CLARKS SUMMIT — The Waverly Community House has been offering summer recreation and activities for children and young adults since the late 1940s. Back then, groups would meet in the Kindergarten Room (now the Constance Reynolds Belin Room) for sports such as shuffleboard and ping pong. When the weather got nice enough, children would cool off in the wading pool, which was open from 2-4 p.m. with adult supervision.
In 1951, because Waverly consolidated with the Clarks Summit-Abington School District, the Comm enjoyed the full-time services of two playground instructors and thus began a summer recreation program for the youth of the community. Under the direction of instructors Helen Griffin and Arja Powell, the Playground Program was offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays beginning in mid-June and continuing through late August. In 1958, the program became known as the Summer Playground Program and was offered to children six years and up between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon and 1-4:30 p.m. It was expanded to include arts and crafts, general activities and special events.
The Summer Playground Program was modified in 1970. Morning sessions were held from 10 a.m. to noon with a variety of arts and crafts including painting, sculpturing, papier mache, soap box derby, dramatics, yarn crafts and wooden boat making. The afternoon sessions (1-4 p.m.) included baseball, darts, pingpong and volleyball and children in grades 1-6 had access to the wading pool. One evening each week, volleyball games between children and their parents were organized. In addition, tennis and golf lessons were offered at a cost of $10 per person.
Approximately 113 children registered for the program that year and the average daily attendance was between 30 and 35 children.
In 1988, the program became known as the Summer Camp Program and the Comm took complete control over all the planned activities. Camp was organized by age groups: 3- and 4-year-olds, 5- and 6-year-olds; 7- and 8-year-olds and 9 years and older. The 3- and 4-year-olds met from 9 a.m. to noon and all other age groups met from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Unlike today, camp was only open to members who donated to the annual sustaining fund. The cost for five weeks of camp was $100 for the 3- and 4-year-olds and $125 for all other ages.
Sylvia Jenkins (who later served as Director of The Waverly Preschool) was hired as camp director. That summer was the first summer that children were transported to Lackawanna State Park on Fridays for picnicking, hiking and swimming.
Summer camp officially became Comm Camp in 1992 and field trips were offered to such places as The Discovery Center in Binghamton, New York and Montage Alpine & Water Slide in Glenmaura. Regular camp ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a cost of $45 per week and extended camp ran from 1-3 p.m. at an additional cost of $20 per week. An additional level was added for children age 4 by Oct. 31 of that year.
In 1996, a Counselor-in-Training Program was offered for the first time to children entering grades 7, 8 and 9 and an after camp time slot (3-5 p.m.) was added. In 1999, six weeks of camp were offered and each week’s activities were organized around a theme. Week one was “fitness and safety,” week two was “beach week,” week three was “sports,” week four was “nature awareness,” “week five” was “silly week” and week six was focused on “creativity.” Time slots included an early arrival from 8-9 a.m., regular camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and extended camp from 1-3 p.m.
Over the years, campers have been treated to guest appearances by jugglers, balloon artists, magicians, therapy dogs and animals from Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, New York. Field trips to Fuller’s Overlook Farm, Manning’s Farm Dairy, the Lands at Hillside Farm Dairy, Little Rocky Glen and the Countryside Conservancy Walking Trail helped to expand campers’ appreciation of nature.
Comm Camp today
Today, Comm Camp is run much the same way with the addition of an extra week of fun and an extended afternoon camp, which runs from 1-6 p.m.
This year’s themes are:
■ Week one: “comic book week”
■ Week two: “red, white and blue week”
■ Week three: “Harry Potter week”
■ Week four: “Olympics week”
■ Week five: “happy birthday, Comm! week”
■ Week six: “show biz week
■ Week seven: “encore! week,” featuring the best of camp all week long.
Level IV campers (entering grades five through seven) will attend camp at Hillside Park for weeks six and seven. Activities at Hillside include outdoor sports such as boating, fishing, field games and hiking.
Openings are still available for all levels of Comm Camp 2019 except for Level III (weeks five and seven) and no more Counselor-in-Training applications are being taken.
Families interested in enrolling their children in camp should visit
waverlycomm.org or visit The Comm for an application.