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August 15, 2011

Three Long-Time Advocates Are Honored at Camp Hollis

STRONG TRADITIONS - Long-time supporters of Camp Hollis were honored this summer for their many contributions to the camp and its programs. From left are Vicki Mather, former president of Friends of Camp Hollis, former camp director Jim Farfaglia, Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau; Brandon Morey, coordinator of youth development and recreation for Oswego County, and Jane Murphy, former treasurer of Friends of Camp Hollis.

OSWEGO - A former camp director and two long-time members of Friends of Camp Hollis received a special recognition from the Oswego County Legislature, campers, and staff of Camp Hollis this summer.

Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann told the large group in attendance that "Camp Hollis as we know it today wouldn't be possible without these three special people - Jim Farfaglia, Vicki Mather, and Jane Murphy. The entire Legislature appreciates these individuals and what they have done for the children and the families of Oswego County."

Former camp director Jim Farfaglia, former president Vicki Mather, and former treasurer Jane Murphy were cited for the many countless ways that they helped to shape and preserve Camp Hollis over the last two decades. Murphy and Mather co-founded the Friends of Camp Hollis when the facility was in danger of losing its funding several years ago.

"They started out with little things like getting new curtains for the cabins in 1999," said Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. "Since then, they have raised more than $75,000 and given away 2,000 full and partial scholarships to allow kids to attend Camp Hollis. In addition, the friends group raised money for a BOCES classroom for the deaf, so that children with hearing impairments can also enjoy the summer camp experience."

The group continues to raise funds for scholarships for children to attend camp, and sponsors a number of events to promote the use of Camp Hollis.

Farfaglia retired late last year after working for the youth bureau for more than 20 years. Fenlon noted that under Farfaglia's inspiration and leadership, Camp Hollis now hosts programming throughout the year for families and groups. Farfaglia organized senior camping for those age 50 and older, bereavement camp for children who have lost a loved one, and family camp for parents and children. Farfaglia also implemented a team-building challenge course and safety training certificate programs at the camp, and co-authored a book on the history of Camp Hollis.

Located on the Lake Ontario shoreline in the Town of Oswego, Camp Hollis offers a residential camping experience for youth ages 8 to 14, with swimming, nature hikes, arts and crafts, games, campfires, and other activities.

"The experience of going to Camp Hollis is part of growing up in Oswego County," said Legislature Chairman Leemann, who attended the camp himself in the late 1950s. "The growth experiences, friendships and lessons learned at Camp Hollis stay with you for the rest of your life. Any one of you young people can do anything you want to do if you try hard enough," he told the 100 11- and 12-year-olds gathered around him. "Camp Hollis is a top priority of county government and a top priority of the County Legislature."

For information on Camp Hollis and other youth services, contact the Oswego City-County Bureau at 349-3451 or visit the Oswego County Web site at www.oswegocounty.com/youth/hollis/index.html

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