Kehonka’s Contribution to Camping


 The following article was published in the Kehonka catalog. The text is taken verbatim.

When the girls who formed Kehonka’s first small group embarked for New Hampshire in 1902, they sought an adventurous vacation —- a change from city life and school routine. They sought the exhilaration and inspiration gained from living in the woods, close to the lakes and mountains. In this era at the turn of the century, camping for young ladies was regarded as daring if not “unbecoming.” In fact, before 1902, there were no camps for girls.

The founder of Kehonka, Miss Laura I. Mattoon, pioneered in demonstration the spiritual, educational and health-giving values not only for the girls of her own camp, but for youth nationally.

Miss Mattoon was not only one of the first organizers but served as secretary for more that ten years, of the pioneering National Association of Directors of Girls Camps, and its successor, the American Camping Association. To this day, members of Kehonka’s staff continue actively in the work of this organization.

Much of the fundamental advantages of camping are the same today at Kehonka as they were in 1902. However, as camping’s unique opportunities have become more definitely established, increasing attention been given to such objectives for the individual camper, as:

Development of essential character attributes like self-reliance, integrity and emotional stability.

Experiences in group living that facilitate social adjustment.

Informal extension of knowledge and skills, especially creative skills; and participating in realistic work projects, including projects to benefit less fortunate children, far and near.

Appreciation of democratic principles through group discussions, a voice in the planning of activities, and the acceptance of responsibilities for the happiness and welfare of the group.

Interpretation of democratic practices in camp, in terms of social unity throughout the nation and world.

Techniques of camp counseling have been adopted by many schools. The trend today is toward a camping experience for more and more boys and girls to complement the influences and training of the home school and church. People interested in further information about the educational basis for a camping program like that offered at Kehonka are referred to “Camping Standards” and other publications of the American Camping Association.




  1. Question:Do we know what year the catalogue excerpt above represents. Or: approximate decade?
    Reply to:
    kehonka 1959-65

  2. It’s from the catalogue I got in the mid-late 1970s. Not sure how long that edition was in circulation.

  3. Thanks, Cheryl

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