We had a wonderful celebration in November when a group of Farm & Wilderness alumni and their families gathered. Who is this special group? They are the campers who have come to F&W thanks to a benefit offered by their parents’ union: 1199 Service Employees International of New York. For over 40 years, 1199 has partnered with Farm & Wilderness to offer union members’ children a camp session. Last summer we had 31 campers come through this program! This party celebrated our joint history and reunited F&W/1199 families. I had the pleasure of reconnecting with several old SAMers, including a freshly minted Long Trail Quester (who’s planning on coming to Tamarack Farm this summer) and several campers from 20 and 30 years ago who are now amazing and powerful women.
Speakers at this event included: F&W executive director Rebecca Geary, former 1199 camper and Timberlake counselor Chris Moncrief and current F&W board of trustee member and camper parent Blake Stewart. There was also plenty of time for getting to know each other, to eat delicious food, and to make plans for our next reunion in ten years!
For decades, this has truly been a win-win situation. Campers get a summer (or six) at Farm & Wilderness, and the camps are enriched every summer by this diverse group of kids. We have also benefitted from a few 1199 campers who (like Chris) returned as staff. May the next 40 years bring continued growth and connection with our 1199 partners.
Blake Stewart, F&W Trustee and 1199 member shares his story in the video below: