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Our History - The Living Legacy of Doc Miller

 

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Featuring an excerpt from the book, "YMCA Storer Camps - The Living Legacy of Doc Miller." This book is an in-depth look at the history of YMCA Storer Camps and is available for purchase at the Camp Trading Post or by sending payment of $45 (includes shipping & handling) to YMCA Storer Camps, Attn: Bookkeeper, 7260 S. Stony Lake Rd., Jackson, MI 49201. You can also order by fax at (517) 536-4922 with credit card information.

 "Camp Storer - A Camp With a Purpose"
...advertises a 1925 brochure for Storer. At that time, any boy twelve years or older could attend camp for fees that averaged a dollar a day. Once there, he could swim, boat, play baseball, participate in track events and, according to stories told, have not only tremendous fun, but also an experience that would last a lifetime.

In the Beginning
Bill Warr, Boy's Work Secretary of the Toledo YMCA, rented a nine acre grove of trees from the Hyatt family during the summer of 1918. Twenty-four boys, Bill and Doc Miller camped on the site for 2 weeks. Their equipment, as described by Doc in a report to the YMCA Board in 1934, consisted of "some rain-sifting tents, the same old cots whose springs gave you the ocean wave effect, and an old stove. Our kitchen was an old canvas stretched from poles."

The following summer, camp received a valuable infusion of capital in the form of a $1000 gift from George Butler Storer. In recognition of this gift, Warr suggested that the new camp be called Camp Storer. The donation was used to drill an artesian well, build a small kitchen building and make some additions to the cooking equipment.

Waterfront and Athletic Facilities
By the late twenties the main portion of the swim dock was an all-season, rock-filled crib of heavy planks, which for the most part withstood the winter ice. The diving tower was a simple wood structure some 15 feet above the water level and without a diving board. Camp tradition was that no boy could come down the ladder to the diving tower. Once he went up, the only way down was to jump or dive into the water. The waterfront also included a simple boat dock and small racks for canoe storage.

In addition to swimming, boating and hiking, the athletics in Camp's program also included softball, volleyball, touch football, and track and field events. By the middle of the twenties, two softball diamonds had been laid out well to the east of the kitchen and supply cabin. Beyond Lawrence Field, very near the east boundary of Camp, was the rifle range.

Evening games of touch football or "one-o'-cat" were often played in the hollow to the northeast of the chapel. Periodic track meets were held on the baseball diamonds. If the lake water was not too high, a 220-yard dash could be run starting in Lawrence Field and extending west to the north of Schroder Field. Volleyball was played in the same general area.

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