Camp Workcoeman

Early Torrington Troops

Edgar Robinson handed over the reins of the Boy Scouts of America to James West in 1911, but the nationwide connections with the Young Men’s Christian Association persisted. In Torrington, a troop was formed out of the local YMCA in the spring on 1911, with four patrols by the end of April. Most of the Scouts were congregants from the Methodist Church. For its first trip on 12 May 1911, the troop hiked some of the distance from Torrington to West Hill Pond, staying overnight near where Camp Workcoeman is today.

The troop was very active in 1911, marching in Torrington’s Memorial Day Parade, camping at the Goshen Fair, and searching for a lost three-year-old. However, records drop off during 1912, and the troop disbanded sometime late that year, or in 1913. The YMCA troop reformed in March of 1914 and received a charter as Troop 1, Torrington in April.

Troop 1 slowly grew to a size of around forty scouts, but in 1916 and 1917 interest in Scouting picked up. The National Council chartered four more troops in Torrington, out of Trinity Episcopal Church, Center Congregational Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church. During the first decade of Scouting in the United States, summer camps of a week or more were usually the responsibility of the troop’s Scoutmaster. While earlier long-term camps may have occurred, the first record of one for the Scouts of Torrington was during the summer of 1916. Scoutmaster L. H. Avery and his wife organized the camp on the shore of the Otis Reservoir in Massachusetts.

The photo below shows the Main Street building where the Torrington YMCA was quartered from 1890 until the present structure was built in 1922; photograph by the Karl Brothers Studio of Litchfield.

Torrington YMCA Building