Knox - Cassidy Castle - Daily Life at the Summer Camp

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Summer Camp

"Cassidy’s Castle" in the Helderbergs an Ideal Spot—Enjoyed by Many Young Women—Life at the Camp.

Visitors in the Helderberg mountains find at the well-known "Cassidy's Castle" a summer camp. He sees the dining hall with its many windows, the store which is called the "Remembrance Shop" the "Shack" where refreshments are sold, and best of all he sees the rows of neat tents where the girls live.

This is the camp conducted by the Young Women's Christian Association. From far and near, girls come here to spend two weeks in the pure bracing air and to lead healthful out-of-door lives. Eight states claim representatives at Alternant camp and from 67 cities and towns, girls have come to the Helderbergs. Albany’s contingent is the largest, numbering 28.

Life at the Camp is restful and refreshing to the girls who work in the city so many weeks in the year. Breakfast is served at eight o'clock after which the girls hurry to the tents to make all in readiness for tent inspection. To those whose tents are in good order when the tent inspector makes her rounds, a pink ticket is given. At 9:30 the morning recreation begins. Base ball is organized and exciting, games are played between such teams as the "Giants" and the "White Sox". Basket ball, tennis, croquet, tether ball and clock golf are also enjoyed. A croquet tournament is now in progress and the Camp croquet championship will soon be decided. At 11 o'clock a course in Bible Study is given. In pleasant weather this class is held out under the trees.

The afternoon starts with a "rest hour" from two to three. All is quiet around the Camp until the bell clangs "three o'clock", then the girls play games again or take long walks to "High Point" or "Flat Rock" or else sit under the trees listening to the story telling. In the evening the girls take short walks or sing the Camp songs until time for prayers. The prayer service is led by the leaders of the Camp.

This, then, is the typical day at Altamont, but it is by no means all that contributes to the girls’ pleasure. Every week special trips are taken to the beautiful Indian Ladder, to Thompson's and Warner's Lakes. The campers often sally fourth for- "bacon bats" where a fire is built out-of-doors and the supper cooked. Two track meets have already been held with events ranging from a short "dash” to a "broad grin", and last Saturday the "circus came to town." There were many attractions including the ladies’ band, trained bears, a hypnotist and fortune tellers. Refreshments were sold on the circus grounds and pink lemonade was not lacking.

But perhaps the most interesting thing which the girls have is the Camp fire ceremony, especially significant because of its connection with other the National Camp Fire Girls’ organization. On Tuesday and Friday nights the campers gather about the huge fire. The guardian of the fire, dressed in Indian costume, is first seen standing near. Then she calls "Wohelo" the cry of the camp fire girls, and from the distance the answer comes, "Wohelo". Gradually the other Indian maidens approach. These are the "torch bearers". The council is then called and the fire lighted. New members of the camp fire are then received and all are made "wood gatherers", who have kept the laws of the code for three days. Other honors are awarded for participation in the various sports and other activities of the camp. On Tuesday nights the girls give clever "stunts" which they have planned, and on Friday night the Camp "Echo" is read, a paper which contains all the news that's made in camp.

The camp fire ends with, singing, and the girls sing with all their hearts,

"Altamont our hearts to you our hands to you.

We pledge ourselves to your success. Our love for you will ne'er grow less, . . . Altamont, our hearts and hands to you”

Prayers are held by the Camp Fire when the evening is pleasant.

And so, at Altamont there is always plenty to do; but for her who wishes rest and quiet, this too, is hers. As the carriages filled with girls drive out from Camp every week, they call to Miss Mathews, Miss Chapppell and Miss Friedman, the leaders of the Camp. "We hope to come back next year." -- HELEN FERRIS.

Altamont Enterprise – August 2, 1912