Mid Hudson Valley Camps >> Deaf Camp
Deaf Camp takes place at the Mid-Hudson Valley Camp on the grounds of the Marist Brothers Center in Esopus, NY. The camp began in 1976 and celebrated its 40th year in June 2015. The camp welcomes deaf elementary and middle school aged children throughout the New York City area.
In the Fall of 1975 the Marist Brothers, led by Br. Leo Forrest, and Sr. Chris Donnelly, a Sister of St Joseph, approached the administration of St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf and Cleary School for the Deaf about starting a camp for deaf children attending their schools for a week in the Summer on the Marist Brothers property in Esopus, New York. The administration led by Sr. Anne Behre of St. Francis, and Sr. Karen Kenney of Cleary, enthusiastically offered to support a camp experience for their students both programmatically and financially.
That initial meeting was followed shortly after by a meeting with the staff from St. Francis and Cleary. The staff expressed a willingness to accept the responsibility of conducting such a camp. They were willing to volunteer their time to recruit campers, counselors and other staff, to conduct fund raising activities, and to do all of the other tasks necessary to provide a safe and successful camp experience for their students. At that meeting, based on his previous experience of directing a camp, Ed McCormack, a Teacher at St. Francis, was selected to be the Camp Director.
From 1976 to 1985 the camp served 90-100 campers each week. From 1979-1985 a second week of Deaf Camp was added. That second week also served 90-100 campers.
In 1985 the students at St. Francis and Cleary by state regulation were now required to attend a Summer Program for six weeks. That necessitated the elimination of the second week of Deaf Camp. It also led to the end of the Cleary School’s participation in the camp. The Camp continued to serve 90-100 campers.
In 1992, Ed McCormack stepped down as a Deaf Camp Director due to his new responsibilities as the Director of St. Francis. The new Camp Directors became Sr. Kathy Costello, an Administrator at St. Francis, and Patricia McCormack, a Teacher at St. Francis. Both had been volunteers at the Camp since its beginning in 1976.
In 2010 after the passing of Sr. Kathy Costello in 2009, Patricia Costello, the Nurse at St. Francis and at Deaf Camp for many years, joined Pat McCormack as a Deaf Camp Director.
After retiring from St. Francis in 2011 Ed McCormack became a Camp Director again in 2012 joining Pat McCormack and Pat Costello.
Pat Costello stepped down as a Camp Director. Beverly Rogers, a Speech Therapist at St. Francis, and a camp volunteer since 2009 , became a Director.
From 2011 to 2016 the number of campers from St. Francis declined significantly due to a decreased enrollment at the school. In 2017 due to the efforts of Henry Ventura and Dana McMenamin, who were both staff members at Lexington School for the Deaf and long-time volunteers at Deaf Camp, Lexington students began to attend Camp. With the addition of the Lexington students the number of campers grew from 40-80.
In 2019 Henry Ventura, a Mental Health Counselor at the Lexington School for the Deaf, and Dana McMenamin, a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Lexington School for the Deaf, became Camp Directors. At the end of the 2019 Camp, Ed and Pat McCormack stepped down as Camp Directors.