Saturday, May 29, 2010

Green Mountain Camp - Post 1

In 1917 my grandmother, Grace Ware Holbrook along with Mrs. Sarah Bradley Gamble decided to start a camp for rural girls - Green Mountain Camp in Dummerston, Vermont. The first session in July 1917 was held in Marlboro, Vermont at South Pond and twelve girls enrolled for two weeks. In 1919 the camp moved to its present location on the West River (Loomis, Alice Crosby and Manix, Frances Walker, Editors, Dummerston, An 'Equivalent Lands' Town 1753 - 1986, p. 49, printed and binding by BookCrafters, Chelsea, Michigan. 1990).

My grandmother left a diary that describes starting the camp and the first few years. Her first entry is dated January 3, 1918. I will transcribe her entry in a series of posts.

January 3, 1918 - Boston, Mass.
     Last summer in July our camp was so successfull [sic] that I must tell about it from the beginning. In the spring the Bradleys came in to see us to tell of their plan of a camp for farmer's daughters in the neighborhood of Brattleboro. It was a feasible plan enough, provided there was a leader; Miss Olive Lesley, a Girl Scout leader advised us and offered to help in organizing forces with the result that she came to the camp itself as an adviser.
     We discussed the project in Brattleboro with the school supervisor, and decided upon the district south and southwest of the town as being the best ground to cover. The girls recommended by the supervisor of the towns of Vernon, Guilford, Green River, Grove, West Halifax, and Marlboro were candidates this time, and in the event of a successful camp, a larger group might gather for another year.
      First we visited the schools and talked with the teachers and the girls suggested - who were of uniform age - twelve to sixteen years. All were enthusiastic, and it remained only to convince the mothers and fathers of the plan in all its phases; and in time we visited all every the homes finding all the girls eager [to] join us.
     At South Pond on Ames Hill we collaborated with the Boy Scouts in fitting out the camp, and repairing the cottage, barn, and kitchen. The situation was ideal, that is - we were far from the inquisitive crowds, by being on Ames Hill - about eight miles from Brattleboro, and over a mile from the main road. This entrance road is rough, and apt to be very muddy as we found to our surprize [sic], even in midsummer. The woods are rather dense, of about thirty years growth and of great variety and interest. On approaching the pond along the road, the growth changes to grey birches with here and there beautiful white paper birches and evergreen trees.

© 2010, copyright William C. Haskell

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