Summer Camp Food - watermelonThe images in the recent National Geographic feature, The Joy Of Foodoffer an intimate glimpse into food-related traditions celebrated around the globe.  While browsing the article, one particular image jumped out at me.  A black-and-white photograph from 1894 depicted men & women enjoying watermelon at an outdoor banquet, fully dressed up for the occasion.  Where had I seen this before? Why did this photograph look so familiar to me?  Then it clicked:  “They stole our photo!”  No, National Geographic had not stolen a photo from our Camp archives…but the similarity to an image in the Poko Robinson/Swan family collection was so uncanny that I had to dig it out and compare.

Watermelon.  What a classic symbol of summer.  Whether the watermelon be greased & chucked into Long Pond, enjoyed under the hot sun at the Annual Pok-O Picnic, or sliced up on a shiny metal tray on the fruit cart, food traditions such as these have transcended summer camp culture over the last hundred years at Pok-O-MacCready Camps.  

Food 5

In the National Geographic article, the author begs the question, “What is it about eating that brings us closer?”  

It got me thinking about the power of food at summer camp.  I asked myself, “Does Poko have its own food culture? What is it about eating that brings us together at Pok-O-MacCready?”  I immediately realized that I could fire off dozens of items that reminded me of the summer camp “joy of food” that were quintessentially Poko, some of them being:


~ James’s Ice Cream ~

~ the comfort of spaghetti dinner on the first night of Camp ~

~ watching tribes make McDrews during The World’s Most Complicated Game ~

~ drinking a refreshing Mt. Dew after a hike in the Adirondacks ~

~ storing Sunflower Seeds in a Nalgene so the chipmunks don’t get them ~

~ the thrill of the best announcement a camper can hear: CANDY STORE! ~

~ picking Blueberries & Strawberries at Rulf’s Orchard with the Pioneer Boys and Lodge Girls ~

~ watching the intermediate boys try to beat the record as they shuck corn for the Pok-O Picnic ~

~ a chocolate bar, eaten with a fork & knife while wearing layers of mismatched clothing ~

~ seeing a brand-new 46-er slam Baby Food atop a mountain summit ~

~ the hilarity that ensues at the Greek Feast ~

~ bug juice mustaches ~

~ the kitchen staff’s mantra, “Fuel the Fun!” ~

~ the crazy combinations of toppings at the Pok-O-Palooza Pizza Slam ~

~ roasting marshmallows around the campfire overlooking Long Pond ~

~ fresh greens from Fledging Crow Farm (that the CIT’s worked hard for!) ~

~ toasting to the summer with tomato juice at the end-of-season banquet (“Down the Hatch!”) ~


Food 3There’s no denying it:  Poko DOES have its own weird, wacky, creative food culture.  At summer camp, we have the divine privilege of sharing three square meals a day with our friends, our mentors, and our Poko family. These traditions, jokes, dining hall songs, and everything else that happens in the “in-between” times are all part of what makes Poko unique.

Just food for thought.


You can read the full article from National Geographic right here.


Pok-O-MacCready Camps
1391 Reber Road, Willsboro, NY 12996

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

[email protected]

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