JULY 25, 1959
NIANTIC, Conn.—When last in Hyde Park, I had the pleasure of visiting a camp near Brewster, N.Y., which is run by the Educational Alliance of New York City. These are people entirely from New York's Lower East Side. Among them are many whom I see every summer at the opening of the series of concerts given by the Lower East Side Neighborhood Association.
This camp provides them with unique opportunities, for it takes campers of every age and they are not isolated from each other. The two-and three-year-old children, in their delightful cabin with trained care, are not too far away from the grandmothers.
There are people here as old as 84 who seem to join in the singing and general activities with real enjoyment. At the final ceremony, I thought that the older people's chorus was perhaps the best of all, though the youngest group of singers certainly ran them a close second.
The camp takes family groups, and they told me of a letter from a man who, when his three weeks' vacation came to an end, wrote to the director, telling him that it was the first time in 25 years he had ever taken a holiday with his wife and children.
Children under eight sleep in the same cabin with their families, but those over eight camp with others of their own age. Girls and boys have cabins containing some 16 or 20 each. The girls cook for themselves, except once a week when they join with everyone else in the main dining room. They learn to live together and play together and cooperate.
Boys and girls of the same age often work together on projects, and the result is a happy, friendly atmosphere. They pride themselves on the feeling of helpfulness toward one another.
I was glad to see this camp and felt that the Board of Trustees should be proud of what is being accomplished there.
On another day I visited at Rifton, N.Y., a Pioneer Youth Camp. This is only for young people and is run along the usual camp lines. It is simpler and less expensive than some Girl and Boy Scout camps, and it does meet a real need for children from New York City who make up the major portion of those who are cared for there.
I enjoyed seeing this camp for the second time and was grateful that children who live so much of their lives in crowded cities have this opporuunity to learn about nature and a side of life that often had been closed to them.
After leaving the camp I visited the Society of Brothers, to look at their toy factory and try to obtain another unit for a doll house for one of my great-granddaughters. They build their doll houses room by room, and it is really wonderful for a child to have such a well-made doll house and start to collect the miniature furniture for each room.
They make there extremely well kindergarten and nursery school toys which can withstand rough handling and of course, have educational objectives.
The Society of Brothers was looking for capital to expand its factory this year and I hope it was obtained. A great many people find it difficult to understand the communal setup of this society, which has settlements not only in this country but in South America and Europe.