Any alumni who spent summers at Forest Lake during the 50’s and 60’s will certainly recognize the name Mike Moran. Mike began his career as a camper at FLC in 1954 in Cabin Tamarack (now Cabin 11) which, at the time, was the junior cabin for the youngest campers, and the cabin’s original location was at the west end of the now girls’ soccer field. Among Mike’s cabin mates in Tamarack were a number of other recognizable names – Gary Barenklau, Ken Cappy, Jay Cawley, Jerry Combs, Manlio Vidoni, Greg Denari, and Gary Confer. Their counselor was Tom Ford – a young man from Panama. The following summer Leo “Buzz” Fishel joined Mike’s cabin and the group of Barenklau, Cawley, Fishel and Moran remained cabin mates for the next five summers.
The Morans, at that time, lived in Queens Village, New York. Mike’s older brother, Mark, attended FLC for seven summers prior to Mike’s arrival and Mike recalls visiting FLC on Parents’ Weekends which whetted his appetite for later attendance. Mark enjoyed a 20+ year career in the Army Corps of Engineers and served two tours in Vietnam as an Airborne Ranger combat engineer. Following his military career, Mark embarked on a second career in engineering and supervised all the construction- new and renovation – for the Anne Arundel (Maryland) County Public Schools.
Mike attended FLC as a camper from 1954-1962 and was a member of the Blue team. He was an all- around athlete with particular skills in swimming, high jumping, and basketball plus he was always a contender in any tetherball tournaments. In 1963, Mike joined the staff and worked primarily on the waterfront having learned from waterfront legends such as Tom Allen and Blaney Blodgett. Mike was a regular contributor at campfire with his guitar playing along with Jim Brown, Andy O’Connell, and Ken Brown. His final summer was 1970 when he and Jim Brown were co-counselors in Cabin 13.
Mike graduated from Rutgers University and matriculated at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. During seminary he served as the Rutgers varsity lightweight rowing coach. He served as a part time minister while teaching full time at the St. Francis School on Staten Island. Mike went to the North Carolina Outward Bound School in order to bring outdoor education to St. Francis. From Staten Island Mike moved to northwest New Jersey where he taught outdoor education in Ridgefield but also served as a part time minister in Bushkill, PA. Following that period, Mike and his wife, Eileen, moved to Proctor, Vermont where Mike served as a full time pastor. Mike and Eileen later moved back to NJ where Mike was director of development and alumni affairs for the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. And, finally, Mike was appointed as Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church in New Milford, CT and this summer marks the 26th year in that position. Along the way, Mike has received recognition for both his published writings and his photographs. He remains interested in playing guitar, photography, and history (archaeological and NFL). Mike and Eileen have two daughters – Kathryn and Elizabeth – and two grandchildren – Harbor and Cedar.
Here is a sidebar about the Moran family that most alumni would not know. Mike and Mark’s father, Francis “Hap” Moran was a collegiate and professional football player. His records and his accomplishments are too many to list here (suggestion Google Hap Moran) but he distinguished himself as an outstanding running back for the NY Giants. Mr. Moran held the NFL record for the longest touchdown run from scrimmage – 91 yards against the Green Bay Packers on 11/23/30 for 75 years until it was broken by Tiki Barber on 12/31/05. If you were around FLC for the Parents’ Weekend Father/Son softball game back in the 1950’s and saw Mr. Moran run to first base after hitting the ball one handed, you would at least recall that there was something special about him.
Mike recently wrote that he has very “fond memories” of his time at FLC – the campfires, chasing the Fleborak, riding in the back of the camp truck, the Banquet, treats from home (care packages), sugardaddies and Coke, speedboat rides on Lake George, the stars at night and the mist on the lake in the early morning, the canoe trips, and the senior staff – Tom Allen, Cozzie Costello, Phil and Sally, and Ollie VanCise. Mike also recalls the pride he felt when some of his former campers became staff members – Dean Beckos, Dave Fahrner, and Alan Oehrig.
Mike and Mark both attended the alumni reunion this past September and were able to reunite with a number of their FLC friends.