The History of Berkshire Boys Camp

The Growing Years - 1949 through 1956

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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.

1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956


1949

  • This was the first year for the BBC News newsletters. The letterheads were hand drawn and different each week.
  • Electricity is run to the kitchen, stockroom, scullery, cook's quarters, dining hall, dormatory, first aid station, and canteen. BBC has their own generator.
  • Trail to was built to the top of Spruce Hill. It will be called the Norris Trail after Nick Norris (12).
  • A Pioneer Park was built by entrance to camp so that the campers could show off their efforts for visiting parents.
  • The use of the phrase Education Through Adventure appeared first in the 7/19/49 BBC News.
  • The cabins were named A, B, C, and D. (not very exciting...)
  • The first off-season trips were planned for the fall.
  • The activities were: Pioneering, Rifling, Boating, Swimming, Forestry and Nature.
  • The BBC Ranger Society was in use for kids who amass a high number of points. Each award has a point value. For example: Basic Riflery - 5, Basic Forestry - 9, Master Forestry - 15, and Basic Journalism - 4.
  • Cabin inspections are done each morning at 9 AM.
  • All-Camp Activities include Message to Garcia, Treasure Hunt, a mystery game called Manhunt, Capture the Flag, and a Carnival.
  • There is an all-camp trip to Toland State Forest.
  • They also play darts, horseshoes, and log-rolling.
  • Plays and Skits are being done regularly on award nights.
  • Tony Balski, the Assistant Camp Director is staying in the 2x4 cabin. (It is actually 6' by 5'.)



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  • 1950

  • Telephone service was introduced to the camp this year.
  • The first farewell banquet was held this year. Parents were invited to participate.
  • The highest "high-point"awards (induction into the Rangers) was 82 points.



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  • 1951

  • This is the first time that the sheild with pine tree emblem was used.
  • An addition to the kitchen was completed.
  • The Rifle Range was rebuilt.
  • The activity of Weather Forecasting was added.
  • The old headquarters cabin was converted to a cabin to house the youngest boys. It contained 2 leaders and 8 boys and was called the Young Eagles Cabin. It was for boys 8 and under.
  • Program changes were made to accommodate the special needs of the youngest boys.
  • Activities are: Master Pioneering, Basic and Master Forestry, Basic, Advanced and Master Naturalist, Basic, Advanced & Mater Exploring, Basic and Advanced Weather Forecasting, All levels of Water Safety, Basic, Advanced and Masters Boating, Basic, Advanced and Expert Riflery, Basic and Advanced Archery, Basic and Advanced Athletics, Mapping, Topographical Mapping, Crafts and Advanced Crafts.
  • Archery was a new program this year.
  • The new headwaurters cabin was called the Whippoorwill Headquarters Cabin
  • The Crows Nest Cabin (name) first appears.
  • The Bobcat Cabin (name) first appears.
  • The lookout tower on top of Spruce Hill was almost completed.
  • Another list of activities includes: Basic - pioneering, forestry, naturalist, exploring, riflery, archery, lumberjack, boating, swimming, leadership training. Advanced - naturalist, exploringarchery, marksman, boating, and swimming. Master - pioneering, naturalist, forestry, exploring.
  • High Point Award went to Michael Green with 82 points.
  • The first use of Education Through Adventure in the School of the Outdoors in a newsletter.
  • They have a traditional 9th week of camp.
  • They encourage use of the camp during the off-season.
  • They have a one-week winter camp. It is led by Jerry Denman and George Curtin.
  • The Winter Caretaker was George Curtin.
  • The Camp Rate is $30 per week and includes insurance and laundry.
  • Darts was added a formal progrma this year.
  • Jerry Hutchinson was the camp bugler.



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  • 1952

  • The Camp Rate is $30 per week and includes insurance and laundry.
  • At the end of season, cabins A, B, and C will be replaced.
  • Movies will be taken during the camp season.
  • The Camp entrance was widened, a parking area was made, and a new cabin was built.
  • A ham radio was set-up to use Morse Code, led by Jack Goss (camper? or parent?)
  • Photographic equipment was available at the camp for making enlargements.
  • Tom Cooke was the caretaker.
  • The asphalt road was extended to within 1/5 mile of the camp entrance, to the camp's mailbox.
  • Leah and Marie Welch returned to camp for their eighth season.
  • Every bed was filled and older cabins, not used since 1947 were being used.
  • The Eagle Trail goes NW from the Young Eagles Cabin.
  • The Young Eagles were from 5 to 8 years old.
  • For the first time, the Camp switched to Daylight Savings Time.
  • Pop predicts that camp will be "complete" in three years…
  • A phone line connected to the waterfront from the main office.
  • Tony Balski was presented with a special award. He was at the camp since 16 years old.
  • July 20, 1952 - there were 50 boys in camp.
  • July 30, 1952 - the first non-white BBC News was published. (yellow)
  • August 6, 1952 - the Young Eagles became the Young Explorers.
  • In 1952 Campers were promoted from the Young Explorer Cabin to the Rocky Ridge Cabin.
  • Biology was a new program this year.
  • Exploring was added this year.
  • Photography was added this year.
  • First Special Recognition Awards given on 8/9/1952.
  • The Rocky Ridge Cabin was built this spring.



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  • 1953

  • Leah and Marie Welch returned to camp for their ninth season.
  • Activities included: Pioneering, Forestry, Weather Forecasting, Exploring, Biology, Riflery, Archery, Boating, and Swimming.
  • These Masters programs were offered: Naturalist, Pioneering, Exploring, and Forestry.
  • Flush Toilets were now available for the first time. (Woo-hoo!)
  • New bunk cabins with sliding glass windows were put into use for the first time.
  • Roost Cabin members on 7/22/53 were: Walter Arell, Richard Arell, Peter baker, David Cobb, Billy Henry, and Steve Curtis.
  • Explorer Cabin members on 7/22/53: Jack Goss, Eugene Smith, Jim Mortorano, John Mortorano, Billy Imlach, John Veremy, and Jacky Leahy.
  • Prior to electricity in camp, light was provided by oil lamps.
  • There have been only 3 Double Star Campers: Victor Bennett, John Devitt, and John Coughlin at this time.
  • Bert Ault led the Bobcat Cabin.
  • Bobcat Cabin memers on 7/29/53 were: Frank Ross, Irving Winograd, Richard Healy, Richard Masterson, Gerry Hutchinson, Lee Saltzberg, Joe Brodbine, John MacRae, and David Crane.
  • Young Eagles, 6 & 7 year olds on 7/29/53 were: Bruce Spellman, Bruce, MacEnany, Claude Carle, John Ross, Arthur Dolan, Dave MacCollum, and Raymond Aiello.
  • Young Eagles on 8/5/53 were: Claude Carle, Arthur Dolan, David MacCallum, Raymond Aiello, Gary Manfra, and Barry Willdorf (who has been moved to the Roost).
  • The First Sharpshooter was awarded in Riflery.
  • The Ranger Society was still in existance, but no names were mentioned as initiated.
  • Typical American Boy Award not given in 1953.



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  • 1954

  • July 18, 1954 - Visiting Day.
  • The camp has 26 structures, its own water and electrical system.
  • Activities include: Biology (3 divisions), Pioneering (2 divisions), Forestry (2 divisions), Exploring (3 divisions), Waterfront activities, Archery, Riflery, and Athletics.
  • Camp got a new 5000 Watt generator.
  • A tree plantation was planted.
  • Evening Major Games include: The Red Death, Man Hunt, and Treasure Hunt.



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  • 1955

  • The 4/6 Newsletter was the first issue to use the formal letterhead with the shield in the center.
  • This was the year that the camp was split into Division I and Division II for the first time.
  • 160 people attended the March 20 reunion.
  • The Eagle Cabin (also known as the CQ) was used as the informary this year.
  • A new 1955 one and a half ton Ford stake-body truck with hoops and canvas cover was bought to handle camp needs.
  • The all-camp trip to Bash Bish Falls State Park was added this year.
  • Camp opened July 3 and closed August 27.
  • 3 new sleeping cabins were built in the spring: Pioneer, Forester, and Woodsman.
  • Programns include: Botany, Geology, Zoology, Pioneering, Foresty, Lunberjack, Water Safety, and Riflery.
  • Dramatics was added this year as an activity.
  • Westerner cabin was used to house campers.
  • Ida Hall donated a 12-foot plywood-bottomed boat to the camp.
  • There are two visiting days: July 24
  • Shelter Cabin #1 is now used as a stage for the Dramatics group.
  • The Massachusetts Turnpike is under construction this summer. It passes right by an old Exploring campsite by Indian Creek.
  • 163 boys in total will have lived at the camp in 1955.
  • Other trips include: Cobble Mountain, Greylock and Toland State Forest.
  • Due to a Polio outbreak in Boston, August 14 visitation was cancelled. 20 boys were not able to come to the camp at that time.
  • In mid-August, the camp was isolated due to excessively heavy rains from Hurricainne Diane. The pond rose by 5 feet.
  • End of season was 8/27/55.
  • They are planning fall, winter and spring newsletters.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Tom McEnany donated the 30 inch by 40 inch flag.
  • The Museum of Science in Boston presented the camp with an owl named Oglelthorpe.
  • Tree plantation was doing fine. (on Pioneer Island)
  • Visiting Day - July 24, 1955.
  • Breakdown of cabin capacities were: Ridge - 7, Bob Cats - 7, Crows Nest - 7, Explorers - 6, Bachelor's Roost - 7, Pioneer - 7, Forester - 7, New Eagles - 7.
  • Old Eagles cabin to become the infirmary (this is the CQ).
  • Pop stayed in the White House, Tony stayed in the 2x4, the Sumners will be in the Spruce Lodge and in an addition to the lodge will be Mrs. Weber and daughter Rosemary. Kitcheners and the supervisor of clothing will be in the big lodge.



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  • 1956

  • In 1956, there were: 24 8-week campers, 2 7-week campers, 11 6-week campers, 36 4-week campers, 3 3-week campers, 57 2-week campers, and 3 1-week campers.
  • The camp should be wired for telephone and electricity (not byu generator).
  • Other plans include 2 or 3 new 16' by 16' sleeping cabins, a new 18' y 30' infirmary, truck road to the swimming area, and new showers for sections I and II.
  • Bunk Cabins in Section I are: Bob Cats, Crows Nest, Rocky Ridge, Explorers, and a new one.
  • Bunk Cabins in Secetion II are: Foresters, Pioneers, Woodsman, Westerners, and Bachelor's Roost.
  • The new Infirmary is built. It is 30 by 30 and will have a bathroom.
  • Paint Shed was moved next to the Tool House.
  • The truck road to the waterfront is done.
  • Early Bird Trip was to Howe's Caverns, 150 miles west of camp. They will visit the state capitol enroute. This was for the ifrs 30 boys to register for the season.
  • The first visiting day was 7/22/56 from 2 to 5 PM.
  • First use of the Special Mention award of merit.
  • July 20, 1956, a barber's chair was donated to the camp by Fred Tolken of East Otis, who is now the official camp barber.
  • Camp ends 8/25/56.
  • Historic dates for power: 7/11/56 - last pole set, 7/14/56 - transformer set in place, 7/17/56 - tree clearing complete, 7/22/56 wire strung, and 8/8/56 - power at BBC.
  • Telephone is postponed to spring.
  • 1956 programs include: Forestry - Basic, Advanced, Masters; Pioneering - Basic, Advanced, Masters; Exploring - Basic, Advaned, Masters; Biology - Basic, Advanced, Masters (Botany, Geology, Zoology, Astronomy); Meteorology - Basic, Advanced; Red Cross Swimming; Boating; NRA Rifely.



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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: 5/23/2004