Fifty some years ago The Utica Observer, a local newspaper in Utica, NY, began a feature article about the property which Kamp Kiwanis occupies today with this statement: "A haven more than 100 years ago is one again today. That's the history of the Laney property at Fort Lee, used in pre-Civil War days as a station for slaves traveling the underground railroad and in use now as the Rome Kiwanis Health Camp for Boys."
Well, that was some fifty years ago when that article was written. The camp is no longer called the Rome Kiwanis Health Camp for Boys, and there are few people left who even know that the area was once called Fort Lee. Today, all New York District Kiwanians can be proud that Kamp Kiwanis not only accommodates co-ed camping but is also wheelchair accessible and hosts a program for adult seniors and welcomes all ages with many different forms of special needs. Yes, the camp is still there but some remarkable things have happened in the past fifty some years to make it the fine facility it is today.
It is an interesting story of how the New York District Kiwanis Foundation came to own what is now called Kamp Kiwanis.
Table of Contents
Rome Kiwanis Group Acquires Property
New York District Searches for Camp Site
Kamp Kiwanis Transferred to New York District
New York District Foundation Formed
Official Opening of Kamp Kiwanis Under District Foundation
New Pool Built
Pivotal Decision Year for Kamp
New York District Kiwanis Rolls Up Its Sleeves
Girls and Special Needs Accommodated by Kamp Kiwanis
Adult/Seniors Citizens and Special Needs Welcomed
Key Clubs Support Kamp Kiwanis
New Kamp Assets Dedicated in October 1996
Executive Kamp Director Chris Henske Departs
1997 Kamp Session Opens with New Director and Face lift
"Pete's Pool" Dedicated
Dining Hall named to honor Frank D'Orazi
New Infirmary added to administration building
You can review the camp's history by scrolling down the page or you can advance forward to any desired topic by just clicking on a title on the left.
1832 - The earliest records show that William S. Laney Jr. purchased the land now occupied by Kamp Kiwanis in 1832. He erected a tannery on Mitchell Brook, which runs through the property, and a four-room boot and shoe manufacturing shop which employed several workers.
Laney was a member of the Old Presbyterian Church and some years just prior to the start of the Civil War, a division occurred in the church over slavery. Many local residents, including Laney, were strong abolitionists and withdrew from the church. It was during this period that the underground railroad was in operation. The underground railroad was a system of stations which provided a secret means of passing the runaway slaves from the South to the North and eventually to Canada and freedom. The slaves, who traveled by night, were hidden at the various stations during the daylight hours. The property Kamp Kiwanis now stands on was one of those stations. To the right is a picture of the original house which contained the "secret passages". This structure was destroyed by fire in 1968. The current Administration Building is located on that site.
1893 - About 1893, Harvey Bartlett bought the property and later sold it to Ernest Porter of Lee.
1921 - Harvey Bartlett sold the property to the Rome YMCA's executive director, Arthur Hollis, who established a camp for Sentinel (newspaper) carriers in 1921.
1930 - The Rome Kiwanis Club purchased the camp on March 14, 1930, and incorporated the Rome Kiwanis Recreation Association on April 4, 1930. The Kiwanis Health Camp for Boys, sponsored by the Association, opened on July 1, 1930, a move the Utica Observer described as "What once provided for the enslaved peoples of the South now provides a sanctuary for youthful slaves of the cities."
A 1930 newspaper photo showed a picture of an old house on the grounds of the camp, located on what was the "former Laney property used in pre-Civil War days as a station for slaves traveling the 'underground railroad' to freedom.". (Copy of photo which appeared is shown above)
A copy of an old camp history described the Rome Kiwanis Recreation Association as "the functioning organization for the club in all legal and financial matters." It continued that the "YMCA, from the very beginning has been the program functioning for the camp organization, with Mr. Carl Clippinger, a member of the Kiwanis Club and General Secretary of the YMCA, as the directing genius of this camp since its very beginning in 1930 under the Kiwanis sponsorship." From its inception until its first closing after 28 years, Carl H. Clippinger served as the Kiwanis Camp director. The old historical article noted that it was through "this joint plan of operation this health camp for boys has built up a very enviable record of good will and public interest." A constant reference is made to the "arduous work and devoted interest of Kiwanians, the Izaak Walton League, the Rome State School Employment Club and the Ro-Men's Club."
1932 - In the spring of 1932, the Izaak Walton League members erected a new mess hall. The structure which they erected remained basically unchanged for nearly 65 years. The revisions made in the last few years are the first to really alter its appearance as seen from the entrance driveway. The Rome Kiwanis Club was also aided by members of the Izaak Walton League in its initial work of getting its property into shape for use as a camp, including the construction of a dam for a swimming pool.
This early newspaper photo from the Rome's Jervis Library archives shows members of the Rome Kiwanis Club and the Izaak Walton League working together at the site of the present dam during the construction phase in 1932.
1943 - Six additional acres of land adjacent to the original property were added in 1943. The documents accompanying the purchase stated that it was, "because these additional acres have on them several never failing springs of very pure water." The crystal clear, ice cold spring water helped improve health conditions. Among other documented statements at the time were:
These three quotations helped to explain why the Kiwanians feel that "Here they (the campers) have the opportunity to enjoy camp, to gain instruction in many useful arts and crafts and other interesting fields of knowledge, and at the same time, be under supervision of leaders whose one great aim is the creation of good citizenship."
1950 - Another newspaper photo from Rome's Jervis Library archives shows Kamp Kiwanis as it appeared in 1950 "after 20 years of successful operation in the molding of better citizens", the newspaper caption stated. On the left edge of the picture is the corner of the original Laney home which was built in 1832 and used to harbor runaway slaves. At the time the picture was taken the house was still being used as the camp's administrative building and the nursing station. On the right of the picture is the dining hall built in 1932, exactly 100 years after the house was built. Except for widening the door for wheelchair users, the dining hall maintained this exact appearance from this vantage point until about 1993.
1966 - In 1966, District Governor Thomas T. Pierce, who had experience operating a Children's Day Care Center, appointed a District Committee to investigate the feasibility of obtaining a piece of property for the establishment of a District Children's Camp for use as a sleep-away camp for underprivileged boys.
1968 - It was reported in the May 1968 issue of the Empire State Kiwanian that the "administration and storage building in the popular Rome Kiwanis Club Boys Camp at West Lee was gutted by fire on April 6th." "Forty firemen from two volunteer companies battled the blaze for an hour before getting it under control." "The fire devastated a historical landmark which dated back to pre-Civil War days. Underneath the building is an area which formerly served as a way station for slaves heading north."
Lt. Gov. Robert Teamerson of the Finger Lakes Division, an attorney, undertook the legal work to form the Foundation. Various members of the District Board, including Lt. Govs. Jack A. Tetamore of the Genesee Division, Donald Miekam of the Central Division, Hugh Trainor from Van Rensselaer, District Treasurer Louis L. Theiss, Jr. of the Bayside Club, who was to become the President of the Kiwanis International Foundation, and Gov. Steven Hart, who was to become the District Foundation's first President, checked out possible camp sites throughout the state. Sites were inspected in Van Rensselaer, on Lake Ontario, along the Southern Tier and in the Catskill Mountains.
Then the Kiwanis Club of Rome contacted Steve Hart to offer its existing camp to the Foundation for one dollar ($1). "The price sure sounded right," Hart had indicated, so the District Board authorized Hart and Miekam to attend a mid-December meeting with the Rome Kiwanis Club. At that meeting the camp was transferred to the Foundation. Gov. Hart relates that he "paid the purchase price of $1 from my own wallet and, to this day, (he) has never gotten as much pleasure out of spending a dollar as (he) did on that occasion." He calls that Dec. 16, 1968, transaction, the day that "our Foundation and Kamp Kiwanis was officially founded."
The Foundation had not actually been formally established in 1968 when the agreement was reached with the Rome Kiwanis Club. (A resolution to transfer the camp property was passed at a special meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Rome, NY on Nov. 20, 1968.) Therefore, the original deed actually ran from Rome Kiwanis Recreational Association, Inc. to the New York District of Kiwanis International.
1969 - Governor Stephen Hart and the District Board of Lt. Governors completed the formation of the New York District Kiwanis Foundation, Inc. and the New York District conveyed the property to the Foundation. The primary purpose of forming the Foundation was to own and operate Kamp Kiwanis, a camp for underprivileged boys throughout the New York District of Kiwanis. It should be noted also that incorporation meant the Foundation became a not-for-profit corporation with a 501(c)3 classification as a charitable organization. This meant that all donations to it were now tax-deductible.
Included in materials transferred to the Foundation were all the original deeds and transfer papers for the property that is now Kamp Kiwanis. A series of letters between the Foundation and Edward J. Tyler, a Rome, NY, attorney covers the 1968-69 period of gradual transfer of the present camp property as what had been a day camp was about to blossom into a full-fledged camp. A Dec. 27, 1968, letter, written by the late 1966 District Governor Thomas T. Pierce, of Roslyn, NY, who was then both the Chairman of Kiwanis International's Committee on New Club Building and the District Site Committee Chairman for the future KAMP KIWANIS, which indicated the need for following up "the positive action (of the 1968 Board) on the Rome site." Edward Tyler's letters continually contain references to the inclusion of only one reservation on the part of the Rome YMCA and the Izaak Walton League concerning their option rights, if the camp should ever revert back to the Rome Kiwanis Club. His Feb. 14, 1969, letter to Robert Teamerson included this sentence: "The men of the Izaak Walton League, in particular, helped build the camp back in the late 30's and they are quite pleased with the prospect of further development and expansion for youth activities."
Gov. Hart noted in a summary, of his recollections of the major contributions of his administration that 1968 was a year of many firsts, including a District-wide Law Day celebration that included a Proclamation from New York State Gov. Nelson Rockefeller citing the great success that the program enjoyed throughout the state. "The second was the creation of the NY District Foundation and Kamp Kiwanis," cited Gov. Hart, "including the designing of the District Foundation seal, which was placed on items sold at the 1968 District Convention in the first fund-raising done exclusively for the District Foundation.
"With regard to the Foundation and Kamp Kiwanis", Gov. Hart continued, "the 1968 Board wanted to establish an on-going project to involve all clubs within the District as we knew that in unity and with a common purpose, we could build the kind of spirit and enthusiasm that could make the NY District better and stronger in many ways." Gov. Hart continued, "... in its search to find an on-going program for the benefit of others that all District clubs would be proud to support and maintain." Gov. Hart also credited 1966 Gov. Thomas T. Pierce, a board member who suggested a District Children's Camp. "Tom operated a Children's Day Care Center and was quite knowledgeable on the subject. As we (the 1968 Board of Lt. Governors) explored that subject, we determined that the ultimate goal of the camp should be toward providing a camping experience for handicapped children as well as other boys and girls." In true Kiwanis spirit, Gov. Hart notes that "the idea of a District camp caught fire among all Board members and was proposed at the 1968 Convention at the Concord Hotel in Monticello, along with the creation of the District Foundation under which our camp would operate. The proposal was enthusiastically accepted."
After two years as Foundation President, Steve Hart was elected to serve on the International Board, rising to the position of International Vice-President. He credits "the top-flight dedication of Jack A. Tetamore as President, Donald P. Miekam as Secretary and Louis L. Theiss as Treasurer" of the District Foundation "for staying with the project for several years, during the Kamp's crucial developing stage."
The Board of the Foundation includes the Governor, the immediate past Governor, the Governor-elect, the District Secretary, a non-voting Treasurer (selected by its current board), a representative of the Rome Kiwanis Club, a Lt. Governor elected by its current board, an at-large member elected by the Foundation Board for one year and nine of the Kiwanians elected for three-year terms at District Kiwanis conventions.
1970 - The Sept. 22, 1970, minutes of a special meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors, under the Presidency of Donald Miekam, established "the procedure for sending boys to camp and agreed that the sessions would be on a one week basis, with the understanding that anyone wishing two sessions would be permitted to stay through."
At the Foundation Board meeting on Nov. 29, 1970, at the District Office, which was then at 230 Delaware Avenue in Delmar, NY, New York District Governor Walter W Fisher "agreed to ask each Kiwanis Lt. Governor to designate a man in his division to work on the activities and plans for the Kiwanis Camp to include Public Relations with Clubs and other groups, Fund raising, getting boys to camp, etc."
1971 - The official opening of Kamp Kiwanis took place in the summer of 1971 for a six week program with six cabins and a new administrative building.
The 1971 Foundation Board began the policy of recognizing those who make financial gifts to Kamp Kiwanis. Most long term Kiwanians will remember the half dozen photographs that appeared in the June 1971 issue of The Empire State Kiwanian with the story that the first camping season had been completed, with 39 Kiwanis Clubs from 15 divisions participating in sending campers. Recognition also went to the Glendale Kiwanis Club which sponsored 22 boys. In October, the Irvington Club was given credit for sending 10 boys to camp that summer.
At the Jan. 15, 1971, meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors President Donald Miekam announced the appointment of the first Camp Executive Committee to oversee camp operations and handle any problems arising between meetings of the Board. It included himself, District Secretary Norman C. Kidder, Victor Perretta and E. J. Usselman. Governor Fisher announced the creation of the first District "Satellite Golf Tournament to be played at the Concord from Aug. 25-29, 1971, to be sponsored by Liggett and Meyers Company and the Concord. A purse of $60,000 was to be paid, with Liggett and Meyers providing $40,000 and the Concord $20.000." The minutes also indicated that "The Kiwanis Foundation will not be expected to pay or guarantee any funds."
1972 - In 1972 six additional cabins were built enabling us to double the capacity.
The Foundation Board and the Camp Operations Committee began a "Work Weekend" Program so that Kiwanians, their families and friends could make much needed, hands-on contributions at fixing up the camp to make it ready for the youngsters. The first of these plans were developed in a period when the Foundation President would begin making the announcement that Kamp Kiwanis is currently covered by four or five feet of snow.
1974 - The official report on the 1974 camping season reported that "only 58 clubs of our great District sponsored 178 campers during the six week season." It was noted that the "fine cabin and dining hall facilities can accommodate 50 boys a week." The Hudson River Division was complimented for pooling its efforts and reserving a whole week for its campers.
1975 - The 1975 notice still informed Kiwanians that Kamp Kiwanis is located on open and wooded land in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Taberg, a few miles west of Rome. It has a modern kitchen and dining hall, administration building and infirmary, sleeping cabins for 50 boys and new shower rooms. It has a large pond for fishing and boating, athletic fields and cook-out pavilion, with a swimming program conducted at Lake Delta State Park. The price was $60 per boy per camping segment of six days. Six weeks were set aside for Kamp Kiwanis that year.
The Kamp Kiwanis 1975 season was successful, with attendance up approximately 35% over 1974 to 279 campers, part of which Foundation President Jack Tetamore attributed to the promotional and public relations campaign that was started, utilizing Division Coordinators to reach the club members and a new camp promotional slide program they had available to show at club and division meetings. The Kiwanis Club of Buffalo also brought 48 special needs children during the week following the camp's regular season.
The Foundation Board at its October 1975 meeting voted to approve the construction of an in-ground swimming pool at the camp. It was costing Kiwanis $1,000 per season to bus the boys to Lake Delta, which was necessary because the state Health Department did not approve of swimming in the pond on the camp property.
1976 - During the 1975-76 year, the District Foundation introduced a new fund-raising tool for local clubs, giant coloring books. While the sale of each book netted the Foundation only ten cents, New York State Kiwanians proceeded to sell 260,000 coloring books, which brought the Foundation $26,000. The Foundation used this money to construct a $20,000 in-ground swimming pool on the lower level near the cabins and bathhouse. This picture was taken at the pool's dedication on Sunday, Aug. 2, 1976. From the left are Willard Sauter, Kiwanis Lt. Governor of the Central Division; Jack Tetamore, President of the Kiwanis Foundation presenting a plaque to John Piersma, Chairman of the Construction Committee; Harry Seaburg, Governor-elect of the New York District; and Don Reese, Camp Director.
1977 - The fee per camper rose to $70 per week for the 1977 summer season, with a goal of 384 youngsters, since two new cabins had been built, making it eight cabins on the 56.7 acre camp, accommodating 64 boys a week. President Tetamore commended Camp Operations Committee Chairman Clarence Vanderzell and his team for their tremendous work and called on Kiwanians and clubs to support the Foundation District Patron Program.
1978 - A new narrated slide presentation was prepared for the 1978 season, with Division Coordinators and other Kiwanians receiving an orientation at the January regional training conferences. The E.S.K. began in 1978 to include a four page "Foundation Report" twice a year.
In his 1978 annual report, President Jack Tetamore reminded all 14,000 members of the Kiwanis Clubs in the New York District that the Kiwanis Foundation is their vehicle to use to participate in service projects too broad or immense for individual or local abilities. He pointed out the Foundation sponsored the annual Key Club, Circle K and Tri-K conferences and, once again promoted the Circle K Board meeting and training conference for club officers at Kamp Kiwanis. The Giant Coloring Book program produced another $6,000 for the Foundation, while some money was raised sponsoring District wide tours. The Kamp Kiwanis operation was in the black for the second year in a row.
The New York District Kiwanis Foundation, celebrating its tenth anniversary in the 1978-79 year, marked the occasion by creating a $100,000 interest income producing fund, half of which was planned to be raised that year. All Kiwanians were invited to contribute $10.
During 1978, 318 campers enjoyed the facilities of the well located, modern, well run Kamp Kiwanis. There was room for 448 campers, so the facility only operated at 71% of capacity. The camp broke even financially again that year, as 10 divisions increased the number of campers sent.
1980 - The June 1980 Empire State Kiwanian pointed out that the cost of camp was now $75 and the Endowment Fund was now over $15,000. Banner patches are now being offered for contributions of $4 per club member, with special paperweights being presented for individual contributions of $100 or more.
1984 - This became a pivotal decision year for the camp. Although the camp was continuing to serve a recognized purpose, the financing of the operation and maintenance of the camp continued to be a struggle for the Foundation year after year. There were other concerns as well. The camp still only accommodated boys and there were no provisions for serving the special needs campers as first envisioned by then Governor Thomas Pierce in 1966. A final factor was that many of the buildings needed major repairs and upgrading and it was becoming more and more difficult to meet New York State codes for youth camps. It was time to decide whether the camp should be sustained and improved or discontinued with its ownership reverting back to the Rome Kiwanis organization.
This was a decision which must be based solely on practicality and good business sense rather than just the emotions of all who had invested so much time, energy, and money in the camp already. So, in the 1984-85 administrative year, Governor Jack Harten and his Board of Lt. Governors decided to hire an independent agency, an architectural firm from Cleveland, Ohio, which specializes in camps, Schmidt, Copeland & Associates, to evaluate Kamp Kiwanis and its property.
The consulting firm's final report detailed their findings and recommendations. Basically, they liked the setting of the camp and saw a great potential for its future expansion and development. Their report recommended that the current property be kept and that a three-phase improvement program be instituted. The first phase was a natural: Renovate the camp property and bring it up to New York State Building and Health Department codes. Phase two required that the property be renovated to be wheelchair accessible. Phase three, without giving specifics as to how or where, was to build a conference center.
1984-85 - In October 1984, Governor-Elect Robert Calabrese met with the architect-consultant at Kamp Kiwanis and decided to make Kamp Kiwanis his Governor's project for the 1985-86 year. "The Pride Drive: The Governor's Project" proved so successful that Foundation endowment funds that were planned to be spent were not needed. A total of $170,000 in cash was raised. Donated services came to more than $20,000, for a grand total of $190,000. The donated materials included tools, tiles, a van, a car, a pool table, a video slide show of the camp, electrical fixtures, lawn tractor and a fire system for the kitchen.
1986-87 - During the 1986-87 year of Governor George Kane, the SMILE DRIVE brought in an additional $28,000, making the two-year total more than $190,000 in cash donations.
1987-88 - Governor Charles H. Price and Kamp Kiwanis executive director Chris Henske oversaw major changes during the 1987-88 year, including the building of a handicapped accessible bathhouse; lifts for the pool, pond and dock area; heater for the pool; paved and widened walks to accommodate wheelchairs and campers on crutches; a van with a lift and the institution of an adult/senior citizens (16 years and older) camping program. The Governor's Project, under Price's leadership, raised $77,000, all of which was designated to cover the new and changed facilities at Kamp Kiwanis.
1988 - The addition of new facilities combined with the new special provisions at the camp brought the laughter of young girls and special needs children to the camp during of Summer 1988. That year the camp was sold out with 672 campers, including 65 special needs children. That was indicative of a lot of divisions signing up youngsters for particular weeks at Kamp Kiwanis with the Kiwanis Club of Bedford-Stuyvesant from the Brooklyn Division of the New York District of Kiwanis International taking over a whole week.
The fees for sending a youth to Kamp Kiwanis was $160 for both 1988 and 1989. Round-trip transportation supplied by the camp was $40. Because of the special camper to counselor ratio requirements, the fee for sending a handicapped youth to camp was set at $375, with transportation costing $100.
1989-90 - During the 1989-90 year of Gov. Steven R. Scharoff, Chris Henske was able to obtain a $64,300 grant from New York State for expanded work on the wheelchair accessibility projects at the camp. The parking area was paved, more paved walks were added, and special provisions were implemented for the special needs kampers at the pond level and the pool.
1989 - Kamp Kiwanis began serving adult/senior citizens in 1989 and special needs kampers in 1990. The official ribbon cutting to mark the opening of Kamp Kiwanis as a wheelchair accessible facility took place on Monday, June 18, 1990. Sitting in the wheelchair and cutting the ribbon is Ethal Martin of Rome. Holding the end of the ribbon at the left is David V. Veatch, a barrier-free design advocate. Among the on-lookers in the second row from the left are: Charles Brooke of Lee Center, Harry Bilton Jr., Lt. Gov. of Central Division, Chris Henske, Executive Director of the Kamp, and Philip F. Catchpole, director of Rome Developmental Disabilities Service Office (DDSO).
The $64,000 state grant was obtained through the state Developmental Disabilities Services Office in Rome to make the camp wheelchair accessible. In his remarks Philip Catchpole said Kamp Kiwanis was the only summer camp in the state that was fully staffed and equipped to mainstream asthmatic, autistic, as well as the physically and mentally challenged youth groups right along with the other boys and girls who attend camp.
1990 - In 1990, the New York District of Kiwanis Key Clubs, under the leadership of Key Club Governor Joseph McDonald, realized that they had their own cause within the District's K-Family that they should be supporting, Kamp Kiwanis. In its November 1990 issue of The Empire Key, the Key Clubbers note that Kamp Kiwanis now operates as a fully staffed and state certified co-ed camp for the physically and mentally challenged and the elderly. Its 35 staffers handle approximately 96 campers per week.
The Key Clubbers decided they would raise funds which would be used to complete the Drama Center that was originally a project initiated by the Cy Morgenroth Fund.
1995/96 - On Oct. 5, 1996, a number of New York District dignitaries and other Kiwanians gathered at Kamp Kiwanis to dedicate many recently completed projects. Among the major items dedicated were:
Morgenroth Drama Center
A number of years ago the District lost a great man and fellow Kiwanian, Seymore "Cy" Morgenroth. Cy, as he preferred to be called, served his club, division, and district well. To honor this fine gentleman, the money donated in his honor was used to create this new arena for young children to find self expression and thereby foster greater self-esteem. The Drama Center serves as a focal point of programs which emphasize imagination, self-expression, and development of self-confidence and team cooperation. The District Key Clubs were also recognized for their significant funding support to the project.The Commemorative Wall
The west-facing facade on the pavilion which will be the Governor's Hall when completely enclosed. It is comprised of engraved bricks that were bought in memory of deceased Kiwanians, in recognition of good works of others and by individual Kiwanians in support to the Kamp. This is an on-going project. Clubs and individuals are encouraged to add their name or that of a Kiwanian they would like to recognize.Maureen and John Meir Bridge
While the bridge at the dam has actually been there a number of years, it was appropriate to recognize the Meir's, who are both now deceased, for their thoughtfulness in providing funds for this project at the time it was built.Sun Shelter
The sun shelter at the pool was constructed in the spring of 1996 with funds raised by past-governor Dutch Craumer's Board. This large lean-to building provides relief from the hot sun for the adult/senior citizens and youth. In the spring of 1997 the brick decking was added to complete the project financed with funds raised by District Gov. Dutch Craumer's Board.Memorial Trees
The two new trees join another memorial tree planted just a few years ago in front of the Administrative building. The trees were dedicated to the memory of Past First Lady Janice Calabrese, Past First Lady Pigeon Spiro, and Past Governor William Spataro. A new split-rail fence also adds greatly to the appearance of the camp.Ground-Breaking for East Meadow Cabin
The conversion of the former the Arts and Craft Building to the Drama Center created a requirement for a new home for the crafts program. That was met by the conversion of one of the upper-level cabins but this meant additional lodging would be needed. The East Meadow Kiwanis Club resolved this need by providing funding for a new cabin. It was constructed on the upper-level in the area behind the pavilion.
In the fall of 1996, after serving as the Executive Director for more than 10 years, Chris Henske resigned and left to explore new adventures in Australia, his wife Allison's homeland. For more on Chris' leadership of the kamp, see Key Kamp Kiwanis People
In the spring of 1997 the entire roof of the dining hall was removed and replaced, creating a new roof line. The side walls of the dining hall were raised and new windows were added along the side facing the administrative building. The dining area had been widened and the kitchen area extended along the north wall to the pavilion area. This extension created more kitchen area, permitted a serving window access into the dining area, and made the kitchen area more accessible to the pavilion (Governor's Hall) for future use. The changes can be seen by visiting the Dining Hall page.
Another major change which greeted campers was the completed East Meadow Cabin. The new dual-occupancy cabin was constructed with funds provided by the East Meadow Kiwanis Club. The unique design of this cabin allows two independent groups to occupy each half.
On the lower level of the camp, a patio was added to the sun shelter at the pool in the early spring. The patio provides a level seating area for folding deck chairs and wheelchairs for the adult/senior citizens and special needs kampers.
In the spring of 2002, a new pool replacing the one which had been built in 1976 was dedicated. Built in the same location as the old pool, it was dedicated to the memory of Pete Haller as a result of a gift from his family.
For more information, see the "Pete's Pool" page.
During his many years of service as vice president of the District Foundation, the Kamp's kitchen and dining hall was a favorite project of Frank D'Orazi, a Distinguished Past Lt. Gov. of the Queens West Division.
In the spring of 2003, the dining hall was named in his memory, just a few months after his death. Several of his family members were on hand for the occasion.
The D'Orazi Dining Hall is near the John Gaglione Field, a fitting relationship since the two men worked for so many years together on the Foundation board. For more information on D'Orazi and Gaglione, see Key Kamp Kiwanis People
While making the dedication, Orlando Marrazzo, foundation president, also noted the many improvements to the complex, including the recent expansion of the kitchen, the addition of handicapped-accessible rest rooms to the building, and the enclosure of the Governor's Hall, making it an all-weather facility which also serves as an extension of the Dining Hall.
In June of 2005 a new Infirmary was dedicated.
Work on the Infirmary had begun in the summer of 2004. Built as an addition to the Administration building, the project resulted in an Infirmary with adequate treatment and office areas, living quarters for the kamp nurse and even an isolation room.
On June 11, the infirmary was dedicated in the memory of Domenic Sciarrotta, past president of the Peninsula Club, past lieutenant governor of the Long Island Southwest Division, and past member of the District Foundation Board of Directors.
Pictures and information on the project are available.
Credits - In 1994 the New York District Kiwanis Foundation dedicated the observance of its 25th Anniversary Year (1993-94) to the memory of Past First Lady Janis Calabrese. A journal published in her honor as part of that observance contained an article, "The History of Kamp Kiwanis" by James McGrath, Foundation Historian.
Information gathered by Jim for that article and information from other sources was used to create this page. Contributing to the effort were Steve Haller, Robert A Calabrese, Stephen H. Hart, John H. Meyer, Robert L. Teamerson, Chris Henske, Jerry Hennessy, Donald Miekam, Jack A Tetamore, John J. Harten, Larry Hapgood, Tony Palangi, John G. Gaglione and Norman Sturdevant.