Fanari Camp has served thousands of youth and young adults across our Metropolis, all of whom are considered alumni of the program. 

As part of our 40th Anniversary (2011), we asked our alumni- campers, counselors, and clergy- to share their favorite Fanari memories:

“Watching campers attempt to find the ‘3rd floor’ of the chapel.” -Deanna

“Getting up early enough to watch the sunrise on our last night at Fanari.” -Maria

“The long-lasting memories and friendships that were formed as campers and counselors. And of course, meeting my husband at Fanari!” -Maria

“Not being able to sleep in the Oak Lawn building at Conference Point because of how ‘haunted’ it was.” -Catherine

“I loved singing songs in chapel at night. And of course the 3-legged raccoon.” -Deanne

“Staying up all night long on the last night of Fanari and helping make the largest ‘FAREWELL’ sign out of bed sheets for all of the campers.” -Alex

“So many that I couldn’t even being to start. It’s where I met my friends for life!” -Pearlann

“Fanari helped me become the person I am. Thanks!” -Pamela

“Being able to meet new people that share the same beliefs and values. Friendships that will last a lifetime.” -Angela

“Getting off the bus, going directly to Tipiwakan to see the Bulls win the NBA championship. 400 people watching one 19-inch tube TV with rabbit ears. The place went wild!” -George

“Leaving church on the bus with anticipation of seeing my friends from the previous year, most of whom I’m still friends with today!” -Chris

“Skit nights, hanging out and playing the guitar and singing along, playing sports, and the beach.” -Nick

“Doing the voice of the Greek Darth Vader and impersonating Nick Kirkeles during Skit Night 2005. Very proud moment in my Fanari Camp history!” -Bob

“It’s so hard to pick! I would have to say it was my entire 11th grad year. Everyone tried to make the most of our last year and it was such an amazing time.” -Cali

“Sitting in a circle on the floor in our room in Oak Lawn playing cards in the middle of the night (or what we thought was the middle of the night), and running to our beds whenever we heard a sound (we were petrified of getting in trouble for staying up late).” -Gina

“There are way too many to choose from. Our 10th grad year was especially memorable because we were all so close. I remember singing on the last night of 11th grad in front of everyone and getting to be a part of something together. I really enjoyed the evening chapel services, winding down at the end of the night with friends was so amazing. I did not grow up in a city that has a Greek Orthodox church, so being a part of that was really special.” -Deena

“Too many great ones: 1) Learning and growing in my Orthodox Christian faith. 2) The friendships made at Fanari. 3) The pranks!” -Maria

“Getting all my campers ready and out of the cabin and on the way to chapel 2 hours before it started. They were half way there before they realized it.” -Evan

“Head lamps and golf carts.” -Christina

“Our 6th or 7th grade year Eoanna and I spent our free time running up and down the hill getting people food from the snack shop- the catch was they had to pay us 50 cents or let us keep the change. Since everyone dreaded the hill we had tons of customers- I think we made at least twenty dollars each and earned the title ‘the Fanari scammers’.” -Anna

“I loved Fanari!” -Christina

“Meeting my wife & Bulls championship celebration in Tipiwakan.” -Dean

“Meeting my husband!” -Kalina

“The mud fight during our 11th grade year (2004).” -Elena

“Skit night when my own campers impersonated me and their other counselors in a “good cop, bad cop” scenario; I was the good cop, and, if I remember correctly, Aggie was the bad cop.” -Constance

“Watching the slide show our counselors put together for us our last year.” -Elena

“So many from which to choose. If I had to pick one, it would be preparing for and performing in the week ending variety show. A close second was meeting campers in the afternoons for a shake at the diner/cafe.” -Demetra

“Gathering in a camp of our own to get to know all the kids we had played against as cheerleaders and basketball players for the church teams was the highlight. Father Bill’s question and answer lectures helped us all become acquainted right away – it seemed like Father Bill had an omnipresence there at Fanari.” -Debbie

“My favorite memory is the blessing that I have had in helping to bring up so many children and counselors from the various parishes that I have worked at over the years. From my days working at St. Nicholas in St. Louis taking that 7 or 8 hour drive from Missouri, to bring up kids from both St. Demetrios and St. Basil in Chicago, to Saints Peter and Paul in Glenview, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I have also enjoyed meeting my campers in later walks of life.How could I forget the many rides on the golf carts especially with Father Steve!!! I guess I will always remember patroling Rodger William into the wee hours of the morning on Friday night and then getting 3 hours of sleep before the bus ride home.” -Louis

“Meeting so many wonderful people as a camper and counselor, sharing stories, bonding, and the great friendships that we made. It was so nice to be able to relate to so many other people from so many different parishes about our Greek Orthodox faith and traditions. Soooo many wonderful memories that will last with me forever!” -Aleka

“Orthodox Christian life sitting on the white wooden chairs outside of the Chapel over looking the water…where I first met a friend that I keep in touch with to this day! I never saw anything more beautiful.” -Jonathan

“Too many to just pick one: shaving cream fights, meeting so many lifelong friends, dances with Damon’s band, everyone .hanging out on our porch…” -Andrea

“I have so many great memories, but the best thing about Fanari is that I made friends for life. Many of my Fanari co-counselors have become my best friends and my koumbari.”-Caity

“Putting together the slide shows for the last night at Fanari in Tipiwakan…at the end of the dance, to music from the late 80’s and early 90’s.” -Angela

“So many wonderful memories where does one begin. Friendships, hugs and laughter. The daily camaraderie with Nurse Phyllis who gave us so much encouragement and guidance. Having an incredible conversation with my goddaughter who was a camper at the time. The daily prayers and services that were very inspirational and created a habit in my life of the importance of prayer. Making a small icon with the campers during art and crafts, still hangs in my home.” -Elaine

“I will always consider Conference Point a very blessed and special place and being a camp counselor at Fanari Camp as one of the most memorable and happy experiences I have ever had.” -Pat

“Skit night for my 11th grade guys 2004.” -Lee

“Being able to enjoy the beautiful days with the other kids and my brother and sister. I especially enjoyed the beautiful evenings when the sun would set. The physical beauty of grounds and the environment.” -Athena

“Didn’t have a bad one! Skit night? Maybe when we attacked our counselor in the middle of night with water balloons?” -Marc

“My favorite Fanari memory is when Nicole and I were rooming together in Sunrise while on theatre staff and the entire plumbing system came crashing out of the bottom of the building after one mere flush! We thought the world was ending! We ended up moving to Bethel, and the memories of the years spent there as ‘The Bethel Babes’ are countless and endless!” -Thalia

“Making some of the best friends that I could ever have! Sharing clothes with my roommates, staying up all night talking. Having some of the best counselors which I still talk to now.” -Patty

“Boomba-hey!” -Alexis

“Meeting my good friend, Chris, as a counselor.” -Peter

“AS CAMPER: The big dance at the end of camp, dancing the Zorba with everyone and the floor of that place was MOVING with us! I was certain it was going to cave in. AS COUNSELOR: Singing the song Ripple with Angelo, Angela and another person.” -Rick

“Greek dancing in Tipiwakan.” -Eleni

“I don’t know if I can really pinpoint one memory but my favorite part about Fanari are the strong friendships I’ve made with people I can’t see living my life without.” -Sara

“All my memories are wonderful, but my favorite thing about Fanari isn’t a memory. It’s the four girlfriends with whom I remain very close to today, despite the fact that I no longer live in Chicago. I’m so thankful for them all.” -Lainie

“Riding the floor-board waves during Greek Night in Tipi; the feeling of weightlessness walking out of the chapel right after confession; first year counseling with Lana, who tried to disinfect EVERYTHING in our room before she moved her stuff in!” -Toni

“Devising a plan for the counselors to push Father Michael into the lake at Conference Point during the Athletics Class!” -Adrianne

“All the great people I met. Knowing that there were other kids my age that I met that were Greek Orthodox. My last year the guys in our age group named their cabin the “Χωριό”.” -Stephane

“All the wonderful people I met, some of whom became dear friends. Many of those friends I still have today, some 38 years later.” -Suzanne

“Sitting outside on the porches and visiting with the counselors in the evening.
I will never forget the awards ceremony for the sporting events. I remember Nick handling the honors of giving trophies to the winners. Getting to know clergy and meeting their families.” -Regina

“Singing Cat Stevens songs with Fr. John Artemas, having shaving cream fights with some of the priests, meeting some of my best friends ever! Sending my children off to Fanari for the 1st time, knowing they will have life long memories from there just like I do.” -Kathy

“Being an 11th grade counselor; I had the same group of campers for all 6 of their years. Watching them grow from little 6th grade campers into amazing young adults will stay with me forever. Plus the friends I made as a camper and counselor are still a part of my adult life.” -Elizabeth

“Painting an actual icon with iconographer Shirley Kontos, bible study with Mr. D., talent night and falling in love and aquiring the name “LL” (an abbreviation for the few who know the true meaning). 😃” -Maria

“Fanari Camp brought me out of my shell as a teenager. It was a positive experience where I met my own peers and I was able to connect with them through faith and fun. Working as a counselor allowed me to meet so may young people who were first time campers, and I was able to reflect on my youth and help their Fanari experience be the most positive.” -George

“Can there be anything better than just having stood on the floor of Tipi and bouncing effortlessly to all that great Greek youth energy? Well, yes…loved hearing all the youth sing along in chapel and just being a part of the Fanari family!” -Ellena

“Skit nite and Greek dance nite! OPA! OPA!! OPA!!!” -Chris

“Meeting my future husband, while on Theater staff together, in 1999.” -Nicole

“Friends I have kept all my life! We loved the Not so nice cabins!” -Bill

“My very first year, I was put in a room with another girl with the exact same first name as myself, even spelled the same. We have been friends ever since! I LOVED FANARI!” -Noelle

“I love it, I wish it would never end!” -Hannah

“My favorite memory from Fanari was jumping into the lake after losing the campers vs staff softball game in 11th grade. Right after getting out of the water, we found a warning sign stating the lake was contaminated. GROSS!” -Sophia

“Ratos, standing on table proclaiming “I’m in Loooooove!”; the naming of “Lizard”; Othon & Libby Poteres feeding the boyz in the ghetto; the Cuda and the Redeye; the Lake and Ross; Rocking and quaking the floor in Tipiwakan on Friday Night; Thursday panagyri.” -Dean

“There are many favorite memories: listening to stories by Mr. D, playing softball (campers vs clergy), skit night.” -Joan

“The first afternoon and evening upon arriving at Williams Bay for all four years was outstanding. The day seemed to last longer than the actual time it really was. The camaraderie was special. When I see an a former Fanari camper some place, the warmth returns. I haven’t seen many people for many years. When I do, the Fanari experience comes back. I’ll always remember cabin G- the first year of Fanari.” -Steve

“Spending time with other Greek American kids, and learning about our faith. Making new friends from both the “North and South Sides”. Evening dips in the lake, and the ZOA House Counselors in the early 80’s, showing us all the way to have a good time. ” -Demetrios