Camp Dudley Then and Now
Camp Dudley’s history began in 1885, when, with backing from two YMCA associates, George Peck and Rudolph Leypoldt, a 30-year old volunteer named Sumner Francis Dudley started the Boys’ Camping Society or “B.C.S.” Dudley established, through personal example, the importance of committed leadership and the spiritual life.
He also developed Dudley’s first daily program, based on swimming, boating, canoeing and hiking, as well as time for spiritual reflection. Boys were soon encouraged to bring their baseball gloves… and a summer camp was born. For his pioneering initiative, Dudley became known as the “Father of YMCA camping.”
After bouncing around among various sites, Camp Dudley landed in 1908 in Westport, New York at its current site, and the process of building Camp Dudley as we know it today, began.
Camp Dudley’s motto, “The Other Fellow First,” was adopted in the early 20th century and the camper population grew and grew. The campus switched from tents to cabins and several more permanent structures were erected as the enthusiasm for this special place spread.
There have been almost a dozen Camp Directors over the years, several of them remaining at the helm for many years. H.C. “Chief” Beckman guided Camp Dudley from 1908 to 1947, when Bob Marshall began a 22-year stint. Willie Schmidt took over the helm (from Rollie Stichweh) in 1974 and stayed at his post until 1994. Andy Bisselle was the director from 2000 to 2010 when the current Director, Matt Storey, took over the reigns.
Camp Dudley at Kiniya
In 1919, on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, Helen Van Buren founded Camp Kiniya with a dedication to delivering a safe, loving, and quality camping experience for girls.
In 1951, Jack and Marilyn Williams became the owners and directors of Camp Kiniya and continued its long traditions, including excellence in horseback riding and the development of personal achievement through a three-level award system. The program encouraged girls to master new skills and take responsibility for their successes.
In 2004, the leadership team at Camp Dudley worked with the Williams family to create a new vision: Camp Dudley at Kiniya. This all-girls Camp would provide a not-for-profit girls camping experience that combined the best of Kiniya’s heritage and traditions with Dudley’s extensive programs, including leadership and spirituality.
In 2006, Camp Dudley at Kiniya opened for its first summer season, providing a unique and powerful camping experience for girls, amidst a spectacular setting on the eastern shores of Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont.
Like Camp Dudley, Kiniya has many established and longstanding traditions, like water-skiing, Kiwi Day and Big/Little Sisters, among many others. As Kiniya becomes a part of the Dudley family, we hope you will join us in merging these two camps and creating our own history!