Catching up with Weeze

Date published: October 5th, 2017 | By Louise

Hi folks,

Well a lot has been going on here at Longacre these past few months. I hope you have had the time to read the posts from Matt and James last week. As you can see we have been dealing with some really big decisions and emotions.

I wanted to take a few moments to let you know that Jake and I are doing really well!!! I have felt so much support and good wishes from farm families, staff, and alumni. Last Friday alone I spoke with over 40 people. I feel so cared for and grateful for these connections and relationships.

When Matt and I sat down at the end of April and really acknowledged to ourselves that continuing Longacre was unsustainable, I felt relief and sadness in ways I cannot describe. Working at Longacre for eleven years, and owning the camp with my best friend for seven years, has been a blessing that I will forever feel grateful for. The Smiths are my family, plain and simple.

So we gave this summer our all, holding it together so our beloved farmers would have another wonderful summer at Longacre, knowing that this would be our last. It was tough. I look back on the summer and can’t really believe we held it together.

Then James, Jack, and Doug approached us. When I met these three guys, whom I had heard of before, I instantly liked them. However, I was hesitant to allow myself to wonder if Longacre could really continue. We had been on such an emotional roller coaster up to that point that I felt emotionally fried. However, when I saw how the guys interacted with our kids, I was intrigued. When they asked me a million questions about our program and then said to me, ‘Louise, we want you to do all the things you love,’ I knew I had to be a part of this.

When I compare how I felt through the summer and after meeting the guys, to how I feel now, it is like night and day. I feel so energized and excited for Longacre’s future and I feel so deeply grateful that James, Jack, and Doug are willing to work voraciously to give our program a chance. I truly feel like, together, we have a great shot at making this program work. Their passion for summer camp and the individual skills they each bring to the table are super impressive.

James and I must email each other 15 times a day, and talk pretty much every day. It is so fun getting to know them. I am eagerly looking forward to meeting Oliver, Ezra, and August some day. Doug is a Juniata alum, which is where Jake and I met. I think if we had met at college we would have been besties. James send emails to me as Weeze, which I love, and when Jack and I chat he calls me Weeze too. It makes me laugh.

Jake and I love living in Perry County and are grateful to retain ownership of the farm with Matt and Alecia. That we will both still be able to work at Longacre and be with ‘our kids’ is a blessing. We are excited to welcome a new Camp Director, when they get hired, to our community. Jake and I purchased the property next door so we can continue to care for our herd of horses. Shasta is doing okay; the dry weather is aggravating his throat. Jazz broke a bone in her hip; she is fine, but healing slowly. Trey, Moo, Firefly, Poppy, and Spruce are great and starting to get their fluffy winter coats. Rosie is fat. We will still use the riding ring and our horses during the summer for camp.

Saying goodbye to Matt, Alecia, and Sofia was really hard. Sofia has been a huge part of my life since she arrived on this planet. Alecia is the most amazing mom I have ever met. Being a part of their journey as parents for the first eight months of Sofia’s life was an honor. I am so looking forward to spending Christmas with them in Brewster. I am also very proud of their decision to move to Madison. Jake and I miss them a lot.

Change is difficult and yet inevitable. And at times necessary. I feel proud that Matt and I were able to keep Longacre going as long as we did, and proud of the way we have navigated these huge changes together. And I feel deep gratitude and hope for what's next.

Please call me or email me ( if you would like to chat. Roll on Summer 2018.

With gratitude,