If ever there was someone born into the Incarnation Camp family, it would have to be Ann. Her father, Howard Bingley, was the camp director before Andy Katsanis, and so she acclimated to the camp culture at a young age. Ann officially started at camp at age 10, was enrolled from 1964 through 1969 as a camper, and then worked there washing dishes. Her love for the camp led to her running the commissary at Pioneer Village in 1972.

Memories of Camp

When Ann returned to camp for the first significant time this past summer, she was pleasantly surprised to find out that it hasn’t changed much at all.“It brought back memories of cooking over an open fire, learning to feel safe in the water, and becoming self-reliant outdoors. l loved being away from home — it was great feeling independent,” she says. “And I made great friends that lasted well into college.” Her favorite memories revolve around water sports. “I started as a turtle and got to be a whale, swimming the length of the lake. I feel most proud of being an accomplished swimmer and canoeist.”

An Unexpected Trip

When it came to the hiking or canoe trips, Ann always chose the canoe trips. She remembers a particular trip on the Housatonic in which one of the counselors got stung by a bee. “The other counselor had to take him to the hospital, leaving us kids alone. When the counselor returned in the middle of the night, he carried news of the Soviet invasion of Prague. He was distraught — even as kids, we had a sense of what was going on.” It was experiences such as cooking every meal over an open fire, and navigating unexpected rapids on a canoe trip that gave Ann the feeling of not being afraid of being outdoors. “I can take care of myself under any circumstances and that has made me a lot less nervous about life in general.”

Exposure to Others

“Camp was the first time for me and my sister Kathy to be together with underprivileged kids. And we had counselors from England and other parts of Europe. That’s really special about the camp — it’s not homogenous. At the time, I didn’t realize how special that was.” “Being exposed to a huge variety of experiences and people has given me an appreciation for other people’s talents.” Ann recalls being impressed by counselor Mark Stamaty’s drawing ability. “He became an influence. I bought ‘Yellow Yellow,’ his first book.”

Bringing People Into Balance

After 20 years in marketing, Ann is now a feng shui consultant, helping bring people into balance with their environment. “I felt I was getting out of touch with nature and realized how important it was to get alignment with that in my life and help others to do so,”
she says. You can visit her at OpenSpacesFengShui.com.

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