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10 Oldest Camps in America


Summertime is here in America and that means camp registration! Most children are already at camp or signing up. Think for a minute about the registration process and how easy it was. Think about how everything was done electronically and all you had to do was click submit. Now, think back 100 years. I know you’re probably thinking what the heck, but there are a handful of camps that have been around since the 1800s. Thing about what their registration process included if they even had one.


Then, it was all about the best filing system. Now, it is all about the best registration software. Having a great registration software can make it easy for customers to register and pay with no hassle. Now, unfortunately, these 10 camps I am about to mention did not have Payscape Registration back in their day. They did not have the luxury of buying Payscape Registration an all in one payment and registration software, to make it easier to register their campers. They were stuck with the old fashioned way.


Here are the top ten oldest camps in America who were able to evolve with technology and probably adapted to every registration process that was out there. They are some of the best summer camps in America.

  1. Paradise Farms – 1877

Paradise Farms is a co-ed camp located in Downington, PA. In 1875 Mrs. Eliza  Sproat Turner convinced “12 startled parents” to send their daughters to her  farm for a week. These families lived in the city and their daughters knew  nothing about the country. Over the years more and more children were sent out,  as well as counselors. By 1910, 3,000 children were sent to 25 farms. On June 28,  1913, they became formally known as Paradise Farms.

Today, Paradise Farms still operates as a camp offering day camps and sleepaway camps that are divided by an age group. The camp offers fishing, paddling,  canoeing, archery, swimming and rock climbing, just to name a few. They have  been at the same location for over 100 years, bringing fun and enjoyment to  children all over the country.

  1. Frost Valley YMCA – 1885

Frost Valley was formally known as Camp Wawayanda when it was first started in 1885. It was the first nations overnight camp for boys located in New Jersey. Frost Valley kept the same values, but they moved the camp to Claryville, NY and renamed it to Frost Valley YMCA.

Today, Frost Valley YMCA bases themselves off of their eight core values.

  1. Caring
  2. Community
  3. Diversity
  4. Honesty
  5. Inclusiveness
  6. Respect
  7. Responsibility
  8. Stewardship

They provide outdoor recreation programs and activities for everyone.

  1. Camp Dudley -1885

Camp Dudley was founded in 1885 by Sumner Francis Dudley with support from two YMCA associates.  It started as a daily program that was offered to boys. Soon after, the boys were encouraged to bring baseball gloves and Camp Dudley was born.

Sumner Francis Dudley is known as the “Father of YMCA Camping.” Camp Dudley is located in Westport, NewYork and has been at that location since 1908. In 1919, Camp Kiniya was formed as the sister camp for girls.

Today, both camps are still running strong offering outdoor activities and education to both boys and girls.

  1. Trail Blazers – 1887

John Ames Mitchell, the original editor of Life Magazine, founded the Life Fresh Air Fund that began the process. The fund took underprivileged children from the city slums to the fresh air on a country farm. Mitchell started out by sending 20 children and by 1918 he was sending over 40,000 boys and girls for two week at $6.92 each. In 1923 a second Life’s farm was founded and in 1925 they became Trail Blazers when L.B. Sharp became executive director of Life’s Farm.

Today, Trail Blazers operates in New Jersey and receives over 400 children each summer.

  1. Camp Cory – 1892

Camp Cory offers day camps, overnight camps and spring and fall camps in New York. They provide activities building self-esteem and confidence among children for over 100 years.

  1. Camp Courant – 1894

Camp Courant was founded by a group of Hartford Courant employees who wanted to make a difference in the lives of the Hartford youth.

Today they serve 1,100 children in the Hartford community for six weeks. And, they are FREE! They are day camp that provides education, recreation and two meals a day to Hartford’s inner city youth.

  1. Camp Pasquaney – 1895

Camp Pasquaney was founded by Edward Simpson Wilson. It is a boys camp that focuses on competence, character and community. It is located in New Hampshire providing a number of activities for boys today.

  1. Hiram House Camp – 1896

The Hiram House was Ohio’s first “Settlement House” that provided services and needs to immigrants and the poor. It was founded by George A. Bellamy who also wanted to provide a summer camp for “tenement bound” families and their children. The camp started out at local farms and fairgrounds, and in the early 1900s, the Hiram House opened a permanent site at their location.

Today, the Hiram House still provides outdoor experiences to children. Their mission is to “enrich the lives of children through camping”, while in a diverse environment.

  1. Phantom Lake – 1896

Phantom Lake is the oldest YMCA camp in Wisconsin. It was  once known as Camp Hope.  In 1896 it had around 36 campers.  In 1921 boys from 16 different states came to camp here. During  World War I the boys would grow food so they could contribute  to the war effort. In 1931 the girls camp opened.

Today, Phantom Lake serves both girls and boys providing  outdoor activities and education.

  1. Camp Wyman – 1898

Camp Wyman was founded by a group of prominent St. Louis Citizens whose purpose was to provide healthy living and activities for underprivileged children. For over 100 years that was Camp Wyman’s sole purpose. In 2000 they narrowed their focus to helping today’s teens develop healthy lifestyles.

These camps have been around for over 100 years and are still operating today. They have all moved on from the old registration ways and have updated with the times. Now it is all about the registration software. Make sure your registration software is the easiest, most affordable and best software out there…*cough* *cough* Payscape Registration!

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