The History of Berkshire Boys Camp

The Foundation Years - 1966 through 1973

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This information is from many sources, and has been checked for accuracy. We apologize right now for any inaccuracies and omissions.

To view information for a specific year, us the link below to jump directly to it.

1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973


1966

  • BBC Boston Area Reunion was held at the Arlington Boys Club on Sunday, March 27, 1966 from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • The Winter Caretakers were staying in the Cabin. A large tree crashed into it at 4:30 AM on Monday, February 14, 1966. It was an ice-laden Ash Tree, and the cabin may be replaced before next winter.
  • Several new boats wwere purchased for the waterfront and a new Oar and Equipment Shed was built.
  • Three all-camp overnights were planned: Bash Bish Falls (3rd trip, August 3, 1966), Pittsfield State Forest(13th trip), and Mt. Greylock (since 1946, August 15, 1966). There were also two all-camp day-trips to Tolland State Forest (July 6, 1966) and Monument mountain
  • The Ida IV was launched in June as the 10th boat in the BBC Fleet. This boat was donated by Ida Hall. It was the fourth boat donated by Ida and was painted bright red rther than the traditional grey.
  • A new BBC pick-up truck was bought to replace the Ford wagon.
  • The science lab had quite a managere this year: a squirrel monkey, rabbit, two horned toads, two toads, a white rat, four white mice, a chipmunk, a chameleaon, a parakeet, two guinea pigs, two red bellied snakes, two painted turtles, seven snake eggs, 28 newts, and an ant farm.
  • Mr. William "Bud" Tacy of Otis donated a large walk-in cooler for the kitchen.
  • The camp sold books to campers. The selection included over 100 titles. Sales were brisk.
  • This was the first year for the Pop Welch Educational Foundation. Charter members included: Pop as president, Tony Balski as Treasurer, Robert Kiernan as clerk, Stanley Russell, Charles Small, Henry Bulens, and Bernard Other members included: Dr. Julian Newman, John Boldebook, and William Tacy Piscopo. A copy of the Constitution, which contained the Purpose Statement and Guidance Guideline was mailed to every parent. They met at the camp on Sunday, August 21, 1966 for dinner and to formulate plans for the future. A second session was planned for October 2, 1966 in Arlington.
  • These religious services wre available: Catholic - Otis, Protestant - East Otis, Jewish - at Camp. Boys had to have parental permission not to attend.
  • The July 6, 1966 BBC News newsletter was one of very few 3-sided newsletters.
  • Merit Awards:
                Special Spot Mentions - for one specific good act, service, or deportment.
               Special Mentions.
               Special Recognitions.
               Star Campers.
               Special Mentions.
  • The camp had a chess club and a reading club. They met during rest hour.
  • PX Charge explanations:
               A boy may spend only 15 cents on candy, ice cream, and drinks.
               Weekly laundry is charged by the pound.
               Shoestrings, toothbrushes, toothpaste, flashlights, bulbs, bulbs, batteries, film, etc.
               Postage charges.
               On extended trips, for the first time, a $1 charge was levied to cover the cost of transportation for mass movement.
               Ammunition on the rifle range.
               Paperback book purchases.
  • Free time is at 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. Activities included: Tomahawk Throwing, Free Swim, Rifle Range, Archery, Ball Games, Horseshoes, Tetherball, and Crafts.
  • Ecology was added to the work of the Science Division.
  • The Explorers built a log raft on Treasure Island.
  • The camp took trips to Elton's Cave. It is near the border with New York. It drops to a depth of 300 feet and is undeveloped.
  • Martin and McCoy day was Dunday July 31, 1966. It ended in a tie, and involved about 20 activites, including: Tomahawking, riflery, football throw, horseshoes, waterfront, and an evening ball game.
  • The first post-camp vagabond trip was planned.
  • Early Bird trip for 1967 will be to the Catskill Game Farm in New York. Boys had to register before January 1, 1967.
  • Plans for 1967 will delve more deeply into BBC's Education through Adventure program.
  • 1966 was the only year that BBC published a yearbook.




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    1967

  • 1967 Camp dates are:
               Opening Day - July 2, 1967, 2:00 PM.
               Mid-Season Visiting Day - July 30, 1967.
               Closing - August 26, 1967, 5:00 PM.
  • A day at Berkshire Boys Camp:
               7:30 - Arising time.
               8:05 AM - Breakfast.
               9:10 AM - Multiple Chose Activities.
               11:00 AM - Free Time Activities.
               Noon - Lunch.
               1:00 PM - Rest Hour.
               2:00 PM - Multiple Choice Activities.
               4:00 PM - Free Time Activities.
               5:15 PM - Supper.
               6:00 PM - PX and Free Time.
               6:15 PM - Free Time Activities.
               7:30 PM - Major Game (ending in a campfire).
               9:00 PM - First Taps (lights out).
               9:10 PM - Second Taps (silence).
  • Annual Science Fair was help on Sunday, July 23, 1967 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • This appears to be the first year for the Dramatics Department to have a 4th of July reinactment. It included bombs made by the Science Dapartment.
  • This was the year that the Foresters discovered the American Chestnut tree while clearing out underbrush. It was located near the Spruce Mountain Tree Tower. It was a seven-inch tree at one foot above ground, and it was bearing nuts.
  • The 1966 Yearbook was finally released on July 25, 1967 after long delays.
  • Mountain climbing techniques were taught.
  • There was a water show Sunday, August 13, 1967 from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM.
  • August 12, 1967: Tony Balski was presented with a silver whislte to commemorate is 25 years of service to the camp.
  • Monument Mountain day trip was o August 16, 1967.
  • Bash Bish Falls overnight was on August 9, 1967.
  • Fairwell Dinner was on Friday, August 25, 1967
  • This was the first year that BBC took a trip to Mitchell's Cave near Albany, NY. Entrance was through an 18-inch by 20-inch hole.
  • All-Camp overnight trip to Mt. Greylock on August 23, 1967.
  • The Berkshire Players made their first spotlights.
  • At the end of the 1967 season the paperwork was complete for the Foundation to absorb the camp.
  • They met on Sunday, August 27, 1967 at 11:25 AM at the camp for the acceptance meeting. Board members present were: Austin Welch - president, Tony Balsky - acting clerk, Dr. Julian Newman, Marvin Grossman, Alvin Isaacs (also the attorny who worked out the legal deetails), Lawrence Finer, Dr. Peter Laband, Dr. Irwin Mirsky, John Boldebook, John Denman, and Dr. Conwell Higgins. Stanley Russel could not remain for the meeting.
  • The science lab was to be rejuvenated during the off-season at the end of 1967.
  • The rifle range offered skeet shooting during the last 4 weeks of camp.



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    1968

  • 315 Accomplishment Awards were issues in 1968.
  • There were 13 promotions.
  • 24 Spot Mentions, 43 Special Mentions, 15 Special Recognitions, 2 Star Campers, 1 Double Star Camper, 1 All BBC Boy.
  • There were 9 BBC News.
  • Jurgen Liias started the Thoreau activity this year.
  • KOM4680 - goes live at the camp. It was a CB system.
  • The Pop Welch Educational Foundation opened the Creative Learning Center. The doors opened on July 1, 1968. Arthur Jerome is the Academic Director; Mrs. David Moore is in charge of motor training and a tutor; Mrs. Robert McPherson is director of arts and crafts and also a tutor; the camp nurse, Mary O'Toole is part of the program; and the junior leaders are Martha Moore and Susan McPherson. John Denmon is the Director of Development. They started with six students.
  • Science Fair was July 21, 1968 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • The Basic Communications Specialist requirements are:
          Know the equipment currently in use at BBC. model numbers and power.
          Know the funciton of:
               the On/Off Volume control
               Xtal/tune switch
               channel selector
               squelch
               microphone
               modulation indicator
               crystal receive and xmit
          Know precautionary communications procedures:
               antenna positions to prevent radio failure
               procedure to clear channel
          Operations procedures:
               call initiation
               pass a message coureously, quickly, and efficiently, using "10 signals"
               completing a call
          Explain the meaning and use of these "10 signals":
               10-4, 10-5, 10-7, 10-8, 10-10, 10-14, 10-15, 10-17, and 10-20
          Equipment maintenance familiarization:
               size, type, and number of batteries in portable units
               location of crystals in all equipment
          Application - Function as the communications specialist in one exercise
  • George Pagar donated a 16-foot fiberglass canoe to the camp. It arrived on Tuesday, July 23, 1968.
  • BBC also installed a weather station in 1968.
  • WBBC AM radio station was set-up at BBc in 1968. It is scheduled to have two daily broadcasts: 1:00 - 2:00 PM and 9:00 - 10:00 PM. The programs will include: news, weather, inspirational discussions by the camp director, and music.
  • Certifications were created in the Communications Division: Commuications Speacialist (CS) - to operate all two-way radio equipment except the base station, Communications Specialist A (CSA) - to operate all two-way radio communicatIons equipment, Communications Specialist B (CSB) - to operare as a broadcaster at the radio station, and Communication Specialist Technician (CST) - to operate the control position in the radio station. Campers will also function as the Station Manager, Promotional Manager, and other managerial positions.
  • Pittsfield State Forest all-camp overnight trip was on July 24, 1968.
  • Bash Bish Falls all-camp overnight trip was on August 7, 1968.
  • There was a water show on Sunday, August 11, 1968 from 2:00 PM to 4:45 PM.
  • The annual 6th-Sunday Martin and McCoys day was help on Augus 4, 1968. Final score was Martins 200, McCoys 197.
  • The seventh-week carnival was help on Sunday, August 18, 1968.
  • The 1968 season ends on August 24, 1968 at 5:00 PM.
  • The fairwell dinner was on Friday, August 23, 1968.
  • The summary for 1968 is: 315 Accomplishment Awards, 13 Promotions, 24 Spot Mentions, 43 Special Mentions, 15 Special Recognitions, 2 Star Campers, 1 Double Star Camper, 1 All BBC Boy, 80 news stories in nine BBC News newsletters.
  • The Foundation appointed a Campership Comittee to assist boys to attend the camp in 1969. THe members are Mrs. Robert McPherson, Mrs. Edna Balski, and Pop Welch.
  • Tony Balski, president; Robert McPherson, treasurer; and Al Isaacs, clerk were re-elected to the Foundation Board. Mr. and Mrs. David Moore and Bob Sealander were elected to the Board.
  • The plan was to have two shetland ponies at the camp beginning in 1969 as a start of a future ranching program. They were donated by Jerome Denman at the November 3, 1968 Board meeting in Framingham.
  • The plan is to change the Creative Learning program in 1969 to offer tutoring in reading, writing, and spelling by the hour. The cost will be either $5.00 or $6.00 depending on demand.
  • George Pagar donated two more 17-foot fiberglass canoes to the camp to extend the canoeing program.




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    1969

  • 1969 saw the combined program of Art, Music and Dramatics.
  • Science Fair was Sunday, July 20, 1969 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • The first official WBBC broadcat was made by Sherman Wallen , Bob Lennick, Bennett, Kaye, and Maxwell Wiggins from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM on June 30, 1969. WBBC is 1600 on the AM dial. The radio station plans to broadcast from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM.
  • The Art Show was help on Sunday, July 20, 1969.
  • The camp was full to capacity for all 8 weeks. The CQ and the Schoolhouse cabin have been converted to camper cabins. There is a total of 14 camper cabins and 86 boys. Additionally there are 7 work boys (dining room and kitchen), 22 activity leadrs, 2 office workers, 2 maintenance workers, the nurse ,and the chef.
  • BBC received its very own CB Radio call letters: KCQ8505. It first went on the air on 7/25/1969.
  • Martin and McCoy day was Sunday, Sugust 2, 1969. The Martins won 500 to 485 points. Activities included: Rope Climb, Tomahawk, Archery, Riflery, Chieck Fights, Boxing, Broadjumping, Obstacle Course, Spitting, Horseshoes, Basketball, Tug-of-War, and an evening Softball Game.
  • The Water Show was on Sunday, August 10, 1969 from 2:00 PM to 4:45 PM.
  • The season ends on Saturday, 8/23/1969 at 5:00 PM.
  • The end of season statistics were: 28 boys promoted to instructors or junior leaders, 256 accomplishment awards, 23 Spot Mentions, 24 Special Mentions, 6 Special Recognitions, one Star Camper, and one All BBC Boy. 106 stories were printed in the 9 BBC News newsletters.
  • There were three all-camp overnight trips.
  • There were two all-camp day trips.
  • A Roderick Merchant Campership fund was set up to provide a place for money to be used to enable deserving boys a chance to attend BBC.
  • A Country Squire Station Wagon was donated to the camp by Dr. Robert Rozene




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    1970

  • The Boston Area BBC Reunion was held on Sunday, March 22, 1970 at the Arlington Boys Club from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
  • Board of Directors information: Daniel C. Knickerbocker - elected clerk at the meetings on November 23, 1969.
  • Work began by Francis O'Connell to secure information and plans for the proposed new dining hall. Cost estimates and engineer's drawings are done.
  • Dates to remember:
  •      Opening Day - Sunday, June 28,1970.
  •      Visiting Day - Sunday, July 26, 1970 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  •      Closing Day - Saturday, August 22, 1970.
  •      There were also special event days.
  • Tuition was $600 for the entire eight weeks, an $340 for four weeks.
  • The recommended list of what to bring was:
  •      1 laundry bag
  •      3-4 Wool blankets (cool nights)
  •      1 pillow (optional) with pillow case
  •      3 sheets or sheet-blankets
  •      1 rubber sheet if needed
  •      1 sleeping bag for overnights
  •      Towels (bath and hand) and Facecloths, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste
  •      4-6 Dungarees, Chinos or shorts
  •      7-8 Jerseys or T-shirts
  •      7-8 sets of underwear
  •      2-3 sheatshirts or 1 jacket
  •      12 pairs of socks
  •      2 pairs of pajamas
  •      2 pairs of sturdy shoes
  •      several handkerchiefs
  •      raincoat, rainhat and boots
  •      rubbers or overshoes
  •      snakers
  •      2 swim trunks
  •      comb
  •      Optional camping equipment: hatchet, flashlight, compass, canteen, etc.
  •      No Knives
  •      Musical Instruments, Cameras, Fishing Gear, Archery Gear
  • An example of evening activities included (on one night): Sunset watch on top of Gibb's Hill, Softball match, Kick and Dodgeball, Musical Jam Session, and a Fishing Expedition.
  • The annual science fair was on Sunday, July 19, 1970 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • 1970 saw the start of an evening program entitled: "You and Your World Discussion Group". It was a program designed to meet the needs and interests of 1970's boys. Initial discusssion included "Meanings behind the Beatles' sound" and "Attitudes on being an American".
  • The Berkshire Players, the camp's dramatics group, ventured into film for the first time. The first epic adventure was entitled "Tarzan Takes a Trip".
  • In 1970 there wa an active "Photo Group" at the camp.
  • Statistics for 1970 include: 25,000 words printed in the nine summer issues of the BBC News newspaper in about 100 stories - more than half authored by campers, 5 promotions to Junior Instructor, 18 Spot Mentions, 35 Special Mentions, 22 Special Recognitions or Director's Special Mentions, 4 Star Campers, and one Double Star, and an All-BBC-Boy.
  • Foundation officers were re-elected at the Foundation Meeting on October 25, 1970: Alvin Isaacs - President, Daniel C. Knickerbocker - Clerk, and Joan L. Martin - Treasurer.
  • Boston Area Reunion planned for Sunday, March 28, 1971 at the Arlington Boys Club.




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    1971

  • BBC announced family campingthis year. For $32 per person per night you could stay at sunny BBC. Meals were $2 per person per day.
  • This was the year that the world heard of "Arti's Mush". Arthur Fitzgerald, head of Exploring, served up carrots, peas, catsup (lots of it), hamburger, potatoes, onions, and celery.
  • The annual Science Fair was on Sunday, July 18, 1971 from 1:30 PM to 4:45 PM.
  • We are probably all familiar with the legend of Lucy's. Here are some facts. A land grant was given to the Pecum family on or before 1820. It was many hundreds of acres and they built a large multi-room multi-fireplace house on it. It was known as "The Tavern", a wya-station along the Westfield-Lee stage run. Relay horses, along with farm horses, oxen, sheep, and cattle could be housed in what was known as "the largest barn in the area". The second owner was Gleason, Pecum's son-in-law. During this time cattle were driven to Westfield or Springfield to market. In 1910, it was still a tavern, but the automobile and Route 20 ended its era. From that time to about 1955 it was owned by the Whiting family as a summer home. They had a year-round caretaker. At one time, John Bondarenko was their gardener. Mr. Whiting would walk to the "rock-cut" on the electric railroad (the Huckleberry Line), the Lee-Huntington railroad to pick up his mail from the trolley. Until the Civil War, the Tavern served as a relay station for runaway slaveson the "underground railroad". The house and land were then sold to a New York speculator. Since that time they have begun quarrying granite on the site and all vestiges of the former estate are gone.
  • Visiting day wa Sunday, August 8, 1971 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM and features the Waterfront activities and an Arts & Crafts Fair.
  • The camping season ended on Saturday, August 21, 1971 between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM.
  • The annual farewell banquet was on Friday, August 20, 1971 at 6:00 PM




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    1972

  • The annual Science Fair was held on Sunday, July 23, 1972 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • Visiting Day was Sunday, July 30, 1972 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • On August 2, 1972 there were 71 boys in the camp.
  • On Sunday, August 6, 1972, the entire camp went to Otis Ridge to attend a Charlie Chaplin Festival.
  • In Pop's own words in the August 2, 1972 BBC News newsletter: "Some day - oh, some day, my long aspirations for a school here, run on BBC principles, may materialize. Some day, some day, someone may donate the wherewithal to build and equip such a school. Our own college graduates offer to staff such a unique school - some day."
  • The Monument Mountain all-camp daytrip was on 8/16/1972.
  • In 1972: there were 17 Spot Mentions, 33 Special Mentions, 8 Special Recognitions and 2 Star Campers.
  • The end of the season was on Saturday, August 26, 1972 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • The farewell dinner was on Friday, August 25, 1972.




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    1973



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    To go to a part of the camp's history, click on the link below to jump directly to it.

    1939 - 1948
    1949 - 1956
    1957 - 1965
    1966 - 1973

    Updated: 7/2/2004