By Mark Breseman ’78
This has definitely turned into an unexpected bonus. I knew I would need to spend more time at Björklunden this summer working with Bailey Koepsel, our new assistant director. In addition to all the extra time hanging with Bailey in the office, however, I got to spend a lot more time in the front of the house interacting with seminar guests. Ever since I started working more on campus in 2009, I often would only spend one day a week at Björklunden, and rarely was I there on a Sunday afternoon and evening as the guests arrived. It was very nice to be able to reconnect with many of our longtime seminar attendees. We were able to catch up and share stories. I even got to dust off my whole Sunday night welcome speech! It is during this valued time in front of our guests that I get to promote the opportunity for them to view the “life-altering” Björklunden history slideshow that I present Monday afternoon. It is my good fortune there are usually a number of folks with an interest, so I get to spend some time talking about Björklunden, which is always a joy.
I was also able to spend more time with other staff members. I really appreciate the expertise Mark Franke brings to his position. There are a number of complicated projects Mark is working on, and they're all progressing quite well. Of course Kim is doing her usual fantastic job of making sure everything is running smoothly for our guests. She keeps our wonderful student staff engaged and motivated throughout the summer. And Bailey is settling into her new role. As summer moves into fall and the academic year resumes at Lawrence, my time at Björklunden once again becomes limited, so she gets to assume many more responsibilities as time moves on.
Speaking of moving on, Andy Plank, our weekend program coordinator, has relocated to Nashville to pursue his passion for a career in the music field. We wish him well and thank him for all his fine efforts in working with the student weekend program for the past year. We are excited to bring Philip Clark ’15 on board to assume Andy’s role. Philip was a history major at Lawrence who most recently was spending time as an assistant coach of the Lawrence baseball team. We are excited to have Philip as a part of the Björklunden year-round staff.
There are so many wonderful conversations that occurred this summer with old friends that will be impossible to recount here. It was special for me, however, to have Joe Hopfensperger at a couple of seminars. Joe was the first resident director at Björklunden, working here from 1977 to 1990. He is responsible for much of what Björklunden is today, and I consider him a wonderful mentor. Joe had a recent health scare, but I'm happy to report he is at home and doing well. Joe, we all wish you the best!
All in all, it was a wonderful summer for me. It went by much too fast, of course, but I very much appreciated reconnecting with so many fantastic Björklunden seminar attendees.