In July 2011 over 125 former campers and staff were able to gather at the Woodridge, NY camp property to celebrate and reflect on Shiloh's 60-year history of building hope in the lives of thousands of children through summer camp and year round programs. As the "Shiloh Family" reunited memories were shared, relationships were built, and for a few, healing took place.
From Jill Businelle ('06-present), "It was incredible to hear generations of stories. Although the names and dates were different, our experiences have been the same. Our passions were the same. Our love for inner-city youth in New York City was rooted deeply in the same place. It was like spending a weekend with a sibling you had gone your whole life without knowing. I ended the weekend inspired by the legacy I am a part of."
Dirk Forrister ('74-'80) shared this: I'd been away far too long, so I didn't recognize much of Woodridge. Driving down the tree-lined entrance brought back tons of memories. I was thrilled to see how vibrant things seemed at Shiloh. I loved getting to know the staff a little - and was inspired by their dedication to inner-city missions. I was really impressed with their hard work in improving the facilities - the place looked great, even though my favorite tractor is now a piece of sculpture! I hope many of us "old timers" can find ways to reconnect and help out again in our own small ways.
Ashley French ('98-present), Chair of the 2011 reunion told us, "I was surprised and thrilled (and kind of nervous) when I found out that Odessa Thomas was planning to attend the reunion. She was in my Oral History group on Saturday and shared the most phenomenal story. She said when she was young she was regularly told at home that she wasn't loved and that she was worthless. She said her family regularly compared her to her deadbeat uncle that no one cared for or respected. When she got to Shiloh, everyone told her they loved her and liked her, in spite of her antics. So she made a conscious effort to test that love. She said she tried everything she could to get someone to tell her what her family told her, but no one would. She kept wondering how these people who weren't her family could love her more than her own family, the very people who should love her most. She kept testing and the Shiloh counselors and staff never failed. Despite the fact the she was sent home from camp, she kept coming back year after year. Each year the love continued. It took over ten years to find out that she -- truly the most challenging of campers -- was influenced by her time at Shiloh. Not just influenced though. She was changed forever."