Freddy Freeman is a man with a mission - a mission to change how gay men see themselves. It started when he lived in New York City and first discovered bears, gay men who didn't conform to the cooky-cutter ideal associated with the New York bar scene (and isn't that most of us?), Born in Saratoga Springs, less than an hours drive from Easton Mountain, he grew up being the paper boy who delivered newspapers to the downtown area. After high school he moved to New York City "because that's where all the gays were." He had been singing and writing songs since he was fifteen, but it wasn't until he discovered OutMusic in NYC and started performing at their open mikes, that he really found his place as a singer-songwriter. He started Bearapalooza, a loose confederation of performers working in New York City and touring - including playing at festivals called "bear runs" around the country.
His friend Kendall Kelly called in early December of 2011 to say they had a date to perform in upstate New York for something called Mountain Bear's Weekend. At first Freddy thought it was just another music gig. Then about two weeks before the event, he got a call from John Stasio, who told him about the mission and purpose of Easton Mountain and how it was creating deep relationships for hundreds of gay men. Freddy was thrilled. He'd become disillusioned with the bear scene - with its events in hotels that offered little more than partying, drinking, and opportunities for casual sex. Easton was just what he was looking for.
In June of that year, he and his partner, Jay Freeman, moved up to Saratoga Springs, where they stayed with Freddy's mother until September, when they were able to move to Easton and take up residence at Concord House. The following January, under Freddy's guidance Mountain Bears' Weekend became Bear Your Soul. For that retreat, Freddy and Jay developed a new ninety-minute workshop on self image and self acceptance, Loving Your Bear Body. We now have winter and summer versions of Bear Your Soul, and Freddy and Jay have taken Loving Your Bear Body to bear runs in Provincetown, Indianapolis and Lexington, KY - spreading the message of self acceptance and deep, authentic relationships
In addition to hosting events and leading workshops Freddy has also become the head of the marketing team here. And he still has found time to produce two albums, "Just Bear with Me," and "Raise It Up," plus two music video with a song from each album.
The video "Just Bear with Me" was shot at Easton Mountain and was edited here by Freddy. In it you can see Freddy and friends on the steps of The Temple, by the east window in the Great Room and a whole lot of other places around our land.
This year Freddy will be organizing Kink Odyssey (June 9-12) and hosting Bear Your Soul Summer Camp (Aug. 17-21) as well as leading workshops at other camps and weekends. In addition he'll be leading participants in Arts in the Woods (our program for gay young adults) in music workshops, and will launch the Easton Mountain Music academy, also for gay young adults, developing empowerment and leadership skills through songwriting. At almost any Easton event Freddy will be singing, teaching, and helping behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly.