Historical Archive

The Directors

BBC Home Page

This is our way of remembering all those who were directors at Berkshire Boys Camp. It is a work in progress, and information will be added as it becomes available.

Either select one of these links to go to a specific person, or just scroll through the information.

Assistant Directors
Head of Boy's Work
  "Pop" Welch   Tony Balski   Jerry Denman
  Bruno Durand   Art Fitzgerald   Gene Plasse
  Bob Gallant   Jim Sumner   Barry Adams
  Jurgen Liias   Richard Gropman
  Bill Wright

Austin "Pop" Warren Welch

Founder - 1941

Director - 1941 through 1970

Advisor - 1971

Austin as a boy. He was born in Newark Ohio on March 27, 1896.
Graduation from High School.

Pop's Military Experience

Stint in the military. He had brown hair, brown eyes, and was 5 foot 3-1/2 inches tall. His enlistment papers said that his occupation was forester. He was inducted on August 5, 1918 and he was honorably discharged on February 7, 1919 from Camp Custer in Michigan. His rank was Private.
Pop's Family.
Pop and John Bondarenko surveying the camp's site - Spring, 1941.
"Pop" standing in Section I by the Eagles cabin. Boot Hill is beyond him.
"Pop" with pipe.
"Pop" in 1962, catching up on the news, in bed, in the White Cottage.

John of the Berkshires

   Stalwart, strong, and humble he stands
   Before his house on the hill.
   Weather-beated from wintry blasts,
   Both he and his house instill
   A feeling of strength in humble things -
   Like his plot of land to till;
   Or perhaps - I do not know, but perhaps,
   His corncob pipe to fill.

   He has cabins to let at the end of the pond,
   Down the hill from the house where he stands.
   Where the dam turns the water well over the rocks,
   Laughing merrily down where it lands.
   He has rowboats to rent to fishermen, whom
   Of all men, he well understands,
   And his love for the land shines forth from his face
   As his honest smile slowly expands.

   I wish I could paint John;s house on the hill
   As seen through my hungry eyes.
   All the paint I need is a little drab,
   Some green, and the blue from the skies.
   A tumble-down house, but the lines are good,
   And the quaint picturesqueness survives,
   Reminiscent of pioneer days which made
   Such sturdy New England lives.

   The nearest call to his house is down
   To Algerie Road, and there
   His mailbox tells to the passerby
   That John has a cabin to spare.
   No telephone line has found its way
   To these hills where talk is rare,
   Where honest necessity causes their speech -
   And there's heart, and tang, in the air.

   The times are hard for him now, you see,
   As rationing keeps away
   Those lovers of wild and secluded spots,
   To await a more peaceful day.
   But John has visions all aglow
   With faith, and who can say
   These hills will not resound again
   With the quiet of the fisherman's play.
A poem written by Pop's sister, Marie Welch. It appears to be about John Bondarenko. and was obviously written during World War II.
"Pop" in August, 1986. He had been living at the Edgecombe Nursing Home since 1982
Appearing in the Arlington, Massachusetts Advocate newspaper on May 16, 1991.

Austin "Pop" Welch

Austin "Pop" welch, a volunteer for the Arlington Boys' and Girls' Club, died on May 9 at Eastman Nursing Home in Lenox. He was 95.

MR. Welch, a resident of Arlingto for more than 30 years, was active as a social worker for many Boston area clubs and organizations. He was also the founder and owner of Berkshire Boys Camp, a wilderness camp he built himself on Watson Pond in the Berkshires in the 1930s.

In addition to working for the Arlington Boys' and Girls' Club for more than 20 years, he worked for Fidelity House and a number of other local clubs for the benefit of Arlington youths.

He was born in Newark, Ohio and was a World War I Army veteran.

He leaves his close friend, George Faulkner of Arlington.

A funeral Mass was said in St. Agnes Church on May 13. Burial was in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Expressions of sympathy mayt be made to the Arlington Boys' and Girls' Club, 60 Pond Lane, Arlington 02174.


Bruno Durand

Director - 1971

Bruno at the 2003 Camp Reunion (October 2003).
Bruno as camp director in 1971.
Bruno during workseek at the camp in 1971.
Easter Lilys

Original artwork by John Durand.

Copyright John Durand. All internation rights reserved. This picture may not be copied or used in whole or in part in any way without written permission from the artist.
Filling the Cube

Original artwork by John Durand.

Copyright John Durand. All internation rights reserved. This picture may not be copied or used in whole or in part in any way without written permission from the artist.

Bob Gallant

Director - 1972

Bob in the early 1970's.
Bob at the camp.
Bob working during the pre-camp workweek.

Tony Balski

Program Director - 1948

Assitant Director - 1950 through 1967

General Manager - 1968

Camp Operator - 1969

Tony at his house on the cape at the time of the 2004 Camp Reunion (October 2004).
Appearing in The Boston Globe on June 16, 2012.

Anthony John Balski, "Tony"

BALSKI, Anthony John "Tony" Of Harwich died on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at his home with his family by his side. Tony was married to the late Edna Balski and leaves two children, Diana McKanas of Salem, MA and Keith Dennehy of Billerica, MA. He is also survived by 8 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.Tony received a purple heart from injuries sustained during WW II, and a certificate of Honorable Service in the Armed Forces. He was the Associate Director at the Berkshire Boys Camp for 20 years and was a teacher in the Arlington, MA school system for 25 years. A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM at Holy Trinity Church, Rte. 28, Harwich, MA. In lieu of flowers donations in Tony's name can be made to St. Jude Tribute Program, P. O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142.

Art Fitzgerald

Assistant Director - 1972

Art at the 2003 Camp Reunion (October 2003).

Gene Plasse

Head of Boys Work - 1967 to 1970

Gene at the 2003 Camp Reunion (October 2003).

Jerry Denman - Not implemented yet.

Program Director - 1950 to 1951

Camp Manager - 1952

Jim Sumner - Not implemented yet.

Associate Director - 1955

Barry Adams

Head of Boys Work - 1958

Barry at the 2003 Camp Reunion (October 2003).

Bill Wright - Not implemented yet.

Head of Boys Work - 1966

Jurgen Liias - Not implemented yet.

Program Coordinator - 1970

Richard Gropman - Not implemented yet.

Camp Manager - 1970

Updated: 3/7/2009