C AMP DUDLEY 1885 to 1907
“The Pioneering Years”
rom a single bold idea in 1885 to the acquisition of a permanent site on Lake Champlain in 1908, these were Dudley’s pioneering years.
• Sumner F. Dudley, 1854 - 1897 •
amp Dudley’s history begins in 1885, when, with backing from two Y.M.C.A. associates, George Peck and Rudolph Leypoldt, a 30-year-old volunteer named Sumner Francis Dudley starts the “Boys’ Camping Society,” or B.C.S. Dudley established, through personal example, the importance of committed leadership and the spiritual life. He also developed Dudley’s first program, based on swimming, boating, canoeing, and hiking. Boys were also soon encouraged to bring their baseball gloves. For this, Dudley became known as “the Father of Y.M.C.A camping.”
n the first year Dudley takes a a handful of campers to a site on Orange Lake in New Jersey. The idea behind the B.C.S. was to allow boys a chance to experience the outdoors, away from the cities, as well as to study the Bible. Dudleyâ€™s emphasis was on character building and the spiritual life.
udley poses with six campers in front of their tent in 1894.
rom 1886 to 1890, the B.C.S. moves its growing camping program from Orange Lake to Wawayanda, near Newburgh, New York. The Camp population begins to multiply as word spreads of this summer opportunity for young men and boys.
n 1891, the site of the Camp is moved to Westport, New York, from Newburgh. Arrangements had to be made for campers to make the trek north. Dudley sent out this announcement in the late spring of 1891.
• Director Sumner Dudley shares 1889 parental satisfaction •
y Dear Dudley: In regard to the camp, besides whatever else I have said, I desire to state that I feel very grateful that my brother was one of the party last summer. It had the effect of clinching good principles and impulses, and of leading him to become an “out and out” Christian boy, and a worker for Christ among his boy friends.” Gratefully yours, G.A. Sanford, Secretary at Newburgh
y Dear Mr. Dudley: My boys had a “grand time,” it is a pleasure to hear them tell of the many good things they enjoyed, and the few weeks they spent there is a bright spot in their lives. They came home refreshed in mind and body, and the Christian influence they were under was of great benefit to them spiritually. I am heartily in favor of your camp and shall always be glad to have my boys attend whenever practicable.” Very truly yours, Geo. R. Gibson
he 1902 Dudley Brochure announces the 18th consecutive season, now under the direction of George Peck, Camper #1. Young men who were interested in attending Camp Dudley, were also asked to fill out an application. Notice the tuition in 1902!
ineteen seven was Camp Dudley’s ‘Year of Decision.’ Two vital issues, site and directorship, confronted the New York State Y.M.C.A. to which Sumner Dudley had deeded the Camp equipment and the responsibility for operating the Camp.”
A report on the pivotal 1907 year by Billy Burger, Director of Camp Dudley, 1907.
“In the following spring, 1908, the deal was closed. Two gifts, one of $3,000 from S. P. Avery, Hartford, Conn. and Button Island, Lake Champlain, and $5,000 from Harry Ludlow of Troy, a member of the Camp Dudley Committee and the Y State Committee, plus $5,300 which Mr. Wensley got from Mr. Frisbie, and a mortgage of $4,700 added up to $18,000 which was paid to the Roes. Thus ended the search for a permanent site, which is probably unsurpassed anywhere.”
The Directorship “The Directorship was much more easily solved. A boy, H.C. Beckman, came to Camp in 1897 and in the following years literally grew up in it. He could have taken over the whole administration in 1907.”
The Site Changes (1885-1891)
amp Dudley led a migratory life for the first 20 years of its existence. In 1885, Dudley’s first camping trip takes place on Orange Lake, New Jersey. The following year, Camp’s population doubles and the boys head to Wawayanda, near Newburgh, New York. The B.C.S. continued to evolve at Wawayanda until 1891, when the boys move north to Lake Champlain. For the next 17 years, Dudley and his cohorts explore the western shore of Lake Champlain in Westport, as they seek to find permanent ground. Much of the early years were spent at Barber’s Point, near the lighthouse, or at North Point and places in between. Finally, in 1907, George Peck and a handful of associates managed to secure the acreage on which Camp Dudley stands today.
arly tent life is depicted in this photo taken in 1891, note the dog in the photo. Although the date of 1887 has been etched onto this image, if you look closely at the bark on the birch tree in the foreground, it becomes more likely that the year is 1891. Also, it looks like H. C. Beckman (â€œChief,â€? director of Dudley from 1908 to 1947) himself may have carved his initials in the tree!
n this photo taken in 1896, it looks as though these campers have named their own tent. Lake Champlain laps in the background.
his craggy photograph, taken circa 1900, may be the early days at Barberâ€™s Point.
aken from a boat, this view looks back at the tent city erected probably at Barber’s Point at the turn of the century.
s Camp’s population increased from year to year, the world of tents also expanded. These two photos look as though they were taken in the meadow just west of Barber’s Point, and we even get a glimpse of an early baseball game.
eorge Peck, camper #1, came to Camp through his friend Sumner F. Dudley and following Dudley’s untimely death in 1897 at age 43, Peck took over as Camp’s second director, a post he held for the next seven years. This photo, taken circa 1896, shows Dudley seated with a whistle at his mouth in the foreground and George Peck stands behind him.
eck, was a businessman in Newburgh, New York, making his small fortune in the crockery business. He spent a portion of his summers at Dudley unwittingly learning the ropes from his buddy Sumner. W hen Dudley died, Peck was a fitting choice to step into the breach.
gathering of campers and staff shows George Peck seated toward the back, wearing a white shirt and a mustache in his first summer as director, 1897. W hen Peck’s tenure ended in 1904, he was succeeded by a man named Raymond P. Kaighn (pronounced “Kahn”) for two summers and then by two YMCA men in succession, Frank W. Pearsall and Billy Burger, until 1908 when “Chief” Becky Beckman took the reins for the next 40 years.
ore tents at North Point, as the boys air out their linens. Though rustic, Dudley tent life in the late 1880s had its charms, such as homemade quilts, sturdy trunks, hanging lanterns and even a wooden baseboard running the perimeter of these primitive dwellings. The tent below houses five sleeping boys and all their gear on a cool summer night circa 1887.
ltimately, Camp moved to its current site, which looks familiar, even without todayâ€™s cabins, in this picture taken circa 1908.
he traditions of cabin suppers and â€œDukeâ€? dipping were well established at Camp Dudley at the turn of the century.
ven before Camp Dudley acquired its permanent site, the early campers and Leaders made use of the Roe and Frisbie properties that now comprise the upper fields. A rustic volleyball court was fashioned, as was a primitive track and field venue. Notice the car and the basketball hoop in the picture. Also, note the names of the two teams competing in the volleyball championship, the Clubs and the Tents.
The Kitchen Crew (1885-1907)
s long as boys have been attending Camp Dudley, theyâ€™ve brought hearty appetites with them. The Camp Dudley kitchen crew has been integral to Camp life since its inception, but little is known about the earliest days of this most important aspect of Campâ€™s history.
he earliest of these photos, taken in 1889, reveals a very primitive cook tent erected among the trees. The cook and his young helper appear to make good use of the surrounding tree trunks and shrubs. It is possible that the adjoining tent in the right of the photo is the dining tent.
n 1894, Chef Hyson and an assistant ran the kitchen, which had expanded to include a wooden roof, as well as a provisions tent and more pots and pans.
y 1895, the K-Crew was in new hands, yet the space itself is little changed, but for the addition of wooden worktables and storage areas. Here a meal awaits campers in pans on the table behind the chef, and like today, a hungry camper waits nearby for the dinner bell.
permanent, clapboard kitchen was built in 1901 and continued to house the cooking operations under the direction of Chef Roberts, who began at Dudley in 1899. Around that time, a 40-foot by 80-foot dining tent was built for use by the entire Camp population, which numbered close to 200 in 1902.
ortraits of Chef Roberts and his assistant, circa 1899.
The All-Camp Photo (1890-1903)
he archives show that within five years of the start of Camp Dudley and the Boys Camping Society, an annual tradition was born. A professional photographer was hired each summer to snap a shot of the entire Camp population, or at least those present upon his visit to the site.
n 1890, our earliest photo of this kind, Sumner Dudley and George Peck both appear on the far lower left, and a dog made its way into the lower right hand corner of the shot.
his photo, taken in 1897, shows many of the boys still wearing shirts and sweaters with the B.C.S. triangle sewn onto them. If you look closely, you can see different letters centered in each of the triangles, perhaps denoting a certan category of camper, possibly by age group.
n 1898 the B.C.S. triangles are still in evidence on some shirts, but also on a handful of campers’ berets. “Becky” Beckman, future Camp Director to be known as “Chief,” stands on the far left of the photo, holding a rudimentary camera.
y 1899 Camp has obviously expanded and all participants are wearing hats. Notice the paddle rackets in the forefront of the photo.
901 brings more hatted fellows in a meadow setting.
his 1903 photo shows a group of Leaders and campers. The tradition of taking photos of campers and/or staff at Dudley thrived for many years. As late as the 1950s, all-Camp photos were taken, but perhaps the panorama lens wasnâ€™t large enough to accommodate Campâ€™s growing population.
The Dudley Stage
hile pieces of stories of various dramatic performances are sprinkled throughout Camp Dudley’s early history, one of the first documented and full-fledged performances took place in 1906 on a wooden stage erected at the end of the dining tent. “Sapolio the Last” had a fullycostumed cast that comprised 20 performers, and an illustrated poster announcing its debut on August 19. This illustrious beginning gives a glimpse into Dudley’s future and the huge success of what we now fondly call Witherbee.
t was the last season on rented or borrowed property. During the next spring as much of the equipment as was worth transporting was on the new site and Camp Dudley was at last on its own. It had solved the problem of site and Director in glorious fashion.â€? Billy Burger, 1907
C AMP DUDLEY 1908 to 1930
“Chief Beckman . . . The Early Years”
he year 1908 marked the beginning of a remarkable era in Camp Dudley’s history. The original Boys’ Camping Society, renamed Camp Dudley after its founder, purchased acreage for a permanent site, hired a new director who would stay at the helm for four decades, and embarked on a campaign to develop its physical campus. During this period of tremendous growth, many of Camp Dudley’s lifelong traditions were also born.
A permanent home for Camp Dudley After 23 years of temporary sites on the western shores of Lake Champlain, Dudley finally secured a permanent home in Westport in 1908. A handful of Dudleyites, including former director Billy Burger, Robert Wensley of the state Boysâ€™ Committee, Walter Witherbee, who owned an ore mining firm in Port Henry, and Samuel P. Avery, brokered a deal with local landowners Mrs. Roe and Mr. Frisbie, to secure the land on which the campus sits today. This group worked with a Westport summer resident, Dr. J. H. Worman, to finalize this land acquisition resulting in a unique Dudley campus for the next century. With its location happily settled, Camp Dudley turned to the task of finding a new director.
Herman Carl Beckman
#310 — “Chief” Since its inception in 1885, the camp had seen five directors come and go. Herman Carl Beckman first came to Camp Dudley as a youngster in 1897. Known as “Becky,” he was taken under the wing of the various directors and versed in the inner workings of Camp Dudley. As the trustees of the camp began their search, Beckman emerged as a natural fit. He had spent time working as the Camp clerk for the BCS, was affiliated with the YMCA, and had a knack for working with young men. And so it was that Camper #310, a 26-yearold from New York, embraced his passion for camping and climbed into a role that lasted 40 years as the “Chief” at Camp Dudley.
Dedicated Leader and Athlete Chief was well known for his love of sports, particularly baseball. He took a great interest in all sports, including golf, basketball, swimming and diving, and tennis. In addition to Chiefâ€™s passion for athletics, he also appreciated music and religion, the dramatic arts, cleanliness, order, and he understood leadership. It is clear that Chief had a hand in every nuance of camp life at Dudley and was personally acquainted with every boy and Leader in his care. Many Leaders and campers who attended Dudley during Chiefâ€™s tenure reflect on his uncanny ability to recall names and faces of current and past members of the Dudley family.
Leadership at Dudley As soon as Chief took on his new role as Director, he embarked on a campaign to build up the physical campus and to improve the overall camp program. Before 1909, the camp day was fairly relaxed with campers and Leaders spending most of their time in leisure pursuits. Chief introduced a daily schedule requiring that the Leaders take a more pointed interest in what their charges were doing. Chief took pride in the young Leaders that he recruited, many from Ivy League institutions. He corresponded with these young men and hosted a regular luncheon at the Yale Club in New York to keep them all connected.
The Daily Schedule Emerges With strong Leaders in place, Chief focused on his daily schedule of activities, which gradually grew into the overall camping program for boys who attended Camp Dudley. The day generally started with breakfast and morning devotions. For a time, military drills were introduced to the daily routine and conducted on the main campus. Campers were expected to keep their living spaces clean and tidy, and a daily inspection was ultimately born of this. Within the day, campers and Leaders engaged in team and individual sports, which became a fixture in the Dudley program for the next century. Dudley teams competed within Camp and against local teams from Essex County.
Early Activities A host of other activities emerged during this early period with everything from model airplane building (above) to ham radio (left). The boys were also free to pursue a host of their own interests each day.
AN AWARDS PROGRAM As Chief’s daily program of activities grew, so did the need for a reward system. As boys completed tasks, such as swabbing the decks in the dining hall or achieved a variety of goals, they earned a Camp Dudley emblem. While the campers increasingly focused on earning an emblem, the spirit behind their efforts was never lost, and the beginnings of a Camp motto emerged, “. . . an unselfish desire to promote the good and welfare of all.” With this creed in mind, the boys and men of Camp Dudley at the turn of the century began to live the legacy that would become “The Other Fellow First.”
The Building Process Begins
When the campers and Leaders arrived on campus in 1908, it was clear that a few structures were needed. A makeshift dining tent was quickly assembled, serving as the social hub of camp life, and as the venue for camp theatrics. Rough tents, consisting of a tarp overhead and ponchos and blankets covering the ground, popped up close to the dining tent. By 1912, more permanent tent structures were the norm (left). These shelters had wooden ground borders and canvas double-decker bunks.
The Avery Boathouse, 1913 With a daily schedule in place, complete with times for work and times for leisure, waterfront activities grew in popularity. Boating and canoeing became a favorite pastime at Dudley and Samuel P. Avery gave money to erect a boathouse in 1913. Currently, the oldest original building on campus, Avery was constructed on a hillside in Wensley Bay, next to Suter Point, and was also the home of Dudleyâ€™s library (left). If boys werenâ€™t out on the water, they could be found enjoying a quiet book upstairs in the library.
The Dining Hall Fire, 1915 The beloved campus dining hall was built in 1913. This grand structure boasted hardwood floors and a stage for shows and Hymn Sings at one end. Sadly, this edifice burned to the ground in September of 1915, but was rebuilt by the 1916 season. While it was mostly an open-air structure, the building also had a large fireplace at one end and mullioned windows.
The Camp Office The first Camp Dudley Office was constructed near Swim Point during these early years. Here Chief and a small team tackle Campâ€™s administrative chores.
Construction â€” a team effort The Post Manual building (above) also came into existence in these early years and housed countless craft, as well as campus building projects. As part of the summer program, campers were instructed in the fine art of construction. Thus, a six-bed Infirmary (left, middle) was built by campers and staff, along with the Arts & Crafts building (left, below).
Early Music and Drama As the music and theatre department grew in popularity, so did the need for a new facility, separate from the dining hall. The Witherbee family stepped in and Witherbee Hall was built in 1925, home to the first Evening of Music. Stars of the 1920 show, â€œThe Man in the Moon,â€? pose for the camera.
The Dudley Chapel When Chief took the helm in 1908, the role of religion at Camp Dudley was integral to Camp life. While the boys and young men who came to Camp traditionally hailed from a Protestant background, they were regularly exhorted to take Christ into their lives publicly and privately. Sunday Sabbath was kept and a daily Bible class was mandatory. The Rev. James Lee Ellenwood became a fixture in Dudleyâ€™s spiritual program from 1920 to 1934 (left).
A Camp newspaper, The Dudley Doings The â€œD.D.,â€? was first published in 1905. A catchall for Camp memories, trivia, and fun, the D.D. was also a source for divisional sports standings and historical documentation. It was, in part, underwritten by New York City and local advertisers.
The 4th of July Campus Parade gets its start
The 4th of July parade (c. 1919, above), and the Dudley Orchestra, forerunner of the Rhythm Ramblers, (c. 1921, below) are some of the lasting traditions that began during Chiefâ€™s tenure.
The Indian Pageant The first annual Indian Pageant took place in 1914 as a means to â€œ. . . perpetuate those historical facts, as well as numerous traditions and legends which make the Champlain Valley one of the most interesting regions on the continent of North America.â€? A well-researched re-enactment and serious tradition, the Indian Pageant continued for nearly a half century at Camp Dudley.
The Waterfront Surrounded by the “refreshing” waters of Lake Champlain, Swim Point quickly became one of the most popular spots on campus. Life saving tests were first given in 1915, as safety became the watch-word on the waterfront. Dudley swim teams competed against other camps in the ’20s.
The Milk Station Chief waits at the Westport train stop, known as the Milk Station, with a handful of mothers, including (from l to r:) Mrs. Irvine J. Kittinger, Sr., Chief, Dotty Swart, and Mrs. W. A. Marshall â€“ mother of Chiefâ€™s successor #2700 Bob Marshall. Below, campers await the arrival of the 1919 train at the Milk Station to take them home again.
Hiking the Adirondacks The first official recognition given to hiking is found in the Camp booklet for the summer of 1899. A “mountain climb in charge of a guide” to Nichols Pond was promised therein. In the Beckman years, longer trips became commonplace. Marcy, Whiteface, Gothics, Giant, and other “high peaks” were routinely conquered. These trips started at Camp and the boys walked — with all of their gear — to the base of these mountains before ascending their peaks. The trips could take several weeks to complete, and there were few of the comforts which are thought essential today. When night came, the parties camped in an open field or in a barn, if available.
The Day’s Program 1913 The daily program is carried out as follows, except on Sunday when changes are made, including a Church service in the morning, at which attendance by all is required. 6:45 7:00
Rising whistle. Setting-up exercises, flag raising and dip in the lake. The drill is compulsory to all who wish to take the morning dip. 7:20 Prepare for tent inspection. 7:45 Whistle for Chapel. 7:50 Whistle at dining hall— Chapel begins. 8:00 Breakfast, followed by announcements. 8:45 Store and office open. 9:00 Squad duties and morning activities. 12:00 Noon Swim. 12:30 Prepare for inspection. 1:00 Dinner. 1:45 Store and office open. 2:00 Distribution of mail. 2:30 Afternoon activities. 5:00 Afternoon swim. 6:00 Supper. 7:00 Evening games on campus. 8:00 Entertainment, camp fire or other meetings. 8:45 First whistle—turn in. 9:05 Second whistle—Tent Vespers. 9:15 Last whistle—lights out and all quiet.
C AMP DUDLEY
in 1930 . . . A solid foundation for the future
hief Beckman would direct Dudley another 17 years, for an unprecedented 40-year directorship. Camp’s unwavering adherence to its founder’s original ideals is owed, in large part, to Beckman’s tireless commitment to his campers, the campus, the program, and leadership. One hundred years ago, like today, boys were waking up to a cold dip in Lake Champlain, followed by a morning Chapel Talk. A century ago, boys were learning the lessons of team work and service. They were earning awards, performing plays, and swaying in Witherbee at Sunday Hymn Sings, then and now. Each Camp Dudley day ended with an evening Vesper . . . just like today. And then, as now, the Camp Dudley dome glittered into view each night . . . “Now the day is over. Night is drawing is nigh. Shadows of the evening steal across the sky . . .”
C AMP DUDLEY 1930 To 1947
“THE THIRTIES AND FORTIES”
n 1930, Chief Beckman was more than halfway through his 40-year directorship at Camp Dudley and the country was at the start of a decade that would end in war.
C HIEFâ€™S TEAM Chief enlisted the help of many Dudleyites to assist him in the day-to-day business of running the summer camp as the above photos indicate. At the start of the decade, they worked in tight quarters in the office originally located by Swim Point. By 1939, Chief had moved operations to the newly built Main Office, next to the Dudley gates. From there, Chief ran Dudley as it weathered many storms, and continued to thrive.
TENT LIFE . . . GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE After the installation of a dedicated water line in 1922, Camp Dudley enjoyed hot showers for the first time in 1930, and permanent cabins soon followed. Over the next five years, tent life vanished and was replaced each year by more cabins. By 1935, 34 cabins were built and occupied by the entire Camp population of the day.
HERE COME THE C UBBIES! Also in 1935, the Cub Division was born, and five-and-a-half cabins were dedicated to this, the fastest-growing division of 9and-a-half to 10-and-a-half-year-old boys. Cub Alley came to life at this time, comprising Poly, Burr, Syracuse, Rensselaer and Adirondack cabins. Above, the boys in Burr, 1931. L to R, back row – Leader Gar Adams, Frank van Sitter, D. Rogers, Oliver “O.K.” King. Leaning on cabin Jack Place. Junior Leader Jimmy Cochrane. Sitting down Billy Burr, Kirk Usher, and Dick Heintz.
LIFE comes to Dudley Fifty-two years into its career, Camp Dudley was visited by LIFE Magazine in 1937. Our fair Camp then graced that famous magazineâ€™s pages in the August issue.
Life Magazine covered vespers, boxing, and the summer camp cuisine at Dudley, long considered a leader in American camping.
ENTHUSIAST C LUBS EMERGE During this decade, Dudley shifted from being mainly an athletic, swimming and leisure camp to embracing a club format for boys to pursue individual interests and hobbies. This move resulted in the formation of numerous clubs, including: nature, hiking, council ring, fencing, model airplane, camera, geology, archery, rifle, current affairs, lumberjacks, magic, stamp, puppet, sports review, poster and Dudley yachting, to name a few. Dick Foster (above) and young archers built their own bows and fashioned their own leather quivers, and (below) leather working and ceramics became staples of the club hobbies at Dudley.
Woodworking among the Camp population yielded many useful objects, such as ladders for the bunks in the newly constructed cabins and chairs around campus. Lloyd Batchelder oversees boys in ceramics (below). Lloyd later died serving the country in WWII.
W ITHERBEE AND THE DRAMATIC ARTS The 1930s at Camp Dudley saw a surge in enthusiasm for the dramatic arts. After Witherbee Hall was built in 1925, #3550 Link Barnett became heavily involved in all things Witherbee. Above left, Barnett spooks a frightened damsel, circa 1930. With a building devoted solely to it, Dudley drama gained another measure of sophistication and began to involve the campers much more than in the past. #4464 Johnny Jones (right) arrived in 1929, and Barnett immediately tapped into Johnnyâ€™s legendary creative talents and put him to work on the stage.
Jones was followed in 1930 by #4615 Hank Ready (middle) who, at that time, was attending Oberlin College. Together these two thespians enjoyed more than a decade of collaboration, creating many memorable productions. Hank also started the Rhythm Ramblers (below), a jazz band ensemble still in existence and entertaining Dudleyites today. Many future greats, like Princetonian playwright #2697 Erd Harris and actor #3567 Burgess Meredith graced the Dudley stage during this era.
LEADERS Chief continued to pride himself on his cast of intelligent, game, and competent leaders, many of whom he, himself, recruited. “It all starts with Leadership,” Beckman would say. “Then program, then facilities.” It was during this era that many Leader “greats” established themselves at Camp Dudley, such as #2700 Bob Marshall, #3229 Bill McCutcheon, #4616 Bob Cushman and #3560 Bill Vanneman, Sr.
TEAM C LUBS
Ken “Dutch” Hafner was the head of the A-Hut from 1938 to 1968. He was the CDA Man of the year in 1967 and a board member from 1970 to 1975.
By the early 1930s an athletics club system had been well established by Dudley legend #3887 Ken “Dutch” Hafner, who came to Camp in the mid-1920s and stayed for the next 50 years. Hafner effectively divided the Dudley population into six groups for athletic competition. He is credited with implementing the competition system which culminated in championship matches throughout the sports. The athletic clubs were named as follows: Avery, Eldridge, MacLean, Post, Wensley and Witherbee – named after famous Dudley men.
DUDLEY PUBLICATIONS ARE BORN Dudley life in the late ’30s was reflected in a three-reel movie made to promote the boys’ Camp. #2241 Norm Ludlow helped launch the Camp’s yearbook, The Last W histle in 1938, and an alumni publication called simply “Camp Dudley” appeared in 1940, the forerunner of the CDA News.
IT’S TOO HOT IN THE KITCHEN . . .
“We older leaders must cooperate by deliberately setting out to maintain high standards in keeping faith in all matters of personal behavior. This can be done, not by regulation, but by each one definitely deciding to do his part to bring about common sense control in every situation involving personal privilege, example and conduct.”
Chief’s guiding hand in all things Dudley was manifested in his vigilance in the kitchen standards, as evidenced by a letter written in 1939 by Chief to his incoming Leaders. The missive reveals many details, including an outbreak of dysentery in 1938 at Camp Dudley. The epidemic of stomach troubles prompted Chief to hire an entirely new Kitchen Crew, which he poached from Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, for the summers. The tone of Chief’s 1939 letter to his Leaders almost portends a change in atmosphere both at Camp and in the country.
DUDLEY ACQUIRES NEARLY 300 ACRES OF W ILDERNESS World War II got underway in 1939 and Camp Dudley, still unaffected, purchased 292 acres of wilderness south and west of the campus, which became a spot for day hikes and overnights and is known as Stacy Brook. Dudley quickly erected lean-to’s at three different sites within the Stacy acreage along the brook. Included in this large purchase was a barn at the base of the watershed, as well as an old farmhouse, which came to be known as the Old Baker’s House or the Stacy Farmhouse.
DIVISION HEADS 1942 marks one of the worst years of WWII and many Dudleyites are in the thick of it. Chief is forced to employ younger men (16- and 17-year-olds) as Leaders, as well as two 15-year-olds, #6102 Cab Woodward, #5447 Bob Appleyard, and #5080 Bob Shaw. Chief then turned to older alumni for support. Adult men like #4215 Al Cornish, #5320 Ed Fisher, #4019 Berk Johnson, Sr., #2700 Bob Marshall and #2612 Tom Tredwell took time off from their jobs and real life responsibilities to help out at Camp in leadership positions; this is when and how the idea of Division Heads was born. Chief also relied on key staff members like Steve Brodie to navigate this difficult time. Center: Bob Appleyard
Center: Bob Marshall
A WAR-TIME PROGRAM In 1943, Camp embraced a wartime mode in that many things were rationed (sugar, fuel), and this affected the Camp program. But, these changes inspired a certain camaraderie at Dudley, as well as a true awareness of WWII. This summer, Camp Dudley traditions were upheld with an air of solemnity and patriotism. Dutch Hafner stressed the importance of daily and rigorous physical fitness.
LETTERS TO C HIEF The fall edition of the CDA News in 1943 featured excerpts from letters from Dudleyites in the service. These letters reflect the importance of Dudley in the hearts of men at war, as well as during peace. The thoughts and feelings expressed in these notes refer to experiences at Camp Dudley that boys and men and women continue to feel and know today. References to Swim Point, the Cub Diamond, and the Flag Pole hit home with all of us who have had the privilege of knowing Camp Dudley and its spirit â€” the Dudley Spirit.
LETTERS TO C HIEF In addition to the letters home from Dudleyites, Harry L Tower, Jr., future Dudley parent, captured army life in his wonderful illustrations he sent home from his war-time assignments.
POST-WAR DUDLEY BRINGS NEW LEADERSHIP When World War II came to an end in 1945, Camp broke out in a spontaneous celebration on the main field; a sense of peace restored. 1945 marked the first post-war summer at Camp Dudley and it was characterized by a surge in full- season campers and the usual flurry of activity and antics. During this time, #2700 Bob Marshall emerged as a Leader among leaders at Dudley. In 1947, he was a natural pick to succeed Chief, and in the fall of that year, he became Camp Director â€” moving, with his wife Ruth and daughter Judy, to the little red house across the road. 1948 began Bob Marshallâ€™s 22-year career at Dudley as Director.
THER FELLO W
125 Y E
CAMP DUDLEY AT
Dudley reached its 125th birthday in the summer of 2009, during Director Andy Bisselle’s watch. Andy was completing his 10th summer as Director.
hen he first came to Camp Dudley as a Cub in 1977, young Andy Bisselle began his gradual, albeit unwitting, climb into the role of director of Camp Dudley some 23 years later. Andy’s relationship with Camp Dudley actually started long before he ever walked through the gates. His grandfather, Morgan Bisselle, grew up in New York City and was a neighbor and friend of young #2700 Bob Marshall, so Andy’s dad, #7441 Phil “Lefty” Bisselle, arrived in 1947 as a Cub. Mom, Holly #13283, was Camp’s banker in the ’60s. Brother #13744 Tom, and sister Wendy, were all part of the team. For the Bisselles, Dudley was a family affair.
ndy’s early leaders at Dudley included #10649 Steve Wertimer, #10974 Regis Canning, #11846 Tom Canning, #11856 John Canning, #7681 George Nelson and #13082 Steve Luke. With a cast of characters like that, it’s no wonder Andy became Director! Andy’s Cub coach at Dudley in 1977 was one #10709 Doug Goodwin, who, as it happened, lived with his family on Farmer Street in Canton, New York, right down the street from the Bisselles!
hen Camp Dudley launched a search for a director in 2000 to succeed Wheaton Griffin, Andy was in his 9th year at The Taft School and opened his heart to the new opportunity. The fit was right and Andy was hired in April 2000. He started in June of that year and, at age 34, was the second youngest director in Dudley’s history. He and his wife Fran, also a Taft teacher and coach at that time, moved into the director’s house with their young daughters, Lucy and Agnes, and embarked on their shared vision: To create a summer camping and leadership training opportunity for the girls and young women in the Dudley family. “The time had come,” Andy noted.
n 2002, Dudley’s board of managers, chaired by #9061 C. Roland Stichweh, formally amended its mission to include girls and young women. Within two years of changing its mission, Camp Dudley had commenced a quiet launch of the Dudley Family Campaign (DFC), a fundraising effort with the ultimate goal of owning and operating a camp for girls by the summer of 2009. Said Andy, “It is important to note that the board of managers agreed to this mission change and the monumental goal of acquiring or starting a camp for girls in part because of the year-round management team in place at that time.” A solid supporter of the new mission was former director #7405 William J. Schmidt.
he quality of our staff team was critical,” said Andy, who found a strong group already at Dudley when he arrived in 2000. A few months before Andy and Fran arrived, #11264 Mark “Davo” Davenport came to Camp as Head of Leadership and got right to work helping with Andy’s transition. Wheaton had also hired #17,600 Fred Guffey, to head up Dudley’s maintenance crew and Fred lunged into the job of managing Dudley’s more than 500 acres and numerous buildings. #10932 Tim “JR” Scanlon became Business Manager in 2003, following #12916 Taylor Schollmaier and with the consultation of Dudley standby, #7532 Paul Grinwis.
14508 Peggy Bolster joined the office staff in 2001, working in archives, as an associate editor on the CDA News and handling telephones and parents. #19542 Dawn Gay was hired in the spring of 2005 to work as the assistant to the director. #19773 Linda â€œEll-Ellâ€? Lowe came on in 2006 to round out the front office crew. This versatile team handled mountains of inquiries, thousands of applications, and provided reassurance to hundreds of parents as the work load grew by about a third with the acquisition of Camp Kiniya in May 2006.
udley had a long tradition of fund-raising. In 2004, the Board launched an ambitious Dudley Family Campaign under the guidance of Director of Development #8804 M. John Storey and #15900 Bonnie Vaughan. Andy, John and the Board set new goals, pegging the Family Campaign at $10 million with Annual Giving doubling during the life of the Campaign. Dudley embraced the new millennium during this time. Connections with the entire Dudley family were enhanced through frequent communication by way of the CDA News, edited by Peggy Bolster and Martha Storey, a new website, and the development of on-line giving. As a result, the Dudley Family Campaign surpassed its goal, reaching $12 million by the fall of 2009. These monies were raised for Leadership, Scholarship, the Avery Boathouse, and the acquisition of Camp Dudley at Kiniya in Colchester, Vermont.
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uring our 125th year, we were recognized by both the United States House of Representatives with Resolution HR300 and also by the Senate of the State of New York. Excerpts follow;
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FOR IMM n M. Mc E Contact: DIATE RELEAS Hugh E Stephan ie Valle May 19, 2009 stephanie .valle@m ail.house .gov or (202) 22 M cH ugh 5-4611 R eso
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harlie Johnson, IV, led the Board following the expansion of Dudley’s mission to include girls camping and leadership training. The Dudley Family Campaign was launched with the aim of fulfilling these goals, including the building or acquisition of a camp for girls by the year 2009. The “DFC” was headed by then board chairman Tom “TC” Canning and his wife, Paula.
he board formed a Girls Committee which set to work on goals and priorities. It also hired Fran Bisselle to serve as a consultant to Dudley identifying girls’ camps with which it might form an alliance. The first camp to emerge was Camp Jeanne D’Arc – a ‘for-profit girls’ camp in Merrill, New York. While a joint venture relationship ultimately did not prove sustainable, Dudley learned a lot from the brief intersection. “We learned that we wanted to own and operate our own camp, that we wanted to be in charge, and that the camp would be a non-profit enterprise,” Andy explained.
ther primary themes also emerged in this initial phase of research. “We realized that very few, if any, camps for girls offered team sports, leadership training and a spiritual foundation – all in one,” said Andy. Borrowing some of the successes of Camp Dudley, the idea was to create a girls’ camp using a similar model but adapting it to girls. Bearing all of her findings in mind, Fran continued her search, and in 2004, met Jack and Marilyn Williams at Camp Kiniya on its 135 acre campus in Colchester, Vermont. Helen Van Buren had founded the Camp in 1919, and the Williams had owned and operated Kiniya since 1951.
iniya had many traditions of its own, including horseback riding, which was implemented in the early 1930â€™s, a Big/Little Sister program, the Kiwi celebration, its closing banquet and the beloved awards ceremony which follows the banquet. The girls lived in cabins, hiked into the hills of Vermont and enjoyed music, drama and games, as well as sports like swimming, diving, archery and canoeing. Through the years, the girlsâ€™ program had expanded and thrived, adding many more sports, including water-skiing, as well as a dance program and camp craft. Girls continued to flock to the eastern shores of Lake Champlain each summer to enjoy American camping life.
n 1994, Marnie McDonagh, a young woman from Australia came to Kiniya to work as the water-ski instructor. Marnie also captured the attention of Jack and Marilyn Williams who asked Marnie to stay into the fall of that year to help with administrative duties. Marnie returned as Head Counselor the following summer and by 1998 was promoted to the role of assistant director, and then associate director at Kiniya. By 2005, Jack and Marilyn had spent five decades nurturing a camp, its girls and its traditions, and they were planning retirement, but not before placing Kiniya into good hands.
fter a brief courtship, Camp Dudley purchased Camp Kiniya in May of 2006, and renamed it Camp Dudley at Kiniya. The first order of business was to switch the camp from a for-profit enterprise to non-profit status and welcome the Kiniya girls into the Dudley family. Happily for Camp Dudley, Marnie McDonagh became director as soon as Dudley completed the purchase. â€œWe acquired a beautiful piece of land, a camp with long-standing traditions and a strong core of campers, but the very best asset of this acquisition was Marnie McDonagh and her leadership ability,â€? remarked Andy, who became executive director of both camps.
s Marnie embraced Camp Dudley and incorporated new ideas into the Camp Dudley at Kiniya program, she surrounded herself with a strong team. That first summer, Dudley’s own #16964 Joanie Chioffi signed on and worked along side Marnie in bringing team sports to the CDKiniya campus. Joanie’s main focus was launching the new leadership program. Working with the maintenance crew at CDK, Joanie set up a leadership center on the main campus where girls could gather and where she could host training workshops. One summer later, Joanie’s husband, #13820 Marcus, joined the staff as Program Director and the trio continued to fortify leadership and programming at CDKiniya, along with many other members of the Camp Dudley family.
n the midst of merging the two camps, Fred Guffey managed several major capital projects and improvements to the physical campuses. Construction of the new main office, including the Marshall Office and Stichweh Leadership Center, was completed in 2003. A total overhaul of the foundation resulted in the preservation of the Avery Boathouse in 2005. Witherbee Hall was renovated in stages from 2000 to 2002. The Beckman Dining Hall was upgraded in 2004, as was Sommer Hall in 2007. A new water line project was completed in 2008. In 2009, an erosion control and beautification project was undertaken at Swim Point. The maintenance crew in Westport continues to be an integral part of keeping the campus fit for the onslaught of campers every summer.
everal major projects have been completed at CD Kiniya since 2006, including two brand new cabins named after the donors who made them possible, the Cady family and the Vanneman family. Cabin 9/10 was renovated in 2009 and renamed The Schmidt Cabin after Dudley director Willie Schmidt. The leadership center at CDK was upgraded, as was the maintenance shop. A water treatment building and a new well were added to the CDK campus, as well as two new septic fields. Much to the delight of the campers, the Senior Bathhouse was completely renovated in 2009.
ndy, Davo and Martin Germerroth of the Hannover CVJM worked to rejuvenate the German Exchange Program at Camp Dudley, sending a group of young men to Camp Abbensen in Hannover, Germany every other summer. In the alternate summers, a contingent of Abbensen campers comes to Dudley for a session. This program, first started in 1962, has regained its original popularity in the last decade, and the third generation of Dudley and Hannover families are now participating in the five decade old program. Above, this yearâ€™s Dudley boys are greeted at the airport by Eberhard and Ingrid Mangold.
key component of Dudley’s 125 years of success has always been the summer staff. Year in and year out, outstanding teachers, coaches, nurses, doctors and others from around the globe, return to Camp Dudley to give of themselves, to offer their expertise and guidance to the camps they love. Mainstays include Dave “Langfu” and Laura Langston, James Mayo, Joe and Dawn Maiurano, Sheila and Fred Kapper, Mike Schloat, Blair Dils, Steve Goodwin, and Dave West. “We are what we are because of the devotion and passion of these folks,” said Director Bisselle.
elebrating that devotion and passion was at the forefront of Camp Dudleyâ€™s 125th celebration in the summer of 2009 planned by all five of the most recent CDA officers, including #9701 Rich Maxwell, #12764 Chris Perry, #12664 Ted Smith, #12330 Ralph LaRovere, and #13804 Matt Storey. An estimated 700 alumni congregated for a four-day celebration at the end of August on the campus. The festivities included the usual Dudley CDA Reunion standbys, such as capture the flag, greased watermelon, picnics on the lawn, Hymn Sing and the awarding of the CDA Man of the Year.
hile boys in Westport and girls in Colchester continue to enjoy team sports, spiritual reflection and leadership training, both campuses have undergone physical improvements, allowing both programs to thrive. “We are grateful for our loyal alumni and the undying support they have shown us over the past century and we hope to continue to live, ‘The Other Fellow First,’ on both sides of the lake, for another 125 years,” said Bisselle.
obert H. “Bob” Marshall, Camper #2700, Leader, Associate Director, Director and, with his beloved wife Ruth, the “Camp Dudley Association Couple of the Year” in 1968, passed away on May 23, 2005 at his home in Vero Beach Florida. As former leader John Brust eulogized, “Bob Marshall lived energetically. Whether he was blowing the whistle at breakfast, giving out camper awards, tending his garden, playing tennis, taking leaders to Middlebury for dinner, reminiscing about Westport during Prohibition, helping a kid get into college, showing you the lake in his boat, flirting with someone else’s wife, or hamming it up on the Witherbee stage, he could leave you a bit breathless. Arriving at Dudley as camper #2700, he was, at age 7, the youngest cub ever. Thirty years later, when he became Director, camp numbers were in the 7000s; when he retired in 1971 they were in the 11,000s; when he died 3 months ago at the age of 96, they were just short of 20,000.”
r. William J. “Willie” Schmidt, who for six decades helped kids to find their way from modest backgrounds into America’s oldest continuously operating summer camp, died August 8, 2008 in Elizabethtown, NY. He was 79. By far his biggest contribution, and lasting legacy, is the dramatic expansion of the scholarship program, appropriately re-named “The William J. Schmidt Annual Scholarship Fund” in 2004. When Willie took over as Director in 1974, Annual Giving, which underwrote the program, stood at $25,000 per year. When he retired twenty years later, it had reached $250,000 per year. Thousands of boys had the joy of a Camp Dudley experience, thanks to Willie’s insistence on “opening the place up.” A legendary recruiter, Willie said, “I can tell if a kid is Dudley material in a minute,” which he frequently did, offering astonished boys, he had just met at an airport, a scholarship to Dudley.