Building “THE Q”

At the end of summer 2022, we dedicated “The Q”—a brand new outdoor amphitheater at camp!

The gift of this amphitheater actually started before I was born. In the 1960s, the donor (Bill) had been identified by his elementary school principal to receive a scholarship to attend Camp Ernst. He returned for many summers, bringing his younger brother (Jim) along, and both of them eventually working their way to spending their summers on staff. The relationships built through their summers at camp carried both Bill and Jim through high school, college, and careers launched across the country.

In October, 2021, Jim passed away suddenly. Bill called me at camp and said he would like to build an outdoor theater in Jim’s memory. Just the week before, I had pointed out the future amphitheater spot to my husband saying, “Wouldn’t this sloping area be great for an amphitheater? This is going to be my next capital project to raise money for!” Bill and I connected on this amazing coincidence and immediately went to work.

By Spring we had broken ground and Bill had shepherded several large gifts, including his own, to support the project. At Labor Day Weekend Family Camp we dedicated “The Q” (for Jim’s nickname “Quinn”) with camp friends and family from all over the country. The event was a celebration of Jim’s life and full of camp memories from the 60s and 70s. The alumni enjoyed seeing each other again after so many years and catching up on the newest developments at camp.

Already this fall, Bill and I have been talking about the next “phase” of the project: how to add bathrooms nearby. (Bill refers to this as “THE LOO AT THE Q”) It is an incredible gift to work with such a gracious and willing donor. I am grateful for the camp directors of the 60s and 70s, cultivating the environment which allowed Bill to shine and sparked his commitment to camp for decades to come. I hope that the community I am leading here in the 2020s will yield friends of camp committed to continuing its mission fifty years from now!



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