick him up and take him home, agreeing with the headmaster that it is best for him to leave the school.

Here’s my question: which one of these guys are you? The one who does something morally reprehensible to win the approval of others? Or are you one of the back row boys, who encourages the other fellow to do that reprehensible thing while keeping your own hands clean? There’s a third type, who isn’t explicitly presented in the story as I’ve told it, but he’s there. He’s always there. It’s the guy who knows what’s happening, sees John being led quite literally away from himself, and yet does nothing. Are you ever that person? I know I have been.

I wish there had been a Good Samaritan in this situation. Someone one who saw John falling down and picked him up, even if he was not one of his friends. Someone who had said, “Very bad idea, buddy. Delete the file. And come sit at our table.” Are you someone capable of that kind of courage? Are you capable, when it takes guts, of putting the other fellow first?


I’ll conclude with a briefer and happier parable. It’s springtime, which should be about warmer and longer days, the greening of the baseball and lacrosse fields, blooming flowers, and budding trees. But for eleventh graders at my school, the second week of May is much more about Advanced Placement tests–the dreaded APs.

It is the end of a grueling stretch for Sam, who has taken six APs and has one more to go–AP Latin–the next morning. After a tough lacrosse practice and a quick dinner in the dining hall, he makes a phone call to his mother.

“Hi Mom.”

“Oh, Sam! How are you?”

“Tired. Really tired, and I still have Latin tomorrow. I had two APs today and I barely slept last night.”

“Well, you always do well in Latin.”

“Yeah, but I’m not ready, and I have so much to review. Maybe I should just go to sleep and punt the Latin AP.”

“Oh no, Sam. It’s just one more, honey, and you know how important these APs are for college. They can make the difference. Put in a few good hours of studying and then get a good night’s sleep. You’ve worked too hard to shoot yourself in the foot on your last AP.”

“OK, Mom. I’ll do my best.”

He hangs up, guzzles the last two diet cokes in his fridge and heads for the library. Sitting down at one of the large tables, he draws three books from his backpack–Horace, Catullus, and Vergil, flips open his notebook, takes a deep breath, and dives in. Before he can get through the first of Horace’s famous Odes, there’s a tap on his shoulder.

“Hi, Sam?”

“Hey Woody.” It’s Haywood, a tenth grader who is on the lacrosse team and who is, frankly, a bit of a pain.

“Hey you’re in AP Latin right?” He gestures to Sam’s books.

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“Well I’m in Latin 4, and Ms. Bradley is giving us a quiz tomorrow on this passage from The Aeneid, which I see you have right there. I just can’t get it. Can you just help me with a couple of lines?”

Sam looks at the clock on the wall, looks at his books, and then looks at Woody. “I’ve got an AP tomorrow, Woody, and my parents really care about this whole college thing…” He stops himself, thinking about his own struggle through Ms. Bradley’s Latin 4, and changes his mind. “Grab a chair. Which passage?”

It turns out that Woody is truly lost, and it takes more than 90 minutes for Sam to walk him through the lengthy passage. Just as they are finishing, there is an ear-splitting series of beeps. It’s the fire alarm, which means that the whole school will spend the next hour standing outside the building while the fire department arrives with lights and sirens, checks all the rooms, and confirms that, once again, somebody burned popcorn in the microwave.

As he is standing in the dark, cursing his fate, Sam feels another tap on the shoulder, “Hi, Sam?” Sure enough, it’s Woody. “Thanks a lot. I mean, that was really nice of you. Good luck on your AP.” They stand outside in the dark until 10pm, time for dorm announcements and checkin. At 10:30, Sam sits down at the desk in his room opens the top book once again, and in ten minutes falls asleep, face first in Horace’s Odes.

At precisely 8am the next morning, the exam proctor says “Begin!” and Sam, with a block of ice in his stomach and a tennis ball in his throat, opens up his Latin AP. He gasps audibly, and the proctor looks at him, mouthing a stern “Everything OK?” Sam nods vigorously, and then with a wide smile, he dives in. The entire first half of the AP is based on a famous passage from The Aeneid–the same passage that he walked Woody through for 90 minutes last night.

This is a true story, I promise.  It is worth noting that life does not always reward the Good Samaritan so immediately or so neatly, but I assure you the rewards do come.


Sometimes it’s easy to put the other fellow first, and sometimes it’s hard. The question I want to ask today is can you do it when it costs you? I ask myself the same. Let’s make a pact, in the spirit of this magical and memorable place.  Let’s agree to try as best we can to be true to what it stands for. The Other Fellow First, especially when it costs you.

Thanks for listening.

The Passing of Bill Sword, Jr. #9655

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs

Dear Members of the Dudley Family:  I am saddened to have to report the death of #9655 William Sword, Jr. of Princteon, NJ, who was killed on October 29th after a large tree fell on him in his yard on the Great Road in Princeton as Hurricane Sandy swept through the area. He was 61 years old.

Bill and his wife, Martha, brought up their family in Princeton, where Bill served as Managing Director of Wm Sword & Co., an investment banking and advisory organization.  He graduated from Princeton University in 1976. He also served on the board of directors of Centurion Ministries, the Princeton non-profit that works to free innocent people from prison, and on the advisory board of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.

Bill and Martha were longtime Princeton residents and hosts, along with his brother, sister and mom, of wonderful Dudley Reunions in Princeton, picking up from where his late dad, Bill and mom, Sally, left off after four decades of hosting.  Bill was at Camp in the 1960s as a camper, Aide, Junior Leader and Leader.

Bill leaves his wife Martha, and a son, #18655 Will, daughters Gretchen and Hope, as well as his mother, #15400 Sally Pitcher Sword, his brother, #9969 Richard M. Sword and his wife, Elizabeth; his sister, #13331 Molly S. McDonough and her husband, Peter; and sister Sarah Lazarus and her husband Kenneth; and 7 nieces and nephews.

Bill brought an incredibly positive approach to everything that he took on. He loved returning to Dudley for a summer Chapel Service and Hymn Sing, getting out to Colorado to see Will, who led our 2012 NOLS trip last summer, and always asking, “How can I help.”  The Dudley Community has lost a great friend, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his Martha and the entire Sword family.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 3rd at the Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, in Princeton, NJ. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Centurion Ministries or the Princeton Community Foundation.

Letters of support and condolence should be sent to Mrs. Martha Sword, 1036 The Great Road, Princeton, NJ 08540.

#11584 Rev. Peter Allen – CDA Chapel 2012

• 10 years ago • Alumni

#11584 Rev. Peter Allen

“Scent and Memory”
by the Reverend Doctor Peter W. Allen
Preached at Camp Dudley Reunion
Westport, New York
August 26, 2012

II Corinthians 2:14-17


Good morning. Thanks to each one of you for being here this morning. I’m so glad and honored to be sharing this time with you and to be back here in the chapel after a year away. I love this place so much that I even love how it smells. And Camp Dudley’s got lots of smells…


The smell of wildflowers (and sometimes cow manure) as you drive along the Dudley road with the window down… The smell of paint as you walk by the basement of Witherbee where all the costumes and sets and props are kept… The powerful smell of Beckman Hall right before dinner, when it’s full of good food and also full of campers who’ve spent a whole day playing lacrosse and soccer… The musty smell of the pages as you open your hymnal for chapel or hymn sing… The acrid smell of gunpowder as you approach the rifle range on North Point… Even Swim Point and Cub Beach have their own distinctive smells, as do each of the institutes on campus. OK, so those smells are not the greatest, but they’re still Dudley smells and so they’re all right with me.


They say that, of all the senses, smell is most closely related to memory. But I think there’s more to it than that. I think certain smells have the power to transport us back in time to a place, a person, or an experience. And I think certain smells stick with us for a reason. I think they are embedded so deeply in our memories because of what was going on and what we were feeling when we first smelled them. So, it’s not just about the smells and the memories; it’s the emotions that accompany them…


When I smell frying bacon, I remember Saturday mornings in the wintertime’s of my childhood, and I feel the love and security of family… When I smell roses, I remember meaningful conversations with my dad in the side yard where he tended his flowers and I feel his presence… When I catch a whiff of a perfume similar to the one my mom used to wear, I experience the feeling of unconditional love all over again… When I smell freshly cut grass, I remember the satisfaction I felt as I earned my very first paycheck… When I smell a locker room, the awkwardness and intimidation I felt in Jr. High gym class come right back to me…


And, yesterday, when I stuck my head into Rensselaer cabin (where I spent my cub season), one sniff brought back the heartache of homesickness and the wonder of discovering what Camp Dudley was and is all about: the friendships, the fun, the growing self-awareness, and the other fellow first.


Of course, reunions like this one are all about memories. They’re about remembering that which we regret and remembering our greatest triumphs. They’re also about celebrating what yet might be as we continue to nurture the relationships and values that are most important to us.


In our reading for this morning from 2nd Corinthians, the author (the Apostle Paul) talks about the fragrance of a triumphal procession. He knows that his audience will immediately think of a commanding officer of the Roman army, entering the city after yet another victory, led by servants carrying incense. They might also imagine the smell of burnt offerings in the Temple in Jerusalem.


And he knows that his audience will associate these smells with military and religious power. The power to kill and control; the power to awe and impress.


But, as a follower of Jesus, Paul knows that Jesus puts no stock at all in military power or in the animal sacrifices and other impressive ceremonies that take place in the Temple. He knows that Jesus is a different kind of leader, one who goes to the lowliest of places and uses his power to feed the hungry, heal the brokenhearted, and bring hope to the hopeless. And he knows that it’s not good enough simply to remember these things for oneself.


So, Paul asks his audience to be the aroma of Christ. He asks them to be that holy smell, a fragrance that signals to those around them that a new day is coming, a new world is coming, a world where the poor and the lost have a pathway forward, a world where we know that we are in the presence of the divine.


The last time I checked the pharmacy aisle at the grocery store, there wasn’t a deodorant called “holiness” or “compassion” next to the Axe and the Old Spice.


But each of us emits a certain aura when we are in the presence of others, don’t we? And I think we have at least some control over the essence we give off.


Some of you know that I work in Mexico for a good portion of the year. My organization hosts volunteers who feed the hungry, build schools, and spend time with orphans and kids who live in a garbage dump. I was in Mexico all summer and just got home the other day. In fact, the smells of Mexico still linger in my nostrils.


I can still smell the coffee that our friend, Maria, always has warming on her wood stove – coffee that she never fails to give to me as I pass by her house. Hers is the scent of hospitality.


And I can still smell the hot, fresh tortillas from Arón and Matea’s kitchen. They are coffee farmers who can barely feed their own children, but always offer me a meal when I visit with them. Theirs is the scent of gratitude and of generosity.


And I can smell the stench of the Oaxaca city dump, where 27 families struggle to raise their children, support one another, and make a life for themselves by picking through the trash. This summer, we took the kids who live at the dump to a local park every week so that they could have a break from their grim and grimy surroundings. And each week, they impressed me so much with how joyful and caring they were despite their unbelievably foul and unhealthy living conditions.


So, this might sound strange, but the smell of trash has a new association for me: to me, it’s the scent of strength in the midst of adversity, and of hope in the midst of ugliness.


So, what about us? What scent do we give off? What do people smell when they come to our homes? Do we give off a scent of unselfish love and generosity? Maybe while we’re here at Camp we do. It’s easier here, where we’re surrounded by supportive friends. But what about when we go home to our everyday lives, our schools, our jobs, where people and conditions may be more challenging?


It’s hard to emit the fragrance of forgiveness, for example, when our world is filling our nostrils with the stench of war. It’s hard to give off the scent of generosity when all we can smell in the culture around us is the stink of unrelenting greed.


But this is where reunions like this one come in so very handy. It’s weekends like this one that remind us of what is most important in our lives. It was here in this chapel, it was during vespers on those magical Dudley evenings before bed, it was in the woods, under the Adirondack stars, that the best of my values were reinforced by Dudley leaders and staff.


And, so, as you remember your own Dudley and Kinya summers, I hope that you will remember, also, the kind of person you truly want to be. And (if you are a person of faith) the kind of person you believe our loving God is calling you to be.


Because, when you and I can do that, when we can remember who we truly are, who we were truly meant to be, everything about us will smell like the other fellow first. We will not be able to help giving off the sweetest scent of all, the fragrance of unselfish love for God and for those around us.



Rusty Davis, #9408 awarded the CDA Man of the Year at 2012 Reunion

• 10 years ago • Alumni

CDA Man of the Year, Rusty Davis

H. William “Rusty” Davis III #9408 Camper, Leader, D-Head, and two-term Dudley Board Member, H. William “Rusty” Davis III exemplifies all that the CDA honors.

Arriving as a Cub in 1959, Rusty made an enormous impact on Dudley over 16 years. Rhythm Rambler sax and flute man, “Tiger Lily” actor, Leader of the “Ross Non- Athletic Cabin,” and an evenhanded Coach, Rusty always ensured fun and success for his campers.

As a young D-Head at Dudley, Rusty brought wit and wisdom to deliberations, becoming the “go-to-guy” whenever challenges arose.

As a Dudley Board Member, he pressed for a “rainy day” fund that enabled immediate action when major flooding devastated our shoreline.

With a BA and MS from Princeton in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Sciences, Rusty was elected to the Sigma Xi Science and Engineering Honor Society.

Over four decades at the Taft School, Rusty served as physics teacher, coach, Dean of the Middle Class, Dean of Students and Assistant Headmaster. His girls soccer program achieved unprecedented success. Rusty’s formula was simple . . . “always have fun.” In the process, he helped thousands of students and campers to make the most of what they were given.

Rusty and his wife and fellow teacher Linda Saarnijoki’s proudest achievement is their daughter Eliza, a 2012 Kiniya Assistant Leader and Taft graduate.

In recognition of his half century of loyalty and dedication to Camp Dudley, the CDA names Rusty Davis its 2012 Man of the Year.


The Leadership Fund

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

Recently, an Alum asked why he should give to the Annual Fund. He explained that he went to Camp, worked at Camp and loves Camp, but didn’t really understand what impact he could have. After explaining a variety of reasons as to how supporting the William J. Schmidt Scholarship Fund assures that a young boy or girl benefits from a meaningful Dudley experience; the real answer came to me a few weeks later, while in the archives, when I happened upon a copy of Sumner F. Dudley’s eulogy. In March, 1897, at the age of 43, Sumner died. So powerful were those first 12 years at Camp, and so meaningful was this man’s vision, that no fitter tribute could have been paid than to have Mr. Dudley’s first camper, #1 George Peck, perform the eulogy. It was in Peck’s words, describing Dudley, where I found my answer:

“I wish I could give an adequate expression of my deep love and high admiration for my personal friend, Sumner F. Dudley. He knew no limit in doing for others and literally impoverished himself for those in whom he was interested. Times without number I have known him after a strenuously busy day to travel a good part of the night to some distant point to render assistance to some young friend who needed his council or advice. I can say with much depth of feeling that he was the most self-sacrificing man I have ever known. And that man and his life are responsible for Camp Dudley as we know it today, and the spirit that characterized his life is what we know as the Dudley spirit, a spirit that has helped hundreds of boys and young men through all these years of Camp Dudley history.”

Last summer, the Leaders and Staff of Dudley and Kiniya came together and decided that they ALL wanted to be part of investing in Dudley’s future. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, over $18,500 was raised and 100% of the Leaders and Staff gave! Thanks to a matching gift, AN ENTIRE CABIN OF CAMPERS IS HERE THIS SUMMER THANKS TO THE LEADERS AND STAFF.

Please consider joining other Alumni and Parents in MATCHING the Leaders and Staff Members gift. You can match to a certain amount, match dollar for dollar or put a challenge match out – a match if we meet or exceed last years amount, for example. PLEASE CONTACT RYAN JOYCE WITH MORE QUESTIONS – 518 962 4720 OR RYAN@campdudley.org

With many thanks for all you do for camp.

C. Ryan Joyce #15093
Director of Development

Another great evening in Washington D.C.

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

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!


PJ Clarke's ready for our Dudley Alums to arrive.


#18070 David Nelson and #10571 Bill Sbarra. David's father #8070 Ben Nelson was Bill's Leader in the late 1960's.


Board Members, Alumni and current Leaders and Staff catching up on all things Dudley.


#18754 Connor Smith, #15337 Jon Staley and wife, Kay, #16200 George "Smoothie" Matthews.



Spring Work Weekend a BLAST

• 10 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog
The staff tute gets a new roof
Jess and team getting the vegetable garden planted
Staining the picnic tables
Dennis Ryan and the tunnel cleaning crew!
Hydration at the end of the day!
Joan and Cecelia
The Shaws, Rutters and Tripp Ives
Meisel, Lund, Davenport, Granfors, Perry
What a great group of workers!
Only 40 more benches to go for the Halls!
Zach and Owen with a new view on Albany Island
Granfors, Denton, Scharges and Lund

Willie Fest a HUGE Success!

• 10 years ago • Alumni

What a night!

To the nearly 300 Dudley and Kiniya alumni, family and friends who made the effort to join us in Brooklyn this past Friday evening and to those who contributed to the cause from afar, you will be proud to know that the fundraising effort for the Willie J. Schmidt Scholarship Fund was a wonderful success!  Thanks to your great efforts, The Willie Fest Benefit Concert raised $47,428.31!!!  This represents an entire cabin full of campers!  What a wonderful way to go into the summer at Dudley and Kiniya and there simply is not better way to honor our former director, Willie Schmidt.  Willie worked tirelessly to ‘find bunks’ for young kids for over 40 years and, before he left us, he said, “Nothing at Dudley, and now Kiniya, has meant more to me than to see this scholarship fund grow.”

Thank you, Mary Beth Kilkelly and Ed Schmidt for their outstanding leadership and the Powerhouse Arena for helping us create “Camp” in Brooklyn!

I look forward to seeing many of you over the summer on opening day and CDA Reunion.  If you are in the DC area, we will be having an alumni gathering at PJ Clarke’s on Thursday, May 17th from 6:30-9:00 PM (details to follow).  Stay tuned for more Dudley events and please feel free to call or email me at any time with your suggestions and ideas…we’d love to do more of these gatherings and I welcome your thoughts!

Enjoy the photos below.

Yoha to Camp!

Davo, Chris Fisher and James Brust

Show Co-event Planner, Mary-Beth Kilkelly and son Jack Schmidt

Phil Ramirez, Matt McElroy, and Stu Rogers

Davo and Bridget

Charlie Johnson III and Lois Schmidt

The Golden Boots - Tony Verbeck and Ted Smith

Needs no caption - John W. Canning

The Boots Wrapping up the Show!

Mother/Daughter Weekend 2012

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Kiniya Blog

When a snow storm is expected…


For the third year in a row, our highly anticipated Mother-daughter gathering was in jeopardy as the forecast called for a winter storm watch early Friday morning! After cancelling the event two years in a row due to extreme weather conditions, Marnie and Kat were determined not to let mother nature get in the way of their weekend fun and busily prepared for the groups arrival. Much to their surprise and delight, as the snow fell gently on the Westport campus late Friday afternoon, every one of the Mother-daughter pairs made the trek North, rolling into Dudley by dinner time Friday night!

Our Mother-daughter crew, ready for some action outside!

Kiniya memorabilia spread out on the coffee table, copies of The Kiniya Hymnal and The Spirit from years passed, and a craft table full of friendship bracelet string and activities to share set the tone for a weekend filled with friendship and fun!

Marnie & Megan with the Kiniya gals at top of kitchen hill.

The storm Friday resulted in the first snow we have seen on the ground (almost all winter!) and provided for a winter wonderland of fun at Dudley on Saturday morning! Sara Nelson and Megan Sudduth were on hand to lead us through some fun activities in the gym, and we headed across to Kiniya in the afternoon on Saturday for a scavenger hunt tour! With Marnie at the wheel, the 15 seater (filled with Kiniya campers) was a-buzz with excitement as we worked our way through the Kiniya songbook on the way there AND back!

Our time together was so special and the weekend a huge success. Filled with countless stories shared about Camp, thoughtful conversations at vespers, fun activities, and giggles around the fire our weekend together resulted in new friendships formed!

Thank you, Moms and daughters, for making our weekend together so very enjoyable!

Marnie McDonagh, 20001
Camp Dudley at Kiniya, Director

Father/Son Weekend 2012

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog

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!


Hanging out before dinner



A Great day for a hike up Coon Mountain!



Sliding down an icy trail!

Yoha for the 2011 BCS Winter Leadership Trip

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

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…

Camp Dudley Chapel Talk by Wayne Meisel #10787 – 8/14/11

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

Speaker Wayne Meisel

“The Next Wilderness”

A sermon preached at the Camp Dudley Chapel

On the Shores of Lake Champlain

Parents Weekend

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


The Wilderness

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.



Camp Kiniya Chapel Talk by Christy Coyne #14255

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

Speaker Christy Coyne at the Kiniya Chapel

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.

Fanning, Christy, Ike and Ginny Hearon at Sunday Chapel

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.”

She wrote:

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.


Thank you!


Christy Coyne #14255

The William J. Schmidt Scholarship Fund

Brendan • 11 years ago • Alumni

Former Camp Director #7405 Willie and #16000 Lois Schmidt

The William J. Schmidt Scholarship Fund enables more than 230 boys and girls, regardless of their means, to enjoy the Camp Dudley and Kiniya life-changing experience.  The fund is made possible through the generosity of some 2,100 parents, alumni and friends.

Longtime Director Willie Schmidt worked tirelessly to “find bunks for kids” for more than 40 years.  Our Scholarship Fund is “The Other Fellow First” in action.  Each year this fund enriches Dudley’s camper communities, with campers from 40 states and 25 countries, while insuring ethnic and socio-economic diversity.

When Willie’s directorship began in 1974, Camp was pleased to provide $25,000 in scholarship assistance. However, that was just the beginning! Consider the growth of the Willie J Schmidt Scholarship fund since that time.  Camp’s scholarship investment increased more than ten fold during his tenure as director making camp available to all kids who deserve it!


Willie’s passion for making camp accessible to deserving to boys, and eventually girls, has become part of our proud heritage.

Please support our Scholarship Program with a gift to Camp Dudley today.

To learn more about this impressive man, his family and his legacy, please click here.

The Landslides on Campus

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs

Six weeks before opening day, 2011, massive landslides threatened our precious shoreline…

The New Embankment in Process from Cub Beach - Click for more pictures

The power of the great mother of them all, Mother Nature, tested our wherewithal on both sides of the lake.  Nearly simultaneous landslides occurred at both Dudley and Kiniya during April and May.  A record snowfall coupled with a sudden burst of higher than normal spring temperatures and heavy rainfall, all combined to bring our great Lake Champlain to the highest levels in recorded history.

On April 27th, part of the shoreline behind Cub Alley and MacLean gave way.  Adirondack, Poly, Burr, Danielson and Ross Cabins teetered on the edge of the bank. Dudley’s maintenance crew immediately moved into place and joined Sheehan Construction Company in securing the foundation of all five cabins for future use.  On May 14th, Camp Kiniya lost a portion of its waterfront known as Senior Beach due to a landslide that wiped out the swim area for the summer.  Further, overwhelming flooding destroyed the two Junior Beach staff cabins forcing Marnie and her team to act immediately to assure housing for eight staff members.

Just when we thought it was over, Mother Nature tested us one last time at one of the loveliest parts of the property, the Dudley Chapel.  Above the Chapel where the LeGrange Garden sits, a landslide took out a portion of the bank.  Thankfully, this did not threaten the Chapel, despite its proximity.We like to think that the thousands of Dudleyites who have come before us were keen to fight back the great storms threatening this sacred land.

Matt, Marnie and their team went into full recovery mode immediately hiring construction teams and plotting a series of calculated plans to assure that not only would we be ready for opening day, but that this opening day, June 21, 2011, was going to be one for the ages! Three cabins (two staff and one camper cabin) were moved from the peak of the landslide bank at Kiniya into a safe position within the first 24 hours.  Four Yurts were purchased to replace the five cabins offline at Dudley and two staff cabins at Kiniya. They were used for staff housing at Kiniya and as Senior cabins at Dudley as Cub Alley was shifted over to the Plebes and Plebes to the Juniors, etc.  Next, the upstairs of the Avery Boathouse, Dudley’s most historic building and one that went through a tremendous shoreline restoration project just six years earlier, became a Plebe Division cabin . . . and one that was cherished by Leader #17525 Peter “Shorty” Treiber and his charges.  Suddenly, it was opening day, and both campuses, thanks to the outstanding efforts of our maintenance teams, several construction crews, the outpouring of alums and families who drove to Colchester and Westport to help, were not only ready to welcome 1,000 young men and women, but were safe, secure and looking terrific.

What’s next?  As the fall passes and the leaves falling turn to snowflakes, Sheehan Construction continues around the clock on a full shoreline stabilization and restoration project.  As you can see from the photos, a temporary road has been built along a portion of Lake Champlain and, unfortunately, we’ve had to part with many of our trees that have been with us since the beginning.  However a full reforestation project will kick into high gear in the spring, and opportunities will exist for you to sponsor a collection of trees in honor of a family member or someone special to you at Dudley or Kiniya.  On top of that, when we open the gates for the summer of 2012, all five cabins in Westport will be back in full force and looking better than ever!

At Kiniya, the plan is to have two new beachfront cabins for staff next summer. Marnie, Facilities Director, #20298 Mike D’Amico, and their team are in discussion with engineers regarding the stabilization of the Senior Beach shoreline, with full intention of getting the Senior Beach swim area back for next summer.

We have much ahead of us and remain confident that the Dudley community and the strong maintenance teams will insure that each step we take will be with much thought and care for our institutions.  It should be made clear that we were able to push “go” on this project ASAP thanks to the due diligence and forethought of our Board of Mangers.  Years earlier, the Board decided to put aside money in a depreciation fund for “a rainy day.”  This effort was critical in Dudley’s ability to immediately react, getting our stabilization crews on the project.

How can you help?  We will keep you abreast as this major projects moves along.  Gifts made to the Shoreline Restoration Project Fund will go directly to our largest construction project in 127 years.  The hope is to fully restore the depreciation fund for future projects, as it has proved to be critically important. Information on purchasing a group of trees, helping restore areas of the shoreline and naming opportunities will follow in subsequent mailings.  Please contact Development Director, #15093 Ryan Joyce, ryan@campdudley.org, on how to get involved and make an impact.  Thank you for your continued support


The Open House Trail Continues

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

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 First Ever Open House in Cady-Vanneman Cabin - A Very FULL House


Kiniya Ladies in Wilton


Happy Faces in Bedford

Board Member Chris Perry with Marnie in Wilton

A full house in Princeton!

The Plimptons, Page and #5834 John Tiebout

Board Member Chip Carstensen with Page Johnson


Open House Tour Kicks Off!

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

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!

Carter Storey and Sam Dils

Kelsey Goodwin and the Kiniya Girls

Tommy, Davo and Jake enjoy a laugh

Lowest Camp Number Winner, #6507 Willard Powell with friends Liam and Marnie

Yohas all around!

Jamie Baldwin, Ryan Joyce and Pam Baldwin catching up in New Canaan

Kiniya JL, Sophie Delfeus surprises Marnie and Kat in New Canaan!

Happy Dudleyites all around in New Canaan

Davo with his future Larchmont Leaders

Kat Hood with the Larchmont Kiniya Girls!

Quentin, Jack and Balthazar reminiscing about the summer of 2011

Record Breaking Year

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs | Dudley Blog | Kiniya Blog

Here’s how it all happened…

  • Total raised for Annual Giving: Over $750,000

  • 18.7% increase from previous fiscal year

  • 2,145 total gifts

  • 31 Matching Gifts for $17,258.25

  • Lowest camp number of a donor: #3526

  • Highest camp number of a donor: #22465

  • Tuition for Summer 2011 – One session: $4,450 Full Season: $7,500 Mini: $1,300

  • Scholarships awarded to 227 young men and women

  • $18,500 given from the current Leaders and Staff at Dudley & Kiniya for The Leadership Fund – representing 100% participation

  • Campers: 637 boys, 339 girls


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.

Ryan #15093
Director of Development


2011 CDA Man of the Year – Bill Combs

• 11 years ago • Alumni

2011 CDA Man of the Year, Bill Combs, III #8704

On Saturday, August 20th 2011, CDA President Ted Smith awarded the 2011 CDA Man of the Year to #8704 Bill Combs. Transcript of the recognition is as follows:

“The Camp Dudley Association has presented an annual award for the Man of the Year since 1959, when the Reverend Lee Ellenwood was the first recipient of this award.  Since that year, 52 men and women have been honored with this prize, including such luminaries as Chief Beckman, Bill Prior, the Dudley family, the Women of Camp Dudley, Willie and Lois Schmidt, and even Sumner F. Dudley himself.  In short, this is a tremendous honor for the recipients who have given tremendously of themselves to the cause of Camp Dudley over many years.  This year’s recipient falls in line with so many before him who have spent countless hours, days, years, and decades in service to Camp Dudley.

We like to do a little teaser before we come out and say the name of this year’s recipient, and I had the help of the recipient’s son, who could not be with us tonight but who sent me the following letter to his father for me to read to you tonight.  I quote:

Bill Combs #8704 finds out he is the recipient of the CDA Man of the Year Award

Dear Dad,

Little did you know that when you got off the train in 1954 to the sound of the Rhythm Ramblers, all that lay ahead of you.  Little did you know that after your first full summer as a Plebe that you would return again as a Junior, an Aide, a JL  and a Leader.  Little did you know that you were so skinny that Director Bob Marshall made you drink milk shakes and lift weights behind his house to fatten you up.  Little did you know that your future brother-in-law, Harry Tobbs Tower, would also go to Dudley and twenty years later, both your families would camp out together at Stacy Brook and come to these summer CDA reunions.  Little did you know in 1954 that you would have a son who also would attend and serve at Camp for eight summers.  Little did you know that your future nephews, Tobbs and Andy Tower, would become Dudleyites and that two altar servers from San Antonio, Abraham Quintanilla and Xavier Pytel, would also come up to Lake Champlain, thanks to you as their adopted grandfather.  Little did you know, Camper #8704, that after paving the way to Westport, NY for so many of us future Dudleyites and serving as CDA President and benefactor for so many years that you would become the CDA Man of the Year.”

Congratulations to the 2011 Camp Dudley Association Man of the Year, camper #8704, William H. Combs!”

To view more pictures from this event and more from the CDA Reunion Weekend, please click here.






Rick Edie #11762 CDA Weekend Chapel Talk

• 11 years ago • Alumni | Blogs

We were blessed to have excellent weather, a terrific turnout (400+ for Saturday night BBQ) and good fun for the 2011 CDA Reunion. Bill Combs #8704 was named the CDA Man of the Year on Saturday night. To see pictures from the weekend, please click here.

Ryan Joyce, Katie Johnson, and Rick Edie at a recent alumni gathering

Our Sunday chapel speaker was Rick Edie #11762 who shared with us the following sermon. Thanks so much to Rick for his excellent message and for letting us share it with the Dudley Family.  Enjoy.

“About a week and a half ago, while still ruminating on a topic for this talk, I found myself stuck in typical Boston traffic, and listening to the radio helped pass the time.  Two shows competed for my attention.  One show was an interview with Jane Fonda talking about life after 70.  Despite my kids’ constant teasing that I am “so old,” I decided that that topic wasn’t relevant just yet, thank you very much.  The other show was an interview with a writer named Brook Wilensky-Lanford, a religious studies major from Wesleyan University who has written a book entitled Paradise Lust.  Despite the lascivious subject matter one might infer from the title—John Milton meets Hugh Hefner, if you will—the subtitle of the book, Searching for the Garden of Eden, reveals that the book’s purpose is to trace the history of people who have searched for the Garden of Eden—the actual physical location, a terrestrial Lost City of Atlantis—in places far and wide around the globe.  The search is based on this description in the book of Genesis:

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.  The name of the first is the Pishon.  It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.  And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.  The name of the second river is the Gihon.  It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush.  And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria.  And the fourth river is the Euphrates.


Now, as you can imagine from the familiar names of Tigris and Euphrates, many of the searches focused on Mesopotamia, which is where modern day Iraq and Iran are.  The word Mesopotamia comes from the ancient Greek and means, roughly, the land between rivers, so this makes a lot of sense.  But beyond this obvious location, other proposed locations get pretty interesting:  Sri Lanka; Venezuela; Germany; Zambia; the Seychelle Islands; Outer Mongolia; 4 different locations in the lower 48 states, including the Florida panhandle and a mound in the shape of a serpent in Ohio; and, probably the most unexpected, the North Pole, proposed by Boston University’s first President, one William Fairfield Warren, in 1881.

Why were people looking for the Garden of Eden?  Was it simply historical geography they were seeking?  Or were they only Christian fundamentalists looking for an earthly paradise, a Shangri-La, a utopia of some sort, the earthly Christian equivalent of Nirvana?  What is paradise, anyway?  The word comes from the ancient Persian language and means, simply, “enclosure” or “ walled park,” suggesting a tangible, concrete physical space, a morally and spiritually neutral location.   Nowadays, and in a more corporeal way, we use paradise to mean an idyllic place in which existence is positive, harmonious and relaxed, far removed from the stresses and worries of life:  the white sandy beaches, pleasant ocean breezes, warm sunshine, refreshing waters, and rum drinks associated with a tropical island, if you will.  In a more spiritual way, paradise is a state of being where peace, prosperity and happiness predominate, a place much like that described in our scripture reading (Isaiah 65: 17-25).  Is there or was there ever such a place on earth?

Now, I have to be trying to make a connection between the Garden Eden and Dudley, right?  Of course, so let’s be seekers lusting for paradise and determine if Camp Dudley could be the site of the Garden of Eden.  Like the Garden of Eden, Dudley is ruled by a seemingly all-knowing and all-seeing God; I don’t know about Matt and Marnie, but Willie sure seemed to know the whereabouts and doings of any leader at any time of day—or night!  Like the Garden of Eden, Dudley sits among four great rivers:  the Saranac, the Ausable, the Bouquet, and our favorite, Stacy Brook.  While we don’t have a wall enclosing our garden, there is another famous border, the Blue Line, that delineates the edge of the Adirondack Park that is our summer playground.  Could the yum-yum tree on the upper field be the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?  After all, every once in a while, someone is tempted by one forbidden fruit or the other, partakes of it, and must be expelled from this place, at least temporarily.  Of course, there is one way that until recently, Dudley was not like Eden:  we did not have Eve; we were only a camp for boys.  But now, we have Kiniya, born, if you will, of Dudley’s rib but with a long and significant history of its own, and in every way the equal of the boys’ camp.  Paradise exists on both sides of Lake Champlain, and there is an argument to be made that right here in New York state, in Westport-on-Lake Champlain, the Garden of Eden once existed.  If one were searching for the physical location of Eden, one could do a lot worse than this spot.

Let’s consider the Garden of Eden more metaphorically.  Imagine that it’s not a real bricks and mortar—or, better yet, a flower and fauna—location, but an ideal.  The Garden of Eden represents a place that is sinless, the world before it was tainted by evil, where everyone lives in harmony and peace.  Is Dudley close to this ideal?  How close?  How so?  Well, any person associated with camp is a descendant of Adam and Eve and has inherited the gene of original sin, so Dudley is therefore a human institution and not perfect; still, I would say it’s pretty close.  It is a place that teaches us to put the needs of others before our own, to treat others the way we would want to be treated, to love others by serving them.  This is the golden rule, and it works because camp is very intentional about living out the meaning of this ethos; Dudley is the laboratory in which the culture of selflessness and thinking of others is grown and nurtured so that we have the strength to live moral lives ourselves, as well as to be contagious carriers of the spirit of God.  Because of this spirit, we do recognize that Dudley is different in some way from “the real world,” that there is something special about this place that differentiates it from our home communities.  I sensed this unconsciously as a camper and can remember expressing the sentiment this way as my parents were driving me home one summer: “Oh, great, now I have to go back to those kids…..”  We show our desire to remain in this paradise when we sing at the end of every summer, “I don’t want to leave Camp Dudley/I don’t want to go to school.”  And each August, all of us gather here for the CDA reunion, amidst the waning days of summer, to partake of the Dudley spirit, to rejuvenate ourselves and recharge our moral batteries for the school and work year ahead, for it is here we are accepted for who we were as campers and leaders, who we are, and who we still can be.

Now, since we can’t live in our own little Garden of Eden year round, isolated and insulated from the “real world,” we must go out and share our garden with others.  Not only must we share, but we must create gardens of goodness; we must help build paradise.  How do we do that?

Well, we must strive to live by the camp motto “The Other Fellow First.”  We have all learned, I think, the depths of this phrase—living it fully does not simply mean letting the waiter from the next table get in line ahead of you, nor does it mean letting another driver in heavy traffic merge in front of you at the toll booth.  Living “The Other Fellow First” means appreciating people for their differences and their perspectives, accepting them for who they are, celebrating what they have to offer.  It means humbling oneself before others, not lording over them; it is being willing to assume that you can learn something from them instead of relying on stereotypes to pre-judge them.  It is recognizing that everyone has a special gift to give to this world.

One aspect of “The Other Fellow First” that I find myself thinking about is forgiveness, and especially the ability to grant forgiveness.  It is easy to ask for forgiveness when we make mistakes, but it is not always so easy to forgive when others offend us.  I am not an expert on the religious aspects of forgiveness, but it is an important enough concept that we ask for God’s forgiveness as well as the ability to forgive others in the Lord’s prayer:  “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  The ability to grant forgiveness makes us more godlike and sinless ourselves:  “To err is human, to forgive divine,” said Alexander Pope.  Martin Luther King saw forgiveness as an act of love when he said, “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”  Forgiveness gives us a fresh start and allows us to move forward instead of dwelling on the past.  One person who would know a lot about forgiveness is Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, who said, “Without forgiveness, there is no future.”  Forgiveness, whether given or received, brings with it a sense of cleansing and healing, and grants both giver and receiver a new start unencumbered by the sins of the past.  Forgiveness reveals a magnanimous and charitable spirit and is indicative of the strength of character necessary to rise above vindictiveness and petty retribution.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  Forgiving, by the way, also seems to have real physical benefits:  “studies show that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments.  The first study to look at how forgiveness improves physical health discovered that when people think about forgiving an offender it leads to improved functioning in their cardiovascular and nervous systems.  Another study at the University of Wisconsin found the more forgiving people were, the less they suffered from a wide range of illnesses. The less forgiving people reported a greater number of health problems” (wikipedia: forgiveness).  So forgiving seems to be good for your body as well as your soul.

Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for sinning, and every human being since possesses a piece of their Original Sin.  To be cleansed of this sin, and to re-enter the paradise we want to be a part of, we need to seek forgiveness.  But not only do we need to seek forgiveness, we should also strive to forgive.  By forgiving others, we are more likely to receive forgiveness.  Forgiveness is even at work at Dudley:  anyone who has been, euphemistically, “given a year off for maturity,” is always welcomed back and forgiven, and in fact we must receive forgiveness before we can be reinstated into our own Garden of Eden, or into any relationship, for that matter.  The closest anything is to the Garden of Eden, the paradise that so many seekers have sought, is heaven. And God showed that he forgives us our sins by sending Jesus to be sacrificed for us:  he so loved us that he sent his only begotten son.  Whether you believe this literally to be true or not, imagine making that type of personal sacrifice for others; that is certainly the most supreme act of love possible.  Forgiving is the ultimate practicing of the other fellow first.  It comes from a recognition that we are all imperfect by default and make mistakes, and it gives people the chance to start fresh, clean, and pure.  By practicing forgiveness, we will bring Dudley alive the remaining 10 months of the year, and come closer to regaining the Garden of Eden.


NY Education Web Design