Camp Kehonka, all that it was, all that it became and continued to be, might be credited to three people:  Laura I. Mattoon, A. Cooper “Bally” Ballentine and Althea Ballentine.

Miss Mattoon started the camp in 1902 and by 1911, Bally was on site. He rarely left until the day he died in his cottage at camp in 1984.

The vision and the values that made Kehonka great and strong were passed like a torch from Miss Mattoon to Bally. Miss Mattoon’s ideals remained Kehonka’s ideals throughout the decades, and Bally strengthened this fabric with the creativity, wisdom and insight he brought to each day.

Althea Ballentine was director of Camp Kehonka until its last year in 1985. She nurtured its vision and values with her management expertise. Under her leadership, Kehonka prospered in every way and became well-known as a model camp by the American Camping Association.

In 1983, Bally told the Christian Science Monitor “the essence of Camp Kehonka is excellence in everything you do.”  He said that he wanted Kehonka to continue to remain the “oasis of idealism” that it had been called.

All of us who received the wonderful gift of Kehonka thank Laura Mattoon, Bally and Althea.

Each of us, in no small way, also deserve credit for our part in continuing to share these gifts.


Camp Kehonka’s final season of operation was in the summer of 1985, but the camp’s spirit still lives on around the world in the hearts of the four generations of people that spent their summers there and loved it.


KE -HONK – A is a Native American name for the call of the blue goose, that most intelligent, loyal bird, first to fly northward upon the awakening of spring.

Kehonka’s motto is “Non Ministrari Sed Ministrari”

Winnipesaukee is “The Smile of the Great Spirit”



  1. thanks so much for getting this up and running again.

    • OMG!! Paula I would love to hear from you. Sandy Ballentine gave me this website today. Great pictures! Polly-I remember you too!

    • Hi Paula! So exiting to see your name! Hope to get back in touch! I will be at inger at carlonberg dot se. See ya!
      Minnia -79-84

    • Hi Paula,

      It’s a hoot to see your name and be in touch with former Kehonka girls. Any idea where deLancey has gone to?

      Jane Axelrod

    • Paula!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is Isabel Alcega! Just reading your name makes me feel happy! So many things to remember. Have a big hug! In spanish…un fuerte abrazo!
      Isabel Alcega

  2. This is fabulous. I have such wonderful memories of my 10 summers at Kehonka. Thanks to whoever is doing this website. Would love to hear form friends from the 60’s.

    • Ann Niebling Laughlin….what’s your email? How are you! Yes..!! The great canoe trip. It was the first one led by Rudy, Deb M. and Nikki…Dad kept the large piece of
      drift wood from the trip on the mantel of the cottage ..that we all wrote our names on! Jeffrey Ballentine was on that trip and put a fish hook in my finger by mistake!
      Karen Whipple was there…Ann Roberts..and a BEAR ate all our food.

      • Nancy!!! It’s Karen Whipple!! How are you? Where are you?? Remember the summer you and Margie Gebhardt and Carol Van Etten and I canoed and shared a tent and we had Debby and Nicki for counselor s???

        Bonnie I couldn’t begin to list the memories of summers and canoe trips and shenanigans and skiing in the winter and cruising the hotel (and the nearby streets of Boston during reunions? How are you?

    • neibling, I remember you

      and so much more

    • Ann Niebling!! I can’t believe I came across your name. Would love to hear from you and catch up. I LOVED my summers at Kehonka too! Bittersweet to look at this site. Wish my kids could have had the Kehonka experience.

  3. Wow, what a great surprise to find all this on Camp Kehonka, those were some of the best days of my life.

    Now,I’ll search all my old pictures there from ’84/’85


  4. Thank you for putting this together! Who are you? That is, who do we have to thank for doing this?

    I have a huge amount of Kehonka information in electronic format. I would love to make it accessible to others. Any interest?

    • It’s me, Roy: Cheryl Christopher Romankiw, CK 78-81, 85!

      • Cheryl,

        I have researching Camp and Laura Mattoon for a long time. Recently I wrote two articles for the American Camp Association on the history of the association. Laura Mattoon was featured in both articles. I would be glad to make these available if you think there wold be an interest. Let me know and thanks for your work on keeping this site going!!


    • Roy, it would be wonderful to have access to the Kehonka records in electronic format! I hope this will become a possibility.

    • Dear Paula,
      Cheers to you….remember stumbling upon each other at the yoga retreat in the Berkshires?

      I am now in southern California running a charitable foundation. I sing Kehonka songs in my head daily and dream about the liberation of sailing. Now that was freedom!

    • Roy:
      I will be in Wolfeboro this June for about two weeks. Any chance you would like to have a cup of coffee? I would love to thank you in person for teaching me to sail. Kehonka was THE formative event of my younger years.
      Anne Putney

  5. Traci (Hueskes) Hawkins attended camp in the early 1980s. She made cds of camp songs. If anyone is interested, let me know.


    • Hi Robin,
      This is Diana Marturet from Venezuela (79-80-81-82-83-84)
      I will love to have a copy of the CD

      • Diana,

        Sure, just send me your mailing address and I’ll ship them to you. My email is traciboo at nc dot rr dot com

        Hope they bring back happy memories of wonderful summers!

        Take care….T.

  6. This website is just wonderful – I’m grateful to all who made it happen! Many thanks also to Lisa Durrell for telling me about it. I love seeing so many names, photos, and song lyrics from the times I’ll always cherish.

  7. Thank you so much for putting this together. I love looking at the photos! I am now looking for a camp just like Kehonka for my two daughters. Wyonegonic seems sweet but if anyone has been through this search and can recommend a nice camp with similar values and traditions to Kehonka please let me know!

    • Susan,
      Hi there!!
      Email me!! I have the perfect all girls camp for your girls that is identical
      to Kehonka. My daughter has gone for 10 summers now and this year will be a counselor!!

  8. Traci; Thank you SO SO MUCH! The Cds arrived in the mail yesterday and much to my 13 year old’s embarrassment, I got all teary eyed and cried ! I remember ALL the words!

  9. I was a camper (point and cove) 1954-1959 and worked in the cove kitchen 1961. Now live in Wolfeboro and visit friends who live on the old Kehonka camp grounds. it is still recognizable and one former tentmate, Lucinda Hopkins Lee lives in the old Cove Lodge.

  10. For some reason I started singing “Let’s all get together, let’s all get along” today. I decided to search online and found this website. Wow. I attended Kehonka for only two summers (’83 & ’84) but it was an amazing experience. I will never forget it. I even recognize some names on this website. Thank you for keeping the memories alive.
    Take care,

  11. How incredibly neat to find Kehonka after all these years. I was a camper and CIT from late 50’s through ’68. I know I have a Point scrapbook, and must have pix of the Cove and 2nd 10 day canoe trip to Maine. Will look. Thanks to all who have made this possible.
    Nancy Fleming

    • Nancy, it’s Karen Whipple (now Fitzpatrick) I think my comment went to some other part of the site, but I was remembering the summer of “the big four”–you, me, Carol Van Etten and Margie Gebhardt; canoe trips; dodging rules, mentoring from Debby McKown and Nicki … Trying to figure out how to grow up–

  12. Hi, Paula! I am the son of Susan Taylor Mackenzie (later Menges), who was a camper and a counselor in the late 50s, early 60s. We met at a camp reunion in 1973 or 74. There were a series of thunderstorms that week that damaged cabins and pine trees. I was about 9 years old.
    Charles Mackenzie, cmackenzie83@yahoo.com

    • I remember your mother, Susie Taylor. She was a year or two ahead of me. Always had a sparkle and a great smile.

  13. Hi everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is Isabel Alcega. Me and my sisters went to Kehonka, and we actually received so much love from everyone! We come from Venezuela! This is great. I have so many beautiful memories of camp…waooo. I was looking in google for Jeff, and found this page.
    I send all a big hug!

    • Hello, Isabel! Robin Breeding here…I believe I have some pictures of you somewhere–perhaps even in a riding helmet! Hope life is happy and well for you and your sister.

      • Robin! Nice to hear from you! We are doing fine, nice memories of camp that we tell our children! Have a big hug! And all my best to you!


  14. Dear all, I was in Camp Kehonka in 1979 and would love to find anybody who was there in that summer… unforgettable memories… I couldn’t speak English (as a half German half Paraguayan) and actually learned to speak it at Camp Kehonka.. now I am a translator…I remember my English teacher Lisa (but unfortunately not her last name!), Charlotte O’brien from Dublin… where are they?… I so hope to hear from you… I will never forget that time!
    I send a big hug!

    • I was there!! This is Natalie Bull from Arizona! The two summers I was there were so happy! I remember Charlotte too, but I am not, sadly, in contact with anyone from camp (except my mom, who went there in the ’40’s)!

  15. Were there ever Kehonka patches to put on clothes? I’m making a quilt of the t-shirts of the various camps I’ve worked at over the years. With no CK t-shirt, I used my old camper uniform top and stitched it flat as the quilt square. It’s the only camp which won’t have its name showing….which is too bad since I will always be a Kehonka girl at heart. I’d love to discover a CK patch to sew on. Did they ever exist?

    • Hi Lisa. This is Jennie May (Witkin), Margaret’s sister. I seem to remember sewing a patch onto the navy sweater which was part of the uniform. It is a distant and hazy memory, so it may be a false one! Good luck with the quilt!

      • Hi Jennie….How great to get your reply! I get a periodic word about you on Marc”s Christmas card, but it’s nice to connect one-to-one. Just recently Bruce Ballentine sent me a photo from some CK posting that showed a CK patch. I’m still hoping to locate one. The top of my quilt is together. I used a CK camper uniform top…yes, I still have mine! If your sweater turns up, can I buy the patch? 🙂

  16. Here is a youtube version of “Let All Things Now Living”. It is worth watching and is almost guaranteed to make you smile.

    Lisa Durrell

    • But it is available I just watched it! Three methods of playing on bottles bring harmony to the song we love. Maybe you can find it by the song title and Extreme Bottleband (the group).

  17. Hey, Karen: I just got your email, and I looked back to find the other you posted. So nice to hear from you. I’m in Ct. Where are you? Kehonka, those were the days. I wonder about Deb and Nikki. And when did we ever dodge the rules?! We really did sort of have the best of everything. Of course, I think someone always knew what we were up to – I wonder who? Hope all is well.

  18. I’m in southern nh, living on the last piece of my grandparents’ farm left in the family (but not farming it) Been a teacher forever–learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, kindergarten, 4-year olds, teaching assistants, college students, kids with emotional issues, and for the last 9 years, first grade–which is my favorite! Love teaching but also looking forward to retiring in the next couple years. Still love to hike, but less ambitious than I once was.
    How about you? Are you in touch with any other former Kehonkaites?

  19. Dear Friends – I am writer working on a new book entitled “Legendary Locals of the Lakes Region of NH,” and I would like to include information about the camp and especially A. Cooper Ballentine. There seems to be enough information on this website, but I do need some high-quality images, preferably of Mr. Ballentine and/or girls at the camp. Would it be possible for someone to contact me? BTW, ‘m working on a short deadline. Call (603) 520-6964 or email carboneproductions@metrocast.net – Ray Carbone

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