From the Archives, February 9, 2020

National Camp School

Some staff positions require special training. Camp and Program Directors, Aquatics Directors, and Shooting Sports directors are all required to go to National Camp School. Camp Schools are held at various camps around the country before that year’s summer camp begins. In 1960s, National Camp School was regularly held at Boxwell Reservation.

National Camp School (NCS) can be an intense experience. Aquatics school was a particularly intense experience. Until the 1990s, every Aquatics staff member–with the exception of the occasional dock boy–was eighteen years old. As Kerry Parker remembered, everyone of these 18 year olds went to camp school in the 1960s, not just the director. A participant went through every merit badge the Waterfront taught. It was hard. There was some “book learning,” but it was primarily a hands on experience. After all, the way you learn to teach rowing is to row yourself!

When NCS was at Boxwell, it was normally held the week before staff week, which meant it would be two weeks before the start of summer camp. As a result, it was not uncommon for those who were going to be kitchen staff at Stahlman to come up a week before the rest of the staff and get on the ground training during the NCS week!

Seen here is the Aquatics National Camp School in Camp Stahlman Dining Hall in 1966. There are some familiar faces here. On the start of the bottom row, far left, seated, is Stahlman’s Aquatics Director Charlie Ray Smith. Fourth from the left on the bottom (three from Smith) was Ed Human, who was a big Aquatics guy in those days before he became Reservation Director. In the second row, seated in chairs, fifth from the left is first year staff member Kerry Parker.

Aquatics school

The Aquatics school at National Camp School, held at Camp Stahlman, 1966

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *