2020 Final Campfire

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Yesterday evening we celebrated Nancy Bell as she heads into retirement. This final campfire of 2020 was filled with songs, stories, laughs, and sincere thank yous to the woman who has led Green Cove as director for 41 years. For those that could not join us live, we recorded the event, so please enjoy! Thank you to everyone who has sent their well wishes and memories to Nancy, and please feel free to continue sharing those via social media, email, or snail mail- we’ll make sure Nancy gets them!

Thank you to Katie LaRue, Susan Danos, and Marie Danos for sharing your musical talents with us!

Thank you to Sophie Felts, Muffy Sewall, Katy Danos, Suzie Howick, Susan Danos, Barb Heck, and Anne Sharp for sharing your thoughts and congratulations to Nancy with everyone.

And the biggest thank you of all to Nancy Bell- Green Cove would not be the place it is without your tireless, thoughtful, and kind leadership. We will miss having you in the office, but are glad to know you’ll be nearby. Best wishes for a very well deserved retirement!

Thoughts shared by Calla Bell Williamson:

Nancy is my Aunt, so I’ve known her all my life. She was (and is) a big role model for me, as she is for many of you. I was lucky to have her as one of the adults in my world as a child, so learned inadvertently many important things. And I realized…. After I had seen a few other folks recordings for tonight- that there are some common themes that I think many of us will mention tonight! (Katy Danos, there is one section of yours that is almost word for word my exact thoughts! {{How to stay calm during stressful times, to think carefully before you speak, and to remain open minded at all times}}- Nancy has modeled these things and I feel lucky to have grown up close to her!

One thing I love about Nancy that many of you might not know, is how humble she is. She will often say “I could be wrong, I could be very wrong about this, but I’m thinking….” She will state her opinion and often there will be that qualifier- “Unless you think differently…” and “what do you think?” She is sure of herself, but always open to another opinion. I LOVE that about her. I do believe that is a major component to being WISE. She is OPEN MINDED. She is perfectly comfortable with being WRONG (which she rarely is). How many people do you know like that?

There is one more thing about Nancy that I wanted to emphasize. It is her impressive standards that keeps us all coming back to Green Cove. She expects us all to treat others with respect, try new things, work hard, and be the best that we can be. She sets the bar high. And because we all love Green Cove so much (and we admire Nancy), we want to reach that bar. We become better people. That’s why Green Cove has been so successful at changing so many lives, and Nancy has been the reason for that for the last four decades.

I won’t go on and on tonight about how awesome Nancy is (although I could) because there are many people here tonight who will speak to that. I will just say that I feel very fortunate as well as daunted to be following in Nancy’s footsteps. Luckily I know that she is not going far, and that she has offered to help us out any time we need it!

Nancy, thank you for your support. Thank you for being someone I can look up to and emulate. For being steadfast, brave, strong, and humble. Thank you for being you.

About Ev Schwartz

Our Assistant Director is Ev Schwartz, who moved to North Carolina and joined our full time staff in 2019. Originally from Alexandria, VA, Ev grew up going to camp in the mountains of Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016 with a BA in Political Science and a BA in Economics. After graduation, Ev was pursuing a Masters degree in Political Science when her love of outdoor education was rekindled. From there she worked for camps as a Head counselor, Head of outdoor living skills, and an outdoor learning center instructor. Ev is an avid believer in the potential of outdoor education to bring about positive camper outcomes, as well as the power of a small community of dedicated women to make a real difference in the world. In the summer she coordinates with activities to make sure programs run smoothly and trips are rewarding and safe. In Fall, winter, and spring, Ev travels to recruit campers and works hard to assemble the best staff team possible. Ev lives at camp with her dog Eddy and spends her free time hiking, climbing, caving, and doing just about anything to be outside!

Ev Schwartz