Alumni Reunion Weekend 2019

Blog Author: Helene Mattera, Executive Director

There is nothing quite like the joy of being surrounded by Camp Rising Sun alums. Even during the heatwave; we laughed, we talked, we ate, we sang and we hugged. For three days, we were transported back to our time on tent hill and the hundred of us became a Rising Sun community, albeit only for the weekend.

30th Anniversary of Clinton and CRS girls’ programming

This Reunion, the 30th Anniversary of Clinton, was an extra special one for me personally. For the last year, I have dedicated my time to connecting with as many alumnae and staff from 1989 as possible. It was a privilege to learn about how the girls camp came to be through interviews with Mike Engber and Bill Dubey. Through the eyes of the 1989 staff and campers, I learned about the joys and snafus of the first season. It was such a joy to celebrate in person with these pioneering women. I was full of pride and inspiration for all that has been accomplished thanks to their leadership.


CRS 1969’s 50th Anniversary

We were happy to have another very special group of alums celebrate their 50th Anniversary with us at Camp! Chuck Wardlaw and Dick Simon led this anniversary celebration by working to organize their campmates for over a year. Alumni from the class of 1969 traveled from all over the world to be together. On Friday they had a celebratory dinner in the town of Rhinebeck. On Saturday, even more, ‘69 alumni gathered at Red Hook for the Charity Run and then they joined us for the festivities at Clinton. It was exciting to see these alums reconnect as if no time had passed. Bill Ussery brought his whole family in for the celebration and as they got to know Clinton they joined the festivities and fun with as much excitement as every other alum. It was great having so many of our alums at Camp celebrating so many anniversaries. This Spring we posted a blog on our website about Chuck and Dick the authors of the 1969 article in this year’s Sundial. You can read the full article about Camp in 1969 in this year’s Sundial here.


Volunteer of the Year

IMG_0946 - Mike Saratovsky edited.jpg

Mike Saratovsky was honored as 2019’s Volunteer of the Year for his involvement, support, and engagement as the leader of the Building and Grounds Committee. Mike is a long-serving member, now chair of the Building and Grounds committee. He has been a tremendous resource in making the recent renovations to the Clinton Campus happen and continues to support the program through his work on the committee. Mike offers insightful input to the LAJF staff, and is always ready to help find solutions where he can. Mike has often shown his readiness to lend a hand where needed, and he is a loyal participant in CRS events. He spearheads the May Volunteer weekend, where each year he rallies up participants who go to Camp for a weekend, to set up tents and work on getting Camp in shape for opening! Mike is a true “camper for life” and positively contributes to the Camp and alumni community in so many ways from his hours of service, his professional expertise, leadership fundraising initiatives, planning events and attending events with his wonderful family. His deep and sincere care for Camp Rising Sun is evident in all he does. It is an honor to have individuals like Mike in our community, and we extend our sincere gratitude to the support and love that he continues to show for our program.

What I always find the most magical is how alums who have never met can quickly become friends. Alumni from a span of more than 70 years journeyed home to be at Camp Rising Sun. While some knew each other, the vast majority arrived as strangers. Throughout the weekend they connected through the shared Rising Sun experience and built foundations for future friendships.

Walk. Bike. Run for Camp Rising Sun!

The highlight of the weekend was our first ever Charity Run. It was a beautiful day filled with alums who traveled from around the globe to celebrate their own anniversaries and reunions along with Camp’s 30th Anniversary.  Alums gathered at Red Hook on Saturday morning for breakfast before the Charity Run started it’s historic and symbolic journey to Clinton. The first mile of the event was walked by dozens of alums to the fork in the road. We cooled off a bit before finishing the 8 miles to Clinton. Alums ran and biked to Clinton over shaded roads through the heat and with copious high-fives and cheering on. There was a small crowd of alums to welcome and celebrate our Charity Run participants at Clinton. After finishing the Run and arriving at Clinton many alums dashed to the showers, the pool, and the lake to cool off before we gathered for lunch and Mandy Day activities. 

We are so grateful to everyone that joined us for this special celebration! Thank you to the other participants for joining me, those cheering us on, joining the celebration at Camp, and the many many supporters that gave to our Charity Run participants, myself included. A heartfelt “Thank You” to all of the participants who raised over $25,000 for Camp’s 30th Anniversary. CRS is happy to be a home-away-from-home to so many, and we are also very grateful to our alums for sharing Camp with the people in their life while helping raise funds and awareness about Camp. I’m excited to announce we are very close to meeting our fundraising goal of $30,000 for the 30th Anniversary of Clinton and CRS girls’ programming. You can still help us reach our goal by donating today.