Alumni

Upcoming Events

May 24-26, 2019

PATCH SPRINT: Fundraising Race, Trek & Reunion

The largest annual alumni reunion, coupled with one of the Northeast’s most scenic – and challenging – half marathons!

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August 21-25, 2019

Alumni and Family Camp

Experience Pok-O-MacCready’s Family Camp for yourself and get a sense of all that Pok-O-MacCready has to offer! With affordable rates, our Family Camps in New York are an inexpensive way to experience summer camp in Upstate NY’s Adirondacks and create lasting memories with your family and discover what Pok-O-MacCready is all about!

2019 & 2020

Big Reunions and Mini Reunions

Stay tuned for announcements about open houses and get-togethers at camp, and around the country.

And save the date for a major camp celebration, honoring it’s 115th year, in mid-August, 2020

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Visitor Policy

Planning on visiting Pok-O-MacCready?

Over the past several years there has been a marked increase in interest among former campers and staff of Pok-O-MacCready returning to visit. This is a great thing, and we encourage everyone to come back to “the greatest Camp in the universe” to visit, lend a hand and to recharge their Pok-O Spirit!

That being said, we must keep in mind, first and foremost, the safety, health and happiness of our current campers and staff. In order to keep Pok-O running smoothly, while at the same time encouraging alumni and past staff members to come back and see us, we’ve created this Pok-O-MacCready Visitors’ Policy.

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you!

To stay on top of camp alumni news and information, LIKE us at:
www.facebook.com/pokoalumni/

To relay personal news and camp recollections, or to change your email or home address information, please contact:
[email protected]

To contact the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation:
[email protected]

Or call us:
(518) 963-7656

Camp History

Interested in history of Camps Pok-O-Moonshine and MacCready?

For over 100 years, Pok-O-MacCready has provided summer memories for tens of thousands of campers and counselors.

We welcome you to relive those memories.

Full Camp 1900’s

In late 1904, Dr. Charles Alexander Robinson was looking for a cottage in the Adirondack mountains. Robinson, a former professor of Greek and Latin at Princeton, had just taken a position as the new Headmaster of Peekskill (NY) Military Academy. Having purchased land with three building on Long Pond, Dr. Robinson set about establishing a summer camp for P.M.A. students, and the public at large.

1904 – Dr. Charles Alexander Robinson purchases land on Long Pond

1905 – Summer school students and staff from Peekskill Military Academy make up the bulk of first camp family

1907 – Camp season runs from July 1 through September 1

“Except on days devoted to excursions, canoeing trips or mountain climbing expeditions, the daily routine is a very simple and natural one. Two hours are devoted by most boys to systematic study, under competent college tutors. While the morning study hour is not insisted upon, it is strongly recommended. The interval between “lessons” and dinner is spent in play or bathing. Afternoons are entirely devoted to recreation of all kinds, baseball, walking, fishing, rowing and sailing. Instruction is given in swimming, sailing and canoeing, with strict supervision over each at all times.”
– Dr. C. A. Robinson, Pok-O-Moonshine: 1905-1946

1910's Team Shot
1910's Camp
1910's Camp

The camp season was cut down from the full summer to eight weeks, with tuition holding throughout the decade at roughly $125 for the full season. Headmaster Condit Eddy popularized the early morning “polar bear” dip…. the “Pok-O-Picnic” was created as a way to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Robinson’s daughter, Sarah…. The land which is would later become Camp MacCready was purchased from Matty Ryan…… Eddie Cameron would compose most of the memorable camp songs.

1912 – First “Fast Marcy” trip

1914-15 – Condit Eddy and David MacCready serve as Co-Headmasters

1918 – Original dining hall completed

  “Dr. Robinson was an utterly amazing character. He had a rolltop desk in (his office), and at this time we hadn’t aquired a telephone. He had this rolltop desk piled high with letters, records, all sorts of things. And if you went in there and asked him for a certain letter and a certain record, he would promptly reach into the pile and pull out the letter. How he ever did it I will never know.”       

– Col. H.T. Swan, Pok-O-MacCready: 1911-1984

1926 Baseball
1925 Scud
1920's Camp Ad

Camp during the 1920’s greatly reflected the personalities and interests of it’s Headmasters, brothers Eddie and Charlie Cameron. The program consisted of a mix of team and individual sports, music and academics. Approximately one-third of the 180 or so annual campers still came to Pok-O via the Peekskill Military Academy.

1920 – 208 boys attend camp

1921 – Camp song is written

1928 – Full season camp tuition is $125

“There was so much enjoyment that I had with the fifteen years that I worked as a counselor and as a camper at Pok-O-Moonshine. Dr. Robinson was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He had a knack of taking a boy and changing him completely into a man. May Pok-O-Moonshine always flourish with the family. We all love you. Thanks again for everything in the past..”

– Bruce Korten (left), Pok-O-Moonshine: 1926-1940

1930's Group Shot
1930's Old Boat Dock
1930's Mess Hall
1930's Mess Hall

The Great Depression surely had an impact on camp: During most of the late ‘20’s, camp enrollment stood at about 165 boys; by 1933, that number was 77. Compounding the situation, to meet financial needs, camp tuition had gone up to $295. 1n 1935, Sadie Robinson, Doc Robbie’s wife, passed away and Sarah Robinson Swan was promoted to assistant director. Under the leadership of Headmaster Robert Proctor and Master, Skip Storer, Pok-O continued it’s commitment to wilderness hiking, while introducing canoeing to the program.

1934 – Sadie Robinson, wife of “Doc Robby,” passes away

1938 – Skip Storer starts canoeing program at camp

    “I remember Doc Robbie at Sunday vespers services with a tear in his eyes as we sang favorite hymns. I remember with great affection Aunt Sarah and the Colonel who treated me, and all of us, with great kindness…. Camp was part of my growing up and early years and stood me in great stead.”

– John Applebergh, Pok-O-Moonshine camper: 1930’s

1940's staff
Jack Swan 1940's
1940's Cabin
1940's Chef James

The effect of World War II was felt as far away as Willsboro, as many top staff left to serve in Europe and the Pacific, while campers at Pok-O had to make do with food rations, just like everybody else. Sadly, the decade’s biggest loss was that of camp founder and director Dr. Robinson, who suffered the first in a series of strokes in 1942, before passing in 1946. Sarah Robinson Swan took over as director, assisted by her husband, H.T. Swan.

1942 – H.T. Swan enlists in the Army; Serves overseas in ‘44

1946 – Dr. C.A. Robinson passes away; Colonel and Sarah Swan assume directorship of camp

1949 – Last of James’s 45 summers as camp chef

Here’s to Dr. Robinson who
Cracks bum jokes when feeling blue,
We all must laugh, forget, forgive,
So long then may our Doctor live.

-Camp Faculty Song, written in 1910

1950s The Swans
1950s Slide
1950's Hike

In 1954, Camp Pok-O-Moonshine recognized its 50th anniversary with a gala celebration along with the publication of the very first “Those Elysian Fields”. Camp property- left with the passing of Dr. Robinson- was sub-divided amongst the children; as a result, Pok-O senior section was moved from it’s original location to it’s current one. Camp alumnus Duane H. Nash III completed his ADK 46ers in 1955; two years later, contemporary counselors Peter and Tim Welles finished their 46.

1954 – Camp celebrates 50th anniversary

1955 – Duane Nash becomes first Pok-O Adirondack 46er

“Of the many wonderful people I’ve met, Aunt Sarah, with her timely attention to details, and Colonel Swan, with his mission-type directives stand out as most inspirational in my life. During several canoe trips on Lake Champlain I never dreamed that (wife) Anne and I would one day have our own cottage on Willsboro Point and continue to visit camp.”

– Jack Andrews (left), Pok-O-MacCready: 1944-1992

 

“The first year, I was in a WWII platform tent. On warm nights you could leave the sides rolled up. The second year, I was in a cabin; I thought the tent was much better. On Saturday nights, some of the counselors were given time off. Our counselor may have had too much fun as one Sunday morning he wouldn’t wake up. For an 11 year old, 5 a.m. is a fine time to get up on a warm summer day, but the counselor didn’t. Being smart young men, we knew what to do: We picked up his bunk – with him still in it – and slowly walked down to the swimming area and dropped him off the dock. What a shock! And I don’t think he was too happy with us.”

– Dan Horn, Pok-O-MacCready: 1954-1955

1969 Song Girls
1960s Archery
1960's Leapfrog

The ‘60’s, a decade of worldwide sociological change, saw the biggest revolution in camp’s history. Camp MacCready (for girls) opened for business in 1967. The decade also introduced ski week, Robinson Hall, the Advanced Section (actually, 1959) and, most important, the emergence of Jack Swan as camp Director.

1960 – New dining hall, “Robinson Hall,” is dedicated. At the time, it was the second largest A-frame in the Adirondacks

1960 – First “Ski Week” is held

1963 – Col. And Sarah Swan become advisory directors; Jack Swan takes over as Director

1967 – First season for Camp MacCready for girls

1968 – World “See-Saw” record is broken by two campers

“I have been to 15+ institutions of learning from grade school through graduate school, army training and three camps. The instruction of learning on the shores of Long Pond is the greatest I have ever experienced.” – Alan D. Madden, Pok-O-MacCready: 1958-1962

1979 CIT
1973 Ned & Duke
1973 Brochure Cover

After spending seven happy decades at camp, Sarah Robinson Swan, “Aunt Sarah”, passed away in 1975. During the ‘70’s camp became a full-time, year-round operation, with the creation of both the 1812 Homestead and the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center. The still maturing girl’s camp continued to grow in numbers; by 1978, there were as many girl campers as there were boys.

1970 – Full Season tuition is $775

1972 – 1812 Homestead is officially dedicated

1975 – Sarah Robinson Swan, “Aunt Sarah,” passes away

1975 – Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center opens

1978 – Camp Pok-O-Moonshine and Camp MacCready become Pok-O-MacCready Camps

“The counselors that I looked up to- Phil Corell, Terry McCarron, Wally Young, and Sharp Swan, among others, really shaped my personality and attitude about not just camp, but life. I tried my best to emulate their best, once I became a counselor”    
– Tim Singer, Pok-O-MacCready: 1967-2018

1984 CIT
1982 Baseball
1980's Mac Cabin

Changing of the Guard: In 1983, camp sadly bid farewell to “The Colonel”, H.T. Swan; that same summer, his grandson, Sharp Swan began a 14-year run as Headmaster…. The decade saw an explosion in wilderness trips, with scores of boys and girls completing their Adirondack Forty-Sixers.

1981 – Adirondack Scholarship Foundation established

1983 – Colonel H. T. Swan passes away

“Without a doubt, the best thing to happen to both Pok-O and MacCready was the movement into coed activities, especially the inclusion of the girls into Indian Games. As it is with the boys, this is also the highlight of the season for the girls. Big and little princesses forage, scavenge, dance, run and play hard alongside the braves. Cheers and Tears are equally shared…. Camp MacCready: ‘You’ve come a long way, baby!
– Jean Sidaras: Pok-O-MacCready, 1973-2005

1995 Algonquin
1993 Mt. Dew
1993 Air Guitar

Throughout the 90’s camp augmented its traditional program with the addition of many new activities. Among them: Kayaking; street hockey; computers; mountain biking; gymnastics, pottery; magic. Special events such as “Jack’s Cup”, the Pok-O Palooza and the Senior Hockey League were born. During the decade, 97 campers and staff completed their Adirondack Forty-Sixers.

1990 – Ken “Squeaky” Herz begins record 13-year run as a section head

1995 – Jean Sidaras steps down following 23 years as director of Camp MacCready

   “As for being a counselor after several summers as a camper, isn’t it why we all come back:  To feel like a kid again? I fell in and out of love, went a little wild and tried everything once…. ‘Hoot with the owls, soar with the eagles’.  Arrive early, stay late, work hard, push through, etc. This is how I live my life.”
– Suzanne Baker: Pok-O-MacCready, 1989-2001

2004 Bare Mtn
2003 Four Hawk
2003 Faceoff

In 2003, Jack Swan stepped down after 40 years as director, passing the torch to his eldest son Sharp and insuring that Pok-O-MacCready remains the nations oldest camp under the continuing leadership of one family.  At the turn of the century, camp’s biggest challenge has been to balance the technological demands of society, with the traditional concepts and values that have long been in place at camp…. The decade will be most remembered for the festive and emotional week-long celebration of camp’s 100th anniversary.

2003 – Jack Swan becomes President of Pok-O-MacCready; Sharp Swan takes over as Director

2004 – Pok-O-MacCready Camps celebrates 100th anniversary

2005 – First year of Alumni & Family Camp

“This is the most beautiful place, and all of my best friends in the world are here.  Camp provides such an amazing opportunity for so many kids and it’s just so amazing that I can be a part of the best summer of so many kid’s lives.”
– Erik Zimmerman:  Camper, Counselor and Headmaster, 1978-2007

2010 Wheel Up
2010 Girl Horse

Aside from it’s commitment to summer fun and experiences, Pok-O-MacCready has increased its year-round presence, with a state-of-the-art all-season indoor climbing center, a conference center, and children and alumni programs and events scheduled during the fall, winter and spring.

2012 – Jack Swan’s 80th Summer at Pok-O

2016 – Fire destroys much of 1812 Homestead; rebuilding efforts commence immediately

2017 – 50th MacCready Reunion Celebration

“During my time as a camper, I have hiked all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks, I’ve learned to teach a little boy how to fish and I have had more fun doing compost or farming than I though was possible. I have met people from around the world.  I’ve met people who are now my best friends… These past five summers have been the best of my life.”
– Taylor Calfey:  Camper- 2006-2010

Robinson Hall 1960
Colonel H.T. & Sarah Swan
100th Reunion Banquet (2004)

Historical Lists

Reunions

110th Reunion

August 2014

200 camp family, alumni and friends gathered to play, reminisce, and celebrate 110 years of Pok-O-MacCready

105th Reunion

August 2009

“With the exception of the 100th, which we knew would be big, this is, by far, the largest reunion we’ve ever had here at camp!”

100th Reunion

August 2004

Our 100th Reunion, held August 16-21, 2004, was a smashing success. Over 450 former campers, staff, families and friends attended!

ADK Scholarship

The Adirondack Scholarship Foundation, founded in 1981, is responsible for providing funds to families of children hoping to enjoy a summer camping experience.
The foundation annually offers this special opportunity to several qualified individuals.

Funds are raised from generous donations through fund raising events and activities; mail, phone and social media campaigns; and via corporate matching and capital gifts.

A sub-committee of the board of directors meets annually to review applicants.  Candidates are chosen by a variety of criteria, including:

  •     Financial Need (both full and partial scholarships are awarded)
  •     Personality, character and relationship with peers
  •     Recommendation and Reference

The decisions of the board are based on a guiding principle, as well as the current state of the economy and camp enrollment.  The Adirondack Scholarship Foundation does not discriminate based on race, religion or nationality.

It is the Foundation’s philosophy that even if camp recruitment is highly successful, many slots will remain for qualified scholarship candidates.  For the 2018 summer season, 23 children attended summer camp on scholarship (Request a scholarship application HERE).  While the foundation’s associations are not limited to any one organization, it has, historically, enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership with Pok-O-MacCready Camps.

TRANSLATE

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

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

800.982.3538 (within the U.S.)
518.963.7656
[email protected]

ABOUT OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER

The Outdoor Education Center is located on over 400 acres of land with a beautiful Adirondack lake surrounded by forests, trails and wilderness.

The Center is within an hours drive of the High Peaks Adirondack Region, three miles from Lake Champlain and across the lake from Burlington, VT.

For the past 50 years our mission at the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center has been to create and encourage a sense of awe in the presence of nature, to build self confidence, to nurture self worth and to promote teamwork, communication and tolerance for students of all ages.

ABOUT POK-O-MACCREADY CAMPS

Pok-O-MacCready sits on a peninsula on
Long Pond in New York’s Adirondack
Park, just minutes from Lake Champlain.
Our campus contains over 400 acres of
woods and fields along two miles of
scenic waterfront surrounded by gentle
peaks – a perfect place to do any of the
countless activities camp offers!

Our boys camp is the longest running camp under
the continual ownership of one family
in the United States. What started as
an education and recreational summer
experience for a few young men has now
become a flourishing co-educational
camp for 300 campers each summer.

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