Some of my all time most popular posts have been the ones I’ve made on local summer camps, especially Camp Dellwood. I’m still getting comments and emails from girls who attended that camp before it closed in 1973. People seem to really look back at camp days as being special.
I didn’t go to Camp Dellwood, but I was lucky enough to attend Camp Hope for two summers. Camp Hope was a YMCA camp, and was owned by the Champion Papers Y in Canton, NC. My father, and those of almost everyone else I knew, worked at the paper mill. For years the Y was run by Champion as an employee perk.
I can remember when the teacher handed out the camp brochures in class. I was in the second grade, and she explained that you had to be at least 8 to be lucky enough to go to Camp Hope. I’d make the deadline by two months, but that wasn’t the biggest obstacle. That was my parents, and more exactly, them approving the money it would take to pay for camp. All the way home on the bus my brother and I plotted our plan of attack. We’d work and earn money and give up our allowances – anything to go to this wonderful sounding camp!
To our great surprise, they did let us go, and I’ll forever love them for it. It was a special experience, the first time I really spent any time away from home. It was special for another reason. As one of the youngest campers, I was made into the camp “pet” and the older girls doted on me like I was a little princess. For a middle child with a todder brother and infant sister at home, this was sheer heaven!
But the best thing about going to camp was the list: The List of Clothes to take. I became obsessed with the list, and had to have the exact mumber of shirts, shorts, socks… To this day when going on a trip of more than a few days, I have to make a clothing list.
There was not a camp uniform, but we could buy a Cape Hope tee shirt. I’m still hoping to run across one in a thrift shop or at a yard sale some day.
Last weekend I was in the neighborhood of the camp, so I paid a little visit. Much of it is unchanged. The larger building on the right was called the Pavilion, with the mess hall being on the left, the middle was a recreation room, and the right side an open covered area. There are cabins that were built in the 1950s, but the original wooden ones from the 1920s are gone. They were in sad shape when I was there in the 60s. Today the camp is run by Wellspring Adventure Camp, a fitness and weight loss camp for children and teens.