Kiwanis Fresh Air Camp in Niles, Ohio
1924 - 1942

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Fresh Air Camp (1925) shows boys and girls in the fresh air camp with the teachers behind them.

Fresh Air Camp (1925) shows boys and girls in the fresh air camp with the teachers behind them. P10.38 The picture was taken by P. T. Alfonsi, Niles Photographer

Kiwanis Fresh Air Camp in Niles, Ohio

Project Proves Highly Successful; Boys and Girls of County Show Marked Improvement in Health
By Harry L. Cook
The major activity of local Kiwanis is aid for underprivileged children. Their outstanding project is the Trumbull County Kiwanis Fresh Air Camp, which had gained the reputation of being one of the most successful and most beneficial projects ever attempted by any club anywhere.

In 1925, Niles Kiwanis, wishing to start a fresh air camp, got in touch with Warren, Girard, Hubbard, and Newton Falls clubs, and arranged to open a camp.

A photo of the Niles Kiwanis Fresh-Air camp, sponsored for the benefit of children who were under a certain income level, on the basis that if they had a healthy summer, they wouldn't get so sick in the winter. The camp was located in Cadwallader Gulch, just off the Niles-Cortland road.


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.

John Wilder
Niles industrial leader

Maintenance men working at the Kiwanis Fresh-Air Camp located on Mines Road in Howland Twp. in the 1930's and 1940's.

Maintenance men working at the Kiwanis Fresh-Air Camp located on Mines Road in Howland Twp. in the 1930's and 1940's. PO2.731

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.

Dr. C. B. King was appointed chairman of the camp committee, and through the efforts of the joint committee, the camp closed its first season, already a decided success.

In 1926, Al Engle was chairman for the Niles committee, and due to objections of the State Board of Health which claimed the camp site was damp, a new and beautiful site on A four-acre wooded campsite on the north side of Mines Road, about a half mile east of the Niles-Cortland Road was purchased for $2,400 and a stock company formed. The mess hall was moved from the old site to the new, and a new dormitory was erected. The camp has been operated at the Mines road site continuously since that time. At this time, the Hubbard and Newton Falls clubs dropped out, preferring to follow their own local activity.

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 weeks.

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.


Chairmen of the Niles committee for the camp since 1926 have been: Walter F. MacQueen, 1927; Jack Stafford, 1928; John Wilder, 1929; Dr. G. A. Woodworth, 1930 and ’31; P. T. Alfonsi, 1932, ’33, ’34.
Camp officers for this year were Harry L. Cook of Niles, president; C. E. Inman of Warren, secretary and treasurer.
Camp committee for 1934 from the three clubs participating were as follows:
Warren: C. E. Inman, chairman, William Atkins, W. B. Craig, A. L. Oakes, William McFarland, and P. G. Laughlin.
Girard: Dr. Thomas K. Jones, chairman, Dr. D. R. Williams, Dr. H. E. Chalker, Dr. Joseph F. Nagle, Dr. G. L. Moore, and George Davis.
Niles: P. T. Alfonsi, chairman, H. T. Eaton, Dr. J. R. Hoffman, W. E. Jones, H. L. Cook, and F. E. Tout.

The new camp, while covering only a few acres, is a choice beautify spot and centrally located. Beautiful, large shade trees cover the entire premises, allowing just the right amount of sun and shade. This results in the children developing a healthy coat of sun tan without any painful sunburn.

There are two main buildings. One is the dormitory building which is divided in the middle, one side for the boys and the other for the girls. The other building housed the kitchen and dining room. Both of these places are kept spotlessly clean and absolutely free from all flies and insects at all times.

A small shelter in the yard covers a unique shower system. The water is heated by means of a coal stove attached to a hot water storage tank, the kind used in homes.

An abundance of fresh, cool, pure water is supplied by an 80 foot well equipped with an automatic electric pump. The water and milk are tested weekly in a Warren laboratory.

Recreation equipment includes seesaws, swings, slides, and a sand box.

Accommodates 36 Children
A total of 36 children are accommodated for a period of 9 weeks during each summer. Of this total, 8 children are from Niles, 8 from Girard, 8 from Warren, and 12 from the county. It was in 1932 through the cooperation of the Trumbull County Health League that 10 children from the county at large were selected in addition to the regular quota from the three clubs. In 1933, the health league continued this policy and in 1934 the number from the county at large was increased to 12, in addition to the quota from each club. The purpose is to benefit the undernourished and underprivileged children of the county, to improve their health, and build up their resistance against disease.

Children Happy
Naturally one would think that children of this age (12 years is the age limit) would be homesick when kept away from their families for so long. However, after the first week, there are never any cases of homesickness, and when the kiddies are asked if they would like to go home, a loud chorus of “noes” is their emphatic answer.

The effect on the children each year has been outstanding. Not only does each child gain weight, but they take on a sturdy, healthy look, and their resistance is built up to help them in future months and future years.


Fresh Air Campers

Fresh Air Campers (unknown date).
P10.37 The picture was taken by P. T. Alfonsi, Niles Photographer.

Kiwanis Camp with open air tents and wooden shower/kitchen area.

Kiwanis Camp with open air tents and wooden shower/kitchen area. PO2.372

Fresh Air Camp (1931) with boys and girls in front of shower and camp kitchen building.

Fresh Air Camp (1931) with boys and girls in front of shower and camp kitchen building.
The picture was taken by P. T. Alfonsi, Niles Photographer.


A Christmas party for the campers from the "Fresh Air" camp sponsored by the Niles Kiwanis Club in 1954.

P02.610

 

A Christmas party for the campers from the "Fresh Air" camp sponsored by the Niles Kiwanis Club in 1954.

P02.613

A Christmas party for the campers from the "Fresh Air" camp sponsored by the Niles Kiwanis Club in 1954. Dinner is being served at "Ma Perkins" Chicken Inn on Route 422 in McKinley Heights.

A Christmas party for the campers from the "Fresh Air" camp sponsored by the Niles Kiwanis Club in 1954.

PO2.611

 


A formal portrait of the members of the Niles Kiwanis Club posed in front of the McKinley Memorial on Grand Army of the Republic Day, May 28, 1924.

A formal portrait of the members of the Niles Kiwanis Club posed in front of the McKinley Memorial on Grand Army of the Republic Day, May 28, 1924.PO1.760

A Christmas party for the campers from the "Fresh Air" camp sponsored by the Niles Kiwanis Club in 1954.

Dinner is being served at "Ma Perkins" Chicken Inn on Route 422 in McKinley Heights.

Some of the people at the head table L to R: Harry Cook, Pastor Kenneth Wilt (Trinity Lutheran Church), unknown, R. B. Hughes, unknown, and Rev. Robert Anderson,(First United Methodist Church)

The 1955 Kiwanis razor blade sales campaign, "Look Sharp". Leonard Holloway (right) selling blades to Mayor Lenney (left)

The 1955 Kiwanis razor blade sales campaign, "Look Sharp". Leonard Holloway (right) selling blades to Mayor Lenney (left) PO2.614


 
 
 
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