When you speak to any alum about FLC, you often hear them refer to FLC as their “second home”. It is this community that FLC has built and nourished over the past 90 years that makes FLC so unique and special to so many of us. In this vein, we have decided, with the help of Gary Confer, to reach out to some of our alumni to highlight their role at FLC and to learn what they are up to these days. To kick us off, “mim Jiller” will be spotlighted in this month’s newsletter!
Jim Miller, known to many as Mim Jiller, began a long association with Forest Lake in 1981 when he joined the staff as a general counselor. At the time, Jim hailed from Wood-Ridge, NJ and graduated as a music education major from William Patterson College (NJ). Jim was recommended to Forest Lake by veteran staff member, Steve Nieradka.
Jim was a cabin counselor in Cabin 8 for his first three camp seasons. During that time, he developed an avid interest in the trip program and in the Adirondack region. Jim’s leadership ability was quickly recognized, and he became one of the head counselors in the boys’ camp. Following that stint, Jim became the director of the trip program and lead hundreds of campers into the Adirondack wilderness for the years that followed. Jim’s trip leader mentors were Jake Shepard, Fred Shepard, Steve Nieradka,Chris Brown and Geoff Neu all of whom he continues to stay in touch with. Of course, no mention of Jim’s trip leadership should leave out his longtime companion and assistant – Bartok.
Along with his interests in trips, Jim always participated in counselor softball games and any activity involving frisbees. And, naturally, his musical contributions to campfire were many. In the mid 1980’s, Forest Lake had some exceptional musicians, mostly from the University of the South at Sewanee, who raised the bar on musical excellence at campfire. Jim was often part of ensembles along with Fred Shepard, Robert “Ropes” Stewart, Drew Jones, Peter Rubens, and Chris Brown. Jim played both guitar and flute, the latter being his specialty. Jim’s “across the board excellence” in the cabin, in the administration, on the trail, and at campfire was rewarded with the Golden Arrow.
Also, during the 1980’s, Jim was hired as a music teacher in the Bolton, NY school system and resided in the farmhouse at FLC in the off-season where he looked after the camp and was able to continue his exploration of the Adirondacks.
A stroke of good fortune struck in the 1990’s when Forest Lake hired a girls’ camp counselor by the name of Laura Morris from Granville, NY. Laura, too, developed a keen interest in wilderness trips and the leadership combination with Jim produced not only a great trip program but a wonderful marriage as well.
Jim and Laura currently reside in Queensbury, NY and are the proud parents of two boys – Charley and Michael. Jim continues to teach music in the Bolton school where he has accumulated a tenure of 28 years. In his spare time, Jim has been researching both his and Laura’s family genealogy.
Would you like to connect or reconnect with other FLC alumni? If so, we have a great Alumni Network Database – you can establish an account or update your account below.
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