Happy Campers

By Carrie Blough | Posted on 07.18.14 – History, Look Back

The arrival of Summer means many things. For kids, it’s vacation, swimming and camp. Camp has been a staple in children’s summers for many generations. It’s a rite of passage, a time to meet new people and share experiences that will last a lifetime. For parents, it’s free time. Billy Quynn set off for summer camp in 1966. His camp required that he keep a log of his activities and record what he learned about nature.

Billy’s camp was Camp Greentop, founded in 1937 and located in Catoctin Mountain Park. It offered opportunities for stay away camp, day activities and other recreational pursuits such as softball games and picnics. Before the children could get started with their summer fun, there were several rules they had to learn and record in their logs. Cabinraiding and roughhousing were not permitted. Bedtime was at 9 p.m., and the boys were required to take at least three showers per week.

Billy’s week at summer camp was filled with all sorts of outdoor activities. He collected leaves, including Black Maple, American Holly and Chokecherry. He recorded the weather—the clouds and the temperature. The campers spent their time learning about nature and how to function outdoors. They also did the typical things we all remember from our times at sleep-away camp. They sang songs like Kumbaya and The Happy Wanderer. They even learned poems about nature, which Billy copied into his log. In 1966 Billy and the rest of the campers explored rocks and minerals, Catoctin Furnace and learned how to read a compass. They dug into the soil, and stared at the sky. We may never know how many lightning bugs they caught or how many ghost stories they told. Today, Camp Greentop is still operating, now as a campground and therapeutic recreational center for persons with disabilities.