Alumni and Camp News 2024

Alumni News

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 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!

 

 
 
 
 
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!

 

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!

 
Coniston alumnus – Hans Williams – has been touring all over the US, performing his music and has had many conistonians in the audience cheering him on. A huge group of Conistonians supported Hans at his Boston show this April! Kim Johnson watched Hans’ show in Seattle this Spring!

Camp News

 
We are honored to be named one of America’s Best Summer Camps in 2024 by News Week!
 
 
 

 

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!

 

 
 
Nicole Berthiaume, John McNair, Nate Levine and Brackett Lyons from our year-round team, connected with Camp friends in Manchester, NH this March! Nicole and John were in Manchester, attending the ACA (American Camp Association) annual conference.
 
 

 
John Tilley and Lindsey Tompkins connected with Camp friends in Denver, CO this April! John and Lindsey were in Denver attending the NAYDO (North American YMCA Development Organization) conference. The conference delivers sessions to enhance YMCAs’ philanthropy strategies. John Tilley presented at the conference.

 
 
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!

 
 
Pictured: The new NH State Co-Champ Red Maple! With the late Aaron Turner and his brother Jeremy.

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

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 HERE 


Coniston Ambassador Kelly Condon and Alumni Danny Rudnick will host a session 3 alumni parents gathering at their side-by-side Lake Sunapee home on July 21st. This gathering is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with other alumni parents and share your experiences after campers are dropped off at Coniston.

REGISTER HERE

Alumni News 2023

Read on to find out what our wonderful Alumni have been up to this past year!!

Thank you to Abby Kaufman for hosting a 90s reunion in Sudbury, MA this fall! Conistonians who attended were Brian Isabelle, Mike Clifford, Christina Murphy, Sarah Bothwell, Nicole Reiss, Allison Carroll, Sarah Donnelly, Laura McCarthy, Galen Tremblay, Sarah Raeburn, Ryan Davey, Emily Trenholm, Bridget Parker, Christina Smaglia, Katie Perry, Heather McLean, Beth Friedman, Shannon Sawyer, Brian Beale, Laura Bothwell, Amanda Navarolli, Diana Blazar, Nick Zweig, Meghan Salvas Ship, Berta Sinclair, Abby Jordan, Brad Ship and John Kersey.

“I was a Coniston camper, CIT, and staff member from 1989- 1999. Camp was one of the greatest experiences of my youth, andit was so meaningful to pass the Coniston Experience on to my oldest son in 2023. Being back at Camp as a parent also brought the unexpected gift of reconnecting with fellow Coniston alums.

But it left me wanting more than a quick hello and hug on check-in and check-out days. Thus I planned a reunion and around thirty Coniston alums gathered for food, fun, and conversation. We traded stories, memories, and many laughs and caught up on our current lives. We poured over old Coniston annuals, and flipped through photo albums from the past. It filled my heartknowing that even though decades had passed since our days at Camp, the bonds of Coniston friendship had remained just as strong. I’m now a Coniston Ambassador to help plan more opportunities for Coniston alumni to gather and reconnect. I hope to see many of you at an event, or back at Camp next summer!” —Abby

 

Congratulations to Emma Tilley, on her marriage to David Mauer! A beautiful wedding was hosted this summer in New London with many Conistonians in attendance.

 

 

 

Congratulations to Shannon Hogan, on her marriage to Jimmy Flotken this summer. It’s great to see so many Conistonians celebrating your big day.

 

Former Coniston staff member Callum McCaffer married his wife, Claire, at Royal Troon in Scotland back in October! His co-counselor in the old B3, Corey Miller, was able to go across the pond to see their special day. Callum was an international staff member who worked at camp for two summers in 2013 and 2014. Callum and Corey were counselors together in 2013 and have stayed close friends over the years, visiting each other in both Europe and the US. Not even an ocean can keep camp friendships a part! Congrats, Callum and Claire! 

 

 

 

Suzanne Shrekgast (1989 – 1998) and her wife Erin Carr welcomed baby girl Everett Joyce Shrekgast-Carr on July 20, 2023 in Greenwich, CT. 

While touring New England this summer, New Orleans based singer-songwriter, Hans Williams visited Coniston to put on a special show. In July, Brooks Hubbard opened Hans’ show at the Lebanon Opera House!

Townies, a band made up of Coniston alumni Nolan Melia, Chris Magnani, and Tom Lynch, will be heading into the studio in LA this month to record their debut full length album with Joe Reinhart, the guitarist of renowned emo/rock band Algernon Cadwallader.

After relocating back to New England from Nashville, Brooks Hubbard has been touring all over. He even stopped by Coniston this summer to perform for Camp. Be sure to catch his performances when he’s doing a gig near you!

Noah Kahan‘s fame and recognition is growing. Noah has recently been nominated for the ‘Best New Artist’ Grammy. Next year’s world tour includes multiple sold out dates at Fenway Park, Madison Square Garden, and Hollywood Bowl.

        In addition to creating the new music program area for next summer, Grace Ferguson’s band released their first album “I Wish Venus Had a Moon” available on Spotify or Apple Music!

Asie Makarova graduated from Penn’s Wharton School and announced her engagement to Judson Woods! The couple have moved to Denver!

Congratulations to Chloe (Ladd) Parker and Jon Parker for the birth of their little girl, Lennon Jesse Parker!

Zach Zimmerman and Sarah Parker welcomed their daughter Hadley this year! They even brought her for her first visit to Coniston this summer.

 Congrats to Olivia Stack and Ryan Simoneau on their engagement!

Matt and Katie Comstock had baby boy Cole Granger Comstock this July! Congratulations to you and to Rory, the best big brother!

Congratulations to Martha Calcutt Powers and Drew Powers for their beautiful baby daughter, Faye

Jen LeBlanc and Ben Thornton announced their engagement! Congratulations!

Congratulations to Shelby and Ben Kamisar on welcoming their new child, Evelyn to the world. The news of her birth was even announced on B

Nicole and McNair ran into Eric Rightor at the NH Directors Conference this October! Eric is now the Executive Director at YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown, a branch of the Granite YMCA.

Emily Muller (CIT ‘04) has been busy this year as a design contractor with Target! Additionally, Emily and her husband, Robby Muller (CIT ‘00) will be welcoming a future boys camp camper this winter! Big sisters Leah and Nora are excited for a little brother to join the family.

With the numerous projects around Camp in preparation for the lodge restoration and expansion we were in need of some extra hands. Boys Camp Director, Nate Levine and Aquatics Director, Brackett Lyons have stayed on staff to help!

Congrats to Brenden Olson who just started a new job working as Sales Manager at Miller Milling Company!

Beth Cairns has taken a new position running an autism program at Hillsboro Deering High School.

Asie Makarova and Jen Leblanc are co-workers AGAIN. Our 2014 and 2015 Program Directors are both working at Analysis Group, an international economics consulting firm.

Alumni News

Read on to find out what our wonderful Alumni have been up to this past year!!

This summer we were finally able to host our 2000, 2001 and 2002 CITs for their 20 year reunion! We had to postpone these reunions the past two years due to COVID, but we were finally able to host everyone at Camp for this summer for an amazing day of catching up with old friends, exploring Camp’s new facilities and a tasty cook-out! They even reunited with Sue Strebel, who was a nurse when they were at Camp and was still working this summer!

Coniston ambassador, Beth Worthington  planned a weekend reunion with Linda Pinkham Wiewel, Janet Hatfield Legro, Susie Greenwald Ammatelli, Lynn Hunter Horton, Dawn Ferguson Ighodaro and Sherrill Hill at Perkins Pond. The group also visited Camp and toured all the new facility updates.

 

 

Congratulations to Hannah and Michael Slafsky for welcoming their beautiful baby Hartford on September 6th! Warner will be a great big brother!

 

Jake Glenshaw, former Boys Camp Director, has moved to Innsbruck, Austria for year in pursuance of a Fulbright Austria Combined Research Grant. As a part of this program, he will be teaching English, taking grad school courses at the University of Innsbruck on Environmental Management of Mountain Areas, conducting independent research under advisement of Dr. Robert Steiger on climate change’s impact on the ski industry’s adaptability and accessibility, and working with Protect Our Winters Austria as they work to fight for further climate protection.

 

Wilfrid Shon, a former international staff member recently started his own gin business! The gin is called Shroton Fair Gin. After finishing his postgraduate study, Wilfrid returned to his hometown, Dorset Village, and spent nearly a year searching for the perfect recipe. The gin has already won multiple awards including gold in the Taste of the West 2022, and bronze at the London Spirits Awards!

Adaleide Barnes, a 2021 CIT is now on the UK National Taekwondo Team! She has already secured two second-place finishes at the British Taekwondo National Championships and a spot on the GB Taekwondo Development Squad.

Coniston Ambassador, Eben Gannett graduated Granite State College and has become a certified teacher in NH. He is currently a 5th grade teacher at Sant Bani School. Congrats Eben, we know you will be an awesome teacher!

Talia Ungarelli  recently accepted a position as a zookeeper in the Tropical Forest department at the Franklin Park Zoo. Talia spent the last year working for the Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas as a Gorilla and Carnivore Keeper/Trainer.

Arts and Crafts Director,
Barb Hawley is teaching classic camp arts and crafts classes in her home-state, Kentucky! Projects include yarn creations, shrink plastic art, holiday ornament making, painting, and of course tie-dye!

Liv Rasmussen graduated from Suffolk University with a B.A. in Advertising and Minor in Graphic Design. She recently started as the Content Specialist with Fuseideas!

Cassie Short Cassie Short got engaged to Bobby McLaughlin. They will be getting married in June 2022!

Congratulations, Guiseppi Marzelli, on his marriage
to Kaley Hansen! They were married in October last year. “Hands down the best day of my life (and really the best weekend) marrying my best friend surrounded by all our family and friends”.

We wish you a future of happiness!

Congratulations to Ben Kamisar on his marriage to Shelby this April! The wedding was quite the Coniston reunion with Coniston alumni: Jen Evans, Emily Bensen, Michelle (Tarkulich) Faithfull, Kyle Olson, Katie Comstock, and Matt Comstock attending!

Congratulations to Coniston alumna, Ashley, who got married to Bill Jantzen last year! We hope you have had a great first year of marriage together.

Summer Office Assistant, Sophie Burleigh, has just accepted a job as an Office Manager/PA for a wine investment company in London! Good luck with your new London life Sophie!

Cassie (Short) McLaughlin, a 2008 CIT and 2014/2015 CIT Director got married on June 19th! Congratulations Cassie!! We wish you both a happy future together.

Coniston alumna, Lizbie Harbison Weeks recently got married! Congratulations Lizbie!

Former camper and staff member, Caitlin Elgert and her husband Dan, welcomed
a daughter (and future camper), Lucy in April 2022. Congratulations! She is beautiful.

1980’s alumnae, Kelly Williamson Polanco, MBA, MS has started a new job as Vice President, Head of People & Culture at Aktis Oncology. In the past, Kelly worked for Bristol Myers Squibb, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. While at BMS, Kelly spent eight years living in Argentina, supporting South America, Middle East, Africa, and parts of Europe.

Girls Camp Director – Meg Davis’ Favorite Summer Memories

Our 2022 Girls Camp Director, Meg Davis, reflected on her favorite memories of the summer.

Summer 2022 was one of the best summers I have ever had at camp. I loved having a more influential role in both staff and camper’s experiences all summer and it was incredibly rewarding to watch everyone fall more and more in love with camp every day.

This summer gave me a unique opportunity to see parts of camp I had never experienced before and think of things in a different frame of mind. Some of my happiest memories from this summer were planning activities to help staff bond, giving vespers, playing in the camper staff soccer games, cheering people on in the triathlon, sitting on program porch or main lawn and watching everyone in program areas, and watching the CITs and international staff run into the lake.

And when I wasn’t always having the usual camp fun, I also genuinely loved being someone others came to for advice, providing support to campers, and critically thinking about how to best solve problems in order to improve the overall Coniston experience. Summer 2022 will forever go down as one of my favorite summers at Coniston and I feel so lucky to have had such wonderful staff and campers to make incredible memories with!

In Memoriam: Jessie Milne Freeman

(1978 - 2022)

It’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Jessie Milne Freeman. Jessie was a camper in the 90s and then went on to become a beloved staff member. Jessie continued her work with children at Sunapee elementary school, and most recently at James House, in the preschool of KRSD.

Many people have since donated to YMCA Camp Coniston in her memory. We were truly honored to have Jessie be a part of our community and we will miss her dearly.

“Naming Camp Coniston as one of Jessie’s suggestions for gifts in her memory was an apt memorial for our daughter, who died in June at the age of 43. Camp is the opportunity for kids to discover that they can conquer their fears while sharing outdoor fun with others. Coniston does this masterfully. 

Jessie was a fourth child and only girl who followed her older brothers to Camp Coniston as a camper. She loved swimming, dancing, riding and singing at Camp, but even more so, she bonded with her fellow (cabin 8) campers as sisters.

When she returned a decade later as a counselor of riding, Jessie loved her job, helping kids learn to have fun and be safe with large animals. She was a cautious instructor who encouraged the riders in her care to consider the horse or pony as their partner in learning. The experience colored her life’s journey toward teaching, the study of human development, and motherhood. She often spoke of her campers’ successes and felt honored to be connected to Coniston in two ways.

After her initial diagnosis of melanoma 16 years ago, Jessie attended two retreats for cancer patients and survivors herd at the Kripalu Yoga Center. A favorite counselor there was Dr Joan Borysenko of Harvard, who credited overnight camp “under the pine grove” as one of her most important formative experiences. As she studied and taught, Jessie followed Dr Borysenko’s writing and research on the mind-body connection, gently guiding children through challenges at school and her son at home.

It is her family’s hope that Coniston will continue to give kids and young adults camaraderie and a strong start to productive, nurturing lives.”

– Dale Milne, Jessie’s father

Reflections From a CIT Parent

Coniston magic explained though a thank you note from a Camp parent

“Every summer after we pick up our boys from camp we intend to write to you and tell you with our whole heart how incredible their time at camp is year after year. Somehow summer turns to fall and the whole cycle begins and then we are again reminded of the incredible gift that is Coniston. After this summer we were reflecting and honestly feel like of all the things we have done for our boys, sending them to Camp Coniston is literally the best thing we have done for them. We felt it was important that we finally let you know that, and that we are so incredibly grateful for the opportunities Conisiton provides for them. So THANK YOU for giving our boys this experience that has helped them become caring, engaged, reflective, inquisitive, risk taking boys.  

In a time when being a teenager is even more challenging in every aspect, we feel that the camp experience is more important than ever. It is an escape from technology, a chance to make authentic caring friendships with new people, and an opportunity to try new things and take risks. Our oldest son, who is now a sophomore in college, told us after his last camper year that he was going to try to be his camp self in life more. And our youngest, who loves to meet everyone and connect with as many people as he can, just transitioned to boarding school and said that it was so easy because “I learned how to do all of that at camp mom.” 

This year we are the most grateful for our son’s experience as a CIT, which he said was the “best month of his life.” It was a really challenging year for all of us, and to be honest getting that CIT application done was really difficult for him during that time but we also knew it could be one of the best things for him. We are so grateful that the camp gave him that opportunity and it was all that we hoped and more. He already had a lot of help and was doing much better, but Camp reminded him how to connect fully with people, how to open himself up, how to do hard things and also just what value he can bring to a group and to situations. We just read his college essay and he wrote about being a CIT and the incredibly transformative experience it was. His CIT directors were both amazing mentors to him and he has approached the end of high school/start of college with a fresh outlook and new goals and interest as a result. We could not be happier and more grateful for this. 

We know through all of your outreaches, letters and other communication that you know how special camp is. But truly, it has been life changing for our kids. We want you to know how incredibly appreciative we are, and that you are changing lives.”

Thank You for Giving the Gift of Camp – Remarks from a Camper

We recently received the letter below from a child expressing her gratitude on receiving a camperships from our annual fund. Gifts of any size are truly changing lives and making a life-long impact. Thank you.

Over the past four summers Coniston has achieved quantifiable success in diversifying our camper population through a combination of outreach, funding, recruitment, and retention described in previous answers. We are most proud of increasing our financial assistance by 125% over the past four years, giving camp experiences to more kids.

At YMCA Camp Coniston we believe that character counts. Building character, confidence, and perseverance under the leadership of positive role models in a safe and encouraging environment is core to our Camp experience. Through immersive outdoor summer experiences, campers gain self-confidence, learn to adapt to new situations, develop life skills, and make new friends. Campers may not realize it all at once, but the benefits of Camp go on forever. What we do is simple, yet transformative.

Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to build and equip the next generation to not only grow, but thrive as leaders in a rapidly changing world. Our efforts to bring the YMCA Camp Coniston Community together from across NH towns, and the world, are worth it. People need connections with each other. Summers together help heal the effects of stress. Camp is bigger than any of us and the impact is life-long.

Gifts can be given to children through Coniston in many ways:

Check or Online
Reoccurring Credit Card Gift
Multi-Year Pledge
Estate Gift
Stock or Mutual Funds
Matching Gifts
Corporate/Foundation
Philanthropic Gift
Life Insurance Policies

If additional information is needed to help your gift-giving process go smoother, please contact lindsey@coniston.org.

Artist in Residence—Reflections from Evan Ruderman
























Reflections from our 2022 Artist in Residence, Evan… 

It was such an honor to come back and shoot these images. Going through everything gave me some time to reflect on how special camp has been in my life and how great it was to come back and try to show its magic through images. Super grateful for this opportunity and all that camp has done for me.

At the young age of 8 I began to spend my summers at Camp Coniston and didn’t stop for the next 12 years, transitioning from a camper to a counselor to a director. My time at camp taught me a lot about life, a lot about myself, sparked my love of the outdoors, introduced me to some of my biggest role models, and helped me make some of my best friends to this day. It’s hard to explain the magic of this place without simply experiencing it for yourself but having a chance to return to camp to try and convey its beauty and mission through photos was quite an honor. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be where I am today without my many summers on this lake and to see so many kids sleeping under the stars and playing in the woods without phones or screens or the stresses of everyday life anywhere in sight left me feeling quite happy. Thank you Camp Coniston for bringing me out here to shoot photos and for the many years of good memories. 

CIT Reflections—Remarks from a Parent

Coniston magic explained though a thank you note from a Camp parent

Dear Camp Coniston,

I wanted to take a minute to thank you for all the amazing work that you are doing at Camp Coniston this summer. My daughter just returned from her month of West Coast CIT training and she has been transformed. She loved camp before . . . but her appreciation and love for the place now has reached another level. 4 weeks with 15 kids that she hardly knew in places as remote as Rocky Mountain Park as well as the friendly confines of Coniston with two incredible counselors has left her a changed young woman. And we thought she was pretty amazing before she went!

We spent all day yesterday going through her pictures and summit letters and other letters of encouragement from staff and I was blown away by the impact that  the Coniston team are having on all these kids. This was her 7th summer at camp and somehow they keep getting better. In a world that seems to be getting more contentious by the day, your incredible team have created a positive environment for kids to be kids and also become young responsible adults that parents can be very proud of. And that’s not something that kids can get in school or travel sports or trips abroad or whatever. The experiences and challenges that kids face at any camp are incredible and life changing, but what I think sets Camp Coniston apart is the love, encouragement and positive vibes that ooze from every nook and cranny of the place.

And it’s really not until a child hears – “we believe in you!” – from someone other than their parents, does it really start to sink in and then they can really start growing as people. And that is what Camp Coniston specializes in. . . .

When I spoke to my daughter in between session’s  after her trip to Colorado where she hiked and rafted and rolled down a dune in the Rockies, I was amazed that she said the best time of the last 2 weeks was when she ran into the lake back at Coniston!

“Dad . . . we we running and high fiving everyone . . and I felt like I was flying . . . “

It was then that I realized the absolute magic of the Coniston team that has touched my daughter in her 7 incredible years. You help children fly.

As a parent, there is no greater joy than seeing your child experience something as powerful as that.

So from my family to the Coniston family, thank you, thank you, thank you. Please keep up the great work!

Announcing the Mary Kelley CIP Campership

We are excited to announce the Mary Kelley CIP Campership, which provides the Coniston Experience to a deserving child whose parent is incarcerated so they may make new friends and participate in the Coniston program that Mary believed in.

Mary worked at the Family Connections Center at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men (NHSPM) for over 14 years. Her dedication and support for incarcerated parents and their children was unsurpassed. Since 2012, Mary made sure that everything ran smoothly in the Children of Incarcerated Parents summer camp. She arranged for food, communicated with caregivers, and even choreographed the dad’s dance performances for their children. This campership is a testament to her compassion and a legacy to her life’s mission of allowing a child with an incarcerated parent to “just be a kid” at YMCA Camp Coniston.

If this past year has taught us anything, it is a deep understanding that learning to connect with others is the very lesson that kids need most at Camp.

From 2015 to 2022, financial assistance has grown by 125% and in summer 2021 we had 189 full camperships. We believe having a Coniston filled with campers from all walks of life is stronger for every child.

Many things are taken into consideration when awarding a full Coniston Campership to a child. Initially, children and their families submit an application, the previous tax year forms, and are assessed through professionals such as school counselors and nurses. Next, the family’s income is screened using the federal free and reduced lunch income eligibility guidelines. Then the family’s income is multiplied by three—making it more equitable. Then our registrar and CEO discuss each application to determine camperships.

Additionally, we offer campership opportunities for families who may have a difficult story to share that may not be reflected in their finances. Such as families in cancer treatments, families who have suffered a loss such as a house fire, or even children who are being raised by grandparents.

MAKE A CHILD’S FUTURE YOUR LEGACY 

How does this work? Because of generous donors, the Coniston Endowment Fund is growing and providing the life-changing experience of Camp to many deserving children—regardless of financial means. The endowment also helps Coniston moderate inevitable cost pressures—rising prices, inflation, and unexpected expenses. This gift was given as a three-year pledge from gifts of stock. 

Gifts can be given to children through Coniston in many ways:

Check or Online
Reoccurring Credit Card Gift
Multi-Year Pledge
Estate Gift
Stock or Mutual Funds
Matching Gifts
Corporate/Foundation
Philanthropic Gift
Life Insurance Policies

If additional information is needed to help your gift-giving process go smoother, please contact lindsey@coniston.org.