U.S. OLDEST CAMPS

 

Listing Criteria          List          Discussion

Listing Criteria

1. American Camping Association (ACA) membership
2. Operated in the U.S. in 1999 or 2015, respective to list.
3. First year prior to 1900 
4. Operated camper program every year since first
5. Camp today meets the following ACA definition of a camp:

A sustained experience which provides a creative, recreational and educational opportunity in group living in the out-of-doors.  It utilizes trained leadership and the resources of the natural surroundings to contribute to each campers mental, physical, social and spiritual growth.

6. Maintained organizational continuity of the program across changes in location, name and ownership (ie. camp is a direct descendant of the organized program). Natural evolution of program is expected. (See Continuity below)
7. Operated an organized program in "group living in the out of doors" in a camp setting (Test when unclear: was it referred to as a camp at the time of the years in question?)

Continuity

After change of name, location and/or ownership, and/or spinoff/division if ALL of the following events are true of the new camp in the year following change, then it is considered the same camp with continuity:

1. Camp program similar.

2. Camper market contains a large portion of the market of previous year, but not necessarily limited to it.

3. Camp has staff and management from previous camp.

4. Camp considers itself to be the same camp in spirit and/or fact.

Notes

Frost Valley YMCA Camp Wawayanda

Camp Wawayanda is the twin of Camp Dudley. In 1901, the two camps shared the Camp Dudley property and divided their campers and staff to open an additional program at Wawayanda in New Jersey. See Myth of the Oldest for a full description.

Camp Keewaydin

An interesting evolution. It was founded in Maine in 1894, and moved its program to Temagami, Ontario in 1902.  In 1910, it opened an extended section of the camp in Vermont under the same name with same program and some staff from Temagami. By 1918 it had become a standalone camp program, separate from the Ontario camp that is still operating today.

Paradise Farm Camps

Children were put up in country homes and boarding houses in the early years. It purchased today's camp property in 1912 and only then began referring to itself as a camp. The program was founded in the Fresh Air movement.

Wohelo - Luther Gulick Camps 

Luther Gulick started Camp Gulick at Gales Ferry, CT in 1887. In 1907, the Gulicks moved to Sebago, Maine, but did not re-start the organized camp until 1908.

Holiday Home Camp

It did not operate for the year 1947 as the residence was condemned in the spring. The program was founded in the Fresh Air movement.

Mont Lawn Camp

It first called itself a children's home and the children did stay in one. It did not refer to itself as a camp until around World War I. The program was founded in the Fresh Air movement.

Oldest List

SOURCES:  American Camping Association, H.W. Gibson in The Camping Magazine, History of Organized Camping by Eleanor Eells, Camp Dudley: The First Hundred Years by Hale et al, Camp Dudley: The Story of the First Fifty Years by Minott Osborn, Build Strong: The History of Camp Wawayanda by Diane Galusha, Children's Country Week Association & the Landscape of Philanthropy (private paper) by Joanna Doherty, Armand Ball, Pioneers of Camping Club roster, Abbie Fenn, Central Y Day Camp, California Pacific Annual Conference, JCC of Metro NJ, JCCSF, Allegheny Camp, John Grabowski (Hiram House), Willy Schmidt (Dudley), Gene Brown (Mont Lawn), Bo Shoemaker (Cory), Peter Hare (Keewaydin VT), Anita Johnson (Dudley), Lindsay Hutchison (Frost Valley), Nancy Pilon (Incarnation), Riel Reerbooms (Trail Blazers), Peter Swain (Fuller), Steve Clark (Delta), Stan Glowiak (Courant), Will Harvie (Greenbrier), all camps listed.

CAMP PAGES: 

World's Oldest Camps

U.S. Oldest Camps

Canada's Oldest Camps

World's Largest Wood-Canvas Canoe Fleets List

Temagami Youth Camps List (historical)

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