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Organized Camp: 150 Years and Counting
One hundred and fifty years ago, a school teacher took a handful of children on a camping trip, sparking a movement that has become part of the very fabric of childhood — organized camp.
In 1861, Frederick W. Gunn took students from his homeschool program on a two-week trip. The class hiked to their destination and then set up camp. The students spent their time boating, fishing, and trapping. The trip was so successful that the tradition continued for twelve years as The Gunnery Camp.
This January, the American Camp Association® (ACA) begins a year-long celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the camp experience. Organized camp has provided millions of children, youth, and adults with independence, friendships, and a lifetime of memories.
With over ninety-five camps that are 100 years old or older, camp is a genuine tradition. Camps offer traditional programming such as hiking, archery, canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, and endless opportunities to learn life lessons first hand.
At the same time, camp is continually evolving to meet the changing demands of today's families. In the past ten years, ACA has added more than seventy-five new camps. Many camps offer specialized programs — including cooking, surfing, theater, language,