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August 22, 2013

Memories of lake, camps shared at meeting


She read an excerpt of an article that was in the Freeman’s Journal in 1876 titled “Camp Life on Lake Otsego” written by a man at the Dugway Camp.

“I feel the benefit of the exercise of cutting wood for our campfire or catching the minnows with a net for bait. I have learned more about cooking within the past few days than I ever knew before.”

Friedlander explained that this was during a great outdoor movement in the 1870’s-1880’s that was sweeping the nation. People were discovering that being outdoors and getting exercise was good for you, so more people were coming to the region to camp, Friedlander said.

“The children’s camps were established here in the 1910’s and the 1920’s. The last camp that was established here was Otsego for Girls in 1944,” Friedlander said.

“The camps began to move out in the 60’s and 70’s largely because of the change in the idea of the family vacation and due to more strict regulations for camps,” Friedlander added.

Those who brought photos of any of the overnight children’s camps were invited to have them scanned.

Will Walker, also of GCP, told everyone he had a listening station of some oral histories from his “Community Stories” project in the far corner of the room. He asked if anyone had any oral histories about Otsego Lake that they would like to tell him and his students.

Lord set up a table full of dive equipment and people could watch videos in the corner about some of his underwater archaeological finds. The day concluded with few people standing and sharing memories of Lake Otsego.

Burt Southworth stood to recount how he and his fellow camp members at Camp Chenango would go down to the lake in the morning to do calisthenics.

“Afterward, we all stripped off our pajamas and dove into the lake. As far as I know, no one took any pictures,” Southworth joked.

The audience laughed and clapped.

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