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A Letter From Our Executive Director, Budd Ryer

July 7, 2020

Dear members of the Camp Bernadette, Camp Fatima, and Exceptional Citizens’ Week community,

I write to you today to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of our Catholic camps. While I have the privilege of knowing many of you, there are hundreds of campers, staff members, families, volunteers, benefactors, and alumnae whom I do not yet know. Whether we are friends already or soon-to-be friends I look forward to talking with you over the next several months.

I want to thank Bishop Peter Libasci, David Thibault, Superintendent of NH Catholic Schools, and the camps’ Board of Directors, for the opportunity to serve the Diocese of Manchester in this role.

Mission

I have been involved with Camps Fatima and Bernadette for over three decades having served (a long time ago) as a counselor, division head, CIT director, and resident director at Fatima. Most recently I have served on the camps’ board of directors and have been an EC Week volunteer for close to twenty-five years. After many productive years as a business leader in the financial services sector, I take this job with a desire to serve the camps, their campers, and their families. I love the camps and what they do. With your support, I intend to advance the camps’ mission which is to create a community where all are welcome and, guided by our Catholic faith, provide a fun, engaging outdoor camping experience where campers and staff learn new skills and grow in faith, confidence, and friendship.

My family is also involved with camp. My wife, Betsy, and my youngest daughter, Meg, are EC Week volunteers, and Meg is also a counselor at Special Needs Week. My oldest daughter, Meredith, is a big supporter of EC Week. We are a camp family and know the blessings that camp brings!

In my role as Executive Director, I plan to use all that I have learned on my faith journey, and from my career in business, to grow the camps, develop their facilities, protect their environment, provide leadership for the staff, and connect with alumnae and families. I plan to secure a robust future for the camps by building on all the goodness that the camps accomplish today. Sustaining a safe, healthy, and faith-filled environment for all campers will be paramount in all my efforts. 

Hope

In a pandemic environment, though, this will not be easy. I will need your help. A colleague told me recently that I certainly picked an interesting time to start this new job. She is right. But together, and with the help of Our Lady, we will continue the mission of Catholic camping at Fatima and Bernadette into perpetuity.

I would like to take a moment here to offer a message of hope to all our campers at Camp Fatima, Camp Bernadette, and Exceptional Citizens’ Week. While you won’t be able to be at camp this summer please know that there are many people working very hard right now and into the coming months to do everything we can to make camp happen safely for you in 2021. We know how important camp is for you. How fun it can be. The friends you can make. The things you can learn. We will not stop working until your camp dreams can be realized again.

Gratitude

To the staff and volunteers upon whom we rely to deliver fun, safe and life changing moments for our campers, I proclaim a full-throated thank you for what you do for our campers. You impact young lives in a positive way and make them richer. Your work helps shape the future. For the parents and families of our campers, the alumnae of our camps, the alumnae associations, the Friends of Fatima, and our other generous benefactors, my message to you is one of deep gratitude. Your support of our camps and our campers is profoundly appreciated. It makes a difference. It provides grace.

Connecting

I personally know this life-changing grace provided by Camps Fatima and Bernadette. My prayer for all of you, as I start my new role as Executive Director, is that Our Lady will continue to grace all of you by bringing forth her Son into your lives through the goodness of our camps for many, many years to come. Please pray for me as well that I may be a good steward of the camps’ mission. As I begin this new role please feel free to reach out to me at bryer@bfcamp.com. I look forward to engaging with the camp community as we, together, build the future of Catholic camping.