Camp Wyanoke Catalog Excerpts
By David Ayars
Recently, I was looking through some Wyanoke catalogs from 1966 through 1975. Some of the photos changed, of course, from one season to the next, but the text rarely did. Here are some classic passages.
“Camp Wyanoke is located about two miles from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on a pine-clad hillside sloping down to Lake Winnepesaukee.”
“Manly conduct is expected of the boys and each camper will find the other boys responsive to his friendly attitude.”
“Each boy is weighed, measured, and examined when he enters camp and again at the close of the season. Suggestions are made as to his diet, exercise, and posture. Any boy found to be below par physically is given careful attention.”
“There are facts about Camp Wyanoke that interest every member of the family. Dad is glad to hear that the councilors are real men. Mother is happy to be reassured of the safety of her son. For you boys there is the fascinating realm of camp life to be explored.
“You are most interested in the boys you will meet, aren’t you? You will find boys your own age who are interested in the things that you are. You will play with them and compete with them in various sports. At times you may want to watch the older boys in competition or give a lift to the younger campers. Friendships started at Wyanoke may last a lifetime.”
“Military drill, as offered at Wyanoke, is a valuable and inspiring part of the camp life. It develops alertness, concentration, and the habit of prompt obedience to orders. The results in posture, manliness, and cooperation for the success of companies are outstanding. The evening parade at sunset is a beautiful ceremony.”
“An allowance of fifty cents a week for spending money is ample for Midgets. Juniors and Seniors should have $1 a week and Aides and Junior Assistants $1.50 [raised to $2.00 in the early 1970s]. These amounts will be issued weekly and charged to the boys’ accounts.”
[Tuition (camp fees) ranged from $615 for 8 weeks in 1966 to $950 in 1974. Many comparable privately run overnight camps now charge $5500 - $6500 for 6 or 7 weeks.]
“Come down to the wharf now, where Don is trying his swimming test…
“Sunshine. Clear blue water. Garments thrown onto the canoes. A pause. A clear whistle. Slender, brown bodies curve through the air. A shout. A splash. A sleek, wet head appears. A smile, the body straightens and cuts the water toward the float.
“Don is trying his swimming test. A deep breath. He plunges and swims bravely. He is half way, his legs feel heavy, his breath comes hard. The other wharf seems a long way. He is only nine. He looks to the right. His councilor swims easily beside him. ‘Keep going, Don. If you quit now, I’m taking away not only your candy line, but that of your entire cabin group, for the week. I’ll use your allowance money to buy beers down at the WI.’ Don takes a deep breath. ‘I can do it. I must.’ He hears his supportive cabinmate’s voice. ‘C’mon, you puny jackass! How many times is it going to take? I’m personally gonna kick the crap outta ya if you quit again!” He fights. ‘Jim did this yesterday. I can do it.’ But he can’t. He is still a Sink Easy. His councilor watches him struggle, and yells, ‘Screw it! I’m not pullin’ you outta this lake again! Swim to that wharf, or drown for all I care!’ Don drowns. His parents hire a crack attorney and sue the tar out of the camp. But fortunately, the judge is a golfing buddy of the director, and the lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice and with legal costs awarded to the defendant. Don’s parents have learned their lesson the hard way. They’ll send Don’s little brother to Camp Wyanoke, instead of that other boys’ camp on the same lake that Wyanoke regularly defeats in intercamp competition.”