Spring 2008
Octavia Reese Huizenga
Park Forest, IL
Member of International Public Relations firm of GolinHarris, Chicago, IL
Blue Lake affiliation: Camper, 1990-1999; IYSO, 2000 and 2001
Major: Cello

Imagine walking into a room and being introduced to the following accomplished group of women:

  • A former Miss Michigan 2005 and Miss America 2006 contestant
  • A member of one of the largest international public relations firms in the world
  • A cellist with orchestral and solo performance experience
  • A recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship
  • A 2005 graduate Hope College, with a double Bachelors degree in French and Classics, and a minor in Music
  • A happily-married mother of a beautiful nine-month-old son
  • A visual artist working in watercolors, gouache, and mixed media who was commissioned to produce a major piece for the Holland, Michigan, Area Arts Council
  • A student interested in pursuing advanced degrees in Journalism, Philology, and Linguistics with an eye towards a career at the United Nations
  • A dancer trained in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and gymnastics

An amazing and diversely talented group, but even more amazing is that the list above represents the achievements and dreams of one woman in her mid-twenties, Octavia Reese Huizenga.

“I think my first summer at Blue Lake was after 4th or 5th grade,” Octavia remembers, “and after [that] summer, I went back every year until I was 18.” Usually majoring in cello, she also majored once in ballet and always took art as an elective. “Blue Lake was the highlight of my summers in Michigan. I loved the atmosphere and landscape, which inspired a number of my junior high sketches. Even when I revisit some of my crude sketches, the images take me back to hot summers and music echoing through the woods.”

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McFarlin named Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp's
Executive Vice President

Bill McFarlin, the former Executive Director of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), has been appointed Executive Vice-President of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. McFarlin assumed his duties on March 1, 2008.

"I am extremely pleased that Bill is returning to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp's administration,” said Fritz Stansell, Blue Lake President. “His distinguished career in arts administration and extensive history with the camp will be a tremendous asset to the future of our organization."

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Blue Lake Receives Scholarship Grant from
Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Blue Lake has received a $5,000 grant from the Mary I. and David D. Hunting Family Fund of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The grant is to be used for financial-need scholarships for students from Kent County during the 2008 camp season.

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Blue Lake Alumni discuss the Camp’s Impact on Their Lives

What does the Blue Lake experience mean to those who have enjoyed it? The members of the Alumni Association were recently given a chance to address this question. The answers were often variations on a theme, with many of the respondents mentioning personal and artistic growth, the creation of lifelong friendships, and Blue Lake providing opportunities for travel and performance that they would not otherwise have been able to experience.

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In other Blue Lake news. . . .

Blue Lake Endowed Scholarship Funds Accepting Contributions

In addition to our general scholarship fund, Blue Lake also maintains a number of endowed funds that provide financial assistance scholarships. Two in particular—the Jennifer Flanders Anderson Memorial Fund and the Don Warnaar Memorial Fund—have been created recently and contributions toward the building of these funds would be gratefully accepted.

Billy Craig
(Blue Lake camper 1980 and IJE 1981)
Releases New CD: This Side of Somewhere

In his youth, 1981 to be exact, Billy Craig—originally from Big Rapids, Michigan, and now living in Chesterfield Township near Detroit—toured Europe and Scandinavia as a guitarist with Blue Lake’s International Jazz Ensemble. “[I]t was an incredible experience and opportunity. Bruce Early [the IJE’s director that year] was great and the band was hot. We had a
blast. . . .”

Billy’s youthful involvement in music has been transformed into a career in the music industry. After touring much of the United States as a solo artist and member of original and cover bands, he has now released a CD in a genre that he calls “folkrockcountry.” The CD, This Side of Somewhere, released in late 2007, was an exciting project, in that Billy and participating musicians traveled to the famous Sun Studio in Memphis—where music giants such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and U2 have all recorded—to record the basic tracks for the CD. The energetic, fun, and tuneful songs seem to have a little something for everyone.

Has Your Information Changed?


Alumni Association members:
Have you recently moved? Changed your e-mail address? Phone number? Please send your updated contact information to Blue Lake, so that we can, in turn, update you on the latest happenings at camp.

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