Alumni Reunion Weekend 2018

The Louis August Jonas Foundation and Camp Rising Sun are very grateful for our ever supportive alumni. Camp was very full of joy, excitement, sadness, and nostalgia this time last week.  Full of campers saying their sad “Goodbye”s to friends and Camp after an amazing 4 weeks. Camp was full of counselors that were emotional from having to say farewell to campers, tired from the long days, excited to celebrate the successes of 2018’s great first session and meet the boys that are arriving soon. As quick as the girls left, Camp was full again this time with Alumni from many generations who were all excited to be back at Camp Rising Sun.
Alumni Reunion guests stayed at Camp on tent hill, some with their children and partners or their reunion group. Others filled up the local hotels and joined us for walks around Clinton and Red Hook campus, instructions, great meals, songs, and Council. On Friday guests were treated to a lovely sunset cocktail reception filled with warm welcomes between old friends and interesting new connections. There was no shortage of interesting conversations, intelligent humor and a general state of feeling at home. The beautiful sunset cocktail reception was one to remember.

Board Meeting

The LAJF board meeting was lively and welcomed twenty guests plus our dedicated board members. The focus of the meeting was on sustainability including a report on both campuses, status of our investment portfolio and recommended draw to support Camp, fundraising initiatives, connections with our alumni and continuation of the Rising Sun program in four weeks. Donations are slowly increasing, however, we need additional support to guarantee the long term future of the Camp programs. The meeting closed with comments from the guests including a suggestion to increase resources towards planned giving and to communicate more about our cost savings.

Mandy and Libby Day

Saturday was Mandy and Libby Day. We proceeded into the dining hall to share a delicious meal together as part of the tradition of Libby and Mandy Day. Alumni stood up and each shared where they were from. Alumni hailed from locations as far-reaching as Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Europe and South America and then from a fair bit closer: California, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina and of course, my fellow New Yorkers! We were thrilled to have so many alumni celebrate their major milestone anniversaries: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, and 50 years!!! The energy was palpable. All were excited to be together at Camp.

The ceremony honored some of our most dedicated alumni. Rick and Nita Luis were recognized with a tree planted in their honor. Mike Saratovsky was honored for his involvement, support, and engagement as the leader leader of the Building and Grounds Committee, while Sarah Uttermann-Merritt was announced as 2018’s Volunteer of the Year. As head of selection for California and a member of the Alumni Council, Sarah (‘02, ’03, ‘12-’16, ‘18) is always ready to lend a hand. She exhibits the utmost love for our community and program, and she is an invaluable asset to the foundation and to Camp Rising Sun. We extend our sincere gratitude for all of Sarah's work.


Some of our Alumni’s favorite part of the weekend is touring around with their own campmates who had returned to celebrate their anniversary reunion. Catching up on what campmates had they been up, hearing about their children and pets, or where have they traveled really means the world to old friends. Having a walk around the lake, stopping at the bridge and resting by the tree house to reconnect.  At Camp despite years having passed, it takes Alumni seemingly no time at all to reconnect.


Media Literacy by Mai Anh

Mai Anh will be leading a discussion on media literacy. The topic of media literacy revolves around accessing media, analyzing content, evaluating messages and being able to create media for self-expression and communication. Participants in this instruction will develop some necessary tools to be responsible and critical consumers of media messages. Please join Mai Anh for this engaging discussion!

Watercoloring by Olivia

Olivia will lead an instruction on watercoloring. She will teach basic techniques for using watercoloring, and participants will be able to create their own pieces. Please join Olivia to have some artistic fun! Open to all ages!

Intelligent Robotics by Shannon Yasuda

Shannon will lead a discussion on the ever-changing world of robotics and artificial intelligence. In studying specifically robotic intelligence and robot-human interaction, this instruction challenges participants to think critically about the role machines will play in our societies. Come join Shannon and be prepared to discuss the ethics of robots and think about the future of technology in our world!

History of Camp by Rick Richter

For years, Rick has visited camp and given campers the opportunity to hear more about the history of our program. This year, Rick will offer his instruction on the History of Camp Rising Sun during Alumni Weekend. Please join Rick to learn more about our rich history!

The Mens’ Story Project by Pete Comas, Chris Varrone & Dan Vazquez

 In this Instruction, we’ll view powerful video clips from the Men’s Story Project, discuss how male gender norms can affect health and well-being for people of all genders, and discuss the idea of creating our own CRS Men’s Story Project production. To learn more about the MSP, visit

Red Hook Tour

While some took a dip in the pool Cameron lead a tour of Red Hook this year with many alumni excited to see the campgrounds. Those who went on the tour explored the campgrounds and went inside some of the buildings. Those who attended Camp at Red Hook were hit with nostalgia and the evidence of age with alumni saying “I remember when I was here it looked much bigger” or  “How did we fit that many campers in the dining hall at Red Hook?” The realization hit that when you grow up some spaces seemingly change size overnight as you forget just how young or small you were at 14 or 15. Just as important or more is how the alumni that visited took stock in the relationships that they made there and the way life exponentially expanded with possibilities while getting smaller through international friendships.  

After dinner we sang our hearts out starting with all four of the beloved welcome songs starting with Camp Henry Welcomes You and ending with the Stendis Welcome Song. We galloped around the room singing the stanzas of Study War No More and then traveled a world of languages singing Everybody Loves Saturday Night!

Around a glowing fire, we heard the wisdom of dear alumni. The first speaker, Tim Conners shared his vision for the future of Camp Rising Sun while explaining why he got back involved after so many years of being disconnected. Blaise Tobia recounted the complexities of the 1968 season in light of the social political discord happening outside the bounds of Camp. The final speaker shared a beautiful story of finding herself and her relationship with Camp. We ended arm in arm singing Each Camp Fire Lights A New and Lean On Me.

On Sunday we awoke groggy after a late night of enjoying each other’s good company. We were all humbled by a beautiful spread. Many shared hugs goodbye and hopes for reuniting next summer at the 89th reunion. In 2019, we will be celebrating 30 years of women at Camp Rising Sun. We hope our alumni pay special tribute to this important part of our history and join us to celebrate next summer.

Let your campmates hear from you! Submit an update to the 2018 Reunion Yearbook.   If you are interested in serving on the Reunion Committee for 2018, email us at