For a project so well known as is Camp Good Will a short sketch of its history seems unnecessary. It is given here, however, for the benefit of those who have come to Evanston since its inauguration, and for that reason, though they are familiar with the work of the camp, do not know how the organization was founded and to whom it owes its inchoation.
Twelve years ago, on the evening of March 12, 1900, a number of public spirited Evanstonians met in the Y. M. C. A. rooms. As a stimulus for the work they were to have under advisement, Mr. Charles F. Weller, superintendent of the West Side district of the Bureau of Associated Charities of Chicago, told them something of the camp in operation at Oak Park. In the audience were three members of the executive committee of that camp, who set forth their undertakings in detail. So interested were those present that they voted to call another meeting on March 26 at 8 o'clock in the same place, to which a large number were invited. For its arrangement a committee, consisting of Dr. J. F. Loba, former pastor of the First Congregational church; Dr. B. A. Greene, former pastor of the First Baptist church; J. L. Whitlock and Julia M. E. Hintermeister, with W. L. Cobb, as chairman, and C. B. Foote, as secretary, was appointed. The scheme of a summer camp was heartily endorsed, and a general council, made up of two people from each of the churches, took form.
Organization Perfected - A permanent organization was effected April w, with the following officers and committees: A. W. Kimball, chairman; F. D. Raymond, treasurer, and C. B. Foote, secretary. Grounds committee, A. W. Kimball, F. B. Crandon, J. R. Guilliams; plans committee, J. R. Guilliams, Dr. B. A. Greene, Dr. J. F. Loba, Rev. J. W. Francis, Louis S. Rice; finance committee, C. K. Pittman, J. L. Whitlock, F. D. Raymond, F. E. French and C. Poppenhusen.
On May 27 a final business meeting was held at which it was voted that the superintendent would have charge of all servants employed; that members from the churches would wait on the tables and arrange for entertainment; that the general council would appoint and apportion the duty and time of such duty of each church at the beginning of the season; that the executive committee would have charge on Sunday, planning for religious services, to which the guests would be invited but not urged to attend.
Ready Response - From its origination the enterprise has found a ready financial and personal support from all Evanstonians. At a meeting held at one of the local churches that spring more than $1,400 was raised. Mr. C. F. Weller was the principal speaker of the evening. He gave a stereopticon lecture, throwing on the screen scenes of life in the West Side slums. Early in July the camp was ready for guests. Tents had been pitched on the Northwestern university grounds on the lake, Supt. Riddle and his assistants engaged, and churches assigned their portion, and on July 11, 100 or more women and children from the district of Madison and Halsted streets, Chicago, were welcomed at the camp. For five weeks that summer caravans of 100 or more people were brought out for a week's outing.
The second year the camp opened July 10 with the same cost as the first year, vis., $1,320. The third and fourth seasons the camp ran an extra week at the request of Miss Jane Addams, when the boys' clubs of Hull House and Northwestern university settlement were entertained. The expenditure during that period amounted to $2,124 per year, and each summer as the ambition of the leaders augments, the budget and expenses grow, until with the closing year about $3,000 was expended.
The camp is maintained by subscriptions, every May or June an appeal being made for help from all citizens to promote the undertaking, and a generous response has made it possible to prolong the length of the season to eight weeks and engage additional helpers as they are needed. Two years ago the staff of workers was enlarged one by the services of a nurse, and this year a director of boys' work added greatly to the welfare and enjoyment of the boys. Young women have volunteered to conduct the kindergarten free of charge and the baby fold has been watched over by Miss Bremond, whose reimbursement has been the grateful smile of tired mothers. The field on Central street between Sherman and Orrington avenues has been the home of the tenters for the past five years.
The Most Useful Year - The season just closed has been by far the most useful year of the camp. Over 1,160 people were given a week's vacation and change from the regular routine of their monotonous lives, and it is the opinion of those who have watched the work of the camp that more was done for the campers this year than ever before in the way of intelligent and sympathetic treatment.
The very efficient trained nurse on the grounds, Miss McCleery, instituted a card index system, in which the various misfortunes and ills were tabulated and where the case required special treatment, reports were made to Miss Sears of the United Charities and the case followed up after their return to Chicago, somewhat after the manner of the scheme followed up by the General Hospital of Massachusetts with their patients.
The following are the directors from the various churches: First Baptist -Howard G. Grey.
St. Mark's - W. S. Powers.
First Congregational - William D. Allen.
St. Luke's - C. Clarence Poole.
St. Matthew's - A. L. Murray.
First Methodist - William H. Dunham.
Hemenway Methodist - Frank Milhenning.
Emmanuel Methodist - Frank L. Borton.
Wheadon Methodist - Dr. W. A. Thomas.
First Presbyterian - C. P. Coffin.
Second Presbyterian - Charles H. Wright.
First United Presbyterian - George Harper.
First Church Scientist - C. B. Congdon.
Christian Church - Virgil N. Burch.
St. Mary's - Thomas E. Connor.
Church of All Souls - Willard L. Cobb.
Central M. E. - H. W. Whitehead.
By reason of the generosity of the friends of the camp, notably the Erie Railroad company, who loaned cots and blankets, the brigadier general of Illinois, F. S. Dickson, who loaned eighteen tents, also owing to the fact that the public service corporations were very generous and contributed liberally of their products, the pro rata expense per week was reduced this year very materially, Mr. C. N. Stevens, the treasurer, has not yet figured out the exact per capita expense, but it will be in the neighborhood of $3 per week per person, which, considering the excellent food given the guests and the character of the service rendered, is low.
The season ended with a slight balance on hand in the treasury, which is to be conserved for next season, as two of the large tents are worn out and next year probably a new dining room tent and a new assembly tent will have to be purchased.
Example of Team Work - Mr. Dunham and his associates are to be congratulated on the character of the work performed. By the way, this is an excellent example of team work among the various churches involved, who have shown an excellent get-together spirit.
The annual fall meeting will be held Oct. 15, when reports will be received, and everybody who is interested in the work at the camp is invited to be present. There are two meetings during this year, and in the fall at which the reports are received concerning the work of the season just over, and one in the spring, at which the annual election of officers takes place.