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November 2016 Newsletter

Sally Confer – November Alumni Spotlight

In the long history of Forest Lake, no one has been involved with and worked for the camp as long as Sally Confer – in fact, no one even comes close. Sally began as camp secretary at Forest Lake in the 1940’s for the original owner/director Harold Confer. After taking a couple of year’s hiatus to have children (Nancy and Gary), Sally worked continuously full time, year round through and including the summer 2003. Sally retired at the age of 84.

Phil and Sally became directors in 1954 and, in addition to being co-director, Sally continued to run the camp office for the next 49 years. She did all manner of office related work including keeping the financial books, sending of all camp correspondence, preparing camp menus and food orders, printing and sending camp newsletters (OWL), telephone answering, prospecting, etc., etc.. This is all the more remarkable given that she did this work without the advantage of word processing, personal computers, laser printers – the whole array of modern technology. All written communication Sally performed on a typewriter or by hand.
Sally ConferSally has always been known for her amazing memory. Having handled so much correspondence directly, she had camper’s mailing addresses memorized except for the zip codes since zip codes were a more recent development. Over the years, she stunned many alumni who entered the summer office by recognizing them immediately. Sally attributed her recollection of so many campers to having sold them 5 cent Hersheys and 10 cent Cokes through the store window at the Lodge. Remember the little manila envelopes with your allowance for store or town visits – Sally prepared each one of those, too.

In the fall of 1989, Phil Confer proposed that Forest Lake open its doors to girls beginning the summer of 1990. Sally opposed the idea initially but two factors changed her thinking. From her office window in the Lodge, Sally could see the girls go by on their way to the mess hall and enjoyed how they would walk arm in arm, chatting, laughing and then Sally would hear the evidence of the girls’ camp spirit in song and cheer. She eventually claimed that girls were meant for camp. Ironically, the original naysayer would become, perhaps, the most notable role model for FLC girls.

Sally currently resides in a retirement community in Ballwin, Missouri – a suburb of St. Louis. Her address is 182 Ameren Way #544, Ballwin, Missouri 63021. She still has that amazing memory and stays active with crossword puzzles, reading, and playing board games. Sally celebrated her 97th birthday in August and remains very interested in news of Forest Lake and her Forest Lake friends.


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