Friday, March 8, 2013

Wawayanda is really the oldest Y camp

Over the years there has been a good deal of discussion about the original Wawayanda/Dudley co-founding of the first YMCA summer camp in the U.S. Sumner Dudley founded a camp in 1885 along Lake Wawayanda in northwestern New Jersey, then moved the camp to Orange, NY. Later the camp split: Dudley took his group to the Adirondacks (to what is now Camp Dudley) and another group remained at Lake Wawayanda in New Jersey. 

For years we talked about Wawayanda as having been founded, under the direction of Charles R. Scott, in 1901. Bud Cox and others have been arguing that in fact our founding dates back to Dudley's first camp in 1885.

Above is a photograph and caption from a book by Ronald J. Dupont, Jr., called Vernon Township. The photo was taken at Camp Wawayanda in 1909. But the caption notes: "A tent group on a sand shore. Lake Wawayanda is regarded as the first permanent YMCA camp in the United States, and the program carried the name Wawayanda to its later camps (the present one being in the Catskills). The camp was established by Sumner F. Dudley in the 1880s and left Lake Wawayanda after the property was purchased by the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1919."