Autumn is the season of Winnebago camper reunions, and when the leaves start to fall, I think of the dozens of such reunions that I’ve been to. I remember boarding the train on chilly mornings the day after Thanksgiving, heading into Grand Central Terminal, and walking through midtown Manhattan to the Harvard Club. The purpose of camp remains the same as it was back then. We gather, we reminisce, we smile, and we embrace. We keep our camp days alive. Even when we’re thousands of miles away, we spread the pep and vim we felt as we dived into the chill of the lake, heard the cry of the loon, saw the B&G rock, smelled the pine trees, and tasted the lobster at Pemaquid.
My experience at camp, as both a camper and counselor, centers my life. I cannot imagine whom I would be and what I would be doing had I not been to Winnebago. So, I’m thankful. I’m grateful. And I want to acknowledge a few Winnebagans whom I’m particularly grateful for.
Eric Feder, Bradley Solmsen, and Jamie Handwerker all served on our board with distinction for years. They’ve all recently left their seats, but they continue to be integral members of our community. And with their departure comes a welcome to our two newest board members, Waciuma Maina and Grace Astrove. I’m certain that both of them will follow the precedent of generosity and engagement that Eric, Bradley, and Jamie so ably set.
I think it’s important for all of us, whether we’re on the board or not, to find a way to keep our camp values alive. So let’s all “carry on and pass it along” by making sure that we help fund camp summers for boys who otherwise would not be able to go to Winnebago. Let’s give back by contributing to our Alumni Association so that the experience we were so fortunate to have can be shared.
As campers and counselors attend this year’s reunions, let’s all feel that we still have that same connection to camp. Let’s all feel that we’ve done our best to give Winnebago to others, paying it forward and with gratitude.
Have fun & carry on,