History

New England, the Birthplace of Camp

“In the 1870s and 1880s, the first summer camps promised boys a chance to escape increasingly urban modern life. Roughing it would build character, and, as one early camp founder put it, save humanity from “dying of indoor-ness.”

In 1900 there were fewer than one hundred camps in the US. By 1918, there were more than 1,000.” (Gershon)

Timeline

1861
1861

The Gunnery

Gunnery Camp

The Gunnery Camp, a former program of The Gunnery, considered to be the first American summer camp, is held in Connecticut.

1910
1910

CDAA is founded

The Camp Directors’ Association of America (CDAA) is founded.

1916
1916

NADGC founded

Dr. Luther Gulick founds the National Association of Directors of Girls’ Camps (NADGC).

1920
1920

John B. May

John B. May is elected as the first president of the New England Section of the NADGC.

1922
1922

The First Annual Convention

The first annual convention (now the New England Camp Conference) is held by the New England Section of the NADGC.

1924
1924

CDAA and NADGC Merge to Become the CDA

CDAA and NADGC merge to become the Camp Directors’ Association (CDA) on March 14 at hotel Penn in New York City. The New England Section territories of the CDAA and NADGC were combined.

1931
1931

National Office of CDA Opens

The national office of CDA opens at 11 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.

1933
1933

CDA Changes its Name to CDAA

  • CDA changes its name to Camp Directors’ Association of America (CDAA)
  • Commercial Exhibits (now New England CampEXPO) added to the New England Camp Conference.
  • New England Leaves CDAA and forms New England Camp Directors Association with HW Gibson as President and Eliz. Carelton as Secretary.
1935
1935

CDAA changes its name to ACA

  • CDAA changes its name again, to become the American Camping Association, Inc. (ACA) This name would not change again until 2004.
  • New England Camp Directors Association returns as a Section of ACA.
1945
1945

New England Section Members Send Representatives to Washington D.C

New England Section members send representatives to Washington D.C. to arrange war-time transportation of campers. Members voiced the need for a full-time person and office to plan the annual convention.

1946
1946

Mrs. Ruth H. Griffin is Appointed Executive Secretary

New England Section appoints Mrs. Ruth H. Griffin Executive Secretary for 3 Months and opens office on December 1 at 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.

1947
1947

Marjorie S. Conzleman is Hired as Executive Secretary

Marjorie S. Conzelman

New England Section hires Marjorie S. Conzleman as Executive Secretary. The office began offering assistance and education to those seeking camps for their children.

1949
1949

Incorporated as NECA

The New England Section of ACA is officially incorporated as New England Camping Association, Inc. (NECA).

1952
1952

Barbara Learoyd Becomes Executive Secretary

Barbra Learoyd

Barbara Learoyd takes over as Executive Secretary on May 1st.

1954
1954

NECA conducts ‘Camper Census’

NECA conducts ‘Camper Census’ – 65,000-75,000 campers are served by NECA camps. 250,000 attend camps in New England.

1955
1955

The National Office of ACA Moves to Martinsville, Indiana

  • The national office of ACA moves to Martinsville, Indiana – where it remains today.
  • NECA Offices move to 110 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.
1959
1959

Velma Stone as Executive Secretary

Velma Stone

Velma Stone takes over as Executive Secretary.

1963
1963

NECA Moves to Boston

NECA Offices move to 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.

1966
1966

Terry Phinney Becomes Executive ‘Director’

Terry Phinney
  • Terry Phinney takes over as Executive ‘Director’.
  • NECA Offices move to 687 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.
1967
1967

NECA Offices Move

May 15, NECA Offices move to 29 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.

1980
1980

ACA/NES

Though still incorporated as NECA, people began referring to the organization as the American Camping Association, New England Section (ACA/NES).

1982
1982

ACA/NES Moves to Waltham

ACA/NES offices move to 643 Moody Street, Waltham, MA.

1986
1986

$1.3 Million Donated for the Phinney Wing

ACA members donate $1.3 million to fund an addition, the Phinney Wing, to the ACA National Office in Indiana to honor ACA/NES Executive Director Theresa (Terry) Phinney.

1990
1990

Bette Bussel Becomes Executive Director

Bette Bussel takes over as Executive Director.

1995
1995

ACA/NES Offices Move to Natick

ACA/NES offices move to 214 North Main Street, Suite #104, Natick, MA.

2004
2004

Now Known as American Camp Association

  • The American Camping Association changed its name to American Camp Association to clarify the mission and purpose of the organization.
  • ACA/NES becomes known as American Camping Association of New England (ACANE).
2005
2005

Officially Named ACA, New England

  • Though still incorporated as NECA, “ACANE” officially begins doing business as American Camp Association, New England. (ACA, New England or ACA, NE)
  • ACA, New England launched its first capital campaign to raise funds for new office space to meet the growing needs of its service area.
2006
2006

ACA, New England Offices Move to Lexington, MA

After a successful capital campaign, ACA, New England moved its offices to 80 Westview Street, Lexington, MA.



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