JWG (jwg) wrote,

An incredible weekend

This past weekend was the occasion of a most delightful journey into the past. I went to Vermont for the combination reunion for Camp Killooleet, and a memorial for John Seeger, the director for many years. I attended this camp as a camper from 1948 - 1951, and was a counselor there from 1959-1961. This was a Friday evening to Sunday afternoon event with the memorial itself on Saturday afternoon. I stayed in a cabin (actually the only one that didn't exist when I was there).

What amazes me is how much this camp looks like it did 50 years ago. A couple of new buildings; a couple of little islands in the lake and the trees are taller and some minor renovations but the overall feeling was the same. The dam which has been rebuilt several times still looked the same. Having spent seven 8-week sessions there which add up to a year of my life it was nice coming "home" again.

This camp was founded in 1927 by Margaret Bartlett (Barti she was called) and in 1949 the John and Ellie Seeger took over. Some years later they gave the helm to their daughter Kate Seeger and her husband Dean Spencer but they stayed involved until their deaths.

My first year as a camper was Barti's last year - I was a student at The Dalton School -and she was a teacher there which is what led me to go there. John and Ellie were also teachers at Dalton. The Seegers had a strong philosophy about how to run the camp - emphasizing personal growth and developing a sense of community. They kept the camp to under 100 campers so that everyone could know everyone else. Early in the camp year cabin-mates did everything together as a group including taking an overnighter. Then schedules became more flexible with Choice periods where everyone gathered and chose what they do ] later in the year there were also Drifting periods where you could leave one activity and go to another one at will after checking out and in with the counselor.

When I was a counselor was the canoeing and boating counselor and also was in charge of organizing Wednesday hike day and overnight trips. My favorite spot is the lake - small but fine for canoeing kayaking, small sailboats, and swimming at the 4 docks.

Pictures of the lake looking toward camp and the dam

The brook and it's dam which feeds water to the lake and which was part of the source of the flood of 2008. We took occasional dips in the brook; some cabins overlooked the brook.

The brook and it's dam. We took occasional dips in the brook; some cabins overlooked the brook.

There were ~200 people there for the memorial, about 50 stayed there each night. We all had so much in common over the generations of being a camper, counselor or kitchen staffer at this wonderful camp. I saw some campers and counselors from my time and children and grandchildren of some as well. We all had a great time reminiscing, reconnecting and discovering how much we all had in common.

...to be continued...
Tags: killooleet, nostalgia, personal, tradition

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