Summer Camps, Only in NH, & Civics 101

Aug 4, 2017

New Hampshire is the mainspring for America’s summer camp story. The birthplace of a tradition that has shaped the lives of not only local kids, but kids we'd now call "at risk". Kids who'd never been out of their city or even neighborhood. And a number of celebrities spent their summers tucked away at Squam, Spofford, or Winnipesaukee lakes. People, like Paul Fireman, the founder of Reebok. James Frey, the once disgraced then quasi-redeemed author of A Million Little Pieces. Actors and siblings Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, Fight Club's Edward Norton; The Breakfast Club's Judd Nelson. Generations of adults forged in the shared experience of camp, the bunk-beds, the letters home, the bug bites and the bad food.

Today on Word of Mouth, we go back to camp. Plus we’ll answer one of your questions from the Only in New Hampshire mail bag, and we’ll go to civics class to learn more about The Speaker of the House. 

On today's show:

  • Kelly Carlin, the daughter of George Carlin reminisces about her father's time spent at sleepaway camp on Spofford Lake. Kelly Carlin is the hose of Sirius XM's The Kelly Carlin Show, and the author of the memoir: A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George. Read more here
  • Virgina speaks with Paul Hutchinson, Boston University Lecturer and co-curator of the Museum of the White Mountain's exhibit: Summer Camps. You can read a transcript of their conversation and see photos from New Hampshire's history of camp life here: New Hampshire: The Birthplace of Summer Camp.
  • Another facet of summer camp life on display at the White Mountain exhibit is a historical look at Caddy Camp. The Caddy Camp idea was to link Boston settlement houses with resort golf clubs in the White Mountains and teach low-income kids how to be caddies. You can listen to all of the audio from past campers here: Caddy Camp MWM
  • Hannah McCarthy answers an Only in NH questions submitted by one of our listeners: "How about the Percy Summer Club in Stark, NH (established 1881)? Sounds cool and mysterious." 
  • Civics 101: Speaker of the House : We chatted with Matt Wasniewski, Historian of the United States House of Representatives to learn more about this important position.

→ Send us your 30-second best, worst or weirdest camp story: wordofmouth@nhpr.org

Special thanks to:

Matt Ralph of the Summer Camp Culture Blog

Cynthia Robinson, Marcia Schmidt Blaine, Rebecca Enman of the Museum of the White Mountains

Kelly Carlin host of The Kelly Carlin Show on Sirius XM, and author of the memoir, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George

Paul Hutchinson, Boston University Lecturer and co-curator of the Museum of the White Mountain's "Summer Camp" exhibition.