An 80-year-old home may have been remodeled or redecorated, perhaps many times, but it still stands in the same place, on the same foundations. When people are 80, they may be grandparents or even great-grandparents, their hair may be white or even gone, but they still have the same smiles and eyes, enhanced with the accumulated memories of their lifetimes. F&W is neither a home nor a person (though it is made up of many homes and many more people). But as we celebrate our 80th year, we resemble all those other 80-year-olds, for even as we have changed, we remain fundamentally ourselves.

What’s changed? So much! Our first summer, we had one camp with a handful of boys; now we have six camps and three programs, for boys, girls, and non-binary children ranging from ages 4-17, and families too. We used to ride all over Vermont in the backs of pick-up trucks to get to our trips; we still take those trips, but we get there safely seat-belted in vans. Over the years, we’ve transformed a lakeside valley, the corner of another lake, and two woodsy clearings into bustling camps and programs, but Woodward Reservoir, Lake Ninevah, and their surrounding mountains are still here, as beautiful as always, filled with swimming, canoeing, and hiking campers, just like that first summer.

What else is the same? So much! We’re still farming – now with solar greenhouses and composting kybos. We’re still hiking – now with fleeces and internal frame packs. We’re still learning about struggles for racial and social justice – now with hashtags. We’re still sitting silently together in meeting – still with fidgeting first lodgers. Most importantly, we’re still giving campers of all ages a respite from an often chaotic and turbulent world – and an unparalleled opportunity for personal transformation and growth.

Remember your first cabin? Your favorite trip? Milking a cow? Sneaking a fresh pea or raspberry from the garden? Starting a fire? Looking up at the stars? Chasing the lightning bugs? Playing soccer at the fairgrounds, or the apple orchard, or the SAM field? The words to an Interdependence Day song? The first time you dropped a child off at camp (or maybe it was a grandchild or great-grandchild – or someone else’s child whom you love)?

We’ve got a lot to remember 80 years later – and a lot to look forward to. Thank you for being part of our memories and our future.

-Becca Steinitz, Clerk of the Board

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