Fort Collins Courier, April 26, 1920: “The boys of Fort Collins who are planning on participating in the summer camp from June 15 to June 29 should make their application to the Y. M. C. A. at once as the camp will be limited to fifty lads. The name of the camp will be Camp Wayne and will be conducted by the boy’s division of the Fort Collins Y. M. C. A.”
The camp was named for Wayne Akin, whose family owned 5,000 acres of land in the Red Feather Lakes area. According to the book Red Feather Lakes: The First Hundred Years by Evadene Burris Swanson, the family “found the summers so pleasant that Wayne Akin, then twenty-five years old, decided the opportunities should be extended to more children. Emil Lambotte, secretary of the YMCA in Fort Collins, shared his vision and together they developed a camp committee supported by local businessmen to send boys to the mountains for one-week periods at five dollars each.” Akin was the chairman of the camp committee and Lambotte was the camp director.
The first camp was on the North Lone Pine Creek but by 1921 they had established a permanent home on Lake Erie where they built a pier, council fire rings, and, eventually, sleeping facilities and a main lodge. In the first couple of years the boys slept in tents but by the mid-1920s, the tents were replaced with canvas sided sleeping cabins. A three-hole outhouse completed the camp facilities.
Below is a series of real photo postcards, taken by a local photographer, Hugh Donnan, who had a Fort Collins studio from 1915 until 1924 at 317 Walnut Street. The postcards are circa 1924.
Captioned “Respect to Old Glory,” the image shows the morning flag raising ceremony at Camp Wayne. The main lodge is the background of the image. It included the kitchen and dining room. The porch looked toward Lake Erie.
A full time physical director kept the boys busy with exercise, athletics, and swimming. The next two images show the boys hard at work, probably in an early morning exercise program.
The April 28, 1921 Fort Collins Courier described the camp’s programs: “There is no end of opportunity for hiking, fishing, swimming, nature study and outdoor recreation. . . but ‘Grouches’ are not tolerated and to be late to a meal means to miss it.”
The next two images show a couple of the educational opportunities offered to the campers.
One of the featured activities of the camp was the annual hike to the top of Bald Mountain, described in the June 28, 1922 Fort Collins Courier as a “twelve mile trip with an ascent of 3,000 feet, the mountain having an altitude of something like 12,000 feet.”
The trip didn’t always go well. Red Feather Lakes: The First Hundred Years has a story about two boys who got lost and covered 27 miles before finding their way back to camp.
Camp Wayne closed some time during the 1930s, probably as a result of the Great Depression. All that remains is the stone chimney of the main lodge, as shown in the last photograph taken by David Frydendall.
Patricia Clemens of the Red Feather Lakes Historical Society kindly provided information on Camp Wayne.
On Thursday I’ll post a photograph that links our newest Nobel Prize Winner in Literature to Fort Collins.