Monday, July 16, 2012

Top 10 Summer Camps in Erie Co., PA

Did you spend your summer at a camp on the shores of Lake Erie? Lots of us did. Here's a list of the Top Ten Summer Camps in Erie County, Pennsylvania, in no particular order:

CAMP SHERWIN. Located in Lake City off of Route 5. Started in 1911. Run by the YMCA of Erie County.

CAMP SEQUOYAH. Located in Springfield Township off of Route 5, 19 miles west of Erie. Owned by the Boy Scouts of America. Started in 1929; closed in 1983. Here is a detailed history of the camp:

CAMP GLINODO. On East Lake Road in Harborcreek Township near Seven Mile Creek. Opened in 1930 by the Sisters of St. Benedict.

CAMP KIWANIS. Near Walnut Creek. Started in 1935 by the Kiwanis Club of Erie.

CAMP JUDSON. Located in North Springfield. Started in 1949 by the Northwest Pennsylvania Baptist Assembly.

GREAT LAKES CAMP FOR GIRLS. Located eight miles west of Downtown Erie. Also: Great Lakes Camp for Boys, located 11 miles west of Downtown Erie.

CAMP CALEDON. Located 14 miles west of Erie, owned by the Erie County Sabbath School Association. This camp existed in 1956.

CAMP NOTRE DAME. Located on Route 5 in Fairview. Started by the Diocese of Erie in 1959.

CAMP ERIEZ. Located in Lake City off of Route 5. Existed in 1976. Not sure of its history.

CAMP FITCH. Located in North Springfield.Started in 1914 by the YMCA. Read more about it here:

CAMP WHITE SWAN. Herb Palmer said, "In the 60's I went to Camp White Swan, which I believe was operated by the YMCA. It was located off Manchester Road in Fairview. PA. There is now a housing subdivision located where the camp once stood. Great camp with some great memories...loved the 'bug juice'!!!"

CAMP KATERI. This started as a day camp at Presque Isle in the summer of 1952. It was run by the Diocese of Erie. From 1960 to 1968 it was an actual camp on the shores of Lake Erie ten miles west of Erie. (It may have merged with Camp Glinodo in Harborcreek.)

(This article will be updated as more info is unearthed. Please add your comments below.)


  1. I went to Camp Kateri. Not sure how old I was. Probably 8-10, so 1956-1959. A bus picked us up and I remember everyone singing the Camp Kateri song as we pulled into the camp. Wish I could remember the words and wish I could remember more about the camp. I do remember the spiders in the log cabins....and making smores. That's it.

    1. I also went to Camp Kateri during the same time frame. We had a ball! I remember a lot of singing on the bus.

    2. We sang "There were three jolly fishermen...Amster, amster, dam, dam, dam!" and "Sippin' Cider Through a Straw". We took walks through the woods and they pointed out unusual wildflowers and trees. We always hoped to catch a glimpse of the next-door Notre Dame boys.

  2. I went to Camp Caledon in 1964 when I was in 7th grade. It was on Lake Erie, and we stayed for a week, with 6 girls to a cabin. Some of the activities included archery, marksmanship, crafts, and earning a polar bear badge. The way to earn the white felt polar bear badge was by getting up at the crack of dawn every day and dipping in the lake, which felt pretty cold at that hour! One day we were very excited because we heard that the boys from Camp Sherwin were coming to our camp. Disappointment followed when the boys simply marched through the camp on their way to the Lake. But it was a great week and I still have my green Camp Caledon sweatshirt somewhere!

    1. Camp Caledon was located in Lake City, Erie CO, PA, and was a girls' summer camp sponsored by the Erie CO Sunday School Association. 'Aunt' Grace Hollinger was the director and assisted by Helen Underwood, a teacher in the Mill Creek School District. They spent their summers running the camp, along with their friend, 'Puddles' Jane Helmick. This all happened in the 40's to 70's. If memory serves me, it was renamed Camp Eriez when it was sold (see the other camps), and became a campground for trailers and tents, etc, for families to enjoy.
      Many great memories were made at Camp Caledon for all the girls who attended. In it's 'heyday' there were 3 sessions of two-weeks girls camp, ages 6 - 16, and one week of Sunday School camp, for boys and girls. The entire camp sported a Scottish motif, with all the cabins having Scottish names, and the campers placed in Scottish Clans, according to age group. Each clan had it's own theme song. We always hoped to get one of the favorite counselors. Fun, Fun Fun. We sang our lungs out whether it was in Bible class or in the dining hall, singing every camp song imaginable. Helen hated to hear us sing the song, 'I'm Wild About Horns on Automobiles that Go.. ..WAHHHHHHH. She would get the sink hose out and spray all the campers, missing the ones who escaped out of the dining room. Good, Good memories. And ending each night with "Day is dying in the west. Heaven is touching earth with rest.."Taps" on the hand-held xylophone. I still have a scapbook of all 10 years I went. Elaine

  3. I went to Camp Great Lakes for Boys (at the foot of Lord Rd. in Fairview) in the summer of 1959 when I was 6, as a day-camper. They would pick us up at home in a green 1953 Ford Station Wagon...a bunch of strangers, 2 deaf boys, and 1 older boy who lived across the street from me, and always picked on me! I was NOT thrilled about going there, though I did learn a bit of archery, which I really liked. In order to avoid my neighborhood "bully", I would take off by myself. There was an old boathouse on the beach where I would hide along the foundatation that faced the water. I could hear the counselors looking for me, but they could never find me! Then, I somehow knew when it was time to go home and I would re-appear just as the station wagon was loading up. Never went back after the first week, but I remember it well!

    1. I spent two summers at GLC and enjoyed it very much. The Lifeboat station was used as the Cafeteria and still had the rails down the bluff to the lake. The campers stayed in buildings named after Indian tribes (Seneca, Iroquois etc.) Uniforms were worn with white shirts and white pants with an orange stripe military style that in my case were purchased at Hornes in Pittsburgh.... Activites included Riflery, Archery and crafts to mention a few. Somewhere, I have photos of the camp...

  4. It's a little hazy now but around 1959-1961 I visited Camp Sequoyah while in Boy Scout Troop 72 out of Elmwood United Methodist Church. Since I was only around 9,10 or 11 I didn't care about details. I do remember the cabins and a lot of snow and a roaring fire and hikes to the waters edge with the troop while I was working on my tracking and cooking merit badges. I remember having to build a safe fire and cooking a burger, potatoes, and who knows what else. We learned how to make rope and tie knots and track a variety of animals by looking at their prints in the snow. 50 years later I still remember those days and moon lit nights following those tracks in the snow. Carefree, and my life ahead of me...and I knew that mom and dad and my brothers would be at home waiting for me when out camp life was over for the weekend. Through all these years, it never got any better than that. Great Times. I live in N.C. now but those days will live with me forever. Norm S. Patrol Leader Troop 72

  5. Camp White Swan was a great place to be in the early 60's. I went for 3 summers 63.64,65. I will always remember the "bug juice" and playing tether ball, archery and swimming in the creek. The tents all had native American names: Iroquois, Onondaga, Seneca etc. and everyone had their assigned tents. The head guys name was Kramer if I remember right. The bus would pick me up right across from my house at 10th and Washington. One time I even walked home with one of my friends. My mom was frantic when I didn't get off the bus but Kramer found us about 1/2 mile from my house and he let us have it good. Then when we got home............well you can guess what happened then. It was the one and only time I walked home from there and I'm guessing it was about 10 miles or so.....Don Novicki