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Camp Kawanhee
A Memory Book

Campbell Scarlett

I don't know a lot about Campbell Scarlett. I hope you readers will add to our knowledge. In the 1924 Catalog, no less an authority than his mother reports that Campbell "gained over seven pounds in weight during August and September" of the 1923 season. I assume the reference to September means that Campbell was one of a number of hey fever and asthma suffers who remained for what the catalog called Adult and Hay Fever Camp. It stayed open until October 1.

In my era of the 1950s, Campbell was the Editor of the Wigwam. Here is his opening story for the 1955 season:

Dear Tribesmen and Friends of Kawanhee:

There was a hot time in the old camp on the evening of June 30 --and that is a statement easy to substantiate on at least two counts. For one, the elements observed the date by serving up a spell of weather unusually warm and humid for Maine and, particularly, for the Webb Lake valley. For another, the Kawanhee season went into operation the latter part of that Thursday and promptly worked up a full head of steam. The camp began to simmer at 5:00 P.M. when Mr. G. R. Frank and two busloads of campers from Ohio rolled down the hill. For the first time in years they had made "that connection" in Boston. But the full boil was not reached until 9:00 P.M. or thereabouts when Mr. Raymond Frank with his New York convoy made a somewhat delayed entrance in another big bus.

These arrivals sparked the opening of Kawanhee's thirty-fifth season. (We don't want to provoke a public dispute with Chief Kawanhee, but if he truly believes that he has welcomed the tribe thirty-six times, as he was understood to remark Saturday evening, he has either put one over on us, or he has had an attack of double vision somewhere along the line!) Other statistics prove this also to be Kawanhee's biggest season. According to Mr. Frank's official count, the summer's personnel consists of 188 individuals --131 campers; 41 counselors, Senior and Junior; and 16 other staff members thus surpassing last summer's high-water mark of population by two or three. It is a source of deep regret to the camp that this total had to be reduced by one at the last minute, when a leg injury forced Bob Elliott to exchange the prospects of a summer in Kawanhee for a summer in a cast. No one ever took such a disappointment with better sportsmanship. Bob will be missed all through the season and he has the very best wishes of the whole camp while his leg is mending.

Of course what I love in this lead article is not only the wonderful informal style but the poking fun at Ed Chase. Clearly Ed got a little ahead of himself while playing Chief and skipped a year. You can image the ribbing he took. In my experience, a great deal of effort went into creating the impression of "All is under control" at Kawanhee. While indeed the stage hands, meaning us councilors, were often running around like chickens with our heads off trying to clean up the latest fiasco before it became too appearent to the trusting campers. So I appreciate Campbell taking the opportunity to tell the parents that not everything comes off without a hitch.