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Preserving the History & Heritage of Lake Winnipesaukee & Vicinity
 

 

SUMMER CAMPS

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OF LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE



Camp Menotomy, Meredith, NH

Continued from page 2

All the work of the camp with the exception of the cooking was done by the boys ... Mornings were given over to camp work and swimming. After dinner there were baseball, tennis, rowing, and short hikes. Occasionally there would be an all day hike planned. Some botany was studied and, in a very elementary way, zoology. As a final end-up for the summer there came the hike through the Presidential Range.

For more than ten years the camp was successfully continued until Dr. Talbot's failing health necessitated its closing and the site has since been used for private purposes. Some of the assistants, trained by Dr. Talbot, soon established camps of their own, which attained success. Dr. Shubmell, who had been an assistant of Dr. Talbot's in 1903, split off from Dr. Talbot, taking some of the boys with him and a short distance south, on Little Squam Lake, and established Sherwood Forest Camp, which he continued until 1910. On this same site. Dr. John B. May, who had been a camper and councilor under Dr. Shubmell, in 1914 established Winnetaska Canoeing Camps, which were continued by him until 1928.

In 1886, two years after Dr. Talbot's camp was established, Edwin DeMeritte opened Camp Algonquin, a few miles east which was operated as a private camp for boys. Camp Idlewild on Lake Winnipesaukee was opened in 1892 by John M. Dick, who had some training in a YMCA camp at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

So out of the influence of Balch's idea there had grown up, within a few miles from Chocorua in the succeeding 14 years, a whole brood of successful camps that followed the practices he had established. And, moreover, these camps have transmitted their influence far and wide.

While Ernest Balch had in the back of his mind the founding of a monastic order, it had to prove itself a success before anyone became bold enough to suggest that "what was good for the boys might be equally good for their sisters. As early as 1892, a girls' camp was established by Professor Fontaine at his natural science camp called Camp Arey, thus establishing just claim as the first organized camp for girls.

In 1900, Mrs. Oscar Holt took some girls as summer boarders in a small cottage, the "Redcroft," on the shore of Newfound Lake. After two years she decided to entertain only small boys and thus originated Mowglis, the pioneer camp for young boys.

The year 1902 was significant in the history of girls camps. Laura I. Mattoon, a teacher in a private school of New York City, then established Camp Kehonka in Wolfeboro on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee. At this period in time it was considered a startling thing to do, to take reputable New York girls in their teens and young women into the woods. It scandalized some of the good schoolmistresses to hear that she let girls run around in the broad daylight in bloomers. In the same year Miss Munoz established Pinelands at Center Harbor.

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