KIWANIS FRESH AIR CAMP
Niles Kiwanis Club was formed in 1922. In 1924,
Mr. John Wilder, Niles industrial leader, was president
of the Niles Kiwanis Club. He was largely responsible for involving
all Trumbull County Kiwanis clubs in this new venture. They set
up a Fresh Air Camp for special children. In 1926 a stock company
was formed. A four-acre wooded campsite on the north side of Mines
Road, about a half mile east of the Niles-Cortland Road was purchased
The camp was established to provide a healthy
atmosphere for children from 6-12 years old who needed dental
work, had nutritional deficiency, or might be susceptible to tuberculosis
infection. They were chosen by Ann Llewellyn, the county
public health nurse and they stayed at the camp from six to eight
A 80 foot deep well, equipped with an automatic
electric pump, supplied plenty of pure water. There was a mess
hall, and a dorm that housed the boys at one end and the girls
at the other end. The office and personal quarters of the supervisor
were in the center of the building. There were four paid supervisors
and three volunteer staff who helped teach the children to be
kind, helpful and thoughtful at all times. Volunteers guided the
children in playing games, doing art work, caring for the pets
of the camp, and also they told stories around the camp fire.
The recreational equipment was donated by business and individuals.
There was a tree house built in 1933 and rested on three sturdy
tree trunks about 30 feet in the air. The long sloping stairway
beckoned the youngsters to visit this adventurous area.
The Fresh Air Camp did wonders for every one of its young campers.
Every child gained weight, was stronger and had a much healthier
body at the end of the season. Their strict daily routine was
a very important factor in making this project uniquely successful.
By 7:30 every morning they had brushed their teeth, washed their
face and put their clothes on and were ready for breakfast, which
consisted of cooked cereal, fruit, bread and milk. Lunch was a
full dinner and the evening meal consisted of soup, sandwich,
fruit and milk. Mary Lukick was the camp cook for many
years and served very healthy meals.
Over the years, many people volunteered and gave financial assistance.
By 1940 the camp could accommodate 72 children. Soon however,
World War II broke out and that program, like many other community
projects had to be put on hold. Now, all that remains are memories
and a picture that hangs on the wall in the Westenfield Room
at the Niles Historical Society Ward-Thomas Museum.