Since its founding in 1903 along the shores of Little Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire, Wachusett has been in continuous operation every summer—save for three years during World War II. In 1986 the camp moved to a new site along Lake Hortonia, a 450-acre lake in Hubbardton, Vermont; the site had been a girls' camp into the early 1980's and is a beautiful setting, with splendid accommodations and facilities.
The Rev. Lorin Webster, Headmaster of the Holderness School in central New Hampshire, was Wachusett's "Founding Father." There were approximately fifteen boys during the camp's inaugural season. James Henderson was the head counselor that first summer. Years later he served as a chaplain, teacher, and coach at St. Albans School in Washington, DC; and each summer the camp continues to recognize our most outstanding youngster with the Henderson Trophy.
From the late 1930's to the late 1970's, the ownership and leadership of Camp Wachusett were in the extraordinary hands of Bill Triplett, a marvelous man with an exuberant personality and infectious spirit. Over that period of time, Bill was with the Landon School, a boys' school outside Washington, and served in various capacities—among them Admissions Director, Head of the Lower School, and Assistant Headmaster. We celebrate his remarkable qualities with the Triplett Award for Camp Spirit, and the award goes to one deserving Junior, one Intermediate, and one Senior.
Camp remained under the ownership and direction of Jim and Maria Weiss until the end of the 2016 season. Jim first went to Wachusett as a cabin and activities counselor in 1966, and Maria arrived the following year as the camp’s registered nurse. For eight years, from 1978 to 1985, they rented the camp’s original site in New Hampshire. In early 1986 they purchased the 40-acre property along Lake Hortonia, and the camp began operating in its new location that summer. The Weisses have two children and six grandchildren, five of them boys whose camper days are just beginning! The Weiss Award for Citizenship complements the Triplett Award and is presented to three boys, one in each division.
As summer turned to fall in 2016, Camp management transitioned into the hands of Matt and Jessie Pescatore. Matt's story at Camp Wachusett began as a Kiowan in 1996, and lead to many years on the staff. Jessie brings tremendous experience as an avid camper and staffer at several camps in her home state of Minnesota.
Year after year the Wachusett staff has been a truly remarkable group! Most of our counselors are students and teachers who have enjoyed long associations with the camp—often as campers, Counselors-in-Training, Staff Interns, and Junior Counselors. They are a talented group indeed and reflect a common interest in the healthy development of the boys, an enormous affection for the camp, impressive dedication and commitment, and a substantial capacity for hard work.
The values that have been characteristic of Wachusett for decades endure: a remarkable enthusiasm that pervades every aspect of camp, a spirit of fun and humor, a special caring and attention to each boy, and a friendliness and sense of community that impact every camper and counselor.
Wachusett's schedule is an effort to combine structured and unstructured time within each day. Both are supervised, but the boys usually have greater freedom of choice during unstructured time.
Each boy must attend meals, the instructional activities he has chosen, most general swims, special periods devoted to team sports, and the final activity of the day.
Boys live in cabins according to grade and/or age. There typically are six to eight boys in a cabin, with a counselor and junior counselor living with the boys. Cabins have electricity, sinks and toilets. We want the boys in a cabin to feel that they are part of a lively, close-knit group. It is there that we want them to cement old friendships and develop new ones.
We enjoy daily meals in our huge dining room — with boys and counselors sharing round tables and eating family style. Once in a while we take our meals on the road for camping trips or other outdoor activities. The food, by the way, is excellent and gets rave reviews from the boys and the staff.
The cabins and dining room are more than just spaces and locations. They are where the wonderful sense of camaraderie characteristic of Wachusett often grows.