Camp Lawrence for Boys, under the Merrimack Valley YMCA, celebrated 100 years of camping yesterday. The camp, along with Camp Nokomis for Girls founded in 1962, is located on Bear Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith.

Tom Galloway recalled the first time he took the bus to Camp Lawrence in 1932.

“I was 10 years old and scared stiff,” said Galloway, 83. “My mother put me on this strange bus with kids I never saw before.”

After two weeks, the young boy from Methuen was hooked on the woodlands carpeted with soft pine needles and the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee where he could see straight to the bottom.

Galloway was one of more than 300 alumni who celebrated Camp Lawrence’s 100th anniversary yesterday on Bear Island in Meredith, N.H., where the camp has been operating since 1921. An estimated 10,000 people have attended the camp over the years.

“The camp had several locations before Bear Island,” said John Shandorf, executive director of the Merrimack Valley YMCA camps.

A Lawrence YMCA leaflet advertised 10 days at Old Orchard Beach in Maine from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3, 1906. Thirty boys spent the week at Ocean Park House, and it proved so successful that many signed up for the next year. And so, in 1907, Camp Lawrence for Boys was established and began a summer tradition for many youths in Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire communities. Camp officials consider 1907 as the camp’s true starting date.

The camp moved to York, Maine; Haverhill and Alton Bay, N.H. It also enjoyed one season at Big Island Pond on Beaver Lake in Derry, N.H. In 1921, the 67-acre site was purchased on Bear Island.

“The cabins had canvas on the sides back then, and had to go down fast when the rains came,” Galloway said.

“And we called the outdoor bathrooms the ‘bijou’ — that means ‘jewel’ in French,” he said, laughing at the memory.

Galloway’s five children subsequently enjoyed Camp Lawrence and its sister camp, Camp Nokomis, which opened 56 years ago.

One of his daughters, Alice Galloway, was a counselor at Camp Nokomis for 12 years.

“I swear that camp totally shaped my life,” said Alice Galloway, 50, of Methuen.

“It taught me the value of friendship and moral ethics,” she continued. “Especially teamwork.”

Galloway’s two children — Tim Galloway-Burke, 10, and Abby Galloway-Burke, 12 — attend the YMCA’s day camp, Camp Otter in Salem, N.H.

“I’m hoping that Tim will go to Camp Lawrence next summer,” Alice Galloway said.

Two people were inducted into both camps’ Halls of Fame yesterday.

Charles A. Seifert of Salem, N.H. was honored posthumously for his years of work and dedication to the camp and inducted into Camp Nokomis’ Hall of Fame.

Debbie Parker, director of Camp Nokomis, was inducted into Camp Lawrence’s Hall of Fame. She has been with the camp since its inception. Charles was a board member for many years and was a staff member at the camp as a young man. His children all attended the camps. Seifert died of cancer at the age of 60 in 2006.

“Charles was a very active board member,” Parker said. “He was a teacher at Salem High and truly interested in the lives of children.”

Parker said Seifert had a place on the lake and would visit the camp several times each summer.

“It was partly to say ‘Hi,’ but he would also check on how things were going,” Parker said. “He was the wonderful kind of board member that you would dream of.”

Parker, 72, has been at Bear Island for 56 years. She began her camping career as a counselor-in-training at the girls camp prior to the YMCA’s purchase of Camp Nokomis and has been the director since 1975.

“People don’t realize that camp work is year-round,” Parker said. “It’s a never-ending cycle of things to do. After camp closes, there’s reports to fill out, equipment evaluations, planning meetings and staff hiring.”

Parker said there have been enormous changes over the years.

“More kids are from single-parent families now,” she said. “And the number of medications kids are on is astounding. In the early years, there were maybe three kids taking medication. Now, the nurses come out with trays of maybe 40 cups of pills each morning for the campers.”

David Hetherly, the current director of Camp Lawrence for Boys, is responsible for getting Parker’s name into the Hall of Fame.

Hetherly, 64, began coming to the camp as a 9-year-old in 1952 from Bronxville, N.Y.

“I came for 11 summers and progressed up the ranks to unit head in 1962,” he said.

After spending time in the U.S. Army, Hetherly began his corporate life as an executive for the Army and Air Force Exchange.

“I retired in 1993 and my retirement allowed me to do anything I wanted to do in life.”

He came back to Camp Lawrence.

“It keeps me young,” he said.

When Hetherly returned to Bear Island, he said there was a Hall of Fame plaque in the dining room with 43 names on it.

“Debbie’s was missing,” he said. “I wanted to wait, though, until our 100th year celebration.”

Hetherly said Parker’s behind-the-scenes work at both camps is beyond measure.

He returns to camp each year from his home in San Antonio, Texas, in May and stays until mid-October.

“I like to see the camp get up and running and closed down for winter,” he said. “I enjoy the autumn colors before heading home.”

Hetherly was also honored yesterday as Camp Lawrence’s director with the longest tenure to date.

Approximately 150 campers, aged 8 to 16, attend each session at both camps.

To get to the island, campers and staff take a boat from the Y landing on Meredith Neck.

The landing has been run for the last 25 years by Phyllis “Tuffy” Hamblet, who moved up from Windham, N.H., in 1982 with her husband Bill. Bill Hamlet died four years ago and one of their three sons, David, runs the landing with Tuffy Hamblet. The Bear Boat — as it is called — also makes daily trips to the island with food and supplies.

The family has strong connections to the camp.

Bill Hamblet, who owned Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Salem, N.H., was on the board of the YMCA and his grandfather, George W. Hamblet was president of the YMCA when it bought the land on Bear Island in 1920.

“My husband’s father, William, was director of the camp in 1942,” Tuffy Hamblet said. “Our three sons all went to the camp.”

Her brother is Charles A. Seifert, who was also honored yesterday. Accepting the award for Seifert was his wife Diana. Two of Seifert’s four children, Gretchen Seifert and Charles W. Seifert, are on staff at the camps.

Shandorf said there are 500 campers who attend each camp during the summer. The cost for a two-week session is $1,150.

“It was about $900 when I came on board eight years ago,” Shandorf said.

“We have a slightly higher operating cost than most nonprofit camps because we’re on an island.”

Shandorf said the camp uses $2,000 of gas each summer just for the boats used for activities such water skiing.

Parker said little has changed on Bear Island.

“The more the camps change in some ways, the more they stay the same,” Parker said. “We have the same beautiful view from here year after year.”

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