Camp Workcoeman

Visitors and Baseball

On the tenth of July 1932, Camp Workcoeman opened during the darkest point of the Great Depression. The preceding months saw unemployment reach never before seen highs and industrial production drop to new lows. Throughout March 1932, the Scouts of the Northern Litchfield County Council canvassed Torrington to find work for the unemployed. As people moved to find work, or struggled to keep their businesses open, the council lost volunteers. In the fall of 1931, John Calder, who coordinated much of the Council’s expansion, died of heart disease. Calder had ignored his symptoms and instead focused of the difficulties of the Torrington Company.

The deflation made it tough for the Northern Litchfield County Council to gather together the funds for summer camp. As such, the council chose to operate Camp Workcoeman for a shorter four-week season. Over the course of the summer, many visitors to camp helped to ease the financial burden by donating supplies, especially food. These visitors were so numerous that the campers built a picnic area for them. More than eight hundred and fifty people visited camp during the 1932 season. In addition to parents and friends of Scouting, the Scout Mothers' Auxiliary and the Torrington Rotary sent large delegations to Workcoeman. There were also many informal visits, especially from the summer residents around West Hill Pond. While some only stopped by to fill up at Workcoeman’s pump, others visited for the Thursday campfire; some even paddled across the lake and watched the program from their canoes.

Baseball, central to the camp program since 1924, was larger than ever during the summer of 1932. Even as boys circulated in and out of camp as one week moved to the next, two teams continued to play each other over the course of the summer, the Hot Cha’s and the Steam Rollers. At the end of July, the ballplayers rowed Workcoeman’s fleet of seven boats down the lake to face the Hartford Council’s Camp Pioneer. Workcoeman led in the first few innings, but Pioneer gained the upper hand when the game was called, in the midst of a heavy mid-summer cloudburst.

The image below shows Scouts on Workcoeman’s parade ground, during the spring of 1932.

Parade Ground (Spring 1932)