The History of The Camping Trip
(as told by one of the founders of the trip)
To understand how the trip got started, we need to say a brief word about Veritas Villa. The Villa is a drug and alcohol rehab in Kerhonkson, NY that was founded by Jim Cusack and his wife Sue in 1973.
Father Jerry McBride (A.K.A. The Monsingor) introduced us all to the Villa through his friends who got sober back in the old neighborhood in Brooklyn, NYC.
Back in the 80’s, many of the original camping trip crew attended weekend retreats at the Villa and participated in many of the Villa’s extracurricular fundraising activities (e.g., party boat fishing, Mets games, St. Patrick’s dances, golf outings, Horse track trips, etc.).
So, one fateful Spring day in 1986, we went to Brooklyn to participate in a quarterly Villa fundraising events committee planning meeting.
Sitting between Bicycle Bob and Elevator Ray, minding his own business was John “The Goose” K. Suddenly, the chairman announced with regret that the proposed canoe and camping trip on the Delaware would have to be cancelled because there was no leader to run it.
Being the young, newly sober, full of piss and vinegar guys that they were, Bob and Ray decided Goose was going to run this trip whether he wanted to or not. So, they nudged him to volunteer. “No way man,” Goose said. “I don’t know anything about running a camping trip.” Bob and Ray promised they would help and continued to nudge.
With fear and trepidation, Goose popped his hand up and volunteered to run the trip. Before his hand came back down to his side, Bicycle Bob and Elevator Ray abandoned him, laughing and saying ‘sucker’.
The rest is history. Goose organized the first trip which was held Memorial Day, 1986 (and other trips through 1988) at the River Beach site of Kittatinny Campgrounds.
Since then, The Camping Trip has had many organizers, and has moved several times. But it keeps going. The fellowship has been the pillar to its longevity. Without it, many people would not be sober today.
We are all very grateful for those who gave of themselves and continue to keep the trip going:
B-Squared, Bruce C, Chachi, Darlene, Dennis F, Flounder, Go-Go, Goose, Jake D, Mountain Dew Sue, Popup Peggy, Rich Kid, Teddy V, Tommy W, Westy, and many, many more.