A rich New Orleans flavor to Camp Marymount

Camp Marymount, a Catholic boarding camp on 340 acres near Nashville, Tenn., is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and it plans to celebrate its deep connections with the New Orleans area with an adult fund-raising event April 12 in New Orleans.

“It’s kind of an amazing deal,” said Tommy Hagey, director of Camp Marymount. “For decades now, we’ve had 50 to 60 campers each summer who come from the New Orleans area. The parents who came here as campers are now sending their children here. I’m assuming the connection originally began because we are a Catholic camp, and the New Orleans area is heavily Catholic. It started off with a few people, and by word of mouth it just spread.”

A New Orleans family with Camp Marymount ties will host an April 12 dinner, silent auction with Marymount items and a giving tree. Hagey will attend the celebration along with some of his staff, and he is inviting any adult alumni of Camp Marymount to attend. Call the camp at (615) 799-0410 for details.

“This is our 75th year, and we are celebrating,” Hagey said. “We decided we would do a special celebration in New Orleans.”

Hagey expects another 40 to 60 campers from New Orleans this year at Camp Marymount. Quite often, the campers fly up as a group and return together on the same flight.

Fly together, sign together
“They all kind of jump on Southwest Airlines, and we pick them up at the airport,” Hagey said. “On the way home, they sing all the camp songs on the plane.”

Pam Fleckenstein, development associate Camp Marymount, said the New Orleans event will be hosted by “a wonderful family” whose children have been Marymount campers for years. She said campers develop a bond with other campers through the years, and those ties are lasting.

“I think it just boils down to there’s a strong connection between the Catholic community here (in Nashville) and the Catholic community in New Orleans,” Fleckenstein said. “Oftentimes, the kids will spend Christmas or spring break together, and that will be their Christmas gift. Sometimes families will go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. They’ve really built lifelong friendships. Sometimes Nashville people and New Orleans people have married. It becomes a smaller world.

“This camp is completely faith-based, so there is a strong Catholic connection.”

There are programs for girls lasting either two or three weeks, but many times the New Orleans campers will sign up for the entire five weeks, Fleckenstein said.

In honor of its 75th anniversary, Camp Marymount will host a “family reunion camp” Aug. 8-10. The festivities will include the “first annual” Hog ‘n’ Jog 5K run, complete with a pork barbecue.

“We’re telling people, ‘Don’t just remember the trails of your youth – run them!’” Fleckenstein said.

For more information, go to campmarymount.com: Girls’ two-week session, June 1-13; girls’ three-week session, June 15-July 4; boys’ one-week session (new), July 6-11; boys’ two-week session, July 13-25.

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