Connecting Generations for Good

Keewaydin and Songadeewin 2017

August 23, 2017

This summer’s cohort of campers has just returned from Keewaydin and Songadeewin in Vermont! For over a decade, The Eisner Foundation has sent a group of Orange County youth to these camps, continuing an Eisner family tradition (read more here).

In July, as foundation staff shepherded a dozen children through multiple airports and long car rides, returning campers chattered excitedly about what they looked forward to this summer. The younger campers listened with nervous smiles as they were told about the canoe trips and campfires to come. When our staff returned to bring them home this past weekend, nervousness was replaced with animated stories of the past several weeks and tearful goodbyes with new friends from around the world. The brothers and sisters in the group, separated by Lake Dunmore for most of their time at camp, enthusiastically caught up as they began the cross-country journey home. 

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Back in June at a pre-camp lunch for the children and their families, they heard from Jose Carlos “JC” Chavez and Bryant Avalos, who had attended Keewaydin as part of our cohort in years past. Both began attending in 2003 and returned for the next 5 years, eventually becoming counselors.

“It’s an amazing experience,” JC said. “I still have friends that I text all the time.” “It’s a different world,” Bryant added. “It’s nice to get a break from the life you’re used to… you go to camp and forget about all that.”

Now that this year’s 12 campers have returned, they’re already looking forward to next year. The oldest, Robert, is already hoping to follow in JC and Bryant’s footsteps and become a counselor once he turns 18. As for the rest of them, they’ll be staying in touch with their new friends until they make the journey back to camp next summer, excitedly chatting as the new campers listen.

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