Dave Savio Retires

After 23 years of helping create a facility we cherish and love, Sav has retired from Coniston. Dave Savio has been an incredible member of our Maintenance team and has transformed Camp into the beautiful facility it is and this is truly the end of an era. 

We wish him all the best in his retirement!



Summer 2024 Fellowships and Internship

Every summer, Coniston offers $1,000 in college scholarships to staff members who apply their studies to an aspect of Coniston through a fellowship. This year, Erin Herrold and Ty Bears are our fellows! 

We have a great staff of nurses who work around the clock to keep our campers and staffers healthy. They are celebrated by Conitonians often and we are grateful for the small but mighty team. This summer we have two staff members interested in working alongside them, to learn from them and ultimately help them with daily tasks. Erin Herrold is going to school to become a Physician’s Assistant and currently holds CNA and PCT certifications. Ty Bears is currently an EMT and his work experience will be a great pairing to support the nurses throughout the summer. These fellows will help take on different tasks in the infirmary which will allow our nurses to focus on caring for the campers and staff.

Dan May, an Architecture student from the UK, will complete an internship this summer. His project will focus on connecting with our alumni community to inspire the design of a new Coniston structure.

“The conceptual project, focused on designing a captivating new loon overnight spot, is about more than just architecture; it’ll be a creative journey to blend the essence of Coniston’s community and memories into a physical place. 

As I continue to develop as a member of the Coniston staff, I’ve been exploring new ways to contribute to this incredible community. I’m thrilled that this project will provide me with a unique opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.

It’s an unprecedented venture, and I’m honored to lead the charge in bringing it to life.”




Alumni News 2024

Read on to find out what our wonderful Alumni are  up to this year!!

Eric Rightor hosted the President Joe Biden at his YMCA!

“We got word from the White House that Joe Biden wanted to deliver a speech from NH with the release of his new budget.  Given the nature of helping families, lowering drug costs, etc, the Federal delegation of NH recommended the Granite YMCA amongst others and after scouting a number of spots to host, they settled on my Y.  My life got derailed on Friday, touring Secret Service and WhiteHouse staff around everywhere, and hosted the event on Sunday with all the NH delegation of reps, senators, and business leaders.  For my work, I got the nod to meet the POTUS and get my picture with him.  WILD.” — Eric Rightor

 

This photo was taken in Milwaukee after the Marquette men’s basketball game on February 10th. Many of us Sanders era have been following Oso’s amazing college basketball career, including having zoom watch parties and attending games in person

L to R: Beth Farrey Worthington, Dawn Ferguson Ighodaro, Oso Ighodaro, Osaso Ighodaro, Linda Pinkham Wiewel. 
 

 

Congratulations to Sonya Freeman, for starting her new job at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as a specialising in psychiatry. 

 

Kyle Olson has been a camper and staff member at Coniston for 18 summers, last year working as our Assistant Summer Camp Director.
Kyle is now opening his own Camp this summer! Kyle is the founder and executive director of Camp Moraine, a brand-new day camp in Beverly.
 
“Starting a camp and building its community has always been a dream of mine, and I can’t wait to share my vision and Coniston experience with the campers of the North Shore.”
 

 

It was great to connect with so many Conistonians in California this March! Thank you to Coniston Ambassador Jocelyn Tetel for hosting our LA event at the Skirball Cultural Center!

 

 
 
Nicole Berthiaume, John McNair, Nate Levine and Brackett Lyons from our year-round team, connected with Camp friends in Manchester, NH this March!
 
 

 
 
 
 
Congratulations to Naomi Malam for welcoming her baby girl, Allegra Shav Luraschi, this January!
 
 

Alex Grip, ’06 CIT / Staff ’07-’09 and his wife Arianna  welcomed their baby girl Collins Grip into the world this past May 12th, 2023.

Congratulations! We can’t wait for her to be a camper.

Congratulations to Eric and Melissa Rightor! They welcomed baby Siena in January this year. We hope the new addition the family is bringing you all the joy in the world!

 

 

Our team had a great time at the New England Camp Conference this March! Coniston’s Summer Camp Directors; John McNair and Nicole Berthiaume and Boy’s Camp Director; Nate Levine went to the conference to connect and learn from other Camps. They even crossed paths with Camp alumnus Kyle Olson who is opening Camp Moraine this summer!

 

Cassie (Short) McLaughlin just ran her 11th marathon and finally broke 3 hours, something she has been trying to do for a long time. She ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon with a time of 2:56:15 and came in 3rd place overall female!
 
Congratulations Cassie. What an incredible accomplishment!

 
 
John Tilley and Lindsey Tompkins connected with Camp friends in Denver, CO this April! John and Lindsey were in Denver attending the NAYDO conference.

In Memoriam

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Aaron Turner, from 2001 to 2022, he was Camp’s Facilities Director.

When the history of Coniston is written Aaron will be a major character. His hands provided much of the energy behind building Coniston’s remarkable facility. For anyone who worked with him they will remember that smiles, fun, and wit were as abundant as the nails and screws on every project. Laughter and work were the basis of our friendship and Aaron is a friend we will sorely miss. Our love and sympathy go out to his two sons, Austin and Bryce who are also members of the Coniston Community.

Jesse Barden, passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home in March. Jesse was a camper at Coniston and went on to be a 94′ CIT and counselor. Since that time, he and his Coniston friends continued to get together for yearly reunions.

Jesse worked for his family business, Barden’s Concrete, and was an integral part of its success over the years.

David Barden, a beloved Coniston community member has passed away. For many summer he was a program director at Coniston, and is most remembered for his campfire ghost stories.

David was a dedicated teacher and finished his educational career as a guidance counselor. In retirement, David spent time counseling and volunteering at Pope John High School, Camp Mason and youth mentoring with Big Brothers.

Sean Usle, a beloved Coniston alum who was a camper and counselor in the 70s/80s has sadly passed away.

His fellow Coniston friends shared some of their favorite memories of Sean from his time at Coniston on the 70s/80s era Facebook page.

Upcoming Events

Coniston is hosting it’s FIRST Golf Tournament on June 6th! Join us at Newton Commonwealth Golf Course for a fun day in support of sending more kids to Camp!

Register now at (deadline to register is April 30th): https://coniston.org/event/golf-tournament/

Help us get Camp ready for summer by joining us for our Volunteer Work Day on June 8th! This is a great opportunity for the Coniston community (18+) to reconnect with friends, meet some of our summer staff, and enjoy some time by the lake! Volunteers will help us with a clean-up Camp, as well as setting up program areas for the summer and other fun tasks that will be essential for us to be ready for our 2024 campers! 
 

 

We will be hosting a 20-year reunion for our 2004 Coniston CITs! 2002 and 2003 CITs are also welcome to join the celebration! The reunion will take place at Coniston on Friday June 28th

Register now at: https://coniston.org/event/2004-cits-20-year-reunion/

Two New Program Areas in 2024

This summer, Coniston will be offering two new program areas; martial arts and music! 

Our new martial arts program will focus on taekwondo. Taekwondo is a Korean martial arts combat sport that embodies mind and body focus for its athletes.

Taekwondo can be performed in a multitude of ways including as a form of exercise, learning technical skill sets, and Poomsea – a performance where athletes show the tricks they have learned.

This new program area will teach campers respect, enable fun with values and teach a different culture of sport. At Coniston we will provide a deeper meaning to taekwondo by applying our values and creativity into the program.

Campers will learn exciting new skills and take part in a fun training and fitness activity session. 

We are extremely excited to welcome Adelaide Barnes to our staff who will lead the new program area. Adelaide has won several national titles and won the USA Grand Prix for taekwondo. She was also selected for Great Britain’s Development Squad for Olympic Taekwondo fighting when she was 16. That same year she was promoted to being on Great Britain’s national team to represent GB in the Olympics and other world competitions! 

The other new program area is music. Music has always been part of Coniston and the achievements and passions of alumni have highlighted how special this is. When we look at our incredible alumni community, we see a surprising number of them storming the music industry.  This summer, Coniston will offer a music program area in addition to the Coniston Singers! 

The new music program will be offered to all ages and will explore musical creativity with different instruments including piano, guitar and ukulele. The goal is to create a space where campers feel comfortable working on their musicianship and to prepare them for performing or creating music however they wish! 

Grace Ferguson, a member of the band Luna and The Carpets, will create and run the new program. 

“I am incredibly excited to start this new project as I feel campers would benefit from our music program area. Music is a universal language and something that everyone can connect, relate to, and express themselves with. These are the same values we hold close to our hearts at camp, and I am thrilled to connect the two.” 

If you would like to support the new music program, we are looking for instruments to be donated. Go to our Amazon Wishlist if you would like to help.

Meet Grace and Adelaide

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Alumni Spotlight: Hannah Slafsky-Alumni Relations and Giving Officer at St. Paul’s School-Coniston: 2000-2021

How old were you when you started Camp?

I was 9 years old when I started at Camp.

How were you introduced to Coniston?

I found out about Camp from my dad, Rolf- he is an alumni from the 70s and 80s.

Did you attend college, and if so, what did you study?

I went to University of Richmond and double majored in International Studies and Spanish.

What is your current job? 

I work at St. Paul’s School as an Alumni Relations and Giving Officer. In this role I work closely with our volunteers, help plan events, and fundraise for the school at the Annual Giving Level.

How has your career journey evolved?
 
When I was first out of college, I worked at Tufts University in graduate admissions. After that, I came back to work at Coniston year round as the Director of Afterschool Programs, which included 5 sites at local elementary schools providing childcare for 200 kids every day. I left that role to take some time to stay home with my oldest son. When I returned to work I started at St. Paul’s as an Annual Giving Specialist, which eventually led to my current position.
 
What moment in your career are you most proud of?
 
Certainly one moment that comes to mind is working with the Afterschool Programs through the start of the pandemic. It was a really challenging time, and reopening sites required working closely with the state and schools, and being creative and willing to recreate our programs so they could run safely. All while I was pregnant and then with a newborn baby at home. I was proud of our staff and kids who were all able to adapt to the circumstances!
 
Did Coniston influence your ability to create this journey?
 
Coniston absolutely influenced my career journey. One thing that I’m always so grateful for is the wide exposure that I had to many different responsibilities in my jobs at camp: as cabin counselor, Middler Division Leader, Girls Camp Director and Afterschool. I was trusted with a lot more responsibility than many of my peers had at other summer jobs. I learned about everything at camp from multi-tasking, to leading a group, to budgeting, to hiring, and even implementing a new software. I’m so appreciative of the faith that camp had in me to learn and grow.
 
Are there any skills or traits you gained at Coniston that you use in your professional life?
 

I learned a lot about working with different groups of people while at camp. Starting as a camper sharing a cabin with new people I had never met to managing my staff at Afterschool. It taught me to see other people’s points of view, treat everyone with respect and celebrate our differences. This is a tremendous help in working with co-workers and alumni in my current role. I’m also frequently reminded of our check-in day trainings as I greet new people 🙂

Are there any specific memories from your time at Coniston that are still impactful to you?
 

Well certainly meeting my husband, Michael, is one- my two sons wouldn’t be here today without Coniston!
This isn’t a specific memory, but one thing that has surprised me is how the impact of Coniston in my life has continued to evolve even after my last summer. My husband and I have always had our Coniston friends from when we were campers and on staff, and for me camp was always a special connection I shared with my family too. But then, after I graduated from college and lived in Boston, Michael and I were connected to a whole other group of camp friends who were living nearby. And coming back to work year round at camp brought me closer to the office staff. Michael is now on the board of the Childhood Cancer Lifeline because of Camp Winning Spirit, which is held at Coniston every Labor Day Weekend. My parents have been helping to bring kids from the New American community here in Concord to camp every summer, and we’ve gotten to know some wonderful kids through that. And now, we’re eagerly awaiting Summer 2029 when we get to be Coniston Parents for the first time! So, never assume you’ve seen the end of the impact of camp in your life; you never know what’s around the corner!

Alumni Spotlight: Kyle Olson Opens New Summer Camp

Coniston Ambassador and alumnus, Kyle Olson, is opening a new Camp this summer! Kyle is the founder and executive director of Camp Moraine, a brand-new day camp in Beverly, MA for children aged 4 – 13. Kyle has been tasked with everything from designing the website, creating the programming, marketing, hiring staff and finding campers. 

Kyle has spent 18 summers at Coniston, the last 10 of which were in an array of roles from CIT up to Assistant Director. He also volunteers for Coniston as an Ambassador in the off-season. The aspects of Kyle’s new role have been supported by his experience at Coniston and his previous job in management consulting. 

“Starting a new Camp has been the perfect blend of my interests and talents from both walks of my life and makes each day in the office a new and rewarding experience.”

Camp Moraine’s programming and philosophy follow similar principles to Coniston – striving to provide campers with a fun, safe environment in which they can develop age appropriate social emotional skills. The Camp’s three guiding principles are: explore, connect and belong. 

Camp Moraine will welcome campers for the first time this summer! 

“Starting a new camp from scratch is no easy feat. But fortunately, it has been leagues easier than it would have been thanks to my experience and connection with Coniston. Coniston provided me the confidence and understanding to take on such an endeavor and  provided me with a template of what a successful camp looks like. In addition, the staff at Coniston – Tilley, Nicole, McNair have been super supportive and helpful whenever I’ve had any questions or just need someone to bounce ideas off of. 

Coniston has always been my happy place, somewhere where I learned to be myself and where I’ve developed most of my favorite attributes. Part of why I wanted to start my own camp is to provide campers and staff with the types of experiences and opportunities that have so positively impacted my life. 

Starting a camp and building its community has always been a dream of mine, and I can’t wait to share my vision and Coniston experience with the campers of the North Shore.”

Wishing Kyle and the team the best of luck for their first summer! 

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Donate Two Camperships

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust employees have provided a generous donation to Coniston that will go towards two camperships for this summer! 

Thanks to the Bar Harbor Bank Employees for believing in the work we do with children from the Central/Upper Valley region of New Hampshire. Gifts like these ensure all kids have access to a summer camp experience regardless of financial means. On behalf of everyone at YMCA Camp Coniston, we would like to express our gratitude for enabling us to say “yes” to even more children.

– John Tilley, CEO

Coniston Fellowship Program

Since 2018, Coniston has developed a fellowship program during the summer for staff members to engage their academic knowledge and leadership ability for the betterment of the Camp Community. The George Dorr, Jr. Leadership and Ernest Baynes Academic Fellowship programs allow us to give undergraduates internships recognized by their colleges. After the completion of their fellowship they are also awarded a small college scholarship.

Last summer, Ava Berger and Libby Foley were the recipients of our most recent Coniston Fellowships. Ava’s fellowship was based upon her journalism and communications studies at Boston University. By watching Camp from the inside as a cabin counselor, Ava was able to write the untold stories of Camp. She wrote blog posts, attended alumni events, and even created an “Ava edition” of the Coniston Ambassador Newsletter. Libby, a psychology major at Kenyon College, worked closely with Coniston mentor, Caroline Beale, a professional market researcher. Libby used her coursework in research and child development to create a study to quantify the impact of relationships at Camp.

I wanted to see how the special relationships and programming at Coniston have impacted staff members and campers.

– Libby Foley, 2023 Fellow

Our first Coniston fellowships were rewarded to Emily Howard and Emma Schambers in the summer of 2018. Emily’s fellowship stemmed from her history studies at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She saw a need to improve the Camp Community by developing ways to be more inclusive. She connected with many camps and organizations around the country to learn what they were doing around inclusivity. She then took the research and developed inclusivity workshops for staff to help broaden their knowledge and how to best support campers. Emma’s fellowship was based on her sports management and communications studies at Syracuse University, where she saw the need to get campers more involved in physical activity while at Camp. She helped manage staff members in facilitating sports tournaments at Camp and other camps across New Hampshire, diving competitions, and many other fun activities for campers during free time.

It was an invaluable experience in project management, event planning, and leadership. I am truly thankful that I was able to return to Camp and work with campers while simultaneously furthering my professional skills.

– Emma Schambers, 2018 Fellow

Hamilton College graduate Will Budington also worked on a sports-based fellowship in 2019. He focused his summer on athletics at Camp, with the vision of “promoting growth and bonding through athletics.” 

Inclusion has been a central theme in a few of our fellowships over the years. In 2019, Francesca focused her summer on gender studies at Camp. Her projects included a pronoun workshop during staff training, organizing co-ed vespers on Sundays, and analyzing the strengths of both Girls and Boys Camp. Our 2022 fellow, Annika Randall, created a fellowship with the goal that Coniston is a place where every single person, no matter where they come from or who they are, would feel safe, comfortable, and accepted without having to change any part of their identity for the time they are here. One of her many roles during the summer was to ensure all campership recipients felt welcome and supported—be that an open ear to listen or by discretely providing supplies that may have been needed.

“I aimed to create a more diverse and inclusive environment at Camp for both campers and staff. I feel beyond lucky to have worked in this role and I really look forward to how Coniston continues to move forward in future summers as a magical place for any and every one. ” 

– Annika Randall, 2022 Fellow

Following the Covid pandemic, the work of our 2021 fellows’ was extremely important. Megan Davis and Katie Bosco both focused their fellowships on the mental, emotional and social health of our campers and staff with a mission to promote healthy habits, education, and to provide support. In addition to supporting individuals, Megan and Katie also shared mental health tips during Vespers, provided campers with activity booklets as a calming exercise to deal with stress and created handouts for counselors to educate them on how to mentor a struggling camper better. 

Over five summers, our fellows have assisted in developing the Camp’s culture, improved programming, and led the staff. Our fellows have had an incredible impact on The Coniston Community, and we hope their experience has provided them with numerous transferable skills for their future careers. 

207 Volunteers helped Coniston shine in 2023

Coniston is not just a Camp. It is a community. It is this community that enables us to deliver our unique program every summer, building campers into the leaders of tomorrow and continuing to support these campers after they leave Coniston. 

In 2023 our year-round team was made up of 13 individuals. During the summer months, we added another 210 staff members to run Camp. And on top of that another 207 members of the Coniston community volunteered their time to help Camp be a better place. It is because of the generosity of these people that the Coniston experience continues to improve and our community continues to grow.

Coniston is lucky to have this huge group of volunteers who are willing to help Camp in all different ways. Firstly, we have a group of 50 Coniston Ambassadors who volunteer their time all throughout the year. This group is made up of Camp alumni, parents, grandparents and summer staff. This dedicated group of ambassadors volunteer their time in multiple ways; hosting Coniston events, writing personal thank you notes to our community, helping in fundraising efforts and volunteering on summer check-in days. They are key to sharing our message with the further community. One of these ambassadors is Sherm Horton who works closely with Coniston as our webmaster! 

In spring, we ran two career development events in NYC and Boston. At these events, we had panels made up of Coniston volunteers from all different professional backgrounds including law, teaching and TV production. They shared their wisdom and offered advice to our younger alumni community who were in the early stages of their careers.

Another group of volunteers that had a wonderful impact on our community in 2023, were Coniston tutors. They were a group of Camp alumni who gave back by offering virtual learning support to school-aged campers. 

For the past two years, we have hosted a volunteer work day at Coniston to help us get ready for campers to arrive. This day involves a huge clean up of Camp, sweeping cabins, setting up boating activities, moving picnic benches and setting up tents. Volunteer work day makes such an incredible impact on Camp and is something we look forward to every summer. The group of volunteers who come each year are from all different eras of Coniston, from the 70s to the 2010s! It is wonderful to see so many Coniston alumni come together and connect while helping us set up for our campers to have the best summer. At the end of volunteer work day, our alumni have made the tradition of teaching our new international staff members the Class-A Clap! 

We have also had other organizations come to Coniston to help us with Camp maintenance. Hypertherm and King Arthur Baking Company employees have been visiting Coniston regularly over the past few years to volunteer their time!

Volunteering can come in all different forms. This summer, we were very lucky to have had some volunteer musical guests visit Coniston. Hans Williams and Brooks Hubbard, both Coniston alum and talented rising musicians, performed for our campers during evening programs. The Rock Academy Woodstock Showband also put on a show for us! These wonderful musical performances were a summer highlight for our campers and staff.

Coniston has a board of directors made up of 16 members/emeritus who volunteer their time and knowledge to help Coniston thrive. Whether that is helping us set prices, implementing policy or working within one of our committees, this group of people are the heart and soul of Coniston. They care so much for the work we do and we simply couldn’t do it without them.

As mentioned above, Coniston is so much more than a summer camp. We are a community with so many wonderful people who care so much and are willing to help in any way they can. Thank you to our 2023 volunteers who made YMCA Camp Coniston shine. 

If you are interested in volunteering for Coniston or becoming a Coniston Ambassador please reach out to jesse@coniston.org.

 

Matt Albee-Owner of a Disc Golf Course and Course Design Business-Coniston: 1996-2007

How old were you when you started Camp?

I was 15.

How were you introduced to Coniston?

My parents.

Did you attend college, and if so, what did you study?

Yes – Marketing major with and economics minor, then an MBA in business.

What is your current job? 

I am an owner of a disc golf course and course design business.

How has your career journey evolved?
 
I built an 18 hole disc golf course at Camp Coniston and fell in love. The rest is history!
 
What moment in your career are you most proud of?
 
We hosted 6 professional disc golfers at our course to compete for $2000! It was the culmination of thousands of hours of work.
 
Did Coniston influence your ability to create this journey?
 
One hundred percent!
 
Are there any skills or traits you gained at Coniston that you use in your professional life?
 

Goal setting
Friend making
Risk taking
Time management

Are there any specific memories from your time at Coniston that are still impactful to you?
 

Too many to put in words. I was part of Camp and Camp will always be a part of me. It is easily the reason I am the man, father, husband, worker, and friend I am today.