Moments in Camp History

Celebrating 150 Years of Camp!

Throughout the 150-year history of camp, there have been moments of great innovation, groundbreaking policy implementation, and — yes — fun! This year, we will be celebrating the moments that have made camp what it is today.

Check back to this page every Wednesday, or follow ACA on Facebook and Twitter for bite-sized facts to feed your knowledge of camp history! Make sure to share this link with your camp friends and families!

May 25, 2011

In 1912, the first Girl Scout camp was held in Savannah, Georgia. Ever since the founding of Girl Scouts, camp has played an important role in the Girl Scout program. In 1922, the organization decided to charter camps throughout the country.

May 18, 2011

The U.S. Forest Service and ACA signed an agreement allowing camps to use public lands in 1995. Today, it is estimated that 9 percent of all camps use public lands and waters for at least a portion of their program.

May 11, 2011

In 1948, ACA adopted the Standards, which are the basis for ACA camp accreditation. ACA Standards are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp industry. There are currently 300 standards for health, safety, and program. In 1954, for the first time, camps were required to provide evidence of compliance with ACA Camp Standards to be eligible for camp accreditation.

May 4, 2011

In 1975, Camping Magazine was brought in-house after being edited and published by Howard Galloway in Plainfield, New Jersey, for over thirty years.

April 27, 2011

In 1950, the Program Committee and the Inter-cultural Committee presented resolutions to the effect that ACA, in the future, use facilities in which all hospitality and privileges were extended to all members of the Association, regardless of race, creed, or color. In October of 1950, there was a motion to uphold this resolution and change hotel venues for the 1952 National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. The motion was passed.

April 20, 2011

In 1892, Camp Arey in Arey, New York, became the first camp to admit girls. By 1902 the camp was serving girls exclusively. Other camps serving girls made their appearance in 1902 as well, including Camp Kehonka in New Hampshire, Pinelands of Center Harbor, Maine, and Wyonegonic Camps in Denmark, Maine.

Others quickly followed, such as the Aloha Camps in 1905 and Alford Lake Camp in 1907 as well as the Gulick Wo-he-lo Camp in 1910. As the movement spread, 125 girls camps were established by 1925.

Wyonegonic is the oldest continuously running camp for girls in the United States.

April 13, 2011

Due to "the critical transportation problem" resulting from World War II, the Board of Directors decided to cancel the 1943 annual conference. Instead, sections were urged to hold regional conferences. The proposed theme of the conferences was "Camping, a Wartime Asset."

April 6, 2011

In 1894, Keewaydin Camp was organized on Lake Temagami in Ontario, Canada as a canoe and wilderness camp. Today it is the oldest camp to continuously operate on the same site in North America, and the oldest canoe-trip camp in the world. The camp family has expanded to include two additional camps and a robust environmental education program.

March 30, 2011

Day camps became an accredited camp option for families 55 years ago. ACA had developed standards for resident camps in 1948. It was decided that a closer look at day camps was necessary. From 1950-54, the National and Section Standards Committees formulated Day Camp Standards for use and study. The Day Camp Standards were officially adopted by the Council of Delegates at the 1956 National Convention in Detroit, Michigan.

March 23, 2011

In 2011, ACA and partner New Dimensions offer all members of the camp community a chance to celebrate 150 years of camp in style — with hats, t-shirts, tote bags, and posters. The commemorative images used on the products were designed by Bruce Dean, the same artist who designed ACA’s updated logo in 2005, and feature stylized reproductions of actual photos submitted by camps! Representing an artistic rendition of the progression of camp from the past (1910s, 1930s, and 1950s) to the present day, the merchandise is available for purchase online, and items can be customized with specific camp names.

March 16, 2011

In 2007, ACA cemented its commitment to environmental stewardship and developed the Green Spoken Here initiative, offering online resources, including the "Green Spoken Here" pledge for camp and youth development staff, as well as parents and families, to encourage outdoor activity and environmental awareness.

March 9, 2011

In January 1930, the name of the Camp Directors Association (CDA) magazine was changed from Camping  to The Camping Magazine. The Camping Magazine was the official publication of the CDA, under the authorization of the National Board of Directors. Its purpose was to inform and educate camp professionals and others in related fields so they can successfully serve their clientele. In 1946 the name was shortened to Camping Magazine. The magazine is still published by ACA, and serves as the resource for camp and youth development professionals, with articles on topics such as public policy, research, trends, and best practices.

The special May/June Staff Training issue features the foremost camp trainers and consultants for staff orientation. The 2011 Staff Training issue includes articles from Bob Ditter, Stephen Wallace, Jon Malinowski, Kim Aycock, Scott Arizala, Chris Thurber, Ethan Schafer, Jeffrey Leiken, and more, and is available at a special low bulk rate. Order your copies today!

March 2, 2011

On March 4, 1983, the first meeting of members of The Acorn Society was held in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Society was created as a fellowship of individuals who believed in the purpose of organized camping and wanted to ensure that camping continues as a growing, educational opportunity. Each year, the Foundation board hosts an Acorn Society celebration dinner to honor those individuals who have made provisions for bequests to ACA in estate planning through wills, insurance policies, unitrusts, or other avenues.

February 23, 2011

In 1935, during Herbert H. Twining's presidency, the name of the association was changed from Camp Directors Association of America to the American Camping Association, Incorporated. This name would not be changed again until 2004.

February 16, 2011

In the 1930s, the National Park Service developed Recreation Demonstration Areas as part of the Federal Government's work relief programs — thirty-four of which were organized camp facilities made available for lease by camp groups that did not own camp grounds. These sites were later turned over to state agencies, particularly state parks.