Camp Workcoeman

COVID-19 Update

19 May 2020Camp Workcoeman is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all regularly scheduled summer programs are canceled. There will be no camping, work days, etc. until further notice. Beaver Day is postponed indefinitely. Activities may be possible in the late summer and early fall if conditions permit. We do not yet know what these activities will look like; however, the safety of our Scouts, staff, and guests is and will always be our top priority.

04 May 2020 — The annual Shawtown Steak Dinner scheduled for June has been canceled (more info).

29 April 2020 — A new Scouting at Home section of this website has been created to catalog weekly videos and challenges posted to camp social media channels aimed at keeping you occupied and engaged during these difficult times.

More details and updates are available under the News & Events section of this website. These news articles contain the latest information available; other pages on the camp website may be out of date.

Helping the War Effort

As the Second World War raged in Africa, Europe, and the Pacific, more and more Connecticutians entered the Armed Forces. In the farms throughout the Northern Litchfield County Council’s territory, the lack of farm workers left much of the crops in the fields. While just a few years prior, the depression prevented most Scouts from finding a job, but the Department of Agriculture offered summer jobs especially for Scouts, even offering to truck them to Maine to help with the potato harvest. While some boys worked during the summer, the largest need was in the fall when the apples ripened. Seventy Scouts of the Northern Litchfield County Council volunteered to hike out to Bantam and pick the apples, and were let out of school to complete the task.

For the summer of 1944, the Council cooperated with the Mattatuck Council of Waterbury to operate a farm camp. The camp combined farm work with a Scouting program and was promoted as a leadership development program for boys over the age of fourteen. The Scouts got a chance to stay at Columbia University’s camp near Bantam Lake. The farm camp opened as soon as school dismissed in June and operated up until Workcoeman opened.

The labor shortage struck the Council in December of 1943 when Assistant Executive Nathaniel Doten was drafted into the Army. Over the next few months, the council tried to recruit another professional, but the position remained unfilled until September. Workcoeman’s summer program was affected as well; the only adults on the Summer Staff were Chief Merle Hildreth and Scoutmaster Seymour Weeks. However, this gave many of the boys who worked at the farm camp a chance to try out their leadership skills as staff at Workcoeman. The toughest position to fill was camp chef, as so many of the people who could prepare meals in quantity were cooking for the Armed Forces. Even a renovated kitchen and a new Cook’s Cabin could not attract a chef; therefore, Chief Hildreth’s wife, Mary, prepared the meals that summer.

The image below shows the fireplace in the Dining Hall during the summer of 1944.

Dining Hall Fireplace (Summer 1944)