Fifteen years ago the former Board of Trustees established the Roll of Honor to recognize those individuals who have made extraordinary, non-monetary contributions to Nature Camp. This year we induct into the Roll of Honor the two most recent presidents of the Nature Camp Foundation and Nature Camp Inc.
Since her first session as a camper in 1991, Annie White has served Nature Camp in many capacities, including four summers on staff, frequent participation in Service Weekends, and several evening program presentations. Following the difficult decision of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs to close Nature Camp in September 2006, Annie devoted her entire fall break at the University of Michigan (where she was dually enrolled in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ross School of Business) to gather information, crunch numbers, and prepare for the October meeting at Nature Camp, when the NCF board and a throng of Camp supporters made a firm commitment to keep Nature Camp’s doors open. Although she couldn’t even be there, as she had to return to Ann Arbor beforehand, Annie’s herculean efforts and diligent research helped illuminate the way forward and establish a vision for a new role for NCF. In 2013, Annie agreed to succeed Powell Hutton as president of the NCF and immediately made her own important contributions to help streamline operations and further strengthen the relationship between NCF and NCI. Perhaps her two most significant and important legacies are the adoption of eTapestry as a platform for managing donor and volunteer information, which have improved NCF’s outreach and fundraising efforts, and the establishment of a grant program, by which NCI applies for annual funding for capital improvements and Service Weekend projects and which has aided both organizations in financial planning and identifying future needs.
After four summers as a camper in the 1960s and early 1970s, Amy Gonzalez (née Kasdorf) spent 35 years away from Nature Camp before returning for Adult Session in 2005. She has been a fixture at this event and Service Weekends ever since. Nearly everyone who has attended a Service Weekend in the past dozen years has probably found her- or himself at one end of Amy’s camera—with a smiling face with a twinkle in her eye at the other end. She enlivens every gathering of Camp folk with her grace, humor, and generosity, and she has represented Nature Camp outside of Vesuvius in numerous ways, most notably at the Richmond Council of Garden Clubs’s annual Fashions with Flowers event, which has generated several thousand dollars for Camp over the years. Amy joined the NCI board as Vice President/Secretary in 2007 and assumed the position of president in 2012, succeeding Anne Balto. During her tenure, Amy spearheaded a number of initiatives appropriate for a maturing management organization, including registering Nature Camp as a Charitable Solicitation organization with the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, implementing liability waivers for Service Weekends and Fall Hike Day, reviving the annual Orientation Day for new and prospective campers, and creating a performance review process for Nature Camp’s full-time employees. She even helped find a good home for Nature Camp’s old mattresses when they were replaced en masse a few years ago so that they wouldn’t all wind up in the Rockbridge County landfill.
For these myriad contributions, Annie and Amy, we salute you and thank you for your invaluable service to Camp! We know we don’t have to tell either one of you not to be a stranger in the Big Mary’s Creek valley.
As this issue of the Afterglow goes to press, a handful of spaces remain open for boys (currently in grades 9-12) in First Session (June 17-30) and for girls (grades 5-6) in Fourth Session (July 29 – August 11), and many vacancies still exist for boys in Fourth Session. Some financial aid may still be available for applicants in need. For more information or to submit an application, please visit www.naturecamp.net or call or e-mail Executive Director Philip Coulling at 540-460-7897 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nature Camp welcomes suggestions for evening program speakers and volunteers to present programs during our summer sessions, especially on topics of natural history, life and physical sciences, sustainability and other environmental issues, and eco-travel. We are also always on the lookout for instrumentalists and singers to provide programs of traditional, acoustic string-band music. Nature Camp has modest funds to offer stipends to speakers, but we are happy to cover travel expenses, to feed guests dinner beforehand, and to provide overnight accommodations if necessary. Please direct any suggestions or inquiries to Director of Education Nina Anderson at email@example.com.