A few months ago, we heard from Claire Benton; a Foley camper from 1987-1992. Claire is currently the Assistant Director at Cornell University’s Engineering Co-op & Career Services Office, working as a Career Counselor. She lives in Ithaca, New York with her husband, Sam Simkin, who is busy finishing up his Ph.D., and future Foley camper, daughter Lydia, 2 ½. In the process of updating her information with us, she mentioned she couldn’t wait until her daughter is able to attend Camp Foley “as attending Camp Foley is the best thing I’ve ever done!” I thought, who better to feature on our next alumni blog! Here are Claire’s thoughts about the “BEST. CAMP. EVER”:
Camp Foley, ra ra ra! Often I am asked what experience has had a big impact and influence in my life. Without hesitation, my answer is always Camp Foley! Honestly, I can’t think of any other experience I have had that has impacted me as much as my years at Foley. I have always felt that there are “camp people” and “non-camp people.” Then one day, when listening to NPR’s “This American Life,” I hear an entire episode decided on this very topic! I understood then that it isn’t just me; lots of people out there GET IT! They fully understand what I am talking about. But THEN, there is the whole idea of what makes “MY” camp the “BEST” camp. Where to start!!! What about Foley comes to mind off the top of my head?? Just watch this…
- Amazing friendships that I still have today
- Friendship campfire and the giving and receiving of the Anchor Award. The year I got it and the year I gave it away especially…and the tears that came along with it
- The annual talent show
- Capture the Flag
- Awards/merit badges
- Soda bread
- Cabin time and the bonds made with the people in my cabin
- Singing songs at mealtime, campfires (filled with joy and tears and various times) and throughout the day…ones I STILL know all the words to
- Being carried and thrown into the water for my birthday… “Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. We hate to do it but we must, we must!”
- Canteen time (and having a hard time deciding if I should get candy or soda)
- Mail time and water on my head when my folks would purposely send a large number of letters on the same day
- Care packages
- Lake Superior sail trip
- ALL the amazing activities including my favorites:
- Sail Racing, riflery, windsurfing, archery, tennis, and swimming
- My cool brothers and all my friends’ brothers and sisters who attended.
- LOVED the generations Chapel time
- The counselors getting dressed up and dancing around like fools and LOVING it!
- Cute boys and all the juicy conversations that were had late at night in the cabins about them
- The buddy system
- Washing up in the lake
- Canoe trips to who knows where but were they fun
- The wonderful counselors that were SOO old and wise; who are now friends and aren’t really that much older at all
- Meeting people from all over the US and the world and being able to visit them when outside of camp
- Learning all about cool new clothing trends…Birkenstocks, GAP, Polo, etc. and shopping with my buddies who lived in Minneapolis since northern WI didn’t have that much to offer
- Conversations about “soda” vs “pop”
- Learning “lifelong” skills from an early age: respect, encouragement, perseverance, how to have fun!
- Learning how to live away from home at an early age and learned how to live with others
- ALL the laughs, energy, and cheering that occurred daily
And the list could go on and on!
One thing that continues to keep me connected to Camp Foley is that the same dedicated people, year after year, continue to make Foley what it is…the BEST CAMP EVER! I love that the next generation is involved as well. I very much enjoy hearing from all my camp friends, seeing what they have become as “adults” and seeing their children grow up. I hope that one day my daughter Lydia will be able to experience Foley and have a similar, most amazing, experience. I can only hope that she will be so lucky. Thanks to everyone at Foley, Foley attendees, and mostly to my mother and father who allowed me to have this experience!
– Claire Benton, Alumni