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Looking back on
FNCA 1999

by Trevor

Looking back at the 1999 FNCA session, many people mentioned the same highlights over and over again. Top on the list is the return of our splendid view of the mountains over the river. For years, the trees on the far

© FNCA 1930

bank of the river have been doing what trees are supposed to do: grow big and tall. Unfortunately for us, this meant that in recent years, only those rooming at that end of the second floor of the Main Building had any sort of mountain view. In response to our request years ago, the tree farm that owns the trees had said they'd love to harvest those trees or at least top them off, but the State of Maine conservation laws mandate a strict hands-off policy within a certain distance of the river. So for years, the trees grew and grew. This year, for unknown reasons, campers young and old arrived to discover with delight that all the trees across the river had been topped — that is, 10-20 feet had been cut off all the tops of the trees — and our glorious view of the mountains has returned! That, coupled with last year's thinning of the forest on our side has led many Embers to liken our sunny campus with a view to what it looked like when they were young.

Other improvements to the camp's grounds also received high marks, including our newly expanded Play Yard for © Trevor 2011the Sparks behind the Goddard Annex, the re-done stone steps at the waterfront, the re-emergence of our beach which had slowly been moving downstream for years and suddenly this year returned to where we like it, our re-located laundry room, and the jacking up to level of several cabins (an ongoing project). Special thanks to the Trustees, many volunteers, and the Saco River for this great work.

Our lecture schedule was deemed "excellent" by general consensus with several specific comments that the themes were well chosen. Actual camp-wide silence during Rest © FNCA 2007Hour was especially appreciated. (Yay, the Enforcer!) The food and cooks were called "good... as usual!" And special reference was made over and over to the Flames table in the dining hall: tablecloth, flowers, candles, and the works just goes to show that our current crop of teens have class.

And speaking of the Flames, this year's High Energy Award goes to all who participated in the (somewhat) annual Flames vs. Bonfires volleyball game. What a spectacle! After practicing for several hours a day for over a week, the Flames suprised the flat-footed Bonfires one morning with the volleyball challenge for that afternoon. With a burst of energy, the Bonfires collected early to get their team organized, warm up, and practice a bit of bump, set, and spike. Going into the first of three games, everyone felt confident and the energy was high. The Bonfires came on with a roar and trounced the hapless Flames for Game 1. But the Flames rallied their forces and took Game 2 in a great comeback, evening up the score. And all those hours of practice really kicked in during the final game when the Flames steamrollered the Bonfires to win the series 2-1! Go Flames! Practice makes perfect... or at least good enough to whale on those who foolishly relied on age and height alone!

Three other intergenerational activities were widely mentioned. First, several all-ages musical jam sessions in the lecture hall. Sparks, Flames, Bonfires, and even an Ember or two got involved in these impromptu events. Second, the resurrection of the camp choir which delighted the congregation during the church services on Sunday. And third, the fabulous church supper which the Fryeburg New Church put on during camp this year at our request.

And speaking of the Fryeburg New Church, many people openly moaned when it was announced that the church had decided to start holding Sunday services at their regular time this year instead of doing it an hour later in the morning for us during the camp session as they've been doing for decades. After the fact, however, far more people discovered that this is actually a positive thing. For starters, more folks came to church. It was great to have a full church singing, praying, and learning together. The extra time between the service and our mid-day meal also allowed sufficient time to do something special after church, be it the Fryeburg Flea Market, a family climb up "Mount" Jockey Cap, an extra canoe trip on the river, or a journey to a local scenic spot.

And finally, all the special people who make the FNCA special are appreciated. Especially mentioned this year are: the return for two days of the Rev. George & Lois McCurdy (how about a week next year?), the lectures and dry wit of Rev. Robert McClusky, the infectious spirit of the Rev. F. Bob Tafel, and the musical virtuosity of Roy Trombly and his violin.

© Nancy F. Little 1998We also like to save a warm spot in our hearts for three Embers who have passed on to the Eternal Flame: Adrienne Frank, Bea Geis, and John Swanton (one of the original founding Flames who returned to camp last year after an absence of over 50 years). You will be dearly missed. (That's John Swanton in the photo, flanked by two other founding Flames: Agnes O'Keefe on the left and Marjorie Tuzik on the right.)

And you, Dear Reader, if you were there, what were your highlights? And if you weren't able to attend, please make every effort to spend a week or two of Swedenborgian learning, living, and playing together at the beautiful Fryeburg New Church Assembly next year. You'll be glad you did!

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