Camp Appy Mission Statement:
Compiled by Jennie Kavage 1948-64,
Looking back as far as my resources go I really found little
in the early years that would represent a mission statement though
there did seem to be an assumption that learning skills and living
together in the natural world with good influences would produce
whatever was the "ideal American Girl" of the 40's and
I have one of the beautiful Camp promotional booklets put out
in 1948 and the introduction to camp, after dwelling on the beautiful
mountains, famous resorts in the area, and variety of camp activities
concludes: . . ."woven together to form a healthful, interesting
and instructive routine, which supplemented as it is by good food
and ample rest provides a program designed to build strong bodies,
teach good sportsmanship, inspire fine ideals and insure a truly
happy experience for your daughter."
Later it goes on to say "By far the most important factor
in providing a joyful summer for your daughter, helping her to
live amicably with her fellow campers, and creating within her
a love for God and appreciation for His handiwork is the group
of women and older girls who inspire and guide her. Appalachia's
success can be attributed to the counselors, who are all that
the name implies, as well as skilled instructors. It is our desire
to teach each girl the skill to win and the grace to lose."
In an article in a 1955 Slap-Appy, I found the first mention
by Dr.T. of "the goals" as we came to know them in later
years. After listing many of the summer activities he says:
"Each of these activities and each counselor and each camper
played a part in attaining our goals for Appalachia - friendships,
health, skills, sportsmanship, cooperation and happiness with
The same year in a Slap-Appy, maybe the same one, can't tell,
there is this preamble to the list of 1955 campers:
"WHAT IS CAMP?
"We might say that camp is a 'place.' We would covet for
every camper green woods, purple capped mountains, sunlit streams,
bird calls and quiet sunsets - that her young heart may be warmly
aware of a Creator who has made 'all things beautiful in their
time.' But camp is more than a place . . . . . . . . (dots were
in the Slap Appy, not mine). .
"We might say that camp is a 'plan.' We would covet for every
camper a program, planned to meet her every need, to fit her interests
and abilities, which is not too crowded for comfort, yet which
abounds in opportunities for zestful endeavor throughout the day.
Yet camp is more than a plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
" Camp is what happens to the campers. . . what they take
home with them in their memories, in their improved and newly
acquired skills, in their friendships, in their appreciations,
in their awareness of God and his way for the world. That's what
I also have a beautiful updated promotional booklet from about
1964. Interestingly, it says practically nothing about goals.
Rather it attempts to convey a feeling of camp through the activities
and events of the summer. This was Helen Lester's last year as
In 1986, the Camelot banquet, the Slap-Appy reports Dr. T opened
the program with:
"the hope that each of us is going home healthy and happy,
as they are our first two goals. If you are happy, it helps you
to be healthy; If you are healthy, it is a lot easier to be happy.
Our third goal is for you to make good friends here. Appy is one
of the best places in the world to make life long friends, As
you get older, you realize more and more the importance of good
friends. The more years you come to Appy, the stronger your friendships
become. Here we also have a great opportunity to become friends
with the earth, the trees, the mountains and the river, as well
as the sky, the sun, the stars and the moon. Candlelight campfire
last night was a beautiful illustration of this point. We had
friends in our special council ring with candles, the walk through
lovers lane, the dock staff braving the cool water of the Jackson
to get the candles in the middle of the river so that we could
see them better as we sang beautiful songs, including 'Candlelight
Campfire' and our beloved 'Alma Mater,' the starlike candles floating
down the Jackson with a wish on each one, and the beautiful stars
in the sky. After seeing it forty times, I still say it may be
the prettiest sight I've ever seen. When we get together with
good Appy friends, there is a feeling of never really having been
apart. There are always precious memories to talk about. . . .
.Our fourth goal is cooperation. You have learned the value of
cooperation with your cabin mates and your Hatfield-McCoy teammates.
. . . In closing, Dr. Thompson hoped all of us have made Appy
the kind of place God wanted it to be, and that the attitudes
shown here will also apply when you go into the big outside world.
Good luck, be happy, and God bless you all!
"The campers and staff gave Dr. Thompson a standing ovation."
By 1991 Helen and Dr. T. were presenting their vision for Appy
this way and I found it printed in several publications from that
CAMP APPALACHIA ASCRIBES TO HELEN KELLER'S PHILOSOPHY
"I believe that every child has hidden away somewhere in
his or her being noble capacities which may be quickened and developed
if we go about it in the right way, but we shall never properly
develop the higher nature of our little ones if we continue to
concentrate our school curriculum on the so-called 'basic' subjects.
Mathematics will never make them loving, nor will accurate knowledge
of the size and shape of the world help them to appreciate its
beauties. Let us lead them during the first years to find their
greatest pleasure in nature. Let them run in the fields, learn
about and observe real things. Children will educate themselves
under the right conditions. They require guidance and sympathy
far more than instruction." - Helen Keller
"In the natural setting and environment at Camp Appalachia,
each girl has an opportunity to further develop self-reliance,
initiative, creativity and compatibility with others - qualities
that will long outlast her camping days.
"Skilled and interested counselors help her to explore and
choose activities which will provide her with enjoyment and a
sense of achievement. In her cabin each girl grows in her appreciation
of nature and develops an awareness of the unique qualities she
finds in each of the other campers and counselors. At Camp Appalachia
each girl's days are slower-paced but fun-filled with programs
that translate into Camp's goals: health, happiness, friendship,
cooperation and skills in 16 activities, which ultimately enhance
her self-confidence and self-esteem.
"Each girl is special and is helped as needed by the counselors,
the head counselor and Dr. 'T' and Mrs. Thompson who head Camp
Appalachia's family. Camp Appalachia is OUR CAMELOT.
"CAMP APPALACHIA MEMORIES ARE FOREVER!"
J. Murray Thompson (Dr. 'T')
President, Camp Appalachia
Helen T. Thompson
Director, Camp Appalachia