February 10, 2013

The way camp should be


“At that point in time, he (Robinson) felt it was equally important to exercise one’s body as well as one’s brains,” Disney said. “So the morning was filled with educational classes — philosophy, Latin, Greek, those sorts of classes. Then, the afternoon was doing physical pursuits. Every section at the boys’ camp had a tennis court. They had a baseball team. They would hike. At that time, when they were hiking in the High Peaks, they would actually hike from here to the Hike Peaks and then hike the High Peaks because there wasn’t transportation.”

In the early 20th century, the boys disembarked at Willsboro Train Station.

“They would be on a horse-drawn wagon to get up to camp,” Disney said. “That was the beginning of camp in 1905. It continued that way, all the way up until 1967, when Jack Swan, who is Dr. Robinson’s grandson and our current owner, started the girls’ camp in 1967. Then, Jack had the vision for also starting the Outdoor Education Center, which he did in 1974. It’s always been in continuous operation ever since.”


Pok-O-MacCready has a plethora of mottoes, which include “Hydrate or die.”

“Dr. Robinson’s motto when he started the camp was ‘Making boys into men,’” Disney said.

“That’s been shortened to ‘Boys to men’ by campers,” DeGroat said.

“That motto’s a little sexist now, and I think that we do much more than that,” Disney said.

“We also make girls into men,” DeGroat quipped.

“That’s only according to the girls,” said Shai Walker, maintenance director.

“That’s what the girls shout out,” Disney said.

Their easy banter was punctuated with laughter. In the summer, their ranks explode to 90 staffers, which run a myriad of programs. The downsized winter staff includes Tim Oprzadek, assistant director; Erin DeBusk, marketing director; Scott McIntyre, financial director; Taylor Smith, manager of The Crux; and Blythe Czaja, maple-sugaring specialist. Instructors are Andy LaBar, Lindsay Comeau and Jill Zdenek.

Text Only | Photo Reprints