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Boy's Camps on the Cape

 
 
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 07:06 am
Does anyone out there remember Camp Wampanoag in Bourne, MA? I was there as an assistant counselor in 1964 and want to try to make contact with any other counselors that taught there. Question
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Type: Discussion • Score: 21 • Views: 9,546 • Replies: 78
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 07:44 am
I suggest you do a web search for alumni websites. They focus on people searching for college, HS, military, and camp alumni. For example, here's one of the more well-known alumni sites with which you could do a search for camp alumni:

http://www.classmates.com

FYI, I did a quick web search using keywords "Camp Wampanoag alumni ": I came with a few listings. This one is the first (unfortunately, an obit):

Peter G. Crone, 67

Professions: History teacher at the Waynflete School in Portland, Maine, Trinity Preparatory School in Orlando, Fla., Bancroft School in Worcester, Mass., and St. John's School in Houston, Texas; counselor and swimming director at Camp Wampanoag in Buzzards Bay, Mass. and Camp Snipatuit in Rochester, Mass.

Degrees: Harvard College Class of 1962; Masters of Arts in Teaching from Stetson University.

Passions: Choral singing and amateur theater.

Death: July 3, 2006. From the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 12:29 pm
Wethammer, a while back I started a thread here about cape cod. It quickly morphed from what I had intended into a sort of reunion kiosk. I like it as such. There are a lot of posts to scan through, maybe you'll see something familiar. Feel free to post about Camp Wampanoag there too.....

http://www.able2know.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1643&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
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route20guy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 02:54 pm
camp wampanoag
I was a camper at Camp Wampanoag in 1965, for 8 weeks, and again after a one year gap in 1967. My older brother was there a couple summers too, around 1959-60.
I've looked once or twice but haven't found much on the camp. Just today tho I happened to run across an ad for a house where the camp once was located!
I heard somewhere that the camp was sold in the early '70s, and became a housing development.
It was a wonderful place in many way for a boy, I have many fond memories of running around in the woods. boating, swimming...
Good luck with your search,
ewoh65
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 04:12 pm
Camp Wampanoag
Hi:
I was a camper there in 1952!!The camp closed in 1969 and,the main house is now FOR Sale under Bourne Realestate!!That all I can find out via researching the web!!
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PJY
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 02:42 pm
Camp Wampanoag on Buzzards Bay 1954
I have been looking for information about Camp Wampanoag for more than 10 years. I spent the summer of 1954 at Camp Wampanoag and I feared what I just read - that the camp closed and became a housing development in the 1970's.
There were acres and acres of property it seemed to a 7 year old but it was just a short walk to the Cape side of the Cape Cod Canal. As I remember, all the boys cabins which held 4 to 6 campers were up on a hill surrounded by hundreds of pine trees. Also, remember that the camp had a salt water pool right next to a large function hall. The meals were served in the main house, perhaps the very house that is now for sale in the ad mentioned above. I can still smell the cole slaw which I think they served everyday. I came from a home with great food. So, even as a 7 year old I thought the food at the camp was pretty dismal. We also
used to row and sail on the creeks in the area. Think one was called "snake's creek".
One memory I have is of our final day at camp. One of the boys in my cabin gave us all a present. It was a model car that he told us was coming out in the fall of that year. It was called a Thunderbird. We all thanked little Bobby MacNamara and went on our way. When President Kennedy took office in 1960 I then realized that young Bobby MacNamara was the son of Robert MacNamara who in 1954 headed Ford Motor Company and in 1960 became Kennedy's infamous Secretary of Defense.
If anyone has more information please send me an email at generalmail16@aol.com.
It was quite a camp and I have never been able to find more information about than here. Also, if anyone who reads this went to Camp Wampanoag in 1954 PLEASE write. My memories of it are still vivid 54 summers later.
Thanks,
PJY
matthewnemerson
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2008 12:47 pm
Camp Wampanoag on Buzzards Bay
Glad to see there are others out there looking for on information on Camp Wampanoag. I attended from 1967 to 1970, the latter two years with my brother David Nemerson and his friend Eric Liebert. We had great times, learned to sail, race sailboats, compete in baseball, rifle shooting and were taught to appreciate the fragile coastal ecosystems...and most of all get along with other kids - from the hard charging sons of Great Neck and Scarsdale to the Brahmin scions of Boston society and power (Kevin White's son was a camp mate and there are other great America names littered among the camp lists - who knew?), Camp Wampy was a coming together of what was going to be the meritocracy of Northeast America. It is a great sadness that the camp disappeared after 1970 into a badly laid out scattering of houses. You can still the damage on Google Earth with the dock, tent hill and a few walks still clear from 10,000 feet. I drove there once and like something from Planet of the Apes, found the corner of a tennis court now reused as a driveway...tragic.

I have campers lists from 1969 that I could share with anyone from my era, perhaps there are MacDonalds or Pattesons out there (the heads of camps) who have the official records...we need to find them and get them on line, other less famous and storied camps have online histories. I have to believe Wampy goes back to the 19th century and is one of the oldest and more important of the "make a man out him" era of Boston summer camps.

I would suggest two great books to bring back "the days" one is Camp Camp about camps in general and the other is The Big House a story about a family vacationing down the road from Wampy which brought a jolt of recognition as the history of "Grey Gables" was explained.

Anyway, as a former captain of the Wampy's against the dreaded Noags in color war, I would be delighted to reunite someday with others from our time on the banks of inner Buzzards Bays...and perhaps even find the rule book for passing my Admiral's test which sadly the demise of the Camp robbed from me. Be in touch if you are out there!

Matthew Nemerson mnemerson@snet.net
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PJY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 10:28 pm
Thre Real Truth About Camp Wamanoag For Boys
The real truth about Camp Wamanoag for Boys was that it sucked.
54 years later my brain can still smell the stench of urine and feces because Camp Wamanoag officials NEVER cleaned the latrine that was behind the cabins.
Secondly, the food was horrendous. I had a continental ubringing and outstanding food from home and had no palate for the cheap Yankee WASP slop that passed for food. After all, how many times can they try to fill you up with gruel, cold cereals, and greasy and fatty meats and cole slaw. Right out of Oliver Twist except the days when the parents who paid the bills showed up. Then the food improved for a couple of hours.
Moreover, Camp Wamanoag at least in the 50's, had no idea how to handle 7-10 year old kids. One of the kids in my cabin - the kid whose father ran Ford Motor Company - went into hysteria one night when the flames from a house fire on the outskirts of the camp could be seen over the pine trees in the night sky. Instead of trying to comfort him they physically dragged him out of the cabin sceaming and yelling. Later we found out that his grandparents home had burnt down earlier that year and he was still traumatized by what he saw.
Finally, our camp counselor was sent packing for inappropriate behaviour with some campers. Still remember that this kid was a 19 year old thug. If he is still alive he is in his mid 70's now. Remember his name but deleted it.
Other than having beautiful grounds on the Cape it would not be a place I would ever recommend to anyone if it were still around. It is a blessing it is closed.
Future summers were much better when I allternated between day camp and our summer home on a private ocean front beach which the family still owns and my kids and my grandchildren still enjoy.
As to Camp Wampanoag - good bye to its Dickensian thuggery.
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matthewnemerson
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 11:47 pm
Did Camp Wampanoag suck?
At the risk of being politically incorrect, the bad food, poor maintenance and ill trained counselors was part of the charm of the place and probably a lot of camps not run by the URJ in those days. I kind of liked the occasional cross between Mad Max and Lord of the Flies...
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PJY
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jul, 2008 09:58 am
Mad Max - Lord of The Flies
Not sure about Mad Max but the boys were certainly not in control of the camp as they were in "Flies." My criticism of "Wamp" had nothing to do with my fellow campers. We were all in the same boat and as I remember pretty supportive and protective of each other even at that young age.
Perhaps, you were older than I was at camp. I was 7 and I think that might have been too young for that camp.
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altow
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 05:16 pm
Camp Wampanoag, Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, MA
I was a camper at Camp Wampanoag for several summers during the sixties. I was a counselor there for one summer. To this day I remember the experience with great fondness. Yes, there were some quirky things about the camp, and the food did suck.

But I had a great time; learned how to sail, swim, shoot a rifle, ride a horse and hang out with the guys.

I'd love to find out what my ol' buddies are up to: Dana Tower, Crawford Lindsay, Johnny Bohtelo, John Nurse - the fact that I still remember these and many other names says a lot about how memorable my times were at Camp Wampanoag.

Allan Tow
Melrose, MA
altow
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 05:26 pm
I was a camper at Camp Wampanoag for several summers during the sixties. I was a counselor there for one summer. To this day I remember the experience with great fondness. Yes, there were some quirky things about the camp, and the food did suck.

But I had a great time; learned how to sail, swim, shoot a rifle, ride a horse and hang out with the guys.

I'd love to find out what my ol' buddies are up to: Dana Tower, Crawford Lindsay, Johnny Bohtelo, John Nurse - the fact that I still remember these and many other names says a lot about how memorable my times were at Camp Wampanoag.

Allan Tow
Melrose, MA
PJY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2008 09:38 am
Camp Wampanoag
Wonder if there is anyone out there who has pictures of the camp.
I went there in the early 1954 which is almost before cameras were invented.... ;-) but wonder if some pictures exist.

Was the large meeting hall behind the swimming pool [ salt water pool as I remember ] still there.

The cabins were on the top of hill I think. Six campers to a cabin.
I can still smell the "bug juice" oil they used to lather us with so as to not get eaten alive by the mosquitos.

Times have changed. Are there any camps like this left? Camp DeWitt where my brother went in Wolfboro, New Hampshire also close. That camp seemed better run than Wampanoag.
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altow
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2008 02:44 pm
I can dig up some pictures. I still have one or two annual photo albums that they used to give out to us every summer.
PJY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2008 02:57 pm
Photos
They must have started the picture album well after I was there.
Wonder if anyone knows who actually ran the Camp or owned it.
The only camper I can remember was "Bobby" MacNamara, Robert MacNamara's son, who as I said above gave all of us in his cabin a model car called the Thunderbird that his father was introducing in the fall.
Wish I still had the model. Of course, it was the 1955 T-Bird.
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PJY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2008 08:37 pm
@altow,
Allan -
They have changed this able2know website.
Hope you can log on again. Took me some time. Would like to organize a complete history of Camp Wampanoag if possible. Attaching my email.
Paul Y.
Email: generalmail16@aol.com
matthewnemerson
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 02:10 pm
@altow,
If you can digitize your albums we can put them up on a Wampy Flickr site...or if you want me to do it I will and then send them back to you.

Matthew 203 444-6482
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matthewnemerson
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 02:11 pm
@PJY,
PJY -

Happy to help.
0 Replies
 
dougiefresh1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2009 05:11 pm
@wethammer,
I was a camper at Wampanoag in 1964, age 15. My older brother Dennis (2 years older) was, I believe, an assistant counselor. We heard about the camp from Jim Knox who was our neighbor in Basking Ridge, NJ who had been there for a couple summers. It was proported to be a sailing camp, I do recall sailing out on Buzzards Bay a few times, but mainly playing tennis and "war game."

Doug Ward
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route20guy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 06:43 am
Interesting to look thru all the replies, I was one of the earlier posters on this. I have to admit that I don't recall the food as all that bad. I remember then even having some pretty nice clambakes. (Was there 2 summers in mid '60s.)
My experience of the counselors was good as I recall it. It all depends on the person perhaps. Each summer may have been different too, different counselors...
I have some fond memories of the camp, I learned to swim in that pool, a little about boating and other fun things like shooting there, and the woods were fun for climbing trees etc. I also recall getting up in the morning on that little hill and forming up for reville, a staffer playing the bugle.
There was a house with a sort of library too I believe, and I also remember the wargames someone else mentioned. I don't think there are as many such camps nowadays, it's different now.
 

 
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