Dick Wallace's Camp Memories


(Taken from "Aliquippa: A History," Compiled by Mark Wright, copyright Mark Wright, 1989)

February 1989

Martha Hunt was running Alliquippa as a camp in 1958 when she invited me to come up from Park School, to help her run the camp. At that time she had about thirty "campers," some of whom doubled as counselors. "Mott," as she was affectionately known, was the college guidance counselor at Park School (Baltimore) and I was the Athletic Director. ...

During my first few years we only had one sail boat, but we soon acquired others. We hired a couple of counselors who were skilled in sailing and they trained the campers (aged 7-15) so well that within a few years our boats were winning some of the Small Point Sailing Association championships. (Not a small feat, as there were more than twenty 18-foot "Small Pointers" in the fleet and they were skippered by adults.)

At Alliquippa all the campers and counselors lived in the big old house in a very family-like manner. Each day we arose to a ship's bell to get breakfast at 8:30 (9:00 on rainy days)... After dishes I'd ring a bell and everyone would go to "work jobs." The counselors and campers worked together for about an hour and one-half doing everything from scraping the barnacles off of the bottoms of the boats to rolling the clay tennis court...

Another bell around 11:00 AM signalled classes, which consisted of instructions in sailing, rowing, swimming, life-saving, and sometimes navigation. Classes ended at 12:45 pm which was first bell for lunch. After lunch there would be sign up for activities...

When activities were done there was a compulsory rest hour after which was the evening meal that frequently resembled a good party. Most evenings there were planned activities and on Saturuday nights we had a dance in the living room. Counselors over six feet tall would dance with campers half their height.

The camp ran in an exceptionally smooth fashion, considering the fact that in the late 60's and 70's we sometimes had a total of over 60 boys, girls, men, and women all living in the same house. The girls lived on the third floor, the boys on the second, and I was lucky enough to live by myself on the first floor in the oldest part of the house.

...Much of the work we did was on the house. ... I'm sure that if we didn't do that work each summer, Alliquippa house would have soon fallen into ruin. In my 26 years there we repainted the entire house twice.

Update June, 2011: Dick recounted the following things that made/make him proud of his Alliquippa accomplishments (in no particular order) to Mark Eisner during a visit with him last month.

Thanks, Mark!

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