Thousands of area youths have been to Camp Mockingee over the years. This Sunday, the Windsor Rotary Club hopes former campers will stop by to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the popular location. (Submitted photo)
This year, the Windsor Rotary Club is celebrating a milestone in the history of Camp Mockingee, the primary project of the club since 1949.
Camp Mockingee's 65th Anniversary Campfire will take place on June 22, and local rotarians hope members of the public, and particularly any former campers, will attend.
The event runs from 4-7 p.m.
The Windsor Rotary Club has a long history of supporting sports, picnics and camping for youth. As early as the 1930s, the club sponsored picnics for boys and girls.
The club’s minutes of Aug. 15, 1932 record that 270 boys and girls attended a picnic at Evangeline Beach organized and conducted by rotarians. Transportation was provided by club members in 30 cars and one truck, without mishap. Similar picnics were an annual event for several years.
A letter from the first Windsor Scout troop leader in 1940 reads: “Without your nightly deliveries of milk and supplies, without the kind loan of Mr. Colin Taylor's truck to transport our company equipment to and from the camp, without your generous donation of fine prizes for the winning patrol, and without your unstinting help in many ways, the camp could not have been the heartening success which it was.”
In the summer of 1949, the club transformed an empty field and 40 acres of land bordering Lake Mockingee into Camp Mockingee. Three members of the club — George Bartlett, Thomas Aiken, and Arthur Parsons — led the project that acquired the land, oversaw the construction of eight buildings, and the development of the playing fields and waterfront. The total cost of the project was $9,000, which would be more than $100,000 in today's funds.
Since that time, the camp has been transformed into a year-round facility with a fully-equipped kitchen and dining hall, as well as heated dormitories with washrooms and showers.
“We are particularly anxious to have former campers come see all the improvements,” says Rotarian Andy Kirk, who chairs the committee that manages the camp.
“The original six unheated cabins are still in use during the summer and will bring back fond memories for some of the early campers.”
For more information about the activities planned for June 22, visit www.rotarywindsor.com.