After decades of service to Camp Brookwood, Mary Lee Phillips has retired and handed responsibility for the camp to the diocese in the form of John Galbraith, director of Camp Medley.
“Mary Lee has been chair of the board for probably 30 years, but she’s not able to continue,” said John. “She and her husband did a phenomenal job.”
Mary Lee and her husband, Dwight, will open and close the camp, located just outside Florenceville-Bristol, but it will be up John to hire and oversee staff and operations.
“My involvement will be hands-on this summer,” said John. “I’ve met with past staff and a clergy person to talk about the camp and what they’d like to see.
“I want to learn about Camp Brookwood so we can continue to grow it.” John says he appreciates the smaller venue and the close relationships that are more easily formed there because of its size.
“I don’t want to change it,” he said. “For a child not good with large groups, Camp Brookwood is perfect. There’s more focus. They’re a bit more laid back, and it’s less expensive, too.”
John is working on staff recruitment. Last year’s director, Emily Sprague, is on a work placement for her respiratory therapy course at NBCC, so she cannot return.
It’s full steam ahead at Camp Medley. John had hired most of the 22 staff and eight leaders-in-training. A new camp this summer will help prepare serious school athletes for the coming season.
“It’s during teen camp and it’s to help kids get in shape for fall sports,” said John.
It’s called Fall Intensive Sport Camp and will run Aug. 13-18.
The new seniors camp held last October was a success, so much so that it’s on the schedule again this fall.
“It went very well,” said John. “They loved it and wanted it again.”
Hiking, canoeing, archery, stretching exercises, campfires, music and story-telling were all highlights.
John is working on finding someone from the creative arts world who can “take them on a journey with art,” he said. “Though I don’t know how that will look just yet.”
Camp rentals — a good source of income — have increased this year. From Aug. 7-12, a water ski group will rent the entire camp. In early June two Fredericton middle schools will send 400 students for the day over four days.
“That’s 400 people coming through that have probably never been here before,” he said. “There’s the potential to return for a real camp experience.”
John encourages parishes to invest in camping ministry by sending children from their parish or area, or simply by donating to either camp.
“Spread the word, encourage your grandchildren,” he said. “There is always space for parish involvement — to come and help, volunteer, or make a donation.
“Camp is amazing. It’s full of activities and we are excited for summer,” said John, adding that for many campers at both camps, that one week during the summer is the only time all year they hear about Jesus.
This summer at Camp Medley, regular camps are $360, while specialty camps are $385.
Camp Brookwood's fee is $200.
1. A hike in the woods is always an opportunity for discovery at Camp Brookwood, as this photo from 2022 shows.
2. Campers gather at the Jonathan Young Memorial Amphitheatre at Camp Medley during the summer of 2022.