WESTPORT - As hundreds of boys flock to Camp Dudley's Lake Champlain shore this summer, they will be following in the footsteps of thousands more from generations past.
Camp Dudley, one of the area's most widely renowned summer camps, will welcome campers for its 125th season this year.
Having first been established in 1885, Camp Dudley is the oldest continuously operating residential summer camp in the nation.
Originally founded by Sumner Francis Dudley, it started as the Boys' Camping Society in Newburgh, N.Y. By the end of the 19th century the society began camping regularly at Barber Point, just north of its current location, and by 1908 the camp had procured the site where it remains today.
With its motto, "The Other Fellow First," Camp Dudley continued to grow through the years, offering boys from far and wide the chance to experience the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain while building character through a program rooted in Christian ideals.
Because of its impressive longevity, the camp is drawing even more national attention than usual. In April, U.S. Congressman John McHugh proposed a resolution in the House of Representatives congratulating the camp on its quasquicentennial milestone.
"Camp Dudley has served as a place for campers from across the world to spend their summer and learn skills that they can keep with them their entire life," said McHugh. "As the oldest camp in the U.S., I think it is fitting that the House honor Camp Dudley on this significant anniversary and recognize Camp Dudley's staff, campers, and alumni for their contributions to their community."
McHugh noted how Camp Dudley has hosted a diverse group of campers representing 35 states and 12 foreign countries, some receiving scholarships to attend the camp based on economic need.
"This support has allowed campers and staff to make significant contributions in their own communities and families," McHugh added. "Many alumni have gone on to excel in a variety of fields including medicine, law, business, and government, to name just a few."