Her Story: The Role of Women in the Formation of the American Camp Association 1910-1924

By Wilma Miranda, Ph.D., and Rita Yerkes, Ed.D.

In the first article in the Historical Series that appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of Camping Magazine, we traced some of the key individuals who have shaped the 100-year history of the American Camp Association® (ACA). Here, we will probe more deeply into one of those actors and her role in a key event that has had a lasting impact on the professional development of the camp movement in the United States. That event was the founding of The Camp Directors Association (CDA) in 1924, an amalgamation of two very distinctive and in some important respects, opposed organizations in the field, the Camp Directors Association of America (CDAA) and National Association of Directors of Girls' Camps (NADGC).

We trace this story largely through a focus on the activities of Laura Mattoon, founder of Camp Kehonka, the first, private independent girls' organized camp near Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, in 1902. Mattoon appears mostly as a marginal figure in histories of the camp movement, lauded briefly for her groundbreaking work as Camp Kehonka's owner/director, or often as a quaint figure, noted for the then radical recommendation that bloomers were appropriate attire for girls in the out of doors. But it is to her that credit must go, perhaps more than to any other one person, for not only its founding, but sustaining the eight-year survival and growth of the Camp Director's Association.

Through this biographical lens, along with events that roughly cover fifteen years from 1910-1925, we can provide a clearer examination of the aspirations, anxieties, and constraints of Mattoon and those with whom she cooperated or contended in the struggle toward the realization of her dream in 1924, a dream they named simply The Camp Directors Association. We take the historian's position that a better understanding of the past actors who are our forebears and whose tradition we receive, results in a better understanding of ourselves as well as the problems we face today.

In 1924, an enduring framework was achieved, which still structures core ACA principles and practices today. Our narrative illuminates how the CDA, the precursor to the American Camp Association came to be; how easily the project could have failed, and how resiliently the main tenets of the organization have withstood the test of time in spite of repeated catastrophic subsequent events that early founders could not have imagined. Who were these founders and how did persons of widely divergent class, gender, education, and regional loyalties, come to unite around a single conception of camp leadership? In the long run, what were the factors that brought them together? In the face of the many sticking points to be negotiated, how was splintering — with each party going its own separate way — avoided? And perhaps, even worse, how were the members prevented from arriving at an imposed compromise without perceived winners and losers.

In part, this is a story of a woman possessed with formidable parliamentary skills, adroit diplomatic courtesy, profound devotion to the camp movement, and perhaps, most salient at times, considerable personal wealth. For over fifteen years she would preside, cajole, finance, and negotiate behind the scenes; first in the National Association of Girls' Camp Directors beginning in 1916 and then in the merged Camp Director's Association between 1924-1931. But even more, this is a story of historical actors repeatedly forced to hash out compromise after compromise until finally, a new basis for collaboration was formed that involved losses as well as gains.

The Camp Directors Association of America founded in 1910 by male directors of boys' camps was committed to the preservation of what they called the "camp idea" as outlined by the pioneers of organized boys camping established by a previous generation (Yerkes 2010). How did they understand ‘the camp idea"? In short, summer boys' camps were to function as "incubators of true manliness" as counter communities they opposed; the stifling feminizing influence of the public schools and the tempting decadence of the industrializing city on boys. The CDAA thought of themselves as a brotherhood of mentors joined in the quest to provide optimal conditions in the outdoors for the promotion of a robust and joyous American boyhood. Its culture encouraged an informal service club rapport, where consensus among members provided the main source of authority over camp mission and practice (Gibson 1936).

Members of The National Association of Directors of Girls Camps had founded their separate organization only six years later in 1916 as a response in part to the very same social and educational conditions. But they did so from a far more optimistic perspective. In contrast to the CDAA men, they understood themselves primarily as progressive leaders, indirect disciples of reform thinkers such as John Dewey and Jane Addams. Furthermore, most members looked beyond their own camps or even the camp director community as the source of authority for their claimed achievements. They intended the NADGC to model and disseminate scientifically validated standards to all camps. A consequence of this was that they were in general far more friendly to imposing such tested standards on what they feared were too many poorly run camps (Gibson 1936).

This should not be interpreted to mean that the CDAA men were regressive "stick-in-the-muds" for whom standards had no meaning. Quite the contrary, they, too, were passionate about continued improvements in camp practices. They, too, wanted to serve as examples — most even adopted generally progressive methods, noting that they had already embarked on this experiential path since the earliest camps. But many CDAA members assumed that the "camp idea" for boys had already been well articulated and what's more, faithfully implemented ever since. The men and women of the NADGC in contrast were striving toward public recognition of their professional legitimacy. Professionalism could only be achieved through demonstrating modern scientific expertise and objective testing to keep up with the rapid pace of social change. Here lay the underlying issue between the two groups. CDAA men tended toward anti-modernism; they were relative skeptics about so-called "progress," noting its accompanying losses, most especially the loss of community for them, and their goal of saving boys from the bureaucratic schools and effeminate influences of society.

For all of its talk of nature and "the natural," CDAA men knew perfectly well that the NADGC was a child of the city. In fact, it had been founded by proudly progressive leaders whose winter quarters were in urban centers in Boston, Chicago, and New York. Key leaders, like Laura Mattoon and Henry Gibson, the movement's first historian, welcomed both independent and agency camp directors, both men and women, and both owner/directors and those who managed camps under the auspices of charities, churches, settlement houses, scouting organizations, and the YWCA. The NADGC thus attracted a broad prospective constituency of directors who had charge of summer camps in mountains and lake shores in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Colorado (Gibson 1936).

Growing Pressures Produce a Need to Merge

By the mid 1880s, only twenty years after the first camps had been established in the United States, organized camping had already legitimated itself as a popular new educational form. Not only in New England and New York but all across the country, it had proved that it could attract campers for up to eight weeks and facilitate the goals of a host of multiple reform movements. But in spite of this astonishing growth, it would take yet another twenty-five years before any association of directors would be achieved.

The CDAA was the first to form an association in the interests of the growing number of directors nationwide. All regions of the country were represented in its membership. Still, the preponderant number of members remained based in New England and New York associated with elite private schools or were men who ran independent camps as an avocation (Gibson 1936).

By 1910, however, the movement was faced with a new breed of directors who came on scene in increasing numbers after the turn of the century and up to World War I. Many of these men were ensconced in prestigious universities such as Columbia in New York and the University of Chicago. The YMCA camps extended the reach of the movement to a much wider population than had before been possible. The YMCA Camp Dudley for example, still remains well-known today. It had become clear to independent camp directors that if they were to retain a voice in the future definition and implementation of their original "camp idea," a lobbying group, at least something like a CDAA had become necessary (Gibson 1936).

The very name of the new association is in itself a declaration of boundary definition but also of its ambition. This organization would represent the camp experience on a national level. This was to be an association of directors, period. Counselors, bookkeepers, activity leaders, volunteers, donors, and other contributors of any sort, employed or invited by directors, were not to be considered eligible for membership. Today, this may seem an excessively restrictive stance. But it is important to note that the rules included men who were directors but not actually owners of camps. In this sense, the organization represented a significant concession to the new breed of directors under the employ of schools, social service organizations, and universities. Private independent camp owners/directors would constitute a powerful constituency both as members and in the leadership of the organization. This group, especially those long established in New York and New England, would seek to shape a special-interest service club so common at the time. Among this group, many announced themselves to be "proud dilettantes."

But the ever increasing number of agency men, backed by the resources of their powerful employers, was not the only group who was bringing pressures for change. The popularity of private girls' camps had expanded rapidly after Mattoon's Camp Kehonka in 1902; and, as in the case for boys, girls' organizations like the Girl Scouts and the Camp Fire girls also presented a unique set of unanticipated problems. Even before 1900, middle- and upper-class parents, many of whom who had formerly sent their sons to summer camp, began pressing for the admission of their daughters as well. The rapid growth of girls' organizations and clubs stimulated wider interest in outdoor experiences for girls. Camp leaders gradually became aware that a widening potential market was taking shape fed by the unmet demand for girls' camps and the persistent disinterest in girls' displayed by independent boys' camp directors.

Public and private agencies, as they had for middle class and poorer youth, supplied a strong boost to those interested in the development of girls' camps. These conditions provided opportunity for entrepreneurial women to run their own independent enterprises. Formerly exclusively boys' camp directors responded by establishing separate camps for girls, in many cases these were directed by their own spouses. But alongside nationally prominent couples like the Gulicks' and the Farnworths', were less well-to-do women than Mattoon; many were single women whose independent means often came from inherited family farms or from savings out of their own teacher salaries accumulated over years to invest in a summer business of their own. Camp sessions could be short and flexible, the required investment modest, and the outdoors an idyllic setting to counter traditional homes and schools (Miranda and Yerkes 1996). By the 1920s, those women who were agency directors representing YWCA or Girl Scout camps greatly added to the number of women who technically met the membership qualifications for CDAA membership, except of course for the fact that they were women.

Laura Mattoon was a good example of the older generation of independent camp women; college educated, a teacher at an exclusive private girls' school in New York City with eight years of noted success at Camp Kehonka behind her. But at age forty- seven no avenues were open to her that would provide support or advancement of the field. And this simply could not go on.

According to Eleanor Eells (1986) "It all started with an initial luncheon including a group of women who, in 1912, met to plan what would eventually be known as The National Association of Directors of Girls Camps (NADGC)" established in 1916 (p. 88). This little noted conference may have been small, but it also represented an impressive group of activists from a variety of service organizations for women and girls. Several were graduates from or teaching in one of the women's colleges. Dr. Susan Kingsbury, a professor at Bryn Mawr College and director of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union of Boston, helped pull the group together by personally inviting Mrs. Charlotte Gulick, co-founder of the Camp Fire girls; her sister Mrs. Ellen Farnsworth, headmistress of the Horace Mann School for Girls at Teachers College, Columbia University; and Harriet Gulick, a sister-in-law of Charlotte and director of Camp Aloha. They were joined by several women active in enlarging opportunities for lower and middle class girls. These included Mary Schenck Woolman, founder of the Manhattan Training School for Girls; Florence Marshall, director and head of the Manhatten Trade School for Girls; and finally Laura Mattoon, who represented independent camp directors (Miranda and Yerkes, 1982, 1996). This was a "strategy" meeting to discuss the ways to found an organization in support of girl's camps. Mattoon and others like her would later become canonized by one of the key supporters of independent camps as "pioneers in everything pertaining to the progress of the summer camp" (Sargent, 1924, p. 263). Yet, in 1916, Mattoon and the now 200 women then directing and organizing camps were not eligible for membership in the CDAA, yet there was no alternative (Eels, 1986, Miranda & Yerkes, 1996).

The attendees at the 1912 planning meeting represented a shared belief that a new American golden age was dawning but that its arrival depended in a large part on the liberation of girls. In other words, as pioneer girls' camp leaders much depended on them. The biggest problem was how to persuade a wide range of women directors to join in behalf of girls' camps without creating internal divisiveness in the general field. Their solution shows through in the ingeniously worded name of their planned association.

The National Association of Directors of Girls Camps is a name both confrontational and conciliatory. It announces an outsized ambition parallel to the CDAA as a national association. What it does not say is that membership would be confined to women. Anyone involved in directing girl's camps would be eligible for membership regardless of gender. This was the genius of savvy women seasoned in local, and particularly, in municipal politics. It was an open invitation to men, even those who also belonged to the CDAA; it averted the anxiety sure to discourage married women who worked as partners with their prominent husbands; and finally, it asserted their fundamental commitments to a far less restricted education for girls (Miranda and Yerkes 1996).

Nonetheless as their ranks increased over the next four years, NADGC advocates did directly confront the "outdated" attitudes toward physical activity for girls in print. For example, Coale (1919) claimed that "The camps reveal . . . a deplorable lack in the present system of education for women. It is the failure to put the proper emphasis on physical development" (p. 16). Today, this recommendation would seem too commonplace for comment, but at that time this emphasis on the physical risked censure. It was directly subversive of widely shared assumptions about gender relations. But they understood that independence had to begin with physical freedom even if this challenged the gender-appropriate mores of the times (Miranda 1987). The camps of women leaders modeled a system of shared leadership in a self-conscious contrast to what these women criticized as "control from the top" or "competitive athletics" camps they saw becoming more and more as common features of boys' camping. Girls, too, would learn that they could lead, but also that "co-operative government" in which [all] campers have a genuine role as best. As Mattoon (1923) put it, "We are teaching attitudes of mind more than anything else" (p. 21).

Competing Models for Girl's Camps

Already by 1910, more leaders in the physical education and camp fields began to take interest in camp "opportunities" for girls. Most famously, Luther Gulick led the way as he designed a program specifically for girls. The purpose of Camp Fire Girls was a straightforward attempt to glamorize female domestic duties. Girls would be led to find adventure at home in service to the new industrial age built by men. The hearth fire was to stand as the symbolic source of outdoor romance for girls (Gulick, p. 325). In Gulick's day, virtually no women were independent directors of boys' camps, but men frequently owned girls' camps, even though most were managed by their wives.

By founding a separate organization that admitted both men and women, NADGC planners had opened themselves to a potentially fatal risk. A man, who belonged to both organizations, might even come to serve as an officer in both bodies. Astute CDAA members might do exactly that since the male agency directors were active in the NADGC in large numbers. Many were university professors with Ph.D.'s who might be teaching, writing, or managing certain aspects of camp programming, but if they were not also directing camps, they were not eligible for membership in the CDAA. Just like their women colleagues, they found themselves with no professional association in the camp field.

CDAA members welcomed a separate organization open to women while at the same time retained influence through representatives who joined both associations. All interest groups in both associations were aware that school agency and university men would likely seek to influence this largely women's organization in the direction of progressive policies. This alone assured the attention of the CDAA. It also assured much jockeying for position within and between the two associations (Gibson 1936).

As expected, powerful male leaders did join the NADGC playing important roles in directing its policies. Among the most prominent, were L.B. Sharp, director of Life Camps and William Gould Vinal, president of the CDAA at the same time as the 1924 NADGC/CDAA merger. Agency men and women's groups within the NADGC pushed forward a progressive education agenda that came to define the Association. Their priorities identically matched the goals of the Progressive Education Society — program certification, safety standards, program development, training, and the expansion of camp opportunities for middle and lower class youngsters (Lehman 1925).

Surprisingly however, prestigious men did not dominate the organization as some had assumed or feared. And much of this can be accounted for by the wily diplomacy of Miss Mattoon and her followers. Working quietly for four years to assist in the birth of the association, she began serving in 1916 as its first secretary. Here, she played a pivotal role in protecting the interests of the large cadre of women directors without ruffling any peacock feathers. Mattoon used her inherited wealth and the connections she had worked with to establish an associational structure that foreclosed on the possibility to marginalize the voice of women.

When she attended Wellesley College as a young woman, a student in the Natural Sciences, she had come under the lingering spell of Alice Freeman Palmer, the former young and brilliant president of Wellesley College. Palmer had an explicit educational vision for women that was too inspire Mattoon's long career in working with girls. Of Palmer she would say, "We loved the mind courageous which no dread of failure ever daunted, whose control of gentleness all opposition stole" (Mattoon and Bragdon 1947, p. 133). Precisely! For almost fifteen years in both professional camp associations, Mattoon was to ply this art of gentleness with consummate skill. Palmer's gift had been to show Mattoon and others of her generation of young women, how to risk, how to be daring, while also being perfectly ladylike.

Mattoon's intentions at Camp Kehonka and in her association work never wavered.

Among the many things we are trying to do in camps is to develop a keen and solid sense of responsibility toward the new voting citizenship that now has become a part of a woman's life. Energy, time, and thought have been put into the long fight for the right to vote. Much has been won for America's girls (Mattoon 1925, p. 11).

Though ever friendly to the early Camp Fire leaders and sympathetic toward programs in the Household Arts, her primary goal was to break down the old boundaries set for girls. She kept Kehonka a "primitive camp" just as the old founders of boys' camps had but for different reasons. While men strove to recapture the endangered past ideals for boys, Mattoon set her sights on overcoming them for girls (McMullen to Eells 1976).

Mattoon's allies explicitly placed the basic pedagogical responsibility for the education of girls at the feet of women, but from the outset, she implicitly opposed the model set out by the Gulicks (Brown 1913, 30). She wanted campers sleeping in tents, taking back country hikes, learning the same skills as the boys as detailed in Campcraft by Ernest Thompson Seton and the Woodcraft League (Coale 1918, p. 263). In an era, particularly after World War I, when most progressives were arguing for co-education, independent women camp directors were staunchly committed to a separate female education even as they adopted progressive education principles. Most important to them beyond having girls "rough it" was encouraging the aesthetic and spiritual links girls naturally found in nature. A distinctly female aesthetic was promoted in their camps following the Palmer model.

Artistic expression comes naturally and spontaneously in the solitude and beauty of the woods . . . A leader has only to foster and nourish it (Eells 1978).

Beyond camp philosophy and the educational liberation of girls, NADGC women also insisted that the proper camp governance should be mirrored in the governance of their professional association as well. Though a respected professional association was necessary, it would not alone promote their social goals. Eells comments (Interview 1978) that "the women stuck it out. In amazing fashion (they) made it a full-time profession . . . {and} very much in response to social issues."

Dr. Anna Brown, (1913) head of the Young Women's Christian Association held that "the duty of democratizing intercourse lies chiefly at the door of women in our country." For her, outdoor play was "the most democratizing single influence we can exert upon the artificial social standards of our time." (p. 30) Like her, women camp leaders believed that these principles were not only for children.

Yet, given the advantage of men in numbers, prestige, and wealth, it is difficult today to see how NADGC women would seek to retain control of their equality. The dilemma was that a women-only professional association could only replicate the very gender relations they hoped to reverse. Women wanted to be in the same professional association where they could act as equals in negotiations with others. But what form of organization could protect equality in the direction of the field? It is little wonder that women who directed independent camps made common cause with influential progressive agency leaders. But on the question of membership criteria and a loose confederation form of governance, they sided squarely with the "conservatives."

In most respects, the constitution of the National Association of Directors of Girls Camps did reflect the values of their preferred democratic well-run camp. The confederation was a professional model for gender inclusivity. Under Mattoon's understated leadership, the NADGC had by 1924, integrated a remarkable group of men and women directors who briefly achieved real parity between the genders and promoted a unified educational philosophy that was expressed directly in their own organizational structure. Within a few years of its official beginning in 1916, the young NAGDC Association would attract some of educational progressivism's biggest stars. Like the older exclusively male CDAA, it would remain largely in the hands of a group of private camp directors, but in this case, most of those hands were female.

"The Secretary Notes"

By 1924, the NADGC had become a powerful force in the direction of organized camping and really the center of activity in moving toward a merged association with the CDA. Miss Mattoon had assembled and nurtured an effective alliance against a perceived common enemy — "quick-buck operators" busily degrading the professional standards of true camping.

The secretary notes that among the newer camps there is a growing tendency toward modern commercial procedure in publicity . . . the ethics and dignity of our educational profession are ignored . . . . Even I who have been conducting a camp for twenty-six seasons; have been included in these purchased lists as a desirable "miss" of camping age (Mattoon 1928, p. 18).

She was then the CDA secretary rising against the threat of an outside enemy. "Quick-buck operators" were disdained and feared by every organized camp constituency. Raising the alarm about bad camps helped to influence reluctant CDA members to join together. She could ill afford to alienate prominent men either in or outside the NADGC and even less so once the CDA was achieved. Never seeking the limelight for herself, she had seen to it that the ambitions of others were served. Though never president, it was through her unchallenged incumbency as secretary in both the NADGC and CDA that she was assured a continuous seat at the executive committee table. Many meetings she often held at her own camp. This afforded her a position from which a resilient coalition of interests could be sustained between independent and agency directors, progressives and conservatives, men and women and a growing number of teacher education faculty who were directing camps and training counselors in their institutions. But more than money and personal finesse contributed to her success. Mattoon was artful in deploying constitutional and parliamentary regulations in behalf of her agendas (Gibson 1936, p. 23).

Since she had had a strong hand in shaping the constitution and by-laws she knew so well line by line, it is not surprising therefore to learn that the CDA constitution stipulated that the presidency and vice-presidency must be alternated annually between a man and a woman, and since she herself was returned each year as executive secretary, she was assured at least two women on every executive committee; she being one of them (Lehman ed 1925, p. 133). Usually, however, there were more. Her class status, professional reputation, tireless work, and yes, charm disarmed even those colleagues who sometimes disagreed with her or who had counter interests.

Allowing the Ladies to Join

"As Eve was created from one of Adam's ribs, so, in this case, the girls' camp organization is but a highly developed rib from the masculine parent." William Gould Vinal, the CDA president so intoned at the great March 1924, meeting of the National Association of Directors of Girl's Camps and the Camp Director's Association of America (Eells 1986, p. 42). This strikes our ears as outrageously patronizing for a public remark. Who would dare to make a similar observation today? But he may have intended to soothe the alarm of those men of the old CDAA by honoring male chivalry in allowing "the ladies" to join them. He seems also to be suggesting that since the rib was returning to the original body, nothing really alarming was going on. But the truth, as Vinal well knew, was directly to the contrary to that sentiment. The terms of the merger were a NADGC diplomatic triumph, imposing gender equality and legitimating progressive principles in a field with many traditional members. "It was at this historic meeting that ‘A Statement of Basic Standards for Organized Summer Camps as prepared by the New England Section of the NADGC' was presented by Mrs. Dwight Rogers, and adopted" (Gibson 1936, p. 23). The coalition of CDA and NADGC members had succeeded in redefining camp education.

The word ‘camp' shall be construed to mean an educational and recreational organization occupying ample grounds in the country, in which systematic instruction is given primarily in the branches of outdoor activities, nature lore, and handcraft, by trained counselors to an organized group of young people, for a period of not less than seven weeks" (Lehman ed 1925, p. 133).

Already by this time Teachers College in New York City had risen to become a center of post-World War I educational progressivism, as defined by new social service fields in recreation, schools, playgrounds, and of course, camps. Graduate degrees abounded to match the startling expansion of professional roles requiring certification. Young people attended in huge numbers seeking legitimacy for these new professions. Some leaders worried that camping had been recaptured by the city, which would surely bring standardization, hierarchy, and conformity all in the name of progress (Wack 1923, p. 42).

The balance between parties would falter as new external sources of revenue became available to the Association from foundations and agencies. Though Mattoon had stood for progressive education principles, she ardently exhorted camps to "guard like a jewel" their own individuality since in her eyes the independent camp must remain the cornerstone of the profession (Mattoon, 1925, p. 13). She nonetheless warned the old guard that social service and teacher education interests should be welcomed, since these agencies represented powerful promoters of organized camps. She rejected a partisanship based on a false either/or dualism. In 1932, Henry Gibson describes a typical Mattoon admonishment and a to-do list for members:

"They included a housecleaning among our present members to bring us up to the same standards we demand of our new camps; (and) . . . the need of a centrally located headquarters with a permanent full-time executive secretary" (p. 23).

She assisted independent camp leaders who struggled against their determined progressive leaning colleagues and insisted with them on a federation form of organization and the restriction of membership to directors. As she mediated between these two positions, she found ways to ward off a constant barrage of constitutional challenges, slowing parties that threatened either to dominate or to secede from the Association. Even ambitious younger members of the New York section, seeking to lead the profession in the direction of agency and regional interests depended on her judgment. Women directors, of course, supported her because they admired her, but they also knew that she would hold the line against encroachments on their aspirations. In a typical tribute, her supporters expressed the "love and appreciation of the directors."

Miss Mattoon has served the association since its organization and much of the success of the CDA is due to her unselfish and sacrificial devotion to the organization (Atlantic City Annual Meeting 1929).

She had become their Alice Freeman Palmer.

After the economic crash of 1929, progressive educational rhetoric was no longer convincing to most CDA members. Direct interest in educational matters waned as camp professionals aligned more closely with recreational professions. In this sense, Mattoon's dream did not become realized. She had hoped for an organization of directors whose voice would count in larger educational forums. Toward the end of her tenure with the association, she openly complained that the Camp Director's Association was "missing" from the Child Study Association, the Progressive Education Association, and the National Educational Association. "We should seek direct understandings and contacts with educational organizations," she demanded (Mattoon, 1929, p. 12). On this she would not prevail. Many camp professionals believed that the unique character of "camp" lay in its difference from school just as the pioneers had said.

In 1932, all of the old issues were again threatening to fracture the association. A commission which was formed along lines suggested by Mattoon to permit all voices to be heard issued a blunt report. Active voting membership, it declared, would henceforth be open to all persons interested in educational/recreational camping. A strong national organization was the current priority. Sections should be fostered, but never at the expense of the national (Final Report of the Committee of Seven 1932). This would become the organizational framework for the once again renamed organization, The American Camping Association.

Conclusion

By the 1920s, the charismatic conception of the camp director as "chief" was losing ground to professionals, many of them women, who understandably pressed for an end to membership restrictions. University programs in management, safety standards, or tests and measurement, became the new sources of professional legitimation for diverse recreation and education fields. Camp directors guided by clear standards for practice announced new job opportunities.

CDA directors had expanded a model of outdoor experience designed to nurture independence in community for both boys and girls. Female leaders in the NADGC influenced a form of association that provided leverage for their entrance into a profession on equal terms with men.

In 1926, Laura Mattoon delivered a paper to the Camp Director's Association entitled, "The Need of Professional Leadership in Camps." In it, she persuasively urged those assembled to pass a motion agreeing to begin an assessment of camp programs in cooperation with representatives of the Child Study Association. The recommendation was declined. But her vision for camp professionalism was ultimately to take hold and define the organized camp.

Professionalism must be, she said, developed from the ground up, its standards generated and upheld by those closest to the work, and regulated from within the professional association. Not external experts, but directors as educators in the camp community were to legitimate the profession (Mattoon 1926).

As a person, Laura Mattoon exemplifies an arresting example of the commitments and strategies of women leaders in the early camp movement. Their work of enlarging and enriching outdoor experiences for girls was conducted against the resistance of many of their contemporaries. Their remarkably fresh and original vision became the foundation for contemporary efforts to develop agency camps for children, who lived in less fortunate economic conditions. As equal members with male colleagues of the CDA, women used their new found positions to assert principles of governance that ultimately led to wider inclusiveness within the camp professional community. (Miranda, 1987) Their commitments to sustaining a place for girls, an especially hospitable place for female independence still carries an ethical challenge to us today for an even more open and inclusive American Camp Association.

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