Camp and Campus

The connection between a venerable summer camp and the university remains strong

Alexa Mitchell ’16

Each college summer, I’ve worked at Camp Dudley, on Lake Champlain near Westport, New York, my hometown. I’ve been a lifeguard, an office worker and, last summer, a communications intern, writing blog posts for Dudley’s website. I did not realize the depth of the connection between the camp and the University until I started speaking with alumni from both, noticing Dudley/SLU apparel at both and discovering how many of my friends know somebody involved with both.

Camp Dudley is the oldest boys’ summer camp in America. According to Director Matt Storey ’96, the St. Lawrence connection started with Bob Goodwin, who was a camper in 1942 and returned as head of the boathouse until 1979. As men’s soccer coach at St. Lawrence 1963-1989, “Goodwin used to recruit campers for his soccer team,” Storey says.

“The first I heard of SLU was from (Director of Athletics) Bob Durocher, who worked the Athletics Hut at camp and took over men’s soccer after Goodwin,” Storey adds. “He was one of the reasons I applied.”

Storey, who started as a camper in 1985, the camp’s centennial year, also worked at Dudley every college summer. He says the connection between the two places helped him choose his career path. Storey, who worked with special needs children through the Big Brother program while at St. Lawrence, explains, “To be working with kids, to be in athletics, to be in leadership, and to (do that) in the Adirondacks, has a lot to with my love for my time growing up at camp and at St. Lawrence.”

Storey notes that approximately five Dudley or Kiniya (Dudley’s sister camp) alumni attend St. Lawrence each year. When he and I talked last fall, four campers had already been accepted early decision for the Class of 2020.

“‘All roads lead back to Dudley’ is a slogan I was skeptical of because that’s nearly impossible,” says Erin Hogan ’19, who has attended Kiniya for nine years. “One night at Java Barn, Dudley came up; we started screaming the Dudley cheer right there, and I realized it’s true.

“Dudley/Kiniya encourages you to push the limits of your comfort, and be successful at it,” Erin says. “I brought this tenacity with me to St. Lawrence, and it has helped me excel in tough classes, meet new people, and join clubs I otherwise would not have.”

Matt Storey ’96 is not the first Laurentian to lead Camp Dudley. Wheaton Griffin ’68 was director 1995-99, when Andy Bisselle, son of long-time St. Law Lawrence Director of Financial Aid Phil Bisselle, took over, serving until Storey began in 2009.