Camper Spotlight: Jon Furlong

by Lynn Grainger

As Jon Furlong prepared his contribution for a potluck Saturday night dinner with friends and his exhausted daughters napped in the tent at Maples Left, Jon and I chatted about his connection to Kingswood: present, past and future. I watch Jon carefully craft the little aluminum pans from foil  for his vegetable just as “Mr. Food” had in Woodsmoke days. Jon explained that Don Kirby taught him most of what he knows about cooking over the fire. 

Jon returned to Kingswood this summer with his wife, Susanna, and two adorable daughters, Adira and Amara. They came for a reunion of fellow Woodsmoke counselors Anthony and Kevin and their families. Most of the upper camp was filled with people who were friends or family of brothers,  Kevin Cox Matteson and Chris Cox. The groups of friends swapped around campsites so Anthony Cogswell and his wife and their two young daughters occupied Maples Right. That strategy allows the parents to visit in the area between the tents after the kids are asleep and the kids to have playmates nearby.

Jon is glad to share this beautiful place with his family, though the girls probably won’t remember this particular trip. It seems to be the beginning of a family camping tradition.  Their visit to Kingswood was all about adventure and community. It takes a great deal of planning and preparation to get here with two children under 4 for a long weekend. However, it was all worth it to spend time with friends in this lovely place.

Jon’s connection with Kingswood began when he was recruited by Kevin Cox Matteson to be a Woodsmoke counselor. He is grateful to Keving for that invitation that led to many happy memories and  to relationships that have endured time. For instance, when he lost his position during the economic downturn in 2009, Don Kirby extended friendship by taking him out for dinner to talk. The friendship with Jon, Kevin and Anthony picks up right where it left off the last time they were together. 

Jon plans to get more involved with Kingswood. What that looks like, he’s not yet sure. Plans to camp with Anthony and his children next summer are in the works. But it’s important to him to preserve this place for the future.

Former Woodsmoke Counselors, Current Campers and Forever Friends: Jon Furlong, Kevin Cox Matteson and Anthony Cogswell