The Foster family of Columbus, Ohio, has connections spanning three generations with Culver Summer Schools & Camps. But the family’s involvement goes beyond just attending camp. Dick Foster W’56, CMA ’61 served on the Culver Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees, as did Ted Foster W’89, who was the president of the Culver Summer Schools Alumni Association, and the family also provides a scholarship for Woodcrafters.
During his Gold C year, Ted Foster served as the drum major for the Drum & Bugle Corps. With the D&B celebrating its 100th anniversary, we asked Foster to tell why the family remains so involved with Culver Summer Schools & Camps.
How were you introduced to Culver?
My father, Dick Foster, attended Woodcraft Camp for Cubs and Beavers, and is a 1961 graduate of Culver Military Academy. So there was never a question that my sister (Kiley Mattsson SS’89) and I would attend Culver as well. My sister ended up completing eight summers at Culver, while I attended five in Woodcraft and came back during college as a counselor in the Drum & Bugle Corps. Culver was and is very important in my family and that’s why all five kids between my sister and I are in camp this summer.
Was there someone who influenced/made an impact while you were at Culver?
First and foremost, the friends that I made at Culver, as early as a 9-year-old Cub, have made a large impact on me. It is a very strange occurrence to have some of your closest friends and confidants to come from a summer camp, but some 30 years later that’s what has happened.
As far as adults, there are two that stand out, Charlie Ray (my division commander in Division 6) and Dr. Tim Lach (my cabin counselor in Drum & Bugle).
The beauty of Woodcraft Camp is that you are surrounded by great role models at a young age, and there is no question it is still happening today. And last but not least, my “Uncle” Al Nagy (not my real uncle) was a huge influence on not only me but my father as well
Who plays a role in supporting your involvement with Culver?
The obvious answer is my wife and my parents. But I think the other major contributors to my support of Culver is the outstanding staff that I have formed close relationships with over the years. When you come back to campus, a friendly face goes a really long way. From the Alumni Office with Amy (Davis Johnson), Ann (Maurer), and Alan (Loehr), to people such as Crystal (Johnson, former dining hall staff) it’s the people at Culver that truly make a difference. You know that your children, whether they are in summer school or boarding school, are taken care of because of the staff.
What is one thing you wish people knew about Culver?
The impact of the leadership program, and what it can do for kids from all walks of life. Culver teaches you how to lead, and follow, which are two very important traits that kids will need going forward for the rest of their lives. Culver is a place where kids learn more about themselves than anywhere else, as you are encouraged to try new things, and it’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from your failures and grow as a person.
What motivates you to stay involved and give back?
Knowing what Culver does for young people is one of the main reasons that our family remains so strongly committed to the Culver Mission.
What do you want your family’s legacy at Culver to be?
That we made it possible for kids, who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to have the Woodcraft experience, to attend a Culver Summer. And that they take the lessons learned from their time at Culver and use that to better their lives and their communities.