KAATERSKILL!
KAMP KAATERSKILL!!

Where'er on earth we chance to be,
Our hearts will always turn to thee,
Thy groves are temples for our song.
Thy waters cheer us all day long,
Thy breezes make the weakest strong.
Kaaterskill! Kamp Kaaterskill!
We roam thy pathways free of care!
We seem to breathe diviner air.
Life's story and the Great Beyond,
Are sweeter 'mid the memories fond,
That haunt the shores of Barber's Pond,
Kaaterskill! Kamp Kaaterskill!
            Our faith and love in safety keep,
On waking hours and midnight sleep,
Let every loyal-hearted boy,
Salute the flag and honor Troy,
For here they bring us pride and joy,
Kaaterskill! Kamp Kaaterskill!

Kamp Kaaterskill. a private summer camp for boys, was founded in 1921, on the shores of Barber's Pond in East Pownal, Vermont. It was conducted by the Lansingburgh Young Men's Christian Association of North Troy, New York. Initially Herbert W.Lorenz of Buffalo, New York, was Camp Director, but in about 1928, he became the owner and Managing Director.

The purpose of Kamp Kaaterskill was to direct energy, to develop latent ability, to cultivate right habits and to make Christian character. The camp's motto was, "I'm Third". (I will put God first, the other fellow second and myself third.)

In the beginning, camp was held for the month of July for boys ages 11 to 18, but gradually expanded to include August and boys ages five to 19. That first year board and other necessary camp expenses were $7.00 per week, and the camp could be reached via the B & M Railroad or by automobile.

Applying parents were asked to agree that, "As a precaution against the entrance of undesirable boys, it is distinctly understood that the parent in signing this application certifies that the son is amenable to discipline, and is free from vicious and immoral habits,...".

The boys were housed in tents with seven boys and a leader assigned to each tent. By the early 1930s, cabins were being built and as time went by most of the tents were replaced. In addition to the long row of more than 25 cabins and tents, there was a main lodge, a screened dining hall, an infirmary and a bathhouse.

Its 1922 brochure boasts that, "Kamp Kaaterskill will lead many camps this year in one department, namely Radio. Our new set will be taken to camp and evening concerts will be enjoyed. What boy can afford to miss this treat?"

Supervised activities were plentiful - swimming, diving, fishing, boating, canoeing, optional rifle practice, horseback riding, model aeroplane building, basketball, baseball, tennis, archery, nature study and woodcraft. In addition. First Aid lessons were taught, as well as the art of shaving one's face. And, of course, there were the evening camp fires.

Day-long hikes and overnight hiking trips were conducted each season. Greylock Mountain in Massachusetts and Bennington Battlefield in Walloomsac, New York, were just two of the overnight trips.

Every boy was expected to be present and take part in religious services. Chapel was held after breakfast and the vespers were held at night just after taps. On Sundays special programs were held in the Chapel-in-the-Woods. Boys of the Catholic faith could attend Mass on Sunday morning in Bennington.

The camp had a fulltime physician and registered nurses. The kitchen was equipped with all modern conveniences and manned by competent chefs. The best of meats and groceries were used and butter, pasteurized milk (from tubercular tested cows) and vegetables were secured from nearby dairy farms and markets.

We would be remiss if we did not mention "Freckles", Mr. Lorenz's beautiful St. Bernard dog, who was a friend to all the boys and well known around town, especially at back doors to butcher shops.

The Fourth of July was celebrated with an elaborate display of fireworks shown from Inspiration Point. Local residents would congregate along Barber's Pond Road to enjoy the fireworks and their reflection in the lake.

The camp continued to grow through times of prosperity and times of depression. By 1936 it had reached its full capacity of 125 boys. That year they came from 12 different states and the cost had risen to $17 per week or $136 for the season of eight weeks. It is noted that few salaries were paid as the majority of leaders came to camp on a volunteer basis.

In 1944, Mr. Lorenz closed Kamp Kaaterskill in East Pownal, and combined it with a girls' camp. Camp Woodland, directed by his wife, Gertrude, in Londonderry, Vermont.

No longer would local folks watch for the return of the boys along about the first of July; and no longer would they spread the word that, "The Boys Are Back!"


We will be featuring Kamp Kaaterskill at the Vermont History Expo at Tunbridge, VT in June 2004. If you or someone you know attended Kamp Kaaterskill, Pownal, VT. between 1921 and 1943, we would like to hear from you. pownal@adelphia.net

1928 Group Picture