Families – Verdesi

Paul and Brenda Verdesi and family

P-and-B-VerdesiPaul Verdesi started his experience at Holmes Camp in the mid 60s, the son of Ariel Verdesi, one of the summer camp program chaplains who were invited there on a week by week basis along with their families.

Brenda Donohue became aware of Holmes as Uncle Don and Aunt Charlotte shared stories at family gatherings as she was growing up.

In the early 70’s Paul was a regular summer camp camper at Denton Lake and remembers his experiences at Gibbes Tents and Scudder Cabin.

In 1975 he interviewed with Randy Nielsen and joined the employed summer staff as a “Maintenance Assistant”

Paul-Brenda-and-JakeEach year thereafter Paul left his off season job as an auto mechanic  to return to camp, then as the senior summer maintenance employee. Paul also spent many off season weekends working with Red Gibson and Davy Nielsen on various camp projects. In the winter of 1982/83, Don Hostetter invited Paul to a full time, year round position employed through the “Westminster Transformation  Fund” budget.

His first major task was to complete the mechanical systems of the Agape kitchen and get it on line for that summer.  During that project Paul met Harry Borg, a licensed electrician, who immediately hired Paul, part time, partly to  ”see how things are done in the real world”  Paul watched and learned and each day brought  those skills and experiences back and applied them here at Holmes. After his apprenticeship through Harry he earned his Putnam County Electricians License.

During the 80s, Paul lived on site in the lower level of Nunemaker for several winters and summered in the staff cabins.

At that time he met Brenda Donohue who was employed for several summers doing a variety of summer camp jobs, lastly being an administrative assistant to Don and Charlotte Hostetter.

Paul and Brenda were engaged in 1988 and through a sale of property, began building their log home on a lot near Denton Lake.   They were married in September of 1989. David Burpee, participating as best man.

Brenda has been the organization behind the very active group of alumni staff from the 70’s and 80’s.  She kept track of phone numbers and addresses long before email addresses were known.  She helps organize the annual “Girls Weekend” of former staff colleagues and hosts overnights as staff members arrive to volunteer or drop “camp cousins” off for their own Holmes experiences.

In June of 1999 the Verdesi’s son Jacob was born and was soon followed by Benjamin in November of 2000.  The Director of Holmes at that time was Bill Key.  Paul’s position was added to the operating budget and his title became “Maintenance Specialist”

Jake and Ben immediately became key members of a family of camp friends who now call themselves “Camp Cousins”

During the next decade and a half, many of the “Camp Cousins” have  been involved in many of  camp’s functions and programs , including;  Family camp, New Years Eve celebrations, Burpee Turkey, Summer camp campers, Alumni work day volunteers, SALT & LITE programs, Farm staff and volunteers, and now even summer staff members.