formerly called the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation

The Camp Ma-He-Tu Endowment Fund

Formerly known as the Camp Ma-He-Tu Foundation


$88,000 and growing! And two poignant memorials...

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 9:55 AM

The Foundation's investments, cash gifts and pledges now total $88,000--a remarkable start considering that the endowment fund campaign began just after the end of a tax year.   We are grateful for those who have pledged and donated so early into our campaign.  You have shown the possibilities!

Some of our pledges/donations have come as memorials to loved ones who have passed away.   Donations are still coming in to honor founding director Peggy Tobin Lebonitte, whose husband Tom generously designated the Foundation as a means of remembering and honoring Peggy, her work on the Foundation, and her love of Ma-He-Tu.   Two other recent gifts/pledges were made as memorials.  Please read about them below.

Laurie (Hertzberger) Crecca made a pledge and donation in memory of Debbie Roach, sister of Melissa Roach. Here's what Laurie said:

 Camp Ma-He-Tu holds a very special place in my heart for so many reasons, and Debbie is one of them.

My sister, Jill Herzberger Cedar, and I were the second generation of women to attend Ma-He-Tu, following in the footsteps of my mother, Lenore Illjes Herzberger and my Aunt Jean Illjes, who were campers in the late 40's and early 50's.

For Jill and I, 1975 was our first summer at Camp, and a love of Ma-He-Tu was born in each of us. That first year we met "the Roach sisters"- Pam, who is a few years older, Missy and Debbie, and a true friendship that continues to this day was also born. I am not sure how many times we were actually in the same cabins and tents, but generally speaking if you found one of us, you found all of us. We lived and learned, drank "bug juice" and scratched mosquito bites together for many summers, "deep in the woods"!

We all grew up on Long Island- the Roach girls had been born and bred in Brooklyn, and Jill and I in Hampton Bays. While we spent our summers together at Ma-He-Tu, we also spent our winters travelling the Long Island Railroad to visit, and learning so much more about one another...our friendship and love for one another continuing to grow.

Debbie passed from us too soon, in the spring of 1995. When I think about her, the word that comes to mind is "laughter". Those days at Ma-He-Tu were filled with laughter, and Debbie would throw her beautiful her head back and laugh with abandon- she had a smile and light in her eyes that you could not help but join in when you were in her presence!

I miss Debbie, but am grateful for the joy she brought me and my sister during our summers at Camp Ma-He-Tu. She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.

Missy and I have remained close friends, and this past summer her daughter, Chloe, and my daugher, Caroline, were Junior cabinmates at Ma-He-Tu! Not only does Chloe resemble Debbie, but that same spirit is there in her, and I believe that the joy Debbie found at Camp lives on in Chloe.

The Foundation also received a touching pledge and donation from Ward Bourn, widower of Jane Lamb Bourn, who attended camp in the 1940s and 1950s. Jane's name first appeared in a 1941 Babbler along with her sister, Judy Lamb, when they were living on Staten Island. Jane appeared again in a Babbler as a Pioneer in 1950, winning awards in sketching, ping pong, campcraft, and as an outstanding athlete.

Two of Jane's contemporaries were Nancy Fitschen and Joanne Mattson. Nancy eventually became directress, and Joanne Mattson (DeVoe) attended the first years of Women-in-the-Woods with her daughter, Kathy DeVoe.In 1951, Jane was listed as a staff member, along with one Dottie Beerman, whom we know now as Dot Becker. We don't know how much longer Jane attended Ma-He-Tu, but we know she carried it with her the rest of her life. She and her husband, Ward, planned an estate gift to Ma-He-Tu, and Ward visited Ma-He-Tu following Jane's passing. We thank Ward for making Jane known to the generations of Ma-He-Tu campers who followed her through his pledge.

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