In 1902, a private school science teacher from New York named Laura Mattoon, made the daring move of opening a camp for girls on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee near Wolfeboro. Why was this daring? Because in 1902, camping was still not considered lady-like. But Mattoon believed that girls could benefit from a summer on the lake with activities ranging from arts and crafts to swimming, canoeing, and sailing. Camp Kehonka eventually became a success, attracting girls from throughout the world. The camp closed in 1985, having brought happy memories to hundreds of girls. On Wednesday, August 15 at 7pm, Cheryl Shanahan, a former Camp Kehonka camper, will present a lecture on the Camp’s history. This lecture is free and open to the public and will be held at the New Hampshire Boat Museum.
The Camp was unique in many ways, as it developed under the leadership of Mattoon, and later Bally and Althea Ballentine. Bally Ballentine joined the staff of Camp Kehonka in 1911, and lived on site. He remained there until he died in his cottage in 1984. Althea Ballentine eventually became the Camp’s Director. Under the direction of Mattoon and the Ballentines, the camp served the spiritual, educational and development of healthy living for girls.
The lecture accompanies the New Hampshire Boat Museum’s current display on the history of the Camp, which contains original photographs, printed material from the Camp, uniforms, and arts and crafts that were made by the girls. The exhibit also features the Camp’s signature Duck Boat, which the girls were allowed to ride (on a track) into the Dining Hall on Banquet Night at Camp.
For those who are alumni of Camp Kehonka there will be a reunion at the Boat Museum on Saturday, August 16. Those wishing to sign up to attend the reunion can learn more at the Camp’s blogpost, www.kehonka.wordpress.com.
Other upcoming events being organized by the Boat Museum include the August 16th Boathouse Tour on Lake Winnipesaukee (tickets on sale at the Museum or on line at www.nhbm.org) and a lecture on the Belknap Mountains on August 30.
To learn more about any of these programs or events, call the museum at 569-4554 or visit the Museum’s website at www.nhbm.org.