Hello one and all! My name is Ardath Dixon, and I recently moved out to California to be the new Camp Director here at The Bishop’s Ranch.
For some background, I grew up in Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts, and in 2010 graduated Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with a biology major and a religion minor. I grew up attending Camp Merrowvista in New Hampshire, and worked their community and school programs for the year after college, promoting environmental education, team building, and leadership development. Following my year in the woods, I moved down to the city of New Haven, Connecticut with the Episcopal Service Corps: Saint Hilda’s House. There, I could bring my passion for holistic education directly to the public school system, plus having church communities, the ocean, and city liveliness. My work placement was on the United Way: Boost! team, where I organized wraparound services at one public school in particular. I did a second year with Boost! through AmeriCorps: Public Allies, where I worked at another school, and collaborated with fellow Public Allies to create a resource guide in community resilience for city residents regarding gun violence. For my third year in New Haven, I was the Program Assistant for Saint Hilda’s, which meant translating the camp magic from camp and Public Allies to mentorship, orientation, and retreat programming with the St. Hilda’s community. I also guided my mom that fall for seven weeks on a pilgrimage across Spain, el Camino de Santiago. When I returned, I volunteered throughout New Haven with literacy tutoring, open meals, bilingual bible studies, and neighborhood efforts.
Throughout all of this, I had regularly been recharging each summer at Camp Merrowvista as a driver, sailing specialist, or leader. I also started working for Zebra Crossings’ Camp Spinnaker, one week of camp for kids with severe asthma. I came to realize that this field does truly excite me, has excellent impacts, and can in fact be my primary job! I worked as the waterfront coordinator at Merrowvista this past summer, cycled coast to coast with two friends this past fall, and went about the job search this winter. The Bishop’s Ranch position caught my attention as a place with camp joys, outdoor liveliness, religious dialogue, Episcopal vibrancy, and new exploration. So, here I am!
Right now I am in my new office, hearing birdcalls and seeing green leaves in February. I went to the Episcopal church downtown this week for Mardi Gras, and we plan to visit the second Episcopal camp (St. Dorothy’s Rest) at the end of next week. This is happening! I’m diving in, going through the camp files from last year, getting to know the area, and getting pumped for this summer. I am excited to meet more and more people who know and love The Bishop’s Ranch, and am incredibly grateful to be welcomed in as a new part to this community. Here we come, summer, only 123 days until camp!