Back in about 1971 I visited the camp a couple of times. In the early 1980's, I was one of the "distinguished clinicians" who spent a week at the camp.
Bernie Weiner posted to Stutt-L - 12/29/98 and 1/2/99 Berniewin@AOL.COM
By the way, I was a Caveman and a University Club man. And we had a speech language pathologist who we nicknamed, "turn-pike Jeannie" for obvious reasons. :-))
I know that Russ Hicks was also a camper there, but I have not been able to locate one person from my days at camp. If you know of anybody who was there in 1965 or 1966 let me know. I have practically exhausted all the avenues I know.
Russ Hicks - posted to Stutt-L - 1/1/99 RussHicks@mail.com
I really grew up there. I think the camp itself started in the mid 40's (maybe earlier?) and I knew one other fellow, Rocky Duke, who was there in about 1948. They had very simple tee-shirts in those days, a brown circle with "Shady Trails" in it. In 1950 they adopted the blue University of Michigan seal with "Shady Trails" around it. You could tell the real old guys who had the brown tee shirts. :-)
The director in those days was John Clancy. He and his wife. During the daily mail call, he could spin/throw envelopes to the far corners of the huge dining hall. That was so cool. He was the director every summer I was there. I thought he invented the place. (My/our friend Gary Rentschler was the director in later years, and it's fun to reminisce with him.)
Bernie said, " I think that the camp was pretty progressive in that it focused not only on the mechanical techniques but also focused on changing the way that people who stutter thought about themselves." I didn't experience this renaissance thinking. They were entirely mechanical in those days and we never once discussed openness and acceptance. It was a primitive fluency shaping system with no regard for any of the psychological aspects of stuttering. They just didn't know any of that in prehistoric times. Bernie, I think they may have started that by the time you got there. Speech-wise I was no better off when I left there in 1957 than I was when I started in 1950. But the seeds were planted.
However life itself was really spectacular up there. My swimming coach, Ron Gora, won a silver medal (free style) in the Helsinki Olympics in the early 50's. He could outrace a shark. One of my "speech correctionists" as we called them back then, was Jeannie Blatchford, who took a week out of camp to become Miss Pennsylvania in the Miss America contest. (And she was only the "third best looking" speech correctionist there according to informal poll of the hormone-filled teen age boys there! - And that tradition carries on to this day where modern day SLPs are the most beautiful women in the world!)
We had absolutely world class people there. A counselor from Sweden introduced us to soccer before anyone had ever heard of the game over here. A paraplegic counselor (both legs amputated but arms like Arnold Swartzeneger) could climb a rope like a rocket. One of the cooks, Bob Benson, was a concert pianist. These kinds of people were everywhere. Talk about inspirational!
We had campers there with every kind of speech disorder. Stuttering, articulation, cerebral palsy, deaf, you name it, we had it. One of the CP guys could throw a baseball out of the park! Handicapped? Yeah, right. I never thought of myself as "alone" because I knew there were stutterers everywhere long before the NSP came up with "If you stutter, you're not alone." I didn't realize how lucky I was.
Memories abound... Sleeping Bear sand dunes, Petoski stones, Gull Island (where we could never go!), hikes to Northport where we picked apples along the way, cold water in the icy springs and the smell of mint that went with it (I freeze to this day every time I smell mint!), taking my senior lifesaving test in a veritable hurricane from the off-shore raft in ice water, the rocks in the bay which required slow torture to get into the ice water, trips to the Interlochen Music Camp long before we even knew what a world-class facility that was, snipe hunts in the dead of night, "announcements" in the dining hall, round robins (early Toastmasters?) every week... Wow, as I said, I really grew up there.
One of my major disappointments in later life is that I never, not once, met any of my fellow campers on the outside world that I knew during any of my summers there. Where did they all go? Phil Ryan, Dennis Stalzer, Cunliff MacBee from Mississippi, Amile Crete (a real Cajun from Louisiana), many, many others whose names fade from memory. I've met several people who've gone to Shady Trails (Bernie Weiner, Pat Feeney, Rocky Duke, Gary Rentschler, who else?), but none of them were there when I was there. I thought surely in the NSP and on Stutt-L I'd meet one of these people, but no, not a one...
My wife and I visited Shady Trails one time in the mid 70's I think when it wasn't in session, and it still looked the same. But there was nobody home. What a shame... Gull Island and the mansion on it were still there though. I thought about renting a boat to go out there, but never did...
I thought many times how little I learned about stuttering at Shady Trails. Yes, I learned about LIFE there, but my fluency never lasted more than a couple of weeks after returning home. It wasn't until I joined the NSP in the mid 80's that a lot of what I learned about stuttering at Shady Trails started to come back to me. The seeds finally began to grow after nearly three decades of dormancy. I learned about being open with my stuttering from Dr. Joe Sheehan at Purdue in the early 60's and coupled that with learning how to "control" my speech at Shady Trails and the support of the NSP... That's when everything finally began to all come together. Yes, stuttering takes a lifetime to understand, control, accept, and pass what I've learned on to others. It's been quite a trip.