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  • Lisa Tanzman

2018 Message from the Founders

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Longtime supporter, Mary Ryan, passed away in September


It is with a heavy heart that we write to tell you about the best session (8/13 – 8/25) of camp in 31 years.  Mary Bayes Ryan, the lovely lady who owns the property in East Hampton where we have been camping since 1993, passed away on September 21st.  We are so grateful to have had one last summer together but very sad about her passing shortly after camp ended.

Mary represented many things to everyone involved with Camp Erutan:  friend, mentor, grandmother, mother, hope, love, light.  She took the time to look directly into your eyes and give you her undivided, nonjudgmental attention and love.

Mary’s sons Maxwell and Oliver have also been a part of Camp Erutan throughout the years and Mary’s granddaughter Ursula, Max’s daughter, was a responsible assistant during camp this summer.  Max and Ursula invited us to swim in their pool and hosted movie night in their theater.  Oliver put together a silent disco for us on the bluff one evening.  Everyone wore wireless headphones and Mary sat in her golf cart where she kept the beat and greeted campers.  While listening to the song Havana, we set up a soul-train that grooved towards Mary’s golf cart.  We laughed, smiled and swayed with the moon in the sky above the bay, fireflies dancing in the trees, and campers experiencing another first.

Campers had many new experiences on a daily basis this summer.  Not surprisingly, everyone’s favorite day was the day we were guests on a beautiful boat that left from Sag Harbor on an adventure no one could have imagined.  We anchored just off Shelter Island where there was a jet ski and jet boat waiting for us.  The driver of the jet ski gave rides to 2 campers at a time, and the jet boat came complete with a floatation device that 3 people were able to stand on at once while being pulled by the boat.  We were invited to the owner’s house after docking for lunch, swimming, rock climbing, basketball and freshly baked cookies.  This amazing day ended with a shopping spree where each camper picked out a new outfit, shoes included, to be worn the following week when we were to be guests of The Palm restaurant in East Hampton.

Other activities enjoyed during the session included horseback riding camp, dance class, swim lessons, stand up paddle boarding, book making, collage, painting, making happy beads, ropes course, drumming, playing ukulele, chess lessons, farming and our 1st Annual Luis Colon Camp Erutan Challenge held on the last full day of camp.  Luis first attended Camp Erutan when he was 6 years old, 18 years ago, and has been a counselor at Camp Erutan for the past 6 years.  Luis is an incredible role model for current campers, working not only as a physical trainer but also towards completion of his master’s degree.  The challenge started with campers having their feet in Gardiner’s Bay, picking up a rock the size of a large potato, running to the barn, exchanging the rock for a piece of ice from Oliver, running to Max’s pool, jumping in the deep end, swimming to the shallow end and giving Luis the piece of ice to end the race.  The campers loved retelling the story of this event to Mary later that evening.

When the challenge was finished, the campers were excited to put on a Gratitude Show for Mary.  It was an amazing performance filled with song, dance, gymnastics, jokes and most of all, love.  Each camper hugged and thanked Mary, saying goodbye knowing this may be the last time they would see her.

Mary was a talented artist and loved the art projects campers created while at Camp Erutan.  In her memory, Camp Erutan is setting up the MBR Scholarship Fund to provide campers with art supplies so they may continue to create.

As always, we appreciate and thank you for your support of Camp Erutan.  With your continued support, we are all able to make a difference in the lives of our campers.

Lisa Tanzman & Elaine Mermelstein


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