2018 Message from the Founders

by on Oct.09, 2018, under Letter

It is with a heavy heart that we write to tell you about the best session (8/13 – 8/25) of camp in 31 years.  Mary Bayes Ryan, the lovely lady who owns the property in East Hampton where we have been camping since 1993, passed away on September 21st.  We are so grateful to have had one last summer together but very sad about her passing shortly after camp ended.

Mary represented many things to everyone involved with Camp Erutan:  friend, mentor, grandmother, mother, hope, love, light.  She took the time to look directly into your eyes and give you her undivided, nonjudgmental attention and love.

Mary’s sons Maxwell and Oliver have also been a part of Camp Erutan throughout the years and Mary’s granddaughter Ursula, Max’s daughter, was a responsible assistant during camp this summer.  Max and Ursula invited us to swim in their pool and hosted movie night in their theater.  Oliver put together a silent disco for us on the bluff one evening.  Everyone wore wireless headphones and Mary sat in her golf cart where she kept the beat and greeted campers.  While listening to the song Havana, we set up a soul-train that grooved towards Mary’s golf cart.  We laughed, smiled and swayed with the moon in the sky above the bay, fireflies dancing in the trees, and campers experiencing another first.

Campers had many new experiences on a daily basis this summer.  Not surprisingly, everyone’s favorite day was the day we were guests on a beautiful boat that left from Sag Harbor on an adventure no one could have imagined.  We anchored just off Shelter Island where there was a jet ski and jet boat waiting for us.  The driver of the jet ski gave rides to 2 campers at a time, and the jet boat came complete with a floatation device that 3 people were able to stand on at once while being pulled by the boat.  We were invited to the owner’s house after docking for lunch, swimming, rock climbing, basketball and freshly baked cookies.  This amazing day ended with a shopping spree where each camper picked out a new outfit, shoes included, to be worn the following week when we were to be guests of The Palm restaurant in East Hampton.

Other activities enjoyed during the session included horseback riding camp, dance class, swim lessons, stand up paddle boarding, book making, collage, painting, making happy beads, ropes course, drumming, playing ukulele, chess lessons, farming and our 1st Annual Luis Colon Camp Erutan Challenge held on the last full day of camp.  Luis first attended Camp Erutan when he was 6 years old, 18 years ago, and has been a counselor at Camp Erutan for the past 6 years.  Luis is an incredible role model for current campers, working not only as a physical trainer but also towards completion of his master’s degree.  The challenge started with campers having their feet in Gardiner’s Bay, picking up a rock the size of a large potato, running to the barn, exchanging the rock for a piece of ice from Oliver, running to Max’s pool, jumping in the deep end, swimming to the shallow end and giving Luis the piece of ice to end the race.  The campers loved retelling the story of this event to Mary later that evening.

When the challenge was finished, the campers were excited to put on a Gratitude Show for Mary.  It was an amazing performance filled with song, dance, gymnastics, jokes and most of all, love.  Each camper hugged and thanked Mary, saying goodbye knowing this may be the last time they would see her.

Mary was a talented artist and loved the art projects campers created while at Camp Erutan.  In her memory, Camp Erutan is setting up the MBR Scholarship Fund to provide campers with art supplies so they may continue to create.

As always, we appreciate and thank you for your support of Camp Erutan.  With your continued support, we are all able to make a difference in the lives of our campers.

Lisa Tanzman & Elaine Mermelstein

In addition to online donations, you may also donate via Amazon Smile by naming Camp Erutan as your preferred charity.

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Rare Joys for Campers in Springs, NY

by on Jul.25, 2017, under Letter

Please enjoy this PDF article link from the East Hampton Star:

Rare Joys for Campers in Springs | The East Hampton Star

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2017 Message from the Founders

by on Jun.09, 2017, under Letter

Summer 2017

Camp Erutan is proud to be celebrating our 30th anniversary!

To kickoff the first session of the season, we were invited to stay on the Arfa property where we used to camp in Cayucos California.  The Arfa’s have turned their property into a beautiful retreat, www.wellspringranch.com, and welcomed us as their guests.  All of our meals were prepared for us, campfires going day and night, s’mores fixings, luxurious accommodations, and loving hospitality.  Former campers who are now young adults attended this session and were very touched that the photo album at wellspring ranch included pictures of them as young campers.  A great time was had by all of us.

In July we will be holding an extra long session of camp in East Hampton New York.  For this session of camp, it will be the campers 4th year attending Camp Erutan at Fireplace Farm where the Ryan family has graciously invited us back again this year. Our wonderful host Mary Ryan lets us store all of our gear in her attic and is the grandmother figure all campers adore. Maxwell Ryan (www.apartmenttherapy.com) put up a yurt for Camp Erutan in 1993 and we have been camping there ever since.  Oliver Ryan (www.countit.com) shares his barn with us so we have a fantastic kitchen and lovely outdoor shower to use.

None of this would be possible without our amazing volunteers.  Karen is the other responsible adult at East Hampton camp who takes the train with the campers and plans great art and science projects.  Luis, who has been coming to Camp Erutan since he was 6 years old, graduated college last year and will continue his tradition of helping us set up and breakdown camp.  Peter, who has been a part of the Camp Erutan family since he was 3, will be coming to NY from CA to be a camp counselor – Peter is now 29.  Izzi has been coming to Camp Erutan since she was 3 and will return as a counselor this summer.  Eva will be joining our counselor staff for her 3rd year in a row.  Isabelle, our newest champion, has found a donor to pay for extra activities this summer like horse camp, stand up paddle board lessons, and a fancy night out to dinner.

It is because of your continued generous support that we are able to offer Camp Erutan free of charge to kids in need of an opportunity to be a kid, and to also stay connected and offer additional programs to former campers as they become young adults.  Making a donation is as easy as clicking on this link www.camperutan.org/donate.php or sending a check to CAMP ERUTAN, PO Box 6730, Los Osos, CA 93402.

We wish you and your family and friends a happy, healthy and peaceful summer.

With heartfelt appreciation, we thank you for caring.

Lisa Tanzman & Elaine Mermelstein


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2016 Message from the Founder

by on Aug.20, 2016, under Letter

August 2016

Dear Friends,

We just finished an amazing session of Camp Erutan in East Hampton, NY that marked our 29th year!  I have to say this was the best week we have ever had, although Elaine is quick to remind me that I say “this was the best week we have ever had” every year!  This is a good thing since if camp didn’t continue getting better and better, I’m not sure it would still exist.

There were many contributing factors to this year’s success.  Mary Ryan, owner of the property in EH, graciously greeted all of the campers and invited us to dine with her on her deck at the beginning and end of the session.  Scott Chaskey of Quail Hill farm, who introduced us to Mary Ryan, met us on his tractor and not only remembered our returning campers, but he and his interns made a lovely lunch spread for us in the Quail Hill Farm apple orchard.  Jim Turner, a local musician, joined us to give harmonica lessons.  Christine Clark of Black Sheep Knitworks, taught the campers how to knit scarves using their arms instead of knitting needles.  Local volunteer Danae, made the most delicious macaroni & cheese for dinner again this year.  Isabelle taught our campers how to make zucchini bread from zucchini we harvested at camp and also invited Jimmy, head East Hampton lifeguard, to join us in the pool at John & Jenny’s (local supporters), where he taught all of the campers how to float on their backs.  Isabelle also invited us to her pool on another day where she and her daughters not only had an awesome snack buffet waiting for the campers but also had Alyssa, a swim instructor, there to give our campers swim lessons.

The biggest shout out goes to our extraordinary volunteer counselors.  Karen has been committing her time, resources and talents since 1999.  Luis started out as a camper when he was 5 years old and has come back year after year – he’s now 22 and a senior in college.  Izzi first attended Camp Erutan when she was 3 years old and this year returned as a counselor.  Eva was happy to come back as a counselor again this year and she loved doing the dishes so much that now all of the campers want to help with the dishes too.

Campers who attended this summer, returned for their 3rd year in a row.  Smiles, laughter, stories, songs, dancing, swimming, exploring and listening to each other were just some of the memorable moments.  These kids are very special individuals who are kind and compassionate.  They love their time at Camp Erutan and everyone shed tears when they boarded the train to head back to New York City.  We’re excited we will see them again later this year when we all get together for a Camp Erutan holiday party.  We are also looking forward to hosting a session of Camp Erutan on the Central Coast of California this fall.

Thank you very much to all of our supporters for your continued support.  Your contributions have allowed Camp Erutan to continue for 29 years and we’re still going strong!

With heartfelt gratitude and appreciation.

Lisa Tanzman
Founder & Director

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2015 Message From the Founder

by on Dec.10, 2015, under Letter

Dear Friends of Camp Erutan,

The world is a very crazy place right now for everyone.  Many of us have an emergency action plan – people to call, places to meet, emergency bags to grab.  Imagine what it is like for our campers who don’t even have a family they can turn to.

For most of our campers, Camp Erutan is their only anchor.

Earlier this year we held a session of camp on the central coast of California for some young adults who have been a part of the Camp Erutan family since they were very young.  Now, ranging in age from 20 – 30 years old, they were in need of a safe environment to speak about what’s been going on in their lives and to face some of their fears.  It was very emotional and quite enlightening for all of us who were there.  We talked, made journals, collaged, hiked, laughed, cried, cooked and sat fireside beneath the stars.  By the end of the session, spirits were high and old baggage was discarded.  For most campers and former campers, Camp Erutan is the only safety net they have and I am happy to report that the session was a turning point for all who attended.

East Hampton camp was equally intense and uplifting.  We reunited last year’s campers and also invited some new children to join the group.  The new campers fit right in and together with the returnees were able to pick up where we left off last year.  One camp highlight was the squashes the campers planted in our garden last summer were ready to be harvested.  The campers were able to pick what they sowed, which was a gratifying experience for everyone.  Farming at camp allows the campers to be part of a community where they feel important and appreciated for their participation.  This is an important aspect of what camp offers these children; an opportunity to feel valued, self-confident, and like they belong.

We continue to hear from former campers who attended Camp Erutan as far back as 1988.  For many, we are the only positive link to their childhood and as they grow up and have children of their own, they want to share with us what is happening in their lives.

Your continued support allows us to make an impactful difference.  Camp Erutan could not exist without you and your financial contribution.  We hope we can count on you again this year so we’re able to continue helping children in need.

Please visit our website to donate online at www.camperutan.org or send a check to our office at 2005 10th Street, Los Osos, CA 93402.

With heartfelt appreciation, I thank you for all you have done and continue to do.  I wish you and your family and friends a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season filled with love.

Lisa Tanzman
Founder & Director

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Summer 2014 Newsletter

by on Jul.27, 2014, under Letter

Dear Friends,

This summer marks our 27th year offering a summer camping experience to children who otherwise would not have an opportunity to “be a kid”.  Whenever possible, we reunite siblings who have been split up in the foster care system and give them a week to be together.

We missed camp last summer due to my back surgery.  This year we are beginning our camping season in East Hampton New York reuniting 3 sibling groups who do not live together.  My staff includes Luis who is in his second year of college and will be volunteering as a counselor.  Luis first attended CAMP ERUTAN as a camper in 2003 with his older and younger sisters.  Karen has been a counselor since 1999.  In 2003 Karen and her husband adopted Izzie at birth – Izzie will be coming out to camp as a junior counselor.  Izzie has been attending CAMP ERUTAN since she was 3 years old.

For most of our campers, CAMP ERUTAN is the only positive influence in their lives.  In addition to giving these kids an amazing fun filled week jam packed with positive experiences and unconditional love – we become an anchor in their lives if they choose to keep in touch with us.  We have a number of former campers, now with children of their own, who stay in touch with us and reach out for both advise and support.

CAMP ERUTAN continues to exist because of you.  With heartfelt appreciation I thank you for your support.

Warmest Regards,

Lisa Tanzman
Founder & Director

Visit www.camperutan.org to make a donation online.

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2014 Message from the Founder

by on Feb.19, 2014, under Letter

February 2014

Recently Elaine told me CAMP ERUTAN only raised $9,000 in 2013. I reminded her that I never sent a letter asking for money in 2013.

2013 was a challenging year for me, culminating with back surgery in May. I’m happy to report I am doing great. Full recovery is 1 year, so I am making plans for camp as soon as I’m cleared to erect tents and sleep on the ground.

Our CAMP ERUTAN activities for 2013 primarily consisted of me counseling past campers who are now young adults at crossroads in their lives with nowhere and no one to turn to. I feel very honored and humbled that we have campers who reach out to me when they need someone to talk with and share what is going on for them.

CAMP ERUTAN is an anchor in a safe harbor for all who have attended. Thank you for making this possible with your continued support.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Lisa Tanzman
Founder & Director

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2012 Message from the Founder

by on Sep.20, 2012, under Letter

Fall 2012

For 26 years we have been offering CAMP ERUTAN sessions for free – campers attend free of charge and all of our staff and counselors volunteer their time.  None of this would be possible without your generous support.

This summer we held sessions of camp in June and July in San Simeon, California.  The campers invited to these sessions were repeat campers who needed a break from their day to day lives.  The campers told me that CAMP ERUTAN is the only vacation they ever get.  I never thought of camp as a vacation, but clearly this is the campers’ experience.

The end of August we held a session of camp in East Hampton, New York.  We had the best east coast weather we have ever had.  The mosquitoes were even kind to us this year!  Lots of laughter, sharing of stories and a warm sense of community is how I would describe our time together.

Please check out the following posts to look at camp photos from this summer. San Simeon Camp; East Hampton Camp. (You can also click on Summer 2012, CA, and Summer 2012, NY at right to get to these same pages.) We also have 3 videos from campers, telling what CAMP ERUTAN means to them. Check these out here, or click on What Camp Means to Me at right.

My gratitude for you can not be overstated.  This was a year of great loss of family and friends; however, one can not compare sorrow.  The loss I feel can not be equated to the loss one of our campers feels without a family.

Christina turned 19 on August 31st.  Her father was murdered 11 years ago.  Her mother passed away last February after being on dialysis for 9 years and diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago.  Christina is now completely on her own.

Christina graduated from high school in June and was accepted to a 4 year college.  When Christina contacted social services to ask for financial assistance and/or food stamps she was told she would have to drop out of her 4 year college and attend a 2 year school or have a baby.  These were the only options available to her if she wanted help from the “system.”  She’s sticking with the 4 year college and attempting to make it work on her own.

Christina’s is a very sad story with many more gruesome details that I will not go into but hopefully, it will also be a success story if she stays on her chosen path.

CAMP ERUTAN is a glimmer of hope for Christina and all of the other campers who have had the opportunity to be a part of the CAMP ERUTAN family.  I ask for your continued support so we can continue to help kids in need.

With heartfelt appreciation I wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.

Lisa Tanzman
Founder & Director

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2011 Message from the Founder

by on Jul.06, 2011, under Letter

Summer 2011

I just returned from the 1st camp session of our 25th year and it was amazing.  We reunited three siblings who have not lived together since they were 3,4 & 6 years old.  They are now 15, 16 & 18.  We took a ferry from San Pedro to Two Harbors on Catalina Island.  The only counselors were me and a former camper, who first attended CAMP ERUTAN when he was 4 years old in 1989.

Heading to Two Harbors the Captain invited us into the cockpit where we were given a navigation lesson and everyone had the opportunity to steer the ferry while dolphins jumped ahead of us.  If that was the only bit of magic the trip would have been great, only it continued getting better moment by moment.

Prior to camp, the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer for these kids asked me if I would consider allowing the 3 siblings to attend a week of camp.  I decided they should have their own family vacation.  I didn’t find out until our camping trip that there are actually 8 siblings – same mother different fathers, neither a part of their lives.

One sibling knew the names of all 8 siblings.  One sibling only cared about the 2 he was with on our trip.  One sibling considered his foster family his family and cared deeply for his 2 biological siblings he was hanging out with for the week.

We camped above Isthmus Cove, had campfires, swam, hiked, rode mountain bikes, kayaked, skipped stones, laughed, sang, danced, told stories, talked about love, life, respect and ate ice cream everyday.  Smiles and giggles were contagious.

I was reminded that unless you are taught something you just don’t know, such as: touching stray dogs, violence does not equal love, look someone in the eyes when you speak, saying please and thank you, respecting yourself.  All of these things came up during our time together and we discussed the importance of understanding how and why Awareness, Balance and Choice (our camp philosophy) help in our decision making process.

Saying goodbye at the end of the week is always hard for me.  For these kids it is something they are used to.

The amount of money we raise will dictate the number of camp sessions we have this year.  Of equal or greater importance is raising the big bucks so we can set up our first ERUTAN Community so siblings do not have to be separated in the foster care system.  I want to offer these kids a chance to start their lives fresh, not just give them a week.  In order to turn this dream into reality I need help fund raising.  Any suggestions?

Thank you very much for your continued support on so many levels.  With love, appreciation and gratitude I wish you and your family a happy and healthy summer.

Warmest Regards,

Lisa Tanzman
Founder & Director

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2010 Message from the Founder

by on Jun.08, 2010, under Letter

As we get ready to celebrate our 24th summer, I am happy to say that we have an amazing schedule planned.  We are taking a group of repeat campers and counselors on a 3 week adventure.  We will go to our East Hampton camp on July 24th, fly to San Francisco on July 30th and drive down Highway 1 spending a couple of nights at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, working our way down to Los Angeles where we will fly to Kauai on August 4th and camp on Hanalei Bay until the evening of August 12th.  One of our counselors will be heading to Harvard Law School at the end of camp (after graduating from U C Berkeley and spending the last 2 years in the Peace Corp.) and another one of our counselors will be filming our journey in the hopes of creating a wonderful documentary about CAMP ERUTAN (Max has been involved with camp since he was 10 years old, is a Harvard graduate and just graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a Masters in Fine Arts).  Our counselor role models will be as wonderful as our campers.  Not a bad way to celebrate my 50th birthday.   I send love and appreciation to our hosts, sponsors, volunteers and most importantly our campers.  Wishing everyone peace, love, health, happiness and a wonderful summer.

Lisa Tanzman aka Rainbow Warrior

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