“Aloha” is an unusual name for a group of camps in the countryside of Vermont. Then again, creating a sleep-away camp for girls was an unusual idea way back in 1905. Over 100 years ago—when floor-length skirts and lace up boots were mandatory for women playing any sport—Harriet and Edward Gulick founded Aloha Camp for girls eager to discover their most adventurous selves—paddling canoes in white water, cooking meals over campfires, pitching tents on rough ground, sleeping outdoors under open skies. The Gulicks named their new camp “Aloha” to commemorate their family’s history of living and teaching in Hawaii.
Aloha Camp succeeded from the start, bringing out the best in the girls and young women who gained skills, confidence, strength, tenacity and resilience in summers there. In 1915, the Gulicks established Aloha Hive to offer younger girls the kinds of life-changing experiences that kept Aloha campers coming back year after year. And just as Aloha and Hive challenged social stereotypes by opening new pursuits to young women and girls.
Camp Lanakila, established in 1922, was among the first to liberate boys from narrow expectations of manliness. While the programs of most early boys’ camps revolved around drill formations, physical training exercises, competitive sports and games, and adherence to rigid rules, Lanakila chose a different path. Here, counselors fostered campers’ social, emotional and spiritual development as well as physical, practical and artistic skills, in the interest of cultivating creative, responsibly independent “fine young men.”
Eventually, the time came for the Gulick family to retire from camping. But rather than see their beloved camps close, alumni formed The Aloha Foundation to sustain them for succeeding generations, and whole new audiences. In 1978, the Hulbert Outdoor Center was born to employ the camps’ extraordinary natural, educational and human resources year-round, through school and community programs of environmental education, leadership training, wilderness adventure, family camping, Elderhosteling, and a wide variety of special seasonal events. Now the Foundation’s educational and natural resources were surely complete! Yet local families lacked good summertime options for children unable to spend a month or two at a sleep-away camp. In 1995, therefore, Horizons Day Camp was launched to offer Fairlee area youngsters the full range of outdoor fun and learning that Aloha, Hive and Lanakila campers enjoy— while going home to bed each night. Finally, with over 100 years of alumni behind them, the Alohas needed a place for all those camper generations to gather—from great grandfathers and grandmothers, who came to Aloha, Hive and Lanakila in the early 1900s, to the offspring of their children’s children. And so, Ohana Camp came into being in 2008, to bring old and young together to connect and play in a family way.
The Ties That Bind
What do all the camps of The Aloha Foundation have in common? Spirit, tradition, and a philosophy of living and learning that inspires and sustains our campers from generation to generation.
Aloha Foundation Inc
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